Last year was a little rough, especially for the offensive line. Following the magical 2014 season, many expected the offensive line (which virtually carried that team) to carry over into the 2015 season with a seamless transition. And then we all learned just how valuable Shaq Mason was to the offensive line. Mason graduated and the offensive line crumbled, and along with that, the offense as a whole did too.
Now, another year later, we have some new faces along the line and even a new coach to help out with the line. Will that be enough to restore the offensive line to even a decent level?
The Main Contenders
For the main contenders offensive line, the best place to find those would be the post-spring depth chart, since that gives us a general idea of where most of the players are right now.
Currently (as of July 22), the offensive line features Eason Fromayan (LT), Will Bryan (LG), Freddie Burden (C), Shamire Devine (RG), and Trey Klock (RT). All five of these guys have at least some experience, with all but Fromayan having starting experience.
In addition to these guys, I also think true freshman Parker Braun also has a chance to crack the starting lineup, maybe not at first, but later on in the season if someone struggles.
In the Mix
While I do think that this will probably be the starting offensive line come September 3, there are also a few other guys who are in the mix for playing time. I already mentioned Braun, but in addition to him, Andrew Marshall and the Morgan twins (Brad and Scott) should also get plenty of opportunities to play, though I only see Braun and Marshall as potential starters on this line right now.
Right now, there are really two spots up for grabs: left tackle and right guard. At left tackle, I don’t really know much about Fromayan, but if one of the younger guys steps up, I could see Will Bryan sliding over to left tackle. At right guard, I think we have the same issues with Devine’s weight that we’ve been having. If he can’t get that under control, we’re going to need some more consistency there.
I mentioned Parker Braun as a guy in the mix earlier, but I think the other two freshmen (Jahaziel Lee and Kenny Cooper) also have a chance to get some playing time this year.
After that, I would say keep an eye out for the back-up tackles, Bailey Ivemeyer and Jake Stickler. I don’t see either one of them starting this season, but seeing as they are already in the two-deep, anything is possible.
What to Expect
This is a position group that I really don’t have much of an idea about right now. My hope is that with some shuffling of the players and the addition of new assistant O-line coach Ron West, that the offensive line will improve enough for the Yellow Jackets to maintain more offensive momentum. At least for the first game, I think they will roll with the post-spring lineup I mentioned earlier. The offensive line is the key to a successful season; it needs to be better for Tech to be successful. And hopefully, we will see that.