There is no bigger change on offense for the Jackets this season than the changes that are happening on the offensive line. The new technique is a sharp departure from the flat back, weight heavy forward, drive out low technique taught as a part of the Paul Johnson offense. The players will have to adjust how they balance their weight, as well as the tackles will often play from two-point stances. The advantage of this new technique is that it allows the players an easier time getting into their pass sets and will hopefully improve pass protection. How quickly the players are able to learn and perform in this new technique will go a long way in determining the outcome of this season.
In a previous article we looked at the players that had a chance to be Above the Line (ATL), but were not expected to be the starters. This article will look at five players that started in the spring game and are expected to the the starting five on Thursday night in Death Valley.
Zach Quinney - 6-6, 280, RS-So - Quinney started 12 games for the Jackets last year at tackle and played in all 13. He has the length that the new staff is looking for at tackle, but he is a little on the light side for a tackle in the new offense.
Kenny Cooper - 6-3, 315, SR - Cooper has played in 27 games over his three year career, including 18 starts, mostly at center. He is the elder statesmen of the offensive line, but seemed to struggle a little with the new scheme in the spring game.
Scott Morgan - 6-4, 290, R-SR - Morgan may be the player most excited about the shift to a new scheme. After taking a red-shirt in 2015, not playing in 2016, and struggling with injuries in 2017, Morgan played 10 games for Tech in 2018 and was not expected to be a starter this Fall, but a coaching change always brings a shakeup and gives players a change to start fresh. With Braun leaving and Cooper moving to guard, Morgan has a great opportunity to show what he can do during his final season on the Flats.
Jared Southers - 6-5, 315, SR - The Vanderbilt transfer is expected to step in right away and provide leadership and experience to the offensive line. Southers played in 27 games games during his time with the Dores, showing the versatility to play both guard and tackle.
Jack DeFoor - 6-5, 295, R-JR - The Ole Miss transfer played in nine games for the Jackets last fall. He also appeared in four games for the Rebels after taking a red-shirt in 2016. DeFoor should be a player that excels in the new scheme, after having some experience playing in a similar one at Ole Miss.
The offensive line has some of the biggest question marks going into this season. A wholesale change in technique and scheme will force the players to learn quickly and adapt if there is any chance of the Jackets making noise this fall.