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Two Deep Tango: Offensive Line

 

Today, looking at the offensive line we see a bit of experience, a bit of youth, and a bit of potential. Most Cyclone fans fell in love with the improvement we saw from the line last year in terms of protecting the quarterback. 

Left Tackle
75 - Doug Dedrick
6-4, 301 (Sr.)
67 - Matt Hulbert
6-7, 286 (So.#)

There was some thought in the spring that Hulbert might be pushing Dedrick. Well, Dedrick's back in the #1 spot, and he looks to have put on a bit of weight as well. Possibly one of the most successful of Chizik's JUCO recruits, Dedrick seemed a bit overmatched at some times while also sometimes the most dependable guy on the line. He should provide senior leadership, with the starting spot falling to Hulbert next year.

 

Left Guard
72 - Kelechi Osemele
6-5, 330 (Fr.#)
73 - Reggie Stephens
6-4, 313 (Jr.#)

 

This is one of the more interesting position battles along the line. It had long been said that Osemele was one of the more impressive offensive lineman last year, despite being a redshirt. However, Stephens is a two-time letterman with the hard luck to share the same position. Both guys will play this year, but I expect Kelechi to claim the top spot.

 

Center
52 - Mike Knapp
6-3, 272 (Jr.#)
77 - Alex Alvarez
6-2, 291 (So.)

 

Walk-on Mike Knapp has seized an opportunity to claim one of the weaker spots on the line at center. Despite being undersized, Knapp has the mobility that the coaches are looking for from the center. However, Alex Alvarez has shown potential and has shared some snaps at the #1 position. This will probably be determined with on-field performance.

 

Right Guard
63 - Ben Lamaak
6-5, 310 (So.#)
60 - Brandon Johnson
6-4, 322 (Sr.#)

 

Right guard features a battle between two returning starters in Lamaak (RT) and Johnson (C). Lamaak figures to be a better bet, being freshman All-Big 12 and all, but Johnson should be a quality backup after being somewhat overmatched at center last year.

 

Right Tackle
76 - Hayworth Hicks
6-3, 330 (So.)
71 - Trey Baysinger
6-6, 315 (Fr.#)

 

Right tackle has been a position full of surprises. Most had planned on Lamaak holding down the fort here for the forseeable future. With the move to guard, Baysinger was tabbed to start. Now, JUCO newcomer Hayworth Hicks, he of the heartbreaking story Hicks', is slated to start before ever taking a snap. Baysinger was regarded along with Osemele to be one of the up and coming redshirts, but he'll have to find his place amongst a young line.

The offensive line has a lot of young talent that will be christened under fire, but McFarland worked some serious magic last year. Here's to him doing it again.