Thursday, February 17, 2011

Looking Ahead: The O-Line

On any team, the offensive line never really gets the credit they deserve- that's especially true for the Frogs' O-line, who paved the way for over 3,200 rushing yards while allowing just 9 sacks during the 2010 season. Much like at wide receiver and safety, a lot of the success along the offensive line was due to strong senior leadership. The Frogs lose four senior starters from last year, so they will be looking to reload starting in the spring.

Senior-to-be Kyle Dooley is the only full-time starter returning in 2011. Dooley has been a starter at left guard (and one of the team's best linemen) since halfway through his redshirt freshman season. Three players look to be candidates to take the starting spot at right guard: junior Blaize Foltz, who is coming off of a knee injury, senior Spencer Thompson and sophomore Ty Horn.

Filling the void left at center after Jake Kirkpatrick's graduation is, in my opinion, the biggest question mark on the line. No one appears to have cemented the heir apparent role that Kirkpatrick did while Blake Schlueter was the starter. Juniors James Fry and Michael Rosner have both played some in the past, and will be challenged for the starting role by sophomore Eric Tausch and redshirt freshman Michael Thompson. There have also been whispers that Kyle Dooley could shift over to play center as a senior, although I haven't seen any confirmation of that rumor. If he did so, I think you'd so one or more of the guys listed above shift to guard.

The Frogs lose both starting tackles from the Rose Bowl, but have plenty of returning talent to reload. Senior Jeff Olson (right) and sophomore James Dunbar (left) are the names you'll hear the most as candidates to start in the fall. Junor Trevius Jones, sophomore John Wooldridge and redshirt Nykiren Wellington will look to challenge them.

Not many TCU offensive linemen have played as true freshmen- Marshall Newhouse is the only one that comes to mind right away- so it's usually a safe bet that the new guys will be redshirting their first year on campus. That being said, Patterson & his staff did a great job recruiting this past year. Bobby Thompson and Carter Wall look like great prospects as tackles, while Jamelle Naff and Brady Foltz (Blaize's younger brother) look like future guards.

That's my take on the situation up front, but I want to hear from the readers of Spitblood. Who do you think will be the starting five along the O-line next season? Who will become the next big NFL prospect for the Frog line? Which of the younger guys will start to emerge in the spring? Let's hear your opinions in the comments section!

1 comment:

Sir Wesley Willis said...

The comments section looked a little lonely.

Move Kelton to center! He has the size.

In all seriousness though, I assume Spencer Thompson will get some action this year based on the last, as will Ty Horn. Didn't realize Dunbar had come along that quickly but I like to hear it. No clue on the center prospects, but yes that is definitely a concern going forward. However, since you are breaking in a new QB as well, it might be nice to have a new snapper coming along as well so they can learn their timing together. Also, that's pretty flawed logic, but I like to sugarcoat.

I was watching SC yesterday and they were talking about O line prospects... Kirkpatrick nowhere to be found. I just can't figure this out.