Saturday, August 24, 2013

Gopher Football Preview: O-Line

Campion Before
Campion After
One of the things that usually jumps out to me and my buddy @Frothygopher when we get down to practice is how fricken huge the offensive linemen are.  I've probably said it before, but I think Coach Klein and his guys really work wonders building the size and strength of their players.  To quantify this, let's look at their weights from when they were freshmen on rivals and what they're listed at now on the team's website. Also, I'm using the two-deep from our good friends at The Daily Gopher - see their projected two-deep depth chart here.  They know stuff, you should check out all of their shit.

Gopher Linemen Grow Big Like Bulls

Position Year Player HS Ht/Wt Current Ht/Wt Weight Gain
LT1 RS SR Ed Olson 6'7" 285 6'7" 309 24
LT2 RS JR Marek Lenkiewicz 6'5" 250 6'5" 289 39
LG1 RS JR Zac Epping 6'2" 274 6'2" 321 47
LG2 SO Joe Bjorklund 6'5" 285 6'5" 288 3
C1 SO Jon Christenson 6'4" 288 6'4" 306 18
C2 JR Tommy Olson 6'4" 275 6'4" 301 26
RG1 JR Caleb Bak 6'3" 255 6'3" 302 47
RG2 RS FR Isaac Hayes 6'3" 270 6'2" 304 34
RT1 RS SO Josh Campion 6'5" 265 6'5" 326 61
RT2 RS SO Foster Bush 6'5" 270 6'5" 303 33

Even with Bjorklund blowing the curve, the average weight gain is 33.2 lbs per player.  Campion's 61 pound increase is awesome.  Hayes going up 34 pounds in a year is just sick, but that guy is a monster anyway.

Two of the more interesting stories regarding the offensive line involve the Olson brothers.  At left tackle, Ed Olson has been pressed in practice by Marek Lenkiewicz and although there has been no announcement one way or another yet, many believe that Lenk will get the start against UNLV.

Tommy Olson after losing his job at left guard was asked to move over to center in the spring.  This move helps strengthen the team's depth after losing Zac Mottla to injury and with Brian Bobek looking like a medical redshirt this season.  Now the rumblings are not only is Olson doing a great job in practice, but he's also pushing Christenson for first team snaps.  Christenson had a nice year at center last season so I'm inclined to think he'll continue to hold the job, but it's a great thing to have competition in practice and to have some backups that aren't just another one of Brewster's 185lb sons or something.

Another note is that this team might not have a single starter that is a senior unless Ed Olson ends up back at LT.  Even so, many of them are experienced due to being pressed into action early in their college careers.  Besides the LT battle, I (and everyone else) can see Isaac Hayes playing sooner rather than later as the guy is just a bulldozer.  The feeling here is the line is trending up in year three and hopefully this shows on the field. 

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