The bad news is that Ball State and new Offensive Line Coach Kyle DeVan must replace three starters in the interior of the Cardinals Offensive line including All-Mid-American Conference OC Jacob Richard; the good news - the Cardinals welcome back two starters and a third player with solid playing experience to a unit that is learning a new way of going about business this spring.
Back for the Cardinals are starting OT's Drake Miller (6-5, 301) and Steven Bell (6-4, 298). Both bring a bevy of experience as both are 5th year seniors who have multiple seasons of starting experience. Also returning is top reserve OG Vinnie Palazeti (6-4 297) who is a 4th year Junior and has seen time both on the line and in special teams.
Figuring out the other two spots will be the next battle. Thus far in practice, it appears that the front runner at OC is redshirt Fr Andrew Poenitsch (6-2 275). At the other OG slot the battle may end up between R-So Malik King (6-3 303) and R-Jr Pat Maloney (6-2 285).
The search for two starters ties in with the entire line learning a new style of blocking up front. In the past few seasons, the Cardinals were led by veteran O-line Coach John Strollo who is noted for bringing a unique style to an offensive line scheme. The line typically set up in a two point stance and had a different set up and step pattern in its zone running scheme. Now, new DeVan brings in a more pro-style, downhill blocking approach. DeVan wants his guys in three-point stances and blowing off the line to create movement and havoc on the defense. Or as he puts it - "Distorting people". Although the approach is subtle with difference in technique, it can be difficult for a squad that has been learning a certain way of doing things to flip to a different one.
The Cardinals Offensive Line also has several players with limited experience that can add depth up front. At OT the Cardinals also have R-Fr Kadin Booker, R-Fr Zach Ricketts and R-Jr Jarrid Lloyd. Inside the Cardinals have R-So Alex Joss and R-Fr Grant Williamson.