Every Offensive Line coach will tell you that you really want 10 guys that can step in and play. 10 guys – that’s basically two starting units, since any position on the offensive line is a grueling one and injuries are bound to happen.
For Ball State and new Offensive Line Coach Kyle DeVan, the 10 guy thing is not the problem, it is finding the right 5 in the right positions that will be the issue.
The Cardinals graduated 5 players who either started or saw significant time last season, but that does not mean that talent and depth is not there – it just means that talent is unproven.
Ball State welcomes back starting book end OTs in 5th Seniors Drake Miller and Steven Bell. Those two will surely be back starting in a few weeks – but the other 3 positions are the ones up for grabs still at this juncture of camp.
Leading the way and taking the majority of the snaps at OC is R-Jr Vinnie Palazeti. The 6-4 297 Palazeti has been a solid backup the past two seasons, capable of filling in at any position up front. With an injury to probably starting OC Andrew Poenitsch, Palazeti finds himself at the No. 1 at Center, but his talent and veteran work ethic has made the transition a smooth one.
At the two guard spots, the Cardinals have a handful of probable starters. Almost assured a starting position at RG at this point is R-Jr Pat Maloney. At 6-2 280, Maloney is a bit undersized, but fully capable of pulling and being the athlete that DeVan looks for up front.
The other guard position will probably be manned by R-So Alex Joss. The 6-4 290 Joss was slated as the starter at RT at the start of fall camp, but with Bell rounding back into shape after an injury, Joss, who will still serve as the first man up at OT if someone is injured, is currently manning the LG position.
Serving as back up on the outside, and still a possibility to start is 6-6 290 R-So Kadin Booker, who is possibly the best athlete in the Oline group.
Rounding out the possible backups are Poenitsch (6-3 270 R-Fr), who could still wrangle back his starting OC position if he is able to get healthy and fellow R-Fr Grant Williamson (6-3 277).