Bulking Up For Boise State

After spending the first half of August warming Bronco fans up for the upcoming season, the 30-Day Countdown gears up in earnest. With just 15 days before the opening kickoff of the 2006 campaign, we begin to examine the opponent for the opener, the Sacramento State Hornets of the Big Sky Conference. In today's position preview, we look at the Hornet offensive line.

Sacramento State features great size on the offensive line for a Division I-AA team. They won't be pushed around easily, but the flip side of that is that they sacrifice quickness for bulk. To aid the development of Hornet athletics, a new weight room featuring the latest in free weights, strength machines and aerobic equipment was recently built. New strength coach Gary Uribe has been working with players since he was hired in the spring. He has the offensive line members bigger, stronger and faster than last year. Uribe served as the assistant strength coach for USC for three seasons.

It will be a new unit this fall for Sacramento State, as only two lettermen return for Coach Steve Mooshagian, a graduate and former coach for Fresno State. Nevertheless, Mooshagian is impressed with how the group has meshed together and learned their assignments. After one week of fall practice, this was the group Mooshagian is most impressed with. Guard Lindsey Kellogg (6-1, 280, Jr.) is a returning starter of three games for the Hornets. In those three games, Sacramento State averaged 162 yards a game. Sophomore Tyrone Davis, a walk on from Ontario High School (Oregon), started the final four games last season. He will shift from center this season. Junior college transfer Kyle Tahsler (6-3, 295) and freshman Tim Carr (6-4, 250) provide depth at guard.

Walk-on Joe Valdes (6-7, 320) looks to be one of the tackles, with JC transfers Francisco Cruz (6-4, 280) and Matt Russell (6-5, 315) duking it out for the other spot. Redshirt freshman Jordan Hunter (6-6, 285) gained 45 pounds since coming to Sacramento last season and he will be a backup tackle for Coach Mooshagian. JC All-American Matt Gaughen (6-1, 310) and fellow transfer Kyle Leitzke (6-1, 290) will vie for playing time at center.

Mooshagian is hoping this group can help improve the Hornets' offensive production, after averaging just over 17 points a game last year. Sacramento State was throttled by California (41-3), Montana (31-14), Montana State (37-16), Eastern Washington (45-17), UC Davis (37-7) and Cal Poly (37-13). They also lost to Idaho State (27-17), Weber State (26-14) and Portland State (28-12). The team's best performance came against Northern Arizona in a 38-24 Big Sky win--they also downed Azusa Pacific.

The Hornet offensive line is big enough to cause problems. We've heard how good the Bronco defense can be. They will need to focus on Sacramento State and prove it!


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