Position Preview: Offensive Line

Strange things were afoot last season at OLine U. Usually the most consistent unit on any BC team, the 2009 offensive line struggled with new schemes and coaching and had head scratching lapses in key games.

Yet they also showed cohesiveness and dominance in record breaking game against NC State and held their own against good defenses like USC.

Now they've lost their keystone Matt Tennat to the NFL, which means more shakeup and more questions. But there is more than enough returning talent with Senior Athony Castonzo, Thomas Claiborne and Rich Lapham. Spot starters Emmett Cleary and Nathan Richman also return.

Other names from that could pop up from the depth chart are Sophomore John Wetzel, Redshirt Freshman Keith Bourne, Junior Mark Spinney, Redshirt Freshman Ian White, and Sophomore Mike Goodman, Jr.

Big Question: Can Nathan Richman make the transition to Center? Richman has played the interior and backed up the tackle spots while at BC. He's been consistent yet rarely dominant. Considering his size he moves well and probably has the agility to get to the second level (a requirement for Centers). But being the Center also requires identify the defensive strategies and making sure the line communicates. In those cases Richman will have to learn on the job. If he struggles, don't be surprised to see him swap roles with Thomas Claiborne, who has filled in at Center in the past.

Little question: does the offensive line have a depth issue? Injuries, transfers and some smaller recruiting classes has left this unit with a little thin and less talented than past BC squads. If everyone stays healthy it should not be an issue, but if a starter or two goes down, untested and lightly regarded players will have to step up.

Style and Scheme: Some of last season's struggles have to be blamed on the new scheme. Under Jeff Jagodzinski, BC ran a strict zone blocking scheme. Last year was a hybrid of zone and man. It left the guys a little confused. Now – with a second season under their belts – the unit should show more cohesion. If they, don't fingers will start pointing at Offensive Line coach Sean Devine.

Factiod: Assuming he stays healthy Anthony Castonzo will set a career starts record at BC that will be hard to top. A starter since he set foot on campus, Castonzo's soon to be record benefited from the extra games (ACC Championship) that BC played during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Plus BC has been in a bowl all three years and the college football season has been extended.

Outlook: The offensive skill positions should not be an issue this year. Most of the key play makers are back and they all know the offense. That puts the pressure back on the Line. If they can play like some of the better BC Lines of old, BC should see their scoring, time of possession and efficiency take a big step forward.


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