Spring Preview: The Offensive Line

TBS' Brandon Gurney moves over to the offensive side of the ball with his spring preview. He starts off by examining those unheralded warriors in the trenches, the offensive line.

Any offense in order to be successful must have a solid offensive line. Everything on offense starts with the offensive line and if you can't get started, then it doesn't matter how much fuel you have in the tank because you're not going to go anywhere.

BYU's offensive success whatever it may be in 2005 depends largely on what Coach Grimes can bring together up front for the Cougars. The work begins in spring practice this coming Monday

Voids to be filled:

Scott Young - Young was arguably BYU's best and most consistent offensive lineman last year. He's confirmed his great overall athleticism with eye-popping workouts as he gets ready for the NFL.

Young also brought a nasty attitude to the offensive line that will be hard to replace. Young played with a chip on his shoulder and he thrived along with his fellow offensive linemen because of it.

RJ Willing - Willing really came into his own last season getting the majority of the reps at the critical left tackle position toward the end of the season. Willing left for his church mission and he will be missed this season.

Hanale Vincent - A utility type player during his career. Vincent could fill in when others went down in a pinch and always played solidly.

Parts:

Lance Reynolds Jr. 6-3, 293 Sr. - Reynolds moved over to offensive line from linebacker last season and played remarkably well for someone playing the position for the first time. Reynolds has the respect of his teammates and will undoubtedly only improve after another offseason.

No worries at center for the Cougars as long as Reynolds can stay healthy. He's a leader on the offense and just the sort of player you want anchoring the middle of the offensive line while barking out blocking assignments.

Jake Kuresa 6-4, 330 Jr. - Kuresa is an extremely gifted athlete that was as dominating as any offensive lineman on the team at certain junctures last season. Kuresa improved his consistency as the year went on and was really playing well as the season came to a close.

Kuresa is now a wily veteran on the offensive line and looks to only improve from here on out. He may be the most athletically gifted of the bunch and his prospects for the coming season should excite most cougar fans.

Eddie Keele 6-5, 305 Jr. - Keele gives Kuresa a good fun for his money as the most physically gifted of BYU's offensive linemen currently in the program. Keele is very good when he's shooting from all cylinders and that is the key for Keele this coming season starting with spring ball.

Keele has struggled with an irregular heartbeat and is very intent on putting those problems behind him. In fact, he doesn't like to talk about it much, so we won't discuss it further. May

Brian Sanders 6-3, 316 Sr. - Sanders is a bit of a late bloomer, but he turned heads being named a starter prior to last season. Sanders proved to be a very consistent force along the offensive line last season and looks to improve upon that this coming Monday.

Travis Bright 6-5, 315 Fr. - Bright was very good in practices last season and looks to be a prime candidate to start or at least warrant significant playing time this coming season. Bright signed with BYU as a highly touted prospect and has done nothing thus far to dispel the hype. We'll be watching closely how Bright responds with the first unit if he's given the chance.

Terance Brown 6-4, 315 Fr. - Brown has been turning heads in the weight room this off season having really excelled during his off season workouts. Brown will get to test the results he's gained often this coming spring as he competes in earnest for a part on the offensive line 2-deep roster this coming season .

Scott Tidwell 6-2, 290 Sr. - Always solid during practices, Tidwell looks to provide quality depth and play for his final senior campaign.

Others competing for playing time on the offensive line this spring include Jeff Rhea 6-4, 285 So., Ray Feinga 6-5, 285 Fr., Nate Hall 6-4, 305 Sr., David Oswald 6-8, 290 So., Nick Longshore 6-5, 297 Jr., David Sollami 6-3, 305 Jr., Erik Freeman 6-3, 290 So.

Conclusion: BYU's offensive line began some real consistent and dominating play toward the end of last season. With a lot of those parts holding over to this year, the prospects along the offensive line are very positive at a glance. Add to that a group of highly touted players coming off of redshirt years such as Bright, Brown, Feinga and Longshore and the prospects look even better.

It is essential for any good offense to have a very solid and consistent offensive line. With a glance at the prospects of BYU's offensive line that will start prepping for the season next week with the first session of spring ball, those prospects look solid.


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