Spring Practice Preview: Offensive Line

The offensive line will see the return of every player at the position, save center Sete Aulai, as spring ball begins. Given the vast amount of returning experience, this spring should see little depth movement, but should provide a month of the OL further gelling together under the direction of second-year offensive line coach Mark Weber.

With the return of four starters from last year's offensive line, the depth along the frontline of the offense should go relatively unchanged this spring. Dallas Reynolds, Travis Bright, Ray Feinga and David Oswald will all likely head the depth chart entering the 2008 season.

So rather than there being some battling for open positions this spring, there will instead be a chance for the offensive line to further progress in Coach Weber's blocking schemes and learn to work better with one another. The offensive line is a position which demands cohesion, and that is what the offensive line will be working to improve this spring.

Replacing Aulai

The glaring omission to an otherwise intact offensive line from a year ago is at center. Sete Aulai manned the position very well, barking out line calls and sometimes audibles for the entire offensive unit. Replacing Aulai will be the main story this spring in regards to the offensive line.

Enter Tom Sorensen, who saw some experience last season and had extensive experience starting for Vanderbilt prior to his mission service. Sorensen will in no doubt start out spring as the starter at center, and it will be his starting slot to lose as the Cougars prepare for the 2008 season.

Look for Sorensen to pick up right where Aulai left off. Through practices and his limited playing time, Sorensen has proven to be very effective. He has played center since high school and is subsequently very experienced at barking out blocking assignments.

Valuable Two-Deep Options

Behind the likely starters listed above are a couple of players that saw a good amount of playing time a season ago: Garrett Reden and R.J. Willing. Both players subbed in during key stretches of games last season and both performed relatively well when called upon.

Reden and Willing will be joined by a host of up-and-coming talent that performed well during practices last season. This includes Jason Speredon, Nick Alletto and Matt Reynolds. All three players came into the program with impressive credentials and all could very well have a lot of say in who breaks the two-deep or maybe even starts this coming season.

While Speredon and Alletto both are very promising, Matt Reynolds may be the most promising player on the team at any position. He represents the most upside of any of Coach Lance Reynolds' very talented sons. Thanks to him having had a year to shake off the missionary rust, look for Matt Reynolds to make potentially as much noise as anyone at the offensive line position.

Meanwhile, Alletto appears to a prototypical offensive tackle in that he's tall and relatively trim. Alletto showed good feet a season ago, which is essential for any offensive tackle. Speredon is excited about his switch to offensive guard and looks to improve his play from that position in hopes of earning himself a spot on the two-deep roster.

Big Mack on the Menu

Levi Mack will be looking to earn a spot on the two-deep roster. He could end up playing either the offensive guard or offensive tackle positions, although most project him as an offensive tackle.

Mack's prospects coming out of junior college were exciting, and with him coming off of a redshirt year, he'll warrant a lot of attention.

The OL will be aided with players such as Terrance Brown and Jesse Taufi entering the program, as they'll be competing hard for spots come fall.

Overall, the story won't be focused on who will man what positions this spring as it is with most defensive positions. Instead, the focus will be on further cohesion and progression as a unit, as the offensive line hopes to improve upon their collective play of a season ago.

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