Many Bearcat football fans are concerned with the 2005 offensive line since only one starter (Steve Eastlake) returns, but redshirt junior Matt Webster has paid his dues and feels ready to claim the role of starting center next season.

Matt attended Scott High School in Northern Kentucky and was named 2nd team all-state by the Louisville Courier-Journal.  Four years ago, he spurned a recruiting trip to Indiana University to commit to Rick Minter and the Bearcats.

Many looked at Matt as an offensive line "project" since he weighed only 245 pounds as a senior at Scott.  The project is now complete as Matt weighs 292 pounds and benches in the neighborhood of 350 pounds. Webster admits he's not breaking any records in the Bearcat weight room, but brute strength has never been his game.  "I'm not one of the top guys in the weight room.  I'm more of a finesse player."

Being more of a finesse player didn't help Webster when his position coach, Steve Shankweiler (presently the offensive coordinator at East Carolina), was replaced by Jeff Uhlenhake last season.  Matt had earned considerable playing time as a sophomore under Coach Shank, even starting games against Temple and Rhode Island, but Matt found himself left out of the mix with Coach Uhlenhake.

"There is a big difference between Coach Shankweiler and Coach Uhlenhake.  Coach Shankweiler believed in playing a lot of people and was a finesse coach.  Coach Uhlenhake is more of a power coach.  That isn't my style, but I'm getting better at it."

Next season will be Webster's last at UC before he graduates in the spring with his bachelor's degree in Information Technology Systems, but he wants more than just that degree.  "My personal goal is to become the starter at center."  He knows the job won't come uncontested and identified teammate Joel Yakovac as his primary competition.

Since Matt lines up across from the Bearcat defense every practice, he was also asked who would be the prime candidates to start on the depleted defensive line. "Adam Roberts will be the stud, but I think they are going to move him from defensive tackle to defensive end.  The way I see it, Jon Newton and Donald Germany should also get a chance."

When asked to identify some other possible starters on the offensive line in addition to Eastlake at left tackle, Matt replied.  "If we go by last year, it would be Ryan Brown at left guard, Jeff Reinstatler at right guard, and there could be a few guys fighting for right tackle."

Webster is one of many Bearcat players that was recruited to UC by Rick Minter but now plays for Mark Dantonio.  Some players would resent the change but not Webster.  "Coach Minter and Coach Dantonio are very different, but Coach Dantonio is a good guy and a good coach.  He's a good motivator."

The Bearcats begin their first season in the Big East next fall, but Matt doesn't sound intimated.  "I know the competition will be stiffer, and it's going to be better football.  But we've played in places like Ohio State, West Virginia and Syracuse already.  The crowd noise won't be anything new."

Matt is one of many local products on UC's roster who decided to play his college football at home.  When asked about the advantages of playing so close to home, he replied quickly.  "Getting my laundry done."

Matt Webster's an impressive young man.  He starts and ends many of his sentences with "Yes, sir."  He's a guy that has taken care of business in the classroom and has put himself in position to become a starter on the offensive line. On September 3, he hopes his dreams will be realized when #58 takes his position over the ball, surveys the defense, and snaps the ball as UC's starting center.

**BCI Notes**

With the departure of Coach Uhlenhake, the offensive line will see two coaching changes. Centers and Guards will be coached by "New" line coach Dan Roushar. Tackles will now be coached by Coach Staten. You can learn more about Coach Roushar at the following link. BCI Interview with Coach Roushar

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