Breakdown 2006: Offensive Line

As the Bearcats return to campus today for preseason camp, we release the breakdown on the area most Bearcat fans are talking about being the most important this fall. Here is the long look at the players who will be fighting for time along the offensive line.

While many want to talk about the quarterback position for the Bearcats, the main area of concern from my point of view is the offensive line.  Last season this unit had it's up and downs but worked to continue finding themselves.  Gone is standout Steve Eastlake and he'll be hard to replace.  Here is the breakdown for the one position that can make or break the Bearcats in 2006.

 

Returning Players

 

Jeremy Bolton

Digger Bujnoch

Trevor Canfield

Khalil El-Amin

Chris Flores

Chris Jurek

Jeff Linkenbach

Rodney Pompey

Jeff Reinstatler

J.P. Simon

Frank Straub

Jon Tobin

 

Newcomers

 

C.J. Cobb

Toby Boeckman

Mario Duenas

Ken Rodriguez

 

Is there talent at the offensive line position?  Yes, but many of the players have been projects or haven't lived up to their potential as of yet.  Can the Bearcats find a solid five-man unit to get through the season?  Yes they can.

 

Digger Bujnoch

Junior

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

Digger Bujnoch has all the tools needed to excel at the college level.  Coming into to Cincinnati he was penciled as a tight end and then moved to the offensive line.  This is his year to have a breakout season and become the player the coaching staff feels he can become. 

 

Strengths: I really like Digger as an offensive line prospect.  He's very athletic and has great feet for a man of his size.  He fits the mold of the type of offensive lineman I like to see (6'5 – 290 lbs.).  His ability to take on speed rushers will be key to the Bearcats line hopes this fall.

 

Weakness: I don't feel Digger does a good job keeping defensive linemen's hands down as they rush the passer.  This seems to be a major mental block of him becoming the player I feel he can become.  I also don't feel he's felt comfortable playing at tackle.  I do feel this will change as he'll be looked upon as a veteran this year and not the young kid he's been on the previous two lines.

 

What Do I Expect From Digger Bujnoch:  I feel he's got the ability to become at least a second team all conference performer.  I feel he's going to find himself this year and become a leader along the line and show the talent many feel he possess.  If he can't get it done this year he'll be looking over his shoulder as other players will be fighting to take his position. The biggest thing Digger needs to do is stay healthy.

 

Jeremy Bolton

Junior

Burlington, Kentucky

 

Bolton continues to get better with each passing week of his career.  While he'll be fighting for a starting position he'll also make a solid backup if he doesn't get it.

 

Strengths: Bolton brings nice size and strength to the right side of the offensive line.  In the Bearcats offense right tackle is very important in the running game.  Bolton has shown he's capable of getting the job done but must keep improving his overall game to become a finished project.

 

Weakness: Bolton must show he can contain the pass rush coming from his side of the field.  Last season he was tested and performed so-so overall.  The Bearcats offense needs to find a tough hard-nosed player to man the right tackle and open running lanes for the running backs.

 

What Do I Expect From Jeremy Bolton: While he's not fancy, Bolton has worked his tail off in the winter and summer to have a chance to earn a starting spot.  He's the strongest Bearcat offensive lineman and has improved his straight speed, but the main area of concern will be his ability to stop a pass rusher coming hard off the edge.  If he doesn't earn the starting spot he should be the first guy off the bench.

 

Trevor Canfield

Sophomore

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

Canfield brings the size and strength you look for in a guard at the college level.  Last season he progressed to the point were he was fighting for more playing time.  By spring he got it as he outperformed Jeff Reinstatler for one of the guard positions.  He'll enter camp the favorite to keep the right guard spot, but will be tested by others each week.

 

Strengths: Size and Strength give Canfield a great edge.  Keep in mind he's only going to be a sophomore and you can see the promise he brings to the Bearcats up front.  But while he may enjoy the early edge he won't be able to rest on his laurels as others will be looking to take his spot.  This will test him and be good for the o-line as a whole.

 

Weakness: Experience in big games with success.  While not many talk about the mental make-up of an offensive lineman, I can assure you it's one of the most important areas a young player needs in the trenches.  You can't think you can run the ball, you must know no matter what you and your teammates can get the yardage needed on each play. 

 

What Do I Expect From Trevor Canfield: I feel Trevor should continue improve with each snap he takes.  While not a final project he's come pretty far in a short time.  Canfield must keep improving his foot work if he expects to make the climb to an all-conference performer during his career.

 

Khalil El-Amin

Sophomore

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

El-Amin had a great chance of taking a starting spot this spring and showing those who've watched him develop that he's reached the level they've expected him to be at.  But after a very slow start and then an injury the jury is still out on his chances of finding a spot on the line.  Khalil has the tools to be a major player but he must put it all together and raise the bar.

 

Strengths: I feel El-Amin before the injury was the most athletic linemen on the Bearcats team.  He's got great lateral movement and move very well for a man over 300 pounds.  If he can comeback and be 100 percent he'll fight for a starting position along the line.  While he's still young, he's going to start seeing more players with his ability enter the program and pass him by.

 

Weakness: Intensity is an area offensive linemen must have.  Each play is a battle and only the strong survive.  El-Amin has all the tools to be a top-notch lineman but he must find the mental intensity to battle on each and every play.

 

What Do I Expect From Khalil El-Amin: Depending upon his status from the injury that ended his spring, I'm not sure of the role he'll be able to play for the Bearcats this season.  If he's back 100% he'll be looking to earn a starting position, if not he'll be watching from the sidelines as others pass him by.  El-Amin is the type of kid you want to see succeed.  He's got lots of talent and has only scratched the surface of them.

 

Chris Flores

Junior

Wheaton, Illinois

 

Flores is still learning to play along the offensive line.  A great program player who continues to get better, Flores must be prepared due to the lack of quality depth at the center position.  Will he see his work payoff in a starting spot?  At this time I'd say no.  A hard worker, Flores will battle anyone who looks to play the center position.

 

Strengths: This is a make or break season for Flores as he enters looking for a starting position.  Flores is solid at everything but not great at any one area.  He's a great player for the program and works hard knowing his time could be just around the corner as the game of college football has a way of players getting onto the field because of injuries to others.

 

Weakness: I don't really want to say Flores has a weakness, but if I had to choose one I'd go with experience.  A converted defensive lineman, Flores is still learning.  But being able to snap and take on a defensive tackle is a skill very few can master.

 

What Do I Expect From Chris Flores: I expect Flores to continue his progress and working towards earning a starting position.  If he feels he can't get the job done he'll be of no use to the program and I just don't see this kid feeling this way.  Chris Flores must enter camp with the feeling the center position is his for the taking. 

 

Chris Jurek

Freshman

Southfield, Michigan

 

This is a player I felt had a real chance to be special at Cincinnati.  I've always been a fan of centers that can move their feet and Jurek showed that in high school.  The problem I see in Jurek is his lack of being able to put on the weight needed.  To come into the program at 260 pounds and to still be at the same weight a year latter means something just isn't right.  Jurek should have seen at least a 10 pound increase to his body over the winter months and major increase in his numbers from the time he reported to camp last fall.

 

Strengths: Jurek has good feet and shows good hand placement after the snap.  I fully expected Chris to be fighting for early playing time in his career as the center position is more about the ability to snap and get into position. 

 

Weakness: While Jurek could squeak by at 260 pounds in the Big East, that is not what you expect from a player in a college weight program.  Jurek needs to get his weight up to the 280-285 area and missed his chance. 

 

What Do I Expect From Chris Jurek:  I can't really say at this time because of the lack of his progress in the weight room.  This will be one I'll watch at camp and have a better feel for at that time.

 

Jeff Linkenbach

Redshirt Freshman

Sandusky, Ohio

 

This is a kid I've watched progress with each passing day of spring practice.  He's done so much work for a kid who came into the program over weight and out of place.  This work shows me he's got the chance to become a top-notch player at the college level if his work ethic continues.

 

Strengths: Work ethic and size give Linkenbach two of the tools needed to have success as an offensive lineman in the Big East.  Getting his weight done to under 300 pounds will allow him to be able to take on the many speed pass rushers he'll find in conference play.  Look for him to get snaps this fall and push for even more playing time.

 

Weakness: Experience is the biggest weakness an offensive lineman can have in college football.  Most players have never felt or seen the speed or aggressive nature the college game brings.  Time will only make him better player.

 

What Do I Expect From Jeffrey Linkenbach:  To continue to improve on a daily basis and push for major playing time by the time the season is heading into the final half.  He may not see the field as often as he'll like, but he'll know where he stands heading into spring drills and should then see his development take off even more.

 

Rodney Pompey

Sophomore

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

One of if not the biggest offensive lineman in college football is still working towards getting himself into a position to be able to become a factor.  Rodney Pompey is a work in progress and if the light ever comes on and he finds his way he could become the biggest surprise in college football.  It's not going to happen this season but I'll give him credit for working towards a goal many felt he'd never have a chance to achieve.

 

Strengths: Physical size you can't teach but must control.  Many people feel an offensive lineman just needs to be a mountain of a man.  This is false as offensive linemen must be able to move their feet and get themselves into position to open up running lanes.  But is he ever gets everything together he could make the Bearcats happy he's from Cincinnati.

 

Weakness: Conditioning is an area Rodney must work hard at every day.  While he's come along way in getting himself even on the field, he must continue to work if he ever wants the chance to play during a game.

 

What Do I Expect From Rodney Pompey:  To continue working towards getting himself into a position to take the field before his career is over.  I watched Rodney during the early part of his senior year.  Many then were talking about him being able to play at the next level, but I could see the flaws in his game.  Size isn't everything in the game of football and I feel Rodney has learned this lesson.  If Rodney will continue to work hard every day he'll achieve some great results.

 

Jeff Reinstatler

Senior

Ft. Thomas, Kentucky

 

Reinstatler is the type of player you know is going to show up and give you effort.  While it's taken him four years into the program to find playing time he knows if he's going to see more this fall he'll have to win the job early and hold on tight.

 

Strengths: Intelligence is key for an offensive lineman and Reinstatler has it.  I like his ability to get his pads low and control defenders. 

 

Weakness:  While it took him almost his entire career to see the field, he's going to be pushed by those around him.  If he can stay consistent he'll have a chance to stay on the field, if not he'll get passes up.

 

What Do I Expect From Jeff Reinstatler:  To work his tail off and fight for a starting position along the offensive line this fall.  Camp will decide if he'll be a starter or a backup, but he better be ready as this year the offensive line could see several shifts if things aren't working out.

 

J.P. Simon

Junior

Massillon, Ohio

 

Coming from one of Ohio's top prep programs gives Simon an understanding he needs to compete for playing time.  With great size Simon must continue to work on his craft and use it to his full advantage.  Has a great chance to be a solid member of the line this fall and help them be better then many think.

 

Strengths: Size and athletic ability give Simon a nice combination for an offensive lineman.  Tim and I both marvel that he plays a big role in the kickoff return team as a blocker.

 

Weakness: Simon must continue to understand the position better.  Leverage for a man his size is key.  He's got the tools he must now put it all together.

 

Weakness: There is more to playing the o-line then size of a player.  Most offensive linemen don't find themselves until their junior year, I feel Simon has seen the light and should push for major playing time this fall.  He must continue to work on the finer points of his game.  Feet and hand placement are the two areas he needs to take the next steps in.

 

What Do I Expect From J.P. Simon: This is easy, I expect Simon to be fighting for playing time along the line.  I care what position he's going after, he must be pushing and showing the coaching staff he needs to be on the field.  While projected as the right tackle Simon must take that position or have the coaches move him because they can't keep him off the field.  This is a big year for Simon and many feel he'll have a great one.

 

Frank Straub

Senior

Lexington, Kentucky

 

The guy most fans forget about along the offensive line for the Bearcats.  Straub has size and experience but has just not taken the next step to become a starter.  This is it and entering spring Straub showed he understood if he's going to get a chance to start he needs to do it now.

 

Strength: Straub is able to lineup at tackle or guard for the Bearcats.  Being projected in the mix at guard this fall has many feeling Straub may be able to win the job outright.  Above average athlete who has seen improvement each year in the program. 

 

Weakness: While he's seen action as a backup and even started a game, Straub has never gotten over the hump to earn a fulltime starting position.  You can look at it several ways.  One he played behind a solid line two seasons ago, but last year should have seen him take advantage of heavy graduation loss.  He got snaps but never earned the fulltime spot.  Fine tuning his technique is the area Straub needed to work on the most.

 

What Do I Expect From Frank Straub:  Entering his fifth year in the program allows Straub to know what is fully expected of him this year.  The work he's done in the summer will determine if he becomes a starter or a backup.  The first two weeks of camp will be the most important of his career.  But if he doesn't earn the starting spot he'll need to keep his mind in the game because he's just an injury away.  From what we've seen he's been doing the work and it showed during the spring with a strong performance.  Depending upon the availability of Khalil El-Amin and where Ken Rodriguez is in his development, Straub should be considered the favorite at a guard spot.

 

Jon Tobin

Junior

Lancaster, Ohio

 

A player who showed much promise last season cut short from injury is back and hungry for a starting spot.  Doesn't have the height many like from their offensive linemen but has the motor and ability to gain leverage over an opponent.

 

Strength: Fits the mold of a hard-nosed Ohio football player.  Has good center of gravity that allows him to get under the pads of bigger defensive linemen.  Must use his athletic ability and technique to win battles in the trenches.

 

Weakness: Many will point out Jon's height as a weakness.  I don't buy it because all you have to do is look at some other lines in the Big East (WVU) to find guys in the 6'2-6'3 range.  Staying healthy is the biggest weakness shown by Tobin.

 

What Do I Expect: Getting injured after earning a starting spot is the hardest thing for a young player to come back from.  Tobin worked hard in the winter and his work in the summer may decide if he's got enough to win a starting spot to start the season.  He should be competing for a spot and be no worse then the next in line.

 

C.J. Cobb

Freshman

Jacksonville, Florida

 

Freshmen don't get much talk when they're an offensive linemen in college.  They are not ready to fight the battles or strong enough to go against older players.  Well if any freshman offensive lineman is going to play this year, then Cobb would have to be looked at.  While I've only seen him on film, Cobb shows great feet and athletic ability to go with great brute strength.

 

Strengths: Athletic ability and physical strengths set Cobb apart from other freshmen entering this class.  At over 300 pounds and with good height Cobb could see the field this fall if needed.

 

Weakness: Cobb is still a freshman and many just don't have an understanding of the game this early to be a big part of the game plan.  Camp will tell us more about his mental ability as he begins to learn about fighting against players equal to his ability.

 

What Do I Expect From C.J. Cobb: I fully expect Cobb to enter camp and show some signs of the things to come in his career.  If he's playing a lot then there might be some issues.  I would hope the offensive line gels enough to allow Cobb to red shirt without the staff even thinking about him starting.

 

Toby Boeckman

Freshman

St. Henry, Ohio

 

Boeckman will have to make the biggest adjustment this fall.  A high school tight end, Boeckman will start to learn the finer points of becoming a tackle.  Don't expect to see him on the field this fall as the staff will use a red shirt and allow him to get more size on his 6'7 frame.

 

Strengths: Size, arm extension and feet make Boeckman the type of player Bearcat fans will enjoy watching in a couple of years.

 

Weakness: Physical size is not there now but will come in time as the training staff adds weight to his body.

 

What Do I Expect From Toby Boeckman: Boeckman will have a hard year going from major player to watching on the sidelines.  But this will be needed for him to grow and prepare for what many hope is a long successful career along the Bearcats offensive line.

 

Mario Duenas

Junior

Antioch, California

 

Duenas entered the spring with many talking about him starting at a guard or tackle spot.  By the time spring ended he was penciled in as the starting center.  But the biggest thing about this versatile player is his football IQ.

 

Strengths: While not a giant offensive linemen, Mario Duenas has the natural abilities to become a very solid member of the Bearcats offensive line.  Football IQ sets Duenas apart from those along the line.  He learns the offense and can make all the reads and calls needed.

 

Weakness: Snaps from center.  Fans wouldn't be worried if Duenas was lining up at guard or tackle, but many saw the poor performance when it came to snapping the football to the quarterbacks this spring.  Keep in mind much of this is from him only playing the position for the first time and I'm sure he's been working on it all summer.

 

What Do I Expect From Mario Duenas: Starter!!!!!  Leader!!!!  I fully expect Duenas to be the main man along the Bearcats offensive line.  That says a lot about him as a player and a person to be able to come into a new system and become one of the main clogs.

 

Ken Rodriguez

Junior

Los Angeles, California

 

Much was expected from Rodriguez when he entered Cincinnati early this past winter.  Spring drills saw him struggle in some areas but excel at others.  First spring in a new environment can see some show their weakness and I feel that is what happened with Rodriguez.

 

Strengths: I like the size and athletic ability Rodriguez brings to the table.  He'll find himself and push for playing time as the season progresses.

 

Weakness: Techniques are the biggest area Rodriguez needs to continue to work on. 

 

What Do I Expect From Ken Rodriguez: I expect Rodriguez to be pushing for playing time no latter then mid-season.  If he's not showing progress he may not earn a starting position and become a back-up during his two year stay in the program.  The kid has talent and I don't feel we've seen it yet.


Inside The Bearcats Top Stories

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While many want to talk about the quarterback position for the Bearcats, \r\nthe main area of concern from my point of view is the offensive line.  Last season this unit had it's up and \r\ndowns but worked to continue finding themselves.  Gone is standout Steve Eastlake and \r\nhe'll be hard to replace.  Here is \r\nthe breakdown for the one position that can make or break the Bearcats in \r\n2006.

 

Returning Players

 

Jeremy Bolton

Digger Bujnoch

Trevor Canfield

Khalil El-Amin

Chris Flores

Chris Jurek

Jeff Linkenbach

Rodney Pompey

Jeff Reinstatler

J.P. Simon

Frank Straub

Jon Tobin

 

Newcomers

 

C.J. Cobb

Toby Boeckman

Mario Duenas

Ken Rodriguez

 

Is there talent at the offensive line position?  Yes, but many of the players have been \r\nprojects or haven't lived up to their potential as of yet.  Can the Bearcats find a solid five-man \r\nunit to get through the season?  Yes \r\nthey can.

 

Digger Bujnoch

Junior

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

Digger Bujnoch has all the tools needed to excel at the \r\ncollege level.  Coming into to \r\nCincinnati he \r\nwas penciled as a tight end and then moved to the offensive line.  This is his year to have a breakout \r\nseason and become the player the coaching staff feels he can become. 

 

Strengths: I really like Digger as an offensive line prospect.  He's very athletic and has great feet \r\nfor a man of his size.  He fits the \r\nmold of the type of offensive lineman I like to see (6'5 – 290 lbs.).  His ability to take on speed rushers \r\nwill be key to the Bearcats line hopes this fall.

 

Weakness: I don't feel Digger does a good job keeping defensive linemen's \r\nhands down as they rush the passer.  \r\nThis seems to be a major mental block of him becoming the player I feel \r\nhe can become.  I also don't feel \r\nhe's felt comfortable playing at tackle.  \r\nI do feel this will change as he'll be looked upon as a veteran this year \r\nand not the young kid he's been on the previous two lines.

 

What Do I Expect From Digger Bujnoch:  I feel he's got the ability to become at \r\nleast a second team all conference performer.  I feel he's going to find himself this \r\nyear and become a leader along the line and show the talent many feel he \r\npossess.  If he can't get it done \r\nthis year he'll be looking over his shoulder as other players will be fighting \r\nto take his position. The biggest thing Digger needs to do is stay \r\nhealthy.

 

Jeremy Bolton

Junior

Burlington, Kentucky

 

Bolton continues to get \r\nbetter with each passing week of his career.  While he'll be fighting for a starting \r\nposition he'll also make a solid backup if he doesn't get it.

 

Strengths: Bolton brings nice size and \r\nstrength to the right side of the offensive line.  In the Bearcats offense right tackle is \r\nvery important in the running game.  \r\nBolton has shown he's capable of getting \r\nthe job done but must keep improving his overall game to become a finished \r\nproject.

 

Weakness: Bolton must show he can \r\ncontain the pass rush coming from his side of the field.  Last season he was tested and performed \r\nso-so overall.  The Bearcats offense \r\nneeds to find a tough hard-nosed player to man the right tackle and open running \r\nlanes for the running backs.

 

What Do I Expect From Jeremy Bolton: While he's not fancy, Bolton has worked his tail off in the winter and summer to \r\nhave a chance to earn a starting spot.  \r\nHe's the strongest Bearcat offensive lineman and has improved his \r\nstraight speed, but the main area of concern will be his ability to stop a pass \r\nrusher coming hard off the edge.  If \r\nhe doesn't earn the starting spot he should be the first guy off the \r\nbench.

 

Trevor Canfield

Sophomore

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

Canfield brings the size and strength you look for in a guard at the \r\ncollege level.  Last season he \r\nprogressed to the point were he was fighting for more playing time.  By spring he got it as he outperformed \r\nJeff Reinstatler for one of the guard positions.  He'll enter camp the favorite to keep \r\nthe right guard spot, but will be tested by others each week.

 

Strengths: Size and Strength give Canfield a great edge.  Keep in mind he's only going to be a \r\nsophomore and you can see the promise he brings to the Bearcats up front.  But while he may enjoy the early edge he \r\nwon't be able to rest on his laurels as others will be looking to take his \r\nspot.  This will test him and be \r\ngood for the o-line as a whole.

 

Weakness: Experience in big games with success.  While not many talk about the mental \r\nmake-up of an offensive lineman, I can assure you it's one of the most important \r\nareas a young player needs in the trenches.  You can't think you can run the ball, \r\nyou must know no matter what you and your teammates can get the yardage needed \r\non each play. 

 

What Do I Expect From Trevor Canfield: I feel Trevor should continue \r\nimprove with each snap he takes.  \r\nWhile not a final project he's come pretty far in a short time.  Canfield must keep improving his foot \r\nwork if he expects to make the climb to an all-conference performer during his \r\ncareer.

 

Khalil El-Amin

Sophomore

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

El-Amin had a great chance of taking a starting spot this spring and \r\nshowing those who've watched him develop that he's reached the level they've \r\nexpected him to be at.  But after a \r\nvery slow start and then an injury the jury is still out on his chances of \r\nfinding a spot on the line.  Khalil \r\nhas the tools to be a major player but he must put it all together and raise the \r\nbar.

 

Strengths: I feel El-Amin before the injury was the most athletic linemen \r\non the Bearcats team.  He's got \r\ngreat lateral movement and move very well for a man over 300 pounds.  If he can comeback and be 100 percent \r\nhe'll fight for a starting position along the line.  While he's still young, he's going to \r\nstart seeing more players with his ability enter the program and pass him \r\nby.

 

Weakness: Intensity is an area offensive linemen must have.  Each play is a battle and only the \r\nstrong survive.  El-Amin has all the \r\ntools to be a top-notch lineman but he must find the mental intensity to battle \r\non each and every play.

 

What Do I Expect From Khalil El-Amin: Depending upon his status from the \r\ninjury that ended his spring, I'm not sure of the role he'll be able to play for \r\nthe Bearcats this season.  If he's \r\nback 100% he'll be looking to earn a starting position, if not he'll be watching \r\nfrom the sidelines as others pass him by.  \r\nEl-Amin is the type of kid you want to see succeed.  He's got lots of talent and has only \r\nscratched the surface of them.

 

Chris Flores

Junior

Wheaton, Illinois

 

Flores is still learning \r\nto play along the offensive line.  A \r\ngreat program player who continues to get better, Flores must be prepared due to \r\nthe lack of quality depth at the center position.  Will he see his work payoff in a \r\nstarting spot?  At this time I'd say \r\nno.  A hard worker, Flores will \r\nbattle anyone who looks to play the center position.

 

Strengths: This is a make or break season for Flores as he enters looking for a starting position.  Flores \r\nis solid at everything but not great at any one area.  He's a great player for the program and \r\nworks hard knowing his time could be just around the corner as the game of \r\ncollege football has a way of players getting onto the field because of injuries \r\nto others.

 

Weakness: I don't really want to say Flores has a weakness, but if I had to choose one I'd go \r\nwith experience.  A converted \r\ndefensive lineman, Flores is still learning.  But being able to snap and take on a \r\ndefensive tackle is a skill very few can master.

 

What Do I Expect From Chris Flores: I expect Flores to continue his progress and working towards \r\nearning a starting position.  If he \r\nfeels he can't get the job done he'll be of no use to the program and I just \r\ndon't see this kid feeling this way.  \r\nChris Flores must enter camp with the feeling the center position is his \r\nfor the taking. 

 

Chris Jurek

Freshman

Southfield, Michigan

 

This is a player I felt had a real chance to be special at Cincinnati.  I've always been a fan of centers that \r\ncan move their feet and Jurek showed that in high school.  The problem I see in Jurek is his lack \r\nof being able to put on the weight needed.  \r\nTo come into the program at 260 pounds and to still be at the same weight \r\na year latter means something just isn't right.  Jurek should have seen at least a 10 \r\npound increase to his body over the winter months and major increase in his \r\nnumbers from the time he reported to camp last fall.

 

Strengths: Jurek has good feet and shows good hand \r\nplacement after the snap.  I fully \r\nexpected Chris to be fighting for early playing time in his career as the center \r\nposition is more about the ability to snap and get into position. 

 

Weakness: While Jurek could squeak by at 260 pounds in \r\nthe Big East, that is not what you expect from a player in a college weight \r\nprogram.  Jurek needs to get his \r\nweight up to the 280-285 area and missed his chance. 

 

What Do I Expect From Chris Jurek:  \r\nI can't really say at this time because of the lack of his progress in \r\nthe weight room.  This will be one \r\nI'll watch at camp and have a better feel for at that time.

 

Jeff Linkenbach

Redshirt Freshman

Sandusky, Ohio

 

This is a kid I've watched progress with each passing day of spring \r\npractice.  He's done so much work \r\nfor a kid who came into the program over weight and out of place.  This work shows me he's got the chance \r\nto become a top-notch player at the college level if his work ethic \r\ncontinues.

 

Strengths: Work ethic and size give Linkenbach two of the tools needed to \r\nhave success as an offensive lineman in the Big East.  Getting his weight done to under 300 \r\npounds will allow him to be able to take on the many speed pass rushers he'll \r\nfind in conference play.  Look for \r\nhim to get snaps this fall and push for even more playing time.

 

Weakness: Experience is the biggest weakness an offensive lineman can \r\nhave in college football.  Most \r\nplayers have never felt or seen the speed or aggressive nature the college game \r\nbrings.  Time will only make him \r\nbetter player.

 

What Do I Expect From Jeffrey Linkenbach:  To continue to improve on a daily basis \r\nand push for major playing time by the time the season is heading into the final \r\nhalf.  He may not see the field as \r\noften as he'll like, but he'll know where he stands heading into spring drills \r\nand should then see his development take off even more.

 

Rodney Pompey

Sophomore

Cincinnati, Ohio

 

One of if not the biggest offensive lineman in college football is still \r\nworking towards getting himself into a position to be able to become a \r\nfactor.  Rodney Pompey is a work in \r\nprogress and if the light ever comes on and he finds his way he could become the \r\nbiggest surprise in college football.  \r\nIt's not going to happen this season but I'll give him credit for working \r\ntowards a goal many felt he'd never have a chance to achieve.

 

Strengths: Physical size you can't teach but must control.  Many people feel an offensive lineman \r\njust needs to be a mountain of a man.  \r\nThis is false as offensive linemen must be able to move their feet and \r\nget themselves into position to open up running lanes.  But is he ever gets everything together \r\nhe could make the Bearcats happy he's from Cincinnati.

 

Weakness: Conditioning is an area Rodney must work hard at every \r\nday.  While he's come along way in \r\ngetting himself even on the field, he must continue to work if he ever wants the \r\nchance to play during a game.

 

What Do I Expect From Rodney Pompey:  To continue working towards getting \r\nhimself into a position to take the field before his career is over.  I watched Rodney during the early part \r\nof his senior year.  Many then were \r\ntalking about him being able to play at the next level, but I could see the \r\nflaws in his game.  Size isn't \r\neverything in the game of football and I feel Rodney has learned this \r\nlesson.  If Rodney will continue to \r\nwork hard every day he'll achieve some great results.

 

Jeff Reinstatler

Senior

Ft. Thomas, Kentucky

 

Reinstatler is the type of player you know is going to show up and give \r\nyou effort.  While it's taken him \r\nfour years into the program to find playing time he knows if he's going to see \r\nmore this fall he'll have to win the job early and hold on tight.

 

Strengths: Intelligence is key for an offensive lineman \r\nand Reinstatler has it.  I like his \r\nability to get his pads low and control defenders. 

 

Weakness:  While it took him \r\nalmost his entire career to see the field, he's going to be pushed by those \r\naround him.  If he can stay \r\nconsistent he'll have a chance to stay on the field, if not he'll get passes \r\nup.

 

What Do I Expect From Jeff Reinstatler:  To work his tail off and fight for a \r\nstarting position along the offensive line this fall.  Camp will decide if he'll be a starter \r\nor a backup, but he better be ready as this year the offensive line could see \r\nseveral shifts if things aren't working out.

 

J.P. Simon

Junior

Massillon, Ohio

 

Coming from one of Ohio's top prep programs gives Simon an \r\nunderstanding he needs to compete for playing time.  With great size Simon must continue to \r\nwork on his craft and use it to his full advantage.  Has a great chance to be a solid member \r\nof the line this fall and help them be better then many think.

 

Strengths: Size and athletic ability give Simon a nice combination for an \r\noffensive lineman.  Tim and I both \r\nmarvel that he plays a big role in the kickoff return team as a \r\nblocker.

 

Weakness: Simon must continue to understand the position better.  Leverage for a man his size is key.  He's got the tools he must now put it \r\nall together.

 

Weakness: There is more to playing the o-line then size of a player.  Most offensive linemen don't find \r\nthemselves until their junior year, I feel Simon has seen the light and should \r\npush for major playing time this fall.  \r\nHe must continue to work on the finer points of his game.  Feet and hand placement are the two \r\nareas he needs to take the next steps in.

 

What Do I Expect From J.P. Simon: This is easy, I expect Simon to be \r\nfighting for playing time along the line.  \r\nI care what position he's going after, he must be pushing and showing the \r\ncoaching staff he needs to be on the field.  While projected as the right tackle \r\nSimon must take that position or have the coaches move him because they can't \r\nkeep him off the field.  This is a \r\nbig year for Simon and many feel he'll have a great one.

 

Frank Straub

Senior

Lexington, Kentucky

 

The guy most fans forget about along the offensive line for the \r\nBearcats.  Straub has size and \r\nexperience but has just not taken the next step to become a starter.  This is it and entering spring Straub \r\nshowed he understood if he's going to get a chance to start he needs to do it \r\nnow.

 

Strength: Straub is able to lineup at tackle or guard for \r\nthe Bearcats.  Being projected in \r\nthe mix at guard this fall has many feeling Straub may be able to win the job \r\noutright.  Above average athlete who \r\nhas seen improvement each year in the program. 

 

Weakness: While he's seen action as a backup and even started a game, \r\nStraub has never gotten over the hump to earn a fulltime starting position.  You can look at it several ways.  One he played behind a solid line two \r\nseasons ago, but last year should have seen him take advantage of heavy \r\ngraduation loss.  He got snaps but \r\nnever earned the fulltime spot.  \r\nFine tuning his technique is the area Straub needed to work on the \r\nmost.

 

What Do I Expect From Frank Straub:  \r\nEntering his fifth year in the program allows Straub to know what is \r\nfully expected of him this year.  \r\nThe work he's done in the summer will determine if he becomes a starter \r\nor a backup.  The first two weeks of \r\ncamp will be the most important of his career.  But if he doesn't earn the starting spot \r\nhe'll need to keep his mind in the game because he's just an injury away.  From what we've seen he's been doing the \r\nwork and it showed during the spring with a strong performance.  Depending upon the availability of \r\nKhalil El-Amin and where Ken Rodriguez is in his development, Straub should be \r\nconsidered the favorite at a guard spot.

 

Jon Tobin

Junior

Lancaster, Ohio

 

A player who showed much promise last season cut short from injury is \r\nback and hungry for a starting spot.  \r\nDoesn't have the height many like from their offensive linemen but has \r\nthe motor and ability to gain leverage over an opponent.

 

Strength: Fits the mold of a hard-nosed Ohio football player.  Has good center of gravity that allows \r\nhim to get under the pads of bigger defensive linemen.  Must use his athletic ability and \r\ntechnique to win battles in the trenches.

 

Weakness: Many will point out Jon's height as a weakness.  I don't buy it because all you have to \r\ndo is look at some other lines in the Big East (WVU) to find guys in the 6'2-6'3 \r\nrange.  Staying healthy is the \r\nbiggest weakness shown by Tobin.

 

What Do I Expect: Getting injured after earning a starting spot is the \r\nhardest thing for a young player to come back from.  Tobin worked hard in the winter and his \r\nwork in the summer may decide if he's got enough to win a starting spot to start \r\nthe season.  He should be competing \r\nfor a spot and be no worse then the next in line.

 

C.J. Cobb

Freshman

Jacksonville, Florida

 

Freshmen don't get much talk when they're an offensive linemen in \r\ncollege.  They are not ready to \r\nfight the battles or strong enough to go against older players.  Well if any freshman offensive lineman \r\nis going to play this year, then Cobb would have to be looked at.  While I've only seen him on film, Cobb \r\nshows great feet and athletic ability to go with great brute \r\nstrength.

 

Strengths: Athletic ability and physical strengths set Cobb apart from \r\nother freshmen entering this class.  \r\nAt over 300 pounds and with good height Cobb could see the field this \r\nfall if needed.

 

Weakness: Cobb is still a freshman and many just don't have an \r\nunderstanding of the game this early to be a big part of the game plan.  Camp will tell us more about his mental \r\nability as he begins to learn about fighting against players equal to his \r\nability.

 

What Do I Expect From C.J. Cobb: I fully expect Cobb to enter camp and \r\nshow some signs of the things to come in his career.  If he's playing a lot then there might \r\nbe some issues.  I would hope the \r\noffensive line gels enough to allow Cobb to red shirt without the staff even \r\nthinking about him starting.

 

Toby Boeckman

Freshman

St. \r\nHenry, Ohio

 

Boeckman will have to make the biggest adjustment this fall.  A high school tight end, Boeckman will \r\nstart to learn the finer points of becoming a tackle.  Don't expect to see him on the field \r\nthis fall as the staff will use a red shirt and allow him to get more size on \r\nhis 6'7 frame.

 

Strengths: Size, arm extension and feet make Boeckman the type of player \r\nBearcat fans will enjoy watching in a couple of years.

 

Weakness: Physical size is not there now but will come in time as the \r\ntraining staff adds weight to his body.

 

What Do I Expect From Toby Boeckman: Boeckman will have a hard year going \r\nfrom major player to watching on the sidelines.  But this will be needed for him to grow \r\nand prepare for what many hope is a long successful career along the Bearcats \r\noffensive line.

 

Mario Duenas

Junior

Antioch, California

 

Duenas entered the spring with many talking about him starting at a guard \r\nor tackle spot.  By the time spring \r\nended he was penciled in as the starting center.  But the biggest thing about this \r\nversatile player is his football IQ.

 

Strengths: While not a giant offensive linemen, Mario Duenas has the \r\nnatural abilities to become a very solid member of the Bearcats offensive \r\nline.  Football IQ sets Duenas apart \r\nfrom those along the line.  He \r\nlearns the offense and can make all the reads and calls needed.

 

Weakness: Snaps from center.  \r\nFans wouldn't be worried if Duenas was lining up at guard or tackle, but \r\nmany saw the poor performance when it came to snapping the football to the \r\nquarterbacks this spring.  Keep in \r\nmind much of this is from him only playing the position for the first time and \r\nI'm sure he's been working on it all summer.

 

What Do I Expect From Mario Duenas: Starter!!!!!  Leader!!!!  I fully expect Duenas to be the main man \r\nalong the Bearcats offensive line.  \r\nThat says a lot about him as a player and a person to be able to come \r\ninto a new system and become one of the main clogs.

 

Ken Rodriguez

Junior

Los \r\nAngeles, California

 

Much was expected from Rodriguez when he entered Cincinnati early this past \r\nwinter.  Spring drills saw him \r\nstruggle in some areas but excel at others.  First spring in a new environment can \r\nsee some show their weakness and I feel that is what happened with \r\nRodriguez.

 

Strengths: I like the size and athletic ability Rodriguez brings to the \r\ntable.  He'll find himself and push \r\nfor playing time as the season progresses.

 

Weakness: Techniques are the biggest area Rodriguez needs \r\nto continue to work on.  \r\n

 

What Do I Expect From Ken Rodriguez: I expect Rodriguez to be pushing for \r\nplaying time no latter then mid-season.  \r\nIf he's not showing progress he may not earn a starting position and \r\nbecome a back-up during his two year stay in the program.  The kid has talent and I don't feel \r\nwe've seen it yet.

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