BCI Confidence Rating: Offensive Line

As the Bearcats get ready to head into preseason camp Bearcat Insider gets ready for its fifth year of watching the team get ready for another exciting season of Big East football. So how much confidence do we have in the offensive line?

Pressing Question: Who will man the right side of the Bearcats offensive line this fall? With the loss of two seniors and one of them now in a NFL camp (Trevor Canfield) the Bearcats will look for two players to really step their game up.

Breakdown: Jeff Linkenbach has worked his tail off since becoming a Bearcat and in doing so has placed himself in position for a big payday after this season. Linkenbach has played at a higher level than anyone thought he would. You know what your getting with Jeff and that is solid play each week.

Jason Kelce when healthy is a very solid player along the line. What makes this self-made player special is he understand he must come to work each week and fight for victory. This is what you want from your linemen and Kelce should have his best season yet.

At the center spot is another veteran in Chris Jurek. This should be the senior's best season as he's got a full understanding of what Brian Kelly wants.

Last season C.J. Cobb was set to have his breakout year. Then an injury stopped him and he was on the sidelines instead of getting reps that would have been huge for this campaign. Cobb has the talent but must put it all together on the field.

Then we get to Alex Hoffman who went very under the radar coming out of high school. Now Hoffman has shown he's got what it takes to play in big games and be a player counted on from the first snap.

There is some talent behind these guys but it's not as thick as we've seen at other positions. The five starters need to stay healthy while those backing them up are inexperienced. Sam Griffin has shown the ability to play with technique and now is holding over 260-pounds. No matter what anyone says you can play in the Big East along the offensive line and have success at this weight. But you've got to have great technique and be tough as nails.

Randy Martinez and Evan Davis are both players capable of playing if needed. Martinez has worked hard since moving to the offensive line and Davis is a player the coaches felt could play early coming out of high school.

The Big If: Injury or injuries could play havoc along the line. One thing that must happen for the Bearcats to have the type of success they're capable of having is the offensive line staying healthy. It will be interesting to see what players step up and grab back up spots during camp as they could find themselves playing major minutes in a game that takes the Bearcats to another Big East title.

Our Call: Bearcat Insider loves what Jeff Linkenbach brings to the table as he's a leader by example. Linkenbach, Kelce and Jurek are solid players. I have no fear in Randy Martinez or Evan Davis but don't feel Sean Hooey or Frank Becker is ready for the battles ahead. Each should get snaps early and whenever the staff can get them in. As we've said since the start of this story, any injuries could play a major role in the success of the Bearcats offensive attack.

Confidence Rating: If I had a crystal ball that showed me the starting five offensive linemen stayed health all year I'd give this group a solid 7 rating. There not great but there not bad either. But since two of the players have shown signs of injury in the past you have to expect at least one injury during the course of a long season. Because of this the rating for the offensive line is a 5. Jeff Quinn is sure to have his guys working hard in camp and jobs will be on the line over the next couple of weeks.

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