Jason Kelce Has Come A Long Way

It's been some ride for junior offensive lineman Jason Kelce since he first arrived on campus. In 2007 Jason was a skinny new offensive lineman with a Mohawk haircut just looking to earn his way onto the field. Now, he's one of the most important parts in the Bearcats offensive line. We talked with Jason about getting back at it for the 2009 season.

BI: How was today?

"Hot & Humid, but it was fun getting at it and getting out here again. You always miss it coming into the first day and then in about a week you look forward to that first game to start coming along. But it's exciting to get back out here on the field and get ready for another season."

BI: You look bigger?

"Yea, I am. I'm at 300-pounds today so I'm going to try and play at that or at about 295-pounds."

BI: One of the big question marks is people expect a lot out of Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard. But the question they have is about the offensive line. Talk about the work you guys have done this summer.

"I think the offensive line has made great strides. We lost two veterans from last years team but I feel we have a number of guys who can step in and fill those roles. Jeff Linkenbach is becoming a great leader everyday and he, Chris Jurek and I feel we're doing a great job of developing these younger guys who are ready to step in now."

BI: The offensive line is always a tight knit group. Go through the summer and everything you've guys have done together.

"It's funny you should say that because some of the other positions call us a cult because we're always together so much. But we love hanging out with each other and I feel we worked the most on was getting bigger and stronger without losing speed you have to have to run this offense as an offensive lineman. I think our body composition is the best it's been since I've been here as we now have guys that Coach Longo calls the ‘Baby Bulls' at 280-290 and even a few over 300-pounds."

BI: You have guys fighting for jobs on the right side. What happens to the friendships you've built over the summer?

We're all friends, but right now its competition time between C.J. Cobb, Sam Griffin, Alex Hoffman and Randy Martinez to see who is going to play. They are all battling for it right now and its fun to see."

BI: You've got some new players that have come in this year. Some you knew like Sean Hooey since he was here in the spring. But what about the guys who are here for the first time? What have you seen so far?

"I think this is one of the best freshmen classes I've seen out of guys coming here just being physically ready to play. I don't know if any of them are going to play this year, but I'm just impressed. Bujnoch's little brother (Austen Bujnoch) is excellent with his footwork and technique but he lacks a little strength. Dan Sprague is moving from linebacker to play center here. Andre Cureton is 350-pounds now but for 350 he moves really well. We've also got Mitch Kessel and Pike's little brother (Doug Pike) and there coming along as well."

BI: You had to get your little brother (Travis Kelce) out of that pretty boy image as he's gone from quarterback to tight end. What all did you two do together this summer?

"Just a little bit after spring ball I had to take him under my wing because he really couldn't lift his leg up because he had that broken bone from the spring. I had to take him along with Linkenbach and some of the other guys because it's a lot different lifting for tight end than it is for quarterback. Just his transformation in the weight room and his work ethic has made me real proud of him."

BI: What should fans expect out of Jason Kelce?

"The number one thing is to stay healthy because I'm in the best shape that I can be in and I want to play as well as I can to bring another Big East Championship to Cincinnati."

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