Linkenbach is one of two players the Bearcats don't want to see out of the lineup unless the game is a blowout. A veteran who is in his best physical shape since coming to the program, Linkenbach if healthy is one of the top offensive linemen in the Big East.
We don't really feel the Bearcats coaching staff would place Sean Hooey in the lineup unless the game is out of reach. Hooey has shown great improvement but is still raw and not ready for primetime. Look for a shift along the oline if Linkenbach goes down.
Brian Kelly said himself that Jason Kelce was the one guy the Bearcats would have a hard time replacing. Bearcat Insider agrees as Kelce is in the best physical shape we've seen him in and his play has reached another level.
Randy Martinez has done a great job of getting himself in the mix along the offensive line, but Bearcat Insider doesn't see him being the guy who would get the first call if Kelce would go down. With C.J. Cobb also being listed as a back-up and Alex Hoffman capable of playing right or left guard the first shift we feel would be Hoffman to left guard and Cobb in at right. But Martinez is ahead of where he was a year ago and with some valuable reps could be a player the staff looks highly to for a replacement.
Jurek is the veteran and ready for anything that is thrown in front of him. But Davis is a solid player who is right behind him and ready to take the next stages in his career. No other move than Davis to center would happen if Jurek would go down. In fact Davis is pushing for more reps and any injury to Jurek could see him pushed back.
RG: Alex Hoffman (starter) / T.J. Franklin (back-up)
Hoffman made great strides last season when he was called upon in big games. He held his own and has worked hard to be a starter. But he knows his time could be short if he doesn't deliver.
Franklin has improved but is just not there and a more likely move would see C.J. Cobb making a step over to guard if Hoffman would go down.
RT: Sam Griffin (starter) / C.J. Cobb (back-up)
The time has come for Griffin to become the player many feel he has a chance to be. A solid player with great technique, Griffin must prove he's capable of holding onto the job as a starter in the Big East.
Cobb missed last season and is chomping at the bit to be on the field. He knows the next play could be the play the staff calls upon him and will be ready to play anywhere he's called to lineup.
Overall: Look at the offensive line as a basketball team. While there are ten players listed the staff would really look to move around six or seven at the most if possible. Hoffman and Cobb are the guys who are most moveable as is Kelce who can play any of the lines positions if needed.
Alli has enjoyed a good camp and is the senior. He's got big game experience and is proven his worth on the field. But he knows at anytime he could be pulled and Guidugli could be placed in his place.
Guidugli suffered a small head bump that took him off his game for a few days but like Alli is a proven player who knows what to expect.
At some point the staff is going to push Adrien Robinson onto the field and the talented tight end will be expected to prove his ability. Look for Robinson to get reps early in the season.
While Woods has earned his time he knows Barnett is also a big-time player capable of being the starter. Because of the Bearcats offense both players will get reps and have a chance to post some big numbers. Keep in mind Barnett is a former All-Big East performer.
WR: Mardy Gilyard (starter) / Charley Howard (back-up)
The only person who can stop Mardy Gilyard is himself. Blessed with great talent Gilyard can change a game with just a few steps as he's got a second gear that is second to none.
Charley Howard is a solid player with game experience under his belt. While he won't make the plays Gilyard would, he'll give you a solid pass catcher in traffic.
Binns has waited his turn to be the starter but knows there is a very talented player right behind him in Howard.
Both players have big shoes to fill as they look to replace one of the top receivers in Bearcats history in Dominick Goodman. Both are capable as they have great size, strength and speed.
Brian Kelly hopes not to have to look down his bench and make any choice as to who would replace Pike if needed. Pike enters the season bigger and stronger and Kelly feels the sky is the limit as to what he can do behind center for the Bearcats.
Depending upon the situation, Kelly would look to either Anderson or Collaros to be the back-up or starter. If plays are needed to be made look for Collaros to get the call, if game management is needed look for Anderson to get the call as he's a proven game manager.
RB: Jacob Ramsey – or – John Goebel – or – Isaiah Pead – or – Darrin Williams (starters) What a luxury the Bearcats have with four running backs capable of getting the call. While Ramsey is the favorite to get the call for Rutgers, he knows Goebel is on his heels if he's healthy. Pead brings a change of pace and Williams showed during camp he's got the mental makeup to throw his hat in the ringer and take important snaps.
Look for Ramsey and Goebel (if healthy) to get the bulk of the carries with Pead getting his reps and Williams coming in when the play is more suited for the back to have a chance to catch the ball out of the backfield.