Spring Review -- Offensive Line

On offense, the Colorado Buffaloes want to get back to the power running game that brought them success in 2001 and 2002. If that's going to happen, it will begin in the trenches. Initial signs point to positive things, as the offensive line had a productive spring.

Looking at the unit this spring as compared to the previous two springs and the first thing that stands out is that the big boys up front got through relatively healthy. While injuries hampered the group's progress in 2002 and 2003, only one player missed the entire spring this year.

Senior Derek Stemrich was out recovering from knee surgery. But the Buffs proceeded as if they might not have the returning starting guard, and his presence in the fall should only provide more depth along the line where coaches say they feel like they have at least nine players they can count on right now.

One thing that was evident in two of the team's scrimmages – including the Spring Game – last month was that the offensive line was having more success opening holes than they had in recent springs. And that was true for the second unit, as well. Coaches credited that to experience, as four of the five players running with the first team most of the spring had at least one start under their belt in 2003.

A bigger, stronger and more experienced senior split tackle Sam Wilder had a productive spring. Line coach Dave Borbely said the difference between Wilder in early 2003 – shortly after he switched over from his defensive tackle position – and this spring was "night and day." Junior Clint O'Neal looks like he may be ready to become an anchor at the other tackle, but redshirt freshman Edwin Harrison will push O'Neal in August.

Sophomore Jack Tipton had a decent spring, and came out of April No. 2 at split tackle behind Wilder. Tipton is one of several offensive linemen who give the Buffs some flexibility as he can also move to a guard position if necessary.

On the interior, coaches like the potential that defensive line convert junior John Guydon brings, as Guydon saw time with the starting unit at both center and guard. He's listed first string at the split guard position currently, while sophomore Mark Fenton is the starting center.

Borbely was also pleased with he play of senior Terrance Barreau, who will back up at both center and guard.

Sophomore Brian Daniels should continue to develop into one of the better guards in the conference this fall. Junior Gary Moore is slated as his back up coming out of spring ball. Moore is one of the most experienced players on the line.

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