Spring Practice Report Card: OL

Ryan Bass grades spring practice position by position, today he looks at the Offensive Line.

Offensive Line:

Depth Chart:
RT: Kyle Wallace, Jeremy Phillips, Zeb McHargue
RG: Brad Honeycutt, Reggie Koon, Matthew Rhodes
C: Hugh Reilly, Clay Hartley, Kevin Tuminello
LG: Leon Robinson (INJ), Andy Tidwell-Neal, Garren Findlay, Salih Besirevic
(INJ) LT: *Nat Dorsey (INJ), Will Hardy, Eddy Parker * Former All-ACC selection

Injuries and a lack of formidable depth hurt the performance of the Offensive Line this spring. The left side of the line took a big hit because of Leon Robinson and Nat Dorsey missing all or most of spring practice.

In addition, we were trying to fill the void left at RG with the graduation of Ray Blake. That proved to be one of the bright spots for the OL because of a solid spring from Brad Honeycutt. Honeycutt was in on most every snap for a game and a half span last season when both Dorsey and Jeremy Phillips went out for injuries. His move to RG looks to have been a good move so far. He likely held out his nearest competition Andy Tidwell-Neal, who received equal starting time on the line this spring because he took over at LG all spring with Robinson sitting out.

The most glaring weakness this spring had to be at LT. Finding someone to suitably replace All-ACC selection Nat Dorsey proved to be a tall task when his spring ended because of minor shoulder surgery. We tried several combinations before settling on walk-on Will Hardy to fill the void. Protection often broke down on the outsides due in part to outstanding play from our talented group of Defensive Ends.

To their credit though, the line was able to get strong push on short yardage situations with a lot of help from the leader of the line, Redshirt Senior Hugh Reilly. The right side combination of Reilly, Honeycutt & Wallace actually developed some nice chemistry over the spring.

This past season it seemed like our play calling was mostly geared at taking advantage of the great size and talents of Dorsey & Robinson. But in spring we seemed to lean on the right side more, with those two sitting out, and they were usually up to the take, especially in run blocking.

I think this extra work for the right side will pay off well in fall when we will be able to run confidently at either side of the line.

Garren Findlay was a busy guy this spring. He spent some time at every position on the line. It was nice to have someone so versatile with all of the injuries that we suffered.

Reggie Koon moved over from the Defensive Line to help out this spring. He was pretty rough around the edges, as can be expected, but was always looking to knock someone's head off any chance he got.

Jeremy Phillips, who has returning from multiple knee injuries, helped out a good bit at Tackle but still isn't quite the same guy he was before his injuries.

This is a group that no doubt would have had a better grade if Robinson & Dorsey were around. We could run into some problems during the season if one of our starters gets hurt for an extended period of time, but we should be quite solid with the starting group.

Grade: C


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