Offense Preview: Laker Machine Rolls On

How does a team lose its starting quarterback, top two wide receivers, running back and still be one of the most potent offenses in the country? Several talented skill players have been waiting in the wings for GVSU and 2007 will be their year to shine. Here's a look at the Laker offense.

It will be a strange sight for GV fans to not see #16 out there barreling for first downs and throwing deep touchdowns for the Lakers, but Cullen Finnerty has moved on after four years as starter and a new era is beginning.

Brad Iciek takes over, the sophomore from Grandville isn't very big or particularly fast, but is smart, accurate and is an excellent manager. In fact, there is talk he will run the offense as good if not better than Finnerty did. At any rate, the offense is in good hands.

Behind Iciek, superstar recruit Chad Sommerville had a good spring, but JUCO transfer Kasey Peters came in and had a great summer, making the battle for number two a hotly contested one. Peters has the inside track right now though.

Behind them, remember the name Brandon Miller, the freshman will probably redshirt, but he has the look of a future star here.

RUNNING BACKS Astin Martin graduates and Maurice Gore was dismissed, but Preston Garris has seen time the past few seasons and will be the starter. Converted receiver Blake Smolen will see carries as well and redshirt freshman Gary Fant has flashed ability and will provide depth along with true freshman Jimmy Berezik.

WIDE RECEIVERS Eric Fowler and Terry Mitchell both are in NFL camps, but receiver is still a strength on this team. Senior Antoine Trent has been a steady performer and will lead a receiving corps of newcomers. Sophomore Mike Koster, a high school record setter will inherit a spot, with his 6'3 frame and sure hands, he is ready to make an impact.

Brandon Horn comes in from Northwestern, the transfer only has this year to play, but his size and athleticism makes him the perfect candidate for the deep balls and fades the Lakers like to utilize. Smolen will still see some slot time, but athletic sophomore Ryan Bass and speedy Jaquon Morrison will also see the field.

At tight end, Sean Stevens returns to the position after spending time on the offensive line. At 6'4, 275-lbs, he will be like an extra offensive lineman. When the team goes two tights, John Matthews will be the other, although converted wide receiver Anthony Crump brings the kind of athleticism and speed the Lakers have not recently had at tight end.

It would not be hyperbole to suggest that this may be the best offensive line unit D2 has ever seen. All five starters return with RT Brandon Barnes and RG Joe Wohlscheid being All-American candidates. LT Sam Allen, LG Jacob Henige and C Billy Eisenhardt all should be All-Conference performers. The depth is good, with one young player to watch being converted TE Cameron Bradfield, who is still growing into an offensive tackle but has strength and athletic ability.

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