Vander Sanden - OL Analysis

CN ambassador and former Cyclone center Luke Vander Sanden gives his analysis on next year's offensive line.

After a much anticipated spring, football for Cyclone fans, coaches, and players will have to wait until the season opener against Toledo for some more head crashing hits.


I will share with you my projections for the season of 2006, as well as provide some insight and input as to where guys fit in.





Scott Fisher will be your starter on Saturday's baring any injuries.  He is a big body at left tackle.  I am anxious to see how he fares against the best defensive linemen in the big 12.  He earned a taste as to what the Big XII was about last year.  Let's see if he can play winning football game in and game out on Saturday's.  If not, Bret Meyer will be calling for some ice bags.




Seth Zehr has wrapped this position up.  Seth was moved from right to left to provide some experience on the left side, which was a concern in the season of 2006.  I look for Ahtyba Rubin or Lee Tibbs to come in and push those 1's for the starting spots.  These two gentlemen are junior college players that are going to be asked to make the transition really fast.




Scott Stephenson is the best player the Cyclones have on the offensive line.  Scott is an agile player that really brings the hammer to the table.  He is relentless, physical, plays with an attitude, and will make his presence felt on Saturday's for the Cyclones.  A healthy senior campaign will land him a NFL roster spot.




Paul Fisher is slated as #1 at right guard.  Like the left guard position, I look for Ahtyba Rubin and Tibbs to compete for this spot as well.  Their transition to Iowa State will help, but some added depth would be tremendous for the offensive line.  Zehr will start at either the right guard or left guard come fall. It's a toss up at this position. Paul Fisher, Ahtyba Rubin, or Lee Tibbs will be the starter at the opposite spot.  I also look for Reggie Stephens to be a nice replacement if someone goes down.  He doesn't quite have the tenacity yet, but as the current players have told me, he will be a tremendous player in the cardinal and gold jersey.


Aaron Brant enters his fourth season as a starter.  I look for this NFL framed man to have a huge season for the Cyclones.  Anything less than that would be a disappointment for the coaches, the teammates, and I know it would be a disappointment to Brant.  He, as well as Stephenson, must carry the offensive line on their shoulders and make a statement for the season, and turn all the criticism into a positive.



Final Thoughts


I think this group has what it takes.  That is…the starting five.  Beyond that that, there is not much left in the cupboard.  The Jon Tjadens, the Brandon Cook's, the Bastain Shoebers, etc.  Those guys have paid their dues and still aren't contributing on Saturday's.  Is it a disappointment?  Sure it is, but maybe they maxed their potential in their respective high schools.  They are great young men and will be successful individuals in the game of life, but they haven't shown to produce yet in the past 2-3 years, so the flame thrower lies in their hands.


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