O-Line Includes Stringer and Unproven Talents

As a fulltime starter, only Nick Stringer returns to the Wildcats' offensive line. To his right will be a quartet of players who have yet to prove they are Big 12-ready, which begs the question - How Will The Offensive Line Be This Year?

Generally speaking, a team's offense is just as good as its offensive line allows it to be. With that being said, only time will tell how productive Carson Coffman and the Wildcat offense will be.

A chest injury to Brock Unruh has already moved one second-teamer to the starting-five. Unruh had scattered 16 starts over the last three years and was going to be a fixture at guard before a weight-room accident ended his season.

That leaves only Nick Stringer returning as a fulltime starter at left tackle, plus a cast of role players and never-played talents by his side.

Oh yes, there's also a new coach in Charlie Dickey: "I'm comfortable, but it's an on-going process to find the right guys to start, and then those to back them up."

But size- and speed-wise, Dickey said, "I feel good about them. Honestly, size doesn't matter if you're in good condition and fundamentally sound. Size is not a factor if you play smart and play hard."

Wade Weibert (6-4, 290, Jr), a transfer from Butler County Community College, opened the year at center, but now is seeing snaps at right guard.

"I never knew where I stood," Weibert said of his 2008 redshirt season. "In my personal opinion, I thought I was a ways off, but I never knew what the coaching staff thought."

Talking as a center during KSU's media day, Weibert said," I tell people the easiest thing I do is snapping the ball. The hard part is identifying the fronts and making the calls. The being the quarterback of the offensive line and coordinating that position to where everyone is on the right page is difficult.

Trevor Viers (6-5, 284, Jr), who started the last seven games last year replacing Jordan Bedore, will now likely be the starting center.

Joining Weibert in the cast of guard candidates headed by Colten Freeze (6-5, 290, Soph) and Zach Kendall (6-3, 297, Jr), plus Ethan Douglas (6-6, 295, Fr) and Kenneth Mayfield (6-4, 320, Jr).

A year ago, Kendall started two games at guard and three others at center, while Freeze had three starts toward the end of the season.

At left tackle, Stringer (6-6, 285, Sr) will be the glue that holds the line together as the Topeka-Hayden product played in 10 games last year as a right and left tackle, played in eight games in 2007, and 11 in 2006.

"Nick will be very important to our success," Dickey said. "He will be one of the leaders of not only the line, but the team. He has a lot of respect because of he does things right and leads by example."

Clyde Aufner (6-7, 290, Soph) appeared in three games last year and is penciled in at right tackle.

The reserves will be Zach Hanson (6-8, 320, Soph) on the left, and Freeze on the right. Newcomers who could see field time are Cornelius Lucas (6-8, 305) and Will Lawson (6-8, 290).

"I think we are probably like any year, you're trying to get yourself to a good solid two deep," head coach Bill Snyder said. "I don't know if we are completely there right now, but I think we probably have seven or so guys that we feel are developing a consistency that we would feel comfortable with on the field. Hopefully, we can develop two or three more in order to fit that group. We are not where we need to be or want to be, but they are making some headway."

OFFENSIVE LINE TWO-DEEP CANDIDATES CENTER

Trevor Viers, 6-5, 284, Jr, Windom, Kan.

GUARDS

Ethan Douglas, 6-6, 295, Fr, Basehor, Kan.
Colten Freeze, 6-5, 290, Soph, Liberty, Mo.
Zach Kendall, 6-3, 297, Jr, Peculiar, Mo.
Kenneth Mayfield, 6-4, 320, Jr, Randallstown, Md. Wade Weibert, 6-4, 290, Sr, Hillsboro, Kan.

TACKLES

Clyde Aufner, 6-7, 290, Soph, Raymore, Mo.
Eric Benoit, 6-4, 294, Sr, Church Point, La.
Zach Hanson, 6-8, 320, Soph, Sacramento, Calif.
Nick Stringer, 6-6, 285, Sr, Topeka, Kan.


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