The offensive line becomes recognizable

On Monday morning Rich Brooks was asked if this was his best offensive line in his long coaching career? He hesitated and said - "I said this same group last year would be the best we have." For whatever reason that did not happen. "I'm very, very cautious. You keep them in the dark and feed them mushrooms. In the past they have taken a step back. Last week I praised them and they delivered."

Most of the time they operate in total obscurity until they spring a back for a long gain or they draw a drive killing penalty or the team is not moving the chains. The group of Wildcat offensive linemen have quietly become the story for this Kentucky football team.

Metaphorically speaking, one brother was seventeen years old and had been physically tussling with his older brother, who was twenty-years old, all his life and the younger brother was 0-15 getting his butt kicked every time. They go down in the basement for another tussle and his older brother, who hadn't notice that younger brother had suddenly grown up. When they came up out of the basement it was 1-15 and when they sat down at the dinner table to look across at one another the younger brother was 1-0. Such was the Auburn win - the other fifteen didn't matter.

What has been the key to the success they are having. "It is huge being together like this year," said right offensive tackle, Justin Jeffries. Jeffries talk about how fun it is to block for Randall Cobb. "Man, he's a special player and it is great blocking for a special player like that because you don't know what's going to happen."

Last year we were only together about three games until late last year. Zip Duncan said - "I just feel like any time you've got a lot of guys like we do we can communicate and can be on the same page and really come out and run the ball. We have experience and a lot of experienced back up's. Now we've all played a lot together and know what each other's thinking. We've got a lot of guys in practice really pushing us and that what it takes to be a good offensive line."

Ironically five of the six guys that are playing the most are from the state of Kentucky. We asked Zipp Duncan if that brought about in-state pride. "Oh definitely," he said. "Anytime you can get the opportunity to come to your state school and represent your state. That's what you're playing for. You are playing for the Kentucky on the front of your jersey and the guys that came before you and the guys that will come after you. So I feel you're going to have that little added edge, that added aggressiveness to represent what you are all about."

Jeffries said it's funny because he didn't realize it was the case. He laughed at the suggest that they make Jorge Gonzalez a "Kentucky Colonel."

"We take a lot of pride and there's nothing more satisfying than seeing Kentucky kids on the line," said Brad Durham.

Joker Phillips said - "That's big. We always talk about the heart and soul of our program coming from the state of Kentucky. These guys are paying well but our screen game has helped those guys. I know we haven't hit screens in a while and the reason is people don't rush us. They rush only two guys so we don't get a lot of sacks. The reason why we can run the football is people don't rush us. The two defensive guys inside have become readers. While they are reading our linemen are hitting them in the mouth."

Now the fans are starting to find out who these offensive linemen are.

AllWildcats Top Stories