Spring Preview - Offensive Line

There was a lot of shuffling with the line last year, but this it seems all but set with four guys having a hold on their starting spots. Perhaps the biggest competition on the team during the spring is at left guard. Newcomer Tyler McMeans will compete with a number of guys for the spot.

Coach: Art Kehoe (10th Year). Kehoe has been the only person who has been in the football program for all five national championships. He is a great motivator and a strong recruiter.

Returning (12):
SR Chris Myers ……………(6-5, 300)…….13 games-13 starts
JR Eric Winston……………(6-7, 310)……..13-13
SR Joel Rodriguez………….(6-3, 285)…….11-10
JR Rashad Butler………….. (6-5, 285)…….11-4
SO Anthony Wollschlager….(6-6, 290)……..10-0
SO Alex Pou………………..(6-4, 280)……...7-1
JR Tony Tella………………(6-5, 300)………6-0
JR Robert Bergman…………(6-5, 290)………2-0
FR Derrick Morse……………(6-5, 325)……..2-0 (medical redshirt)
FR Andrew Bain…………….(6-3, 335)…….redshirt
FR John Rochford…………..(6-3, 295)………redshirt
FR Cyrim Wimbs……………(6-5, 325)………redshirt

Lost (4): Vernon Carey…11-11
Carlos Joseph….11-9
Joe McGrath……7-3
Jim Sikora……...2-0

New (2): JR Tyler McMeans…….(6-5, 335)
FR Jonathan St. Pierre…(6-3, 315)

Spring Depth Chart (2003 stats)

Tackles

1. Winston
2. Butler
3. Tella
4. Bergman
5. Wimbs

Guards

1. Myers
2. Pou
3. McMeans
4. Morse
5. Bain

Centers

1. Rodriguez
2. Wollschlager
3. Rochford
4. St. Pierre

Player to Watch: Pou

"I think the offensive line is going to be the same as last year, if not better," Myers said. "We are going to have Joel at center, I'll be at right guard, Eric will be at left tackle. A guy that could have, maybe should have started last year at right tackle, will be starting there this year is Rashad Butler."

"The competition this spring will be at left guard," Myers said. "We have a lot of guys fighting at that spot. Derrick Morse, Andrew Bain, Alex Pou, Tyler McMeans, just a whole list of guys that could take that spot. The other four guys have a lot of game experience and I'm pretty sure Coach Kehoe is confident in what we have for next year."

Myers and Rodriguez are the leaders of the offensive line and both players feel comfortable with the leadership role. They met before attending Miami and have been close ever since. Both players have been stepping up as leaders during seven-on-seven drills and in the weight room.

Winston was named first-team All-Big East by the coaches as a first-year player at the position. He made the transition from tight end and has been extremely impressive. Winston has good footwork, leverage, and uses his hands well. He has great size and has first-round potential written all over him.

Rodriguez, Pou, and Morse all will be returning from injuries, but should be ready for spring practices to start. Pou and Morse are further along in their recoveries than Rodriguez.

This year's offensive line could be dominant if a steady performer fills the left guard position. Injuries were a big factor with this group and are common amongst linemen. A sixth man of the group is important to develop to be able to fill in when needed.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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