Navy Spring Depth Chart Review: O-Guard

The Navy Midshipmen football team recently completed spring drills. GoMids.com will now review each Navy position to project a starter, a backup and a player to watch. Today we'll discuss the offensive guard position.

OFFENSIVE GUARDS
Starters:LG E.K. Binns #57 So.; RG Jake Zuzek #64 Jr.
Backups: LG Thomas Stone #71 Sr.; RG Ben Tamburello #60 So.
Third string: LG Nathaniel Otto #67 Jr.; RG Eric Mahler #74 Sr.


E.K Binns (6-3, 287) won the starting left guard during spring drills. Last season Binns saw backup action in three games, Central Michigan, East Carolina and the bowl game against Arizona State. Binns, a sophomore who was a direct admit to the academy last year, was the only projected offensive line starter that was able to go 100 percent in spring practices. Binns is strong, quick off the ball and has solid movement skills.

Backing up Binns will be senior Thomas Stone (6-3, 295) who wasn't able to go full contact in the spring. Stone saw action in all 13 games last season and made his first career start against VMI. Stone, who as a direct admit in 2010 chose Navy over Army, has good strength and moves well.

Nathaniel Otto (6-2, 260) won the third string left guard position during spring drills. Otto also wasn't able to fully participate in spring drills due to injury. Otto, who is a junior from Texas, has yet to see game action for the Mids. Otto played tackle in high school but was moved to guard at NAPS in 2010. Jim Lawler wrote about Otto earlier on GoMids.com.

"Otto is very quick into his blocks and is an excellent technician," wrote Lawler. "He is very athletic and moves well."

Right guard Jake Zuzek (6-0, 310) started all 13 games for Navy last year and is expected to do so again during the upcoming season despite missing spring drills due to a shoulder injury. Zuzek will be long remembered by Navy fans for his game saving recovery for a touchdown of a Navy fumble against Air Force in overtime. Zuzek will be counted on to provide leadership to a young Navy line in 2013. His superior strength and size coupled with his experience provides Navy with sound play at right guard. Jim Lawler commented on the Pennsylvania native.

"He [Zuzek] is incredibly powerful and strong." wrote Lawler. "He can bench press over 500 pounds. He is very explosive off ball and can be overpowering as a one-on-one blocker. Zuzek is Philly tough, extremely physical and can muscle and maul with anyone. If he remains healthy Jake has the potential to be a terrific guard."

Sophomore Ben Tamburello (6-2, 275) won the backup right guard position during spring practice. Tamburello, who has played center in the past, has yet to see the field for Navy but his wrestle-with-a-chainsaw aggressiveness caught the attention of the staff in the spring. The Alabama native, who was a Birmingham News All-Metro selection in high school and a played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game, is strong and mobile.

Veteran Eric Mahler (6-4, 278) finished the spring as the third string right guard. The senior is still looking for his first game action and might get his opportunity in 2013. Mahler earned all-area in high school and, despite seeing no action, has been loyal to the Navy program for four years. He's got the right size for a Navy offensive lineman and his extensive experience with the offense should pay him dividends.

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