But that's also where we've got a few of our better lineman. Take a look..."> Tackle

But that's also where we've got a few of our better lineman. Take a look...">

Purple Reign Preview - It All Starts - Part 4

The <b>Northwestern Offensive Line</b> situation has been described as "Fluid" and nowhere has that been more evident that out on the ends at <b>Tackle</b><br><br> But that's also where we've got a few of our better lineman. Take a look...

The Tackles are easy - Essex and Strief - Welllll
At the start of the spring Wildcat watchers were encouraged by the sight of both RS Sophomore Zach Strief [6-4 335] and Junior Trai Essex [6-4 280 NU Photo left] on the 2 deep at Right and Left Tackle. At last, a little consistancy up front after all the shuffling.

But the Matt Ulrich move wasn't the only the only surprise waiting for O-line watchers. Trai Essex, who had reportedly bulked up and was lifting like a lineman for the spring, was taking a "leave of absence"
To concentrate better on his academic pursuits [Randy Walker after the first Friday practice]
Huh? and when does he return to the team?
its kind of up to him. He needs to do a lot better, and its been an ongoing thing with him and we came to an agreement...its something we've come to together, I love him, I think he could become a great player, but he needs to do a better job academically.
He's was not ineligible academically, but Walker wanted to make sure he didn't become ineligible, OK?

So big Zach Strief [NU Photo right] moved over to the Left side and got to play with Freshman Loren Howard all spring. He's smiling the in the Photo, but I'm sure he wasn't during practice, Loren is a hand full. Zach had won a starting job at Right Tackle against Indiana last year, and held it thru the end of the season. I had thought he won the right side job at the end of the Spring last year, but NU puts a lot of weight on experience but  Zach has gained more of that now.

So who plays on the right side if Zach has to play on the left? RS Freshman Rick McDole [6-6 320 NU Photo left] was on the 2-deep as Strief's backup and was playing there with the first unit the first week , but by the Scrimmange RS Junior Bill Newton [6-7 310 NU Photo Right] had taken over.

What did happen with the Tackles at the end of the Spring Scrimmage was that McDole and Newton were playing together because Strief turned his ankle and rode off on the golf cart. The good news out of Evanston [from the football office] was that "We were happy that we got out of the Spring Pratices with no serious injuries." or something to that effect.

My best guess, barring any additional bad news from the academic front, [grades,etc.are not out in Evanston for another week or so] that Trai gets his academic act together [Patton is probably personally tutoring him three days a week in his office.] With Mr. Essex over on the back side of the Mr. Basanez, and Ike helping out, we have the makings of a pretty solid front five.

So the front line two deep looks something like this:

Next up Monday - The Tight Ends

Projected 2003 Depth Chart*:

Right Tackle
Zach Streif
[6-7 335 So]

Bill Newton
[6-7 301 Jr]
Rick McDole
[6-6 320 Fr]

Right Guard
Greg Lutzen
[6-4 270 So]

?Vince Clarke
[6-5 300 So]
?Joe Tripodi
[6-3 280 Fr]

Matt Ulrich
 [6-2 305 Jr]

Jim Devine
[6-3 280 Fr]
Vince Clarke
[6-5 300 So]
(Maybe) Trevor Rees/
Austin Matthews
Left Guard

Ikechuklu Ndukwe
[6-5 325 Jr]

Donnie Baskins
[6-2 295 Jr]
Scott Crohn
[6-0 270 Jr]
Left Tackle
Trai Essex
[6-4 280 Jr]

Zach Strief
[6-7 335 So]
Bill Newton
[6-7 310 Jr]

[*Please remember that we're projecting the backups based on what we've seen in practice and in some cases a pure wild guess -  Coach Roy]

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