Changes up front for Duke?

We all suspected that this might happen, and now it looks like there just might be a few new faces in the O-Line rotation this weekend...

For years the biggest weakness on the Wildcat Offense has been the depth of the Offensive Line.
We saw it last Saturday, where the Redhawks ground down a banged up Wildcat front 5. At the end of the game, a few of the players who have been unavailable due to injury appeared on the field, and played well...
I'm not saying positions are up for grabs, but we had some guys nicked up in camp -- Greg Lutzen, Trevor Rees, Donnie Baskin and some others -- who virtually lost a chance to compete, and it wasn't their fault. [Randy Walker - Sun Times]
The injuries forced several players to play out of position, and RS Freshman Rick McDole, have had to back up both tackles. Looking at the 3 three linemen the coach mentioned...
NU PhotoGreg Lutzen -[left] the former defensive end, is coming off a knee injury. If you remember, he was named by Walker after the spring game as the probable starter at Left Guard, but was injured early at Camp Kenosha. The present LG, Bill Newton, started Kenosha as a backup tackle, sharing that role with Rick McDole. I've heard that Lutzen is determined to get his starting job back.
[Family Photo]Trevor Rees [right] has been talked about as the eventual replacement for Austin King at  center since he committed to Northwestern a year ago. He's been compared to  King, now a Tampa Bay Buc,  and did get into the Miami game where he had a few good moments.

However Randy Walker has been quoted here [with that gleam in his eye] that he doesn't like to start freshmen, reminding the readers that the Cats went 3-8 King's freshman year NU Photosnapping the ball. But Rees at center would allow Junior Matt Ulrich, [left] NU's 2nd ranked lineman at RG last year, to return to his more familiar slot on the line.

Of course that leaves the question of who would back up Trevor if he got hurt, but right now adding him in the middle, with Ulrich, Ike Ndukewe, and Bill Newton on either side, gives him a chance to contribute and adds more depth at the other positions.
NU PhotoDonnie Baskin is another O-lineman who was hurt early at Kenosha. From Naperville Central HS, he's been a scout team regular, but the added reps last Spring helped him earn his #2 LG role.

What's important is that Baskin adds more depth to a pretty banged up O-line and would only continue to improve with the added competition up front.
In any case, adding 3 more big guys to the group up front can only help keep the starters fresher, and maybe get some more consistency on the offense.

NU PhotoThe lineman who appeared to need the most help last Saturday was LT Trai Essex. He had his hands full with the Miami back side rush, and was over loaded several times leading to QB Sacks. You'd have to watch the tapes from the endzone [which I can't do] and try to figure out how to help him out.

I know that from where we sat, it looked like the Redhawk rush came over the left side - I know most of the QB sacks were made by Miami players coming in over the left.

I guess what bothers me is that we didn't or couldn't adjust the blocking schemes fast enough to help Essex out there on the weak side. Trai had to deal with both the DE and the OLB - he's big and fast, but its hard to stop 2 guys coming hard.

It was fun meeting a few of the Purple Reign faithful, and some ot the parents at Merle's afterwards. Thanks to Jerry Epstein and Steve Fridley for setting it up, even if you could cut the negative vibes towards the present coaching staff with a knife - Merle's ribs are certainly worth the price of admission.

By the way, both Alan Smithee, and his twin showed up at the event both wearing a Smithee name tag - we still don't know which one he really is....

Now if the Jason Wright who played against Kansas and Air Force will just show up down in Durham Saturday...
-- da Coach

You can send your direct comments or
"back door" information
to Coach Roy -
Go Cats - Beat 'em All!
Talk about it on the Purple Boards
[Click Here]
All Materials Copyright 2003 -
Purple Reign/

Purple Wildcats Top Stories