Offensive Line is where a lot of work needs to be done in the spring. New offensive line coach Josh Henson needs to find two starters and needs to get his two deep situated or in a position where it can be situated in August.
Thursday was the final day for the Cowboys first week of spring football practice and the last practice for the Pokes until they get back from the beach, the mountains, or mom's home cooking and they suit up on Tuesday, March 21. It was also the first day in full pads since the Monday and Wednesday practices were in helmets and shorts. Now, the first day in pads, spring or fall, has generally meant get after it with a fierce inside drill or a long pass pro session. Get those big guys out there and slam the bodies around. There was a lengthy session on the sled and they did do an inside drill, but it was much more technique and foot placements still than it was cracking helmets.
"Being physical is important, but for us to be the best offensive line we can be we have to have good technique," offensive line coach Josh Henson said. "We have to have our feet in the right place and our hands in the right place. It may take us a hundred or a thousand reps, but we need to have great technique."
I find the personnel issues fairly interesting as left tackle was vacated by two-year starter Victor Salako, who had worked out for the NFL scouts and coaches earlier in the day during Pro Day activities. Michael Wilson had been out there as well, so two spots opened up on the offensive line since the 38-8 win over Colorado in the Alamo Bowl.
Gundy answered the question of who plugs in at those spots on Monday.
"Larry Williams will be at right guard and the freshman will be at left tackle," Gundy answered. "Galloway, Dylan Galloway at left tackle. Eclipse, big Shane (Richards) had a scope (surgery) and he will be out there but we won't let him go full speed until next week (after spring break)."
That's the way it was with Galloway, a physical player at 6-5, 310 pounds that the strength staff and the coaching staff think could respond to early playing time like starting left guard Marcus Keyes. Galloway has bend, good hips, good feet, is athletic, and has shown to be tough. Richards is huge at 6-8, 325 pounds and has the ability to virtually block out the sun for defenders. Williams is experienced, having started over half the season at right guard last season before an injury.
The question is who will form the second team. Let's start at left tackle where the logical answer would appear to be Richards. Now, what about right tackle, behind Crabtree? That could be junior college transfer Arlington Hambright or another "pup" in red-shirt freshman Teven Jenkins. The guards behind Keyes and Williams, could be Lemaefe Galea'i, Deionte Noel, red-shirt freshman Matt Kegel or Johnny Wilson. Those last two, Kegel and Wilson would appear to be possible back-ups behind Brad Lundblade at center.
Those are all based on Thursday observations.
There is a long way to go here in having a solid two-deep. Remember, how fans quickly got to where they would "trust in Wick" as in Joe Wickline coaching the offensive line. I would say "believe in Henson" could be the new slogan.