Injuries cause adjustments with Bulls O-line

With the Bulls set to face Syracuse this Saturday, the Bulls offensive line will have yet another look as they'll be without injured Mark Popek, their most veteran lineman. We caught up with Bulls offensive line Coach Steve Shankweiler who talks about who's in the mix for playing time, how the o-line is playing and what to expect against Syracuse.

The USF offensive line will have another new starting lineup when they face Syracuse for homecoming this Saturday. When senior left guard Mark Popek injured his ankle against Louisville on Saturday and was carted off the field, the Bulls lost their most experienced lineman.

The Bulls have already used four different starting lineups this season and will do so again against the Orange, as Popek will miss several games

"It's unfortunate that we had a fifth year senior in Mark Popek getting hurt," said USF offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler. "He'll mess some considerable amount of time."

Bulls redshirt freshman Brynjar Gudmundsson came in for Popek and got his first extensive playing time, holding his own as the Bulls rushed for 151 yards and scored three touchdowns while he was in.

"Brynjar Gudmundsson came in a played about 70 snaps, the best thing you can say is that he was invisible and nobody noticed him, which is a good thing," said Shankweiler. "I think he did a real good job for that being his first extensive playing time."

Even with Gudmundsson solid play, the Bulls are still working other players to get the best unit on the field.

"We're mixing in a few other guys during practice this week, as we're always trying to make sure we find the best five guys," said Shankweiler. "But that's why you recruit, and we got some pretty god young guys and now it's time for some of them to step up and play."

"Obviously Brynjar was the guy that got the reps the other night, but we're trying to mix and match a few things just to make sure we got things covered, but he's certainly in the mix," said Shank. "Lawrence Martin is there as well as Thor Jozwiak who's working as center and guard. Those are both guys that have talent and we count on. Now it's time to see who wants to play."

The Bulls found a running game against Louisville and that gives the young offensive line something to build on going forward.

"I thought e first drive was very good and thought the second half went very well and obviously the running game was very productive," said Shankweiler. "One of the issues with young linemen is that pass protection is hard and we have to continue to get better fundamentally there, but I was pleased."

"We got after them pretty good and they were only giving up around 115 yards per game," said Shankweiler. "So that was a big confidence boost for the kids."

Coach talks about the guys in the mix, how the running game looked against 16 ranked Louisville and what he expects to face against Syracuse this Saturdays.

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