Position Breakdown: Offensive line

In part 5 of our position breakdown, USFnation.com takes an in depth look at the offensive line. The Bulls enter the 2006 season minus the three interior starters from last year's team. Both tackles have returned though along with a group of young players who have showed they have the potential to dominate.

The Veterans:


Thed Watson 6-5, 295 Senior

 Entering the 2006 season as a favorite to win the starting left tackle spot, but rumors still swirl that Watson, who is not listed on the current depth, could be redshirted. A decision could be made prior to Saturday's game against Mcneese State or soon after. Watson a JUCO transfer started in eight games last season and made a name for himself after holding Elvis Dumerville, the nation's sack leader without a sack in a 45-14 win over Louisville. He was rewarded by being named second team all BIG EAST. This summer he was named to the preseason all-Big East squad by The Sporting News as well as the Outland Trophy watch list, which is given to the best offensive lineman. Even though lately he has not been working with the 1st team in practice. His superior blocking skills will keep him in the running to become the fulltime starter.


Jared Carnes 6-7 310 Junior

After transferring in 2004 from Concord College in West Virginia, Carnes played in two games last season. Perhaps his biggest asset is his size since he is the biggest offensive lineman on the roster. Although he was forced to sit out his transfer season, and was injured for most of the spring, Carnes has been able to get a significant amount of playing time and was recently rewarded with a scholarship. He can play both tackle positions, and has been competing with Danny Tolley for starting left guard all summer. He is currently listed as starting left guard, and also as the backup for both tackles positions for the season opener against McNeese State


Marc Dile 6-4, 305 Sophomore

Entering the 2006 campaign, Dile is an obvious choice to start at right tackle. After being redshirted in 2004, he greatly improved his blocking skills at both tackle spots last year. He opened the season last year as the starting left tackle and switched to the right side for the next week. By the end of the season He compiled three more starts. When he was not with the first team, Dile still got a significant amount of playing time switching off with Walter Walker at right tackle. .  Dile had an outstanding spring and was the one player on the O-line that was consistent throughout. No major injuries, played hard everyday and rarely made a mistake. This year look for him to claim the spot as his own.



Walter Walker 6-5, 305 Junior

Although his previous game time experience came at offensive tackle, Walker is a likely candidate to start at right guard. Last season he played in all 12 games including nine starts while switching off with Marc Dile. During the last two seasons, he gained a great deal of knowledge playing as a backup. He also is one of the most versatile blockers the Bulls have, and is currently battling with Matt Huners for the starting right guard position.


Matt Huners 6-3, 290 Sophomore

Since his time on campus, Huners has developed a reputation of being one of the most intense and dedicated players on the team. Last season he was rewarded USF's Overachiever Award, which is given to a freshman who achieves the greatest in the weight room. During the 2005 season, he played in five games including one start. During his time at Palm Harbor University High School, he was a three time offensive line MVP. Similar to Walter Walker, Huners is another one of the versatile players that coaches brag abut. He will likely will be playing both guard positions this year, and is in a heated competition with Walker for starting right guard.


Danny Tolley 6-6, 310 Freshman

After previously missing contact drills because of a stress reaction in his pelvis, Tolley finally returned to practice last week. Prior to his injury, he was listed as the starting left guard. The coaching staff was very impressed in 2005 with the progress he made during his redshirt season. He is a player with great size and strength that could also find himself lining up at tackle when the season starts.



Nick Capogna 6-3, 275 Junior

With the skills that Capogna has showed, coupled with the extra weight that he added over the spring, it is no surprise that the former tight end won the battle for starting center. Last season he played on the field goal unit and saw some action at tight end and for short yardage situations. In 2004 he was able to get on the field in 10 games mostly helping with protection on the offensive line. At high school he was quite busy playing tight end, fullback, defensive end, and linebacker.


Jake Griffin 6-4, 290 Sophomore

After being redshirted in 2004 and playing in every game last year, Griffin is currently listed as starting left guard, and as backup center this season. He could also get some playing time at the right guard spot as well. Originally brought in as a top recruit who won a state championship with Armwood High School, and was named the 39th best prospect in Florida by the Tampa Tribune.   Griffin has lived up to his reputation as a hard working versatile player.


Jason Fox 6-0, 255 Freshman

The coaching staff has not completely decided what exactly to do with Fox. He could play center but then again he could just as easily become a blocking fullback. After being redshirted in 2005, he was awarded the Golden Bull award for being the top scout team player.


The Newcomers:


Jeffrey Ide 6-6 260 Freshman

In high school he was used mostly as a blocking tight end, and USF might follow suit with the biggest newcomer to the line. After his senior season, the Orlando Sentinel ranked him the 99th top prospect in Florida and he was named to the first team all-area in Sarasota Herald Tribune. He also was the captain of the baseball team at Manatee High School.


Jacob Sims 6-5, 245 Freshman

After a successful senior year at Winter Park High School, he was selected to the class 6A third team all-state. He was able to showcase his versatility at the 2005 Central Florida All-Star game when he played both offense and defense.



Zach Hermann 6-3, 315 Freshman

Perhaps the lineman who had the most impressive high school career in Hermann. In his senior year at East Lake High School, he allowed no sacks while compiling 72 pancake blocks and was named the offensive MVP. St. Petersburg Times selected him for the First team All-county team. When he wasn't wearing a helmet he spent time throwing the shot and discus in high school.



As of right now the depth chart seems to shape up like this. Left Tackle- Jared Carnes, Left Guard-Jake Griffin, Center Nick Capogna, Right Guard- Walter Walker, Right Tackle-Marc Dile. The other options for the Bulls include Danny Tolley, Matt Huners, Jake Griffin, and Thed Watson. With currently only one senior out of the entire group, fans can expect a solid group of blockers for the years to come.


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