Player Profile Series: OL Ben Gottschalk

With fall camp nearing, the PS staff will profile all 22 projected starters throughout July. Today we take a look at junior offensive tackle Ben Gottschalk.

Ben Gottschalk

Position: Offensive Tackle

Size: 6-5, 275

Classification: Junior

High School: Notre Dame (CA)

2011 Review: Even though he is a true junior on the SMU team, Gottschalk has seen very little action besides blocking for PATs and Field Goals during his time at SMU. His freshman year, he did not redshirt in a surprising move and only played on special teams occasionally for the Mustangs. The move puzzled many fans as Gottschalk needed to bulk up once he got to campus, so most thought he would take his first year to put on weight after coming to SMU at a lean 255 pounds.

Gottschalk worked hard in the weight room his sophomore year and it was noticeable. The athletic young tackle knew to crack the lineup he would have to improve his strength to contribute in the run blocking game, something he knew he needed to improve on coming out of high school. Gottschalk has always been able to move well and has put on good weight.

2011 Grade: B+ (For weight room ethic)

2012 Outlook: Going into his junior year now, Gottschalk is probably north of the 275 that he is listed at and is poised to take over the left tackle position.

After sitting out the entire spring with a back injury, Gottschalk now turns his attention to providing newly named starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert with the solid protection he will need to succeed and senior running back Zach Line the room to continue his assault on the SMU record books. Gottschalk is one of the more untested members of the offensive line and will look to the senior leadership along the interior of the line to guide him as he navigates through his first season as a starter.

Gottschalk's talent is undoubtedly there. He moves well and looks the part after transforming his body into a hulking figure capable of taking on bigger defensive players as well as staying athletic enough to handle speed rushers. With a new quarterback, defenses will surely blitz more than ever and Gottschalk will need to be on the same page as the rest of the starters along the line to communicate all the calls effectively and correctly.

If Gottschalk can put together the season Mustang fans have been expecting of him then SMU will be solid along the offensive line and that will go a long way to help the Ponies march towards a conference championship. Gottschalk has been waiting for his opportunity to start for the last two years and now has the opportunity to make or break the Mustangs fortunes by his ability to protect Gilbert's blindside.

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