Pony Stampede Spring Preview: Offensive Line

Spring ball is just a few short weeks away! To get you ready, Pony Stampede will preview each position group before the Mustangs take the practice field. Today we take a look at the offensive line.

The Roster

One of the most inexperienced position groups, the offensive line must utilize this spring to gel together and continue to get mental and physical reps despite not having a position coach at the moment. Ben Gottschalk and Taylor Lasecki are returning starters at left tackle and center, respectively. Bryan Collins, Jordan Free and Blake McJunkin were all lost to graduation.

Ben Gottschalk, 6-5, 295, Senior

Seaver Myers, 6-6, 305, Sophomore

Chauncey Briggs, 6-5, 345, RS-Freshman

Kris Weeks, 6-5, 300, Sophomore

Chase Walling, 6-6, 285, RS-Freshman

Stavion Lowe, 6-5, 350, Junior

Christian Chamagua, 6-6, 300, RS-Freshman

Ashton Duhe, 6-3, 320, Junior

Christian Miller, 6-4, 270, Junior

Taylor Lasecki, 6-3, 288, RS-Freshman

Christian Holloway, 6-5, 260, RS-Freshman

Ben Hughes, 6-4, 280, Junior

Sam Rice, 6-4, 290, Sophomore

Taylor Reich, 6-7, 315, Sophomore

Grade: C

Strengths: Athleticism, Potential

Weaknesses: Inexperience, Brute Strength

Synopsis

With only one senior among the group, this young offensive line will have to grow up fast. Spring ball should help them grow more accustomed to the offensive and add more muscle to their athletic frames. That one senior is Gottschalk, who must step in for Blake McJunkin as the leader of this group. Gottschalk performed admirably in his first year as a starter last season and did a respectable job protecting Garrett Gilbert's blindside.

The true budding star of this group is Lasecki, who anchored the line from the center position in 2012 and hardly ever made a mistake that cost the offense. Lasecki will once again dominate and the trenches and the thought of him continuing to grow and develop must be frightening for opposing defensive lines.

As stated there is a lot of potential here but also a lot of questions marks. Both guards will need to be replaced and right tackle will have a lot of competition. Christian Holloway is now officially listed on the roster as an offensive lineman, which is somewhat disappointing considering the lack of depth along the defensive line. He told us that he would be used as a tight end, but it appears he's destined to be a tackle.

Another intriguing player is Lowe, who was expected to start last season but came in out of shape and never played a down due to his poor academics. Lowe has since improved his status as a student and should be physically ready to compete against Myers and Reich.

What to Watch: Who will be the starting guards?

Rice appears to be the favorite to win one of the positions. He impressed in practice as a true freshman and nearly ended up earning a starting job last season when injuries plagued the position. The other guard spot is completely up for grabs. SMU's best bet is shifting Kris Weeks inside and seeing how he does this spring. Weeks looks like he's a solid 300 pounds after spending some much needed time in the weight room. Duhe will also be a candidate. After former coach Adrian Klemm told him he would never see the field, Duhe was used sparingly and even earned a start. While that's an accomplishment, Duhe struggled and doesn't appear to be the answer. But the experience could give him an edge. Look for Christian Miller and Ben Hughes to also get in the mix.

Breakout Player: Seaver Myers

If Lowe struggles once again, Myers should win the starting job at right tackles. He was impressive in practice last season as a true freshman and caught the eye of former coach Bob Palcic. Myers looks physically ready and was one of SMU's top recruits in the June Jones era. Remember, Myers turned down offers from schools such as Texas A&M, Colorado and Iowa State. He's tall tackle with a quick first step and deserves the chance to show what he's got.

Keep An Eye On: Taylor Reich

After missing the majority of 2012 with a broken leg, Reich surely hopes to stay healthy this spring and fight for a starting job. Myers needs to be careful because Reich could give him a run for his money. An extremely hard worker, Reich worked vigorously to recover from his injury and always seemed to be ahead of schedule. His attitude, work ethic and intelligence are al great compliments to his tremendous size.

Predictions:

- Weeks will transition to guard and become a starter

- Lowe will struggle again and become just another backup

- With Lowe out of the picture, Myers and Reich will battle for the starting right tackle job and entertain us with a heated competition

- Holloway will eventually be moved back to defense

- Christian Chamagua and/or Chauncey Briggs will impress and push for starting jobs earlier than expected

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