Position Preview: Offensive Line

Pony Stampede's latest position preview is of the SMU offensive line. Scott previews the big boys up front here!

2013 Recap: The offensive line group in 2013 was inconsistent to say the least. The line, led by two-year starter Taylor Lasecki, had trouble developing a consistent run game and was inconsistent when it came to protecting Garrett Gilbert from pass rushers. With only two returning starters from 2012, the group struggled to find a consistent starting 5 guys that could gel together, and continuously hurt the offense with their penalties. Towards the end of the season, the offensive line did play some of their best football, including games against Memphis, Temple and Cincinnati where they allowed one, none and two sacks, respectively.

Around mid-season, Lasecki, along with Ben Hughes, Ben Gottschalk, Chauncey Briggs and Kris Weeks developed camaraderie and developed into a solid starting group. While their pass protection progressed over the course of the season, their run blocking never developed. The Mustangs’ runners averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and 93.8 yards per game, good enough for 120th in Division 1. One of the biggest disappointments of the season was Texas transfer Thomas Ashcraft who was expected to start and be a valuable contributor, but ended up only starting in one game.

2014 Preview: The offensive line returns 3 starters and will likely insert talented guard Daniel McCarty and once-touted offensive-tackle-turned-guard Seaver Meyers. This group has the potential to make huge strides from last season, and could be a strong point of the offense. The key for this unit will be limiting mental errors to help cut down on penalties, and maximizing pass protection to give newcomer Neal Burcham the time he needs to read through his progressions. If this group struggles, don’t be surprised to see Bozidar Antunovic get some playing time at right tackle, with the possibility of moving Lasecki to guard and inserting greyshirt freshman William Barns at center. Incoming freshman Evan Brown could also see some playing time if the unit struggles to protect Burcham.

Unknown to Watch: Despite transferring from the UT-Arlington track program, Bozidar Antunovic, or “Bo”, is the most athletic lineman according to Head Coach June Jones and has a ton of upside if he can continue to put on the weight he needs to play in the trenches. Antunovic is very raw, but his athletic ability could help him recover from any mistakes he might make. If Kris Weeks or Briggs struggles, Antunovic could get thrown into the mix.

Star of the Group: Two-year starter Taylor Lasecki is the anchor of this offensive line and will play a pivotal role in Burcham’s development over the season. Despite having some of his own pass protection struggles in 2013, Lasecki is easily the Mustangs’ most important offensive lineman and his veteran presence will be key for the development of new starts McCarty and Meyers.

Pony Stampede Depth Chart:

Left Tackle
71 – Chauncey Briggs (6-5, 295, SO-1L, West Bloomfield, Mich.)
79 - Seaver Meyers (6-6, 290, SO-SQ, Friendswood, Texas)

Left Guard
79 - Seaver Meyers (6-6, 290, SO-SQ, Friendswood, Texas)
62 - Travis Fister (6-3, 270, FR-RS, Tuscon, Ariz.)

52 - Taylor Lasecki (6-3, 296, JR-2L, Frisco, Texas)
51 - William Barns (6-3, 260, FR-HS, Dallas, Texas)

Right Guard
67 - Daniel McCarty (6-4, 285, SO-SQ, San Antonio, Texas)
74 - Christian Chamagua (6-6, 295, SO-1L, Manvel, Texas)

Right Tackle
75 - Kris Weeks (6-5, 310, JR-2L, Sachse, Texas)
78 – Bozidar Antunovic (6-6, 270, JR-TR, Indjija, Serbia)

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