Spring Blitz: Offensive line

The offensive line left many fans disgruntled with their play after the 2013 season, and they must improve heading into 2014. As much a question mark as the players is who will coach the offensive line this season.

OFFENSIVE LINE ROSTER
The Frogs offensive line is hoping for a turnaround to last season's overall performance.
Player
HT
WT
Class
Aviante Collins
6-6
285
Junior
Halapoulivaati Vaitai
6-6
308
Junior
Tayo Fabuluje
6-7
315
Senior
Bobby Thompson
6-6
310
Junior
Matt Pryor
6-7
350
RS Freshman
Eason Fromayan
6-5
280
RS Freshman
Joseph Noteboom
6-5
295
RS Freshman
Joey Hunt
6-3
295
Junior
Patrick Morris
6-3
288
Sophomore
Jamelle Naff
6-4
325
Junior
Brady Foltz
6-4
325
Junior
Lloyd Tunstill
6-4
305
Senior
Frank Kee
6-4
335
Junior
Chad Childs
6-5
300
Sophomore

UNIT RANKING: D

STRENGTHS: It's a new season
WEAKNESS: Experience


Prior is a mammoth OT at 6-7, 350-pounds
The offensive line was a major problem for the Frogs in 2013. There is no way to sugar-coat a season that was a constant struggle. How much the offensive line improves in 2014 will likely decide how many wins the Frogs add to their total. Aside from quarterback, the offensive line is the greatest unknown for the Frogs.

Tayo Fabuloje returns, but how much does Tayo want to play football? If he is hungry, he will anchor one side of the line. At 6'7, Tayo has long arms that are ideal for a dominant offensive lineman. It's an often overlooked trait, but long arms enable an offensive lineman to knock the defense off their initial surge. Presuming another starter at tackle is difficult given that the Frogs lost their best tackle, James Dunbar, to graduation. However, TCU will have a plethora of options. Matt Pryor, Frank Kee, "Big V" or Aviante Collins could fill that spot.

At guard, Eric Tausch is gone, and Joey Hunt could move from center to guard. The Frogs have a variety of question marks at the guard position. Will Tunstill be a factor? Has Patrick Morris improved? Can Brady Foltz contribute? Is Bobby Thompson as good as he showed in the Frogs' final game against Baylor? Will Jamelle Naff step up? None of these questions can be answered until the players hit the field in the Spring and Fall. All those questions must be answered, and 1-2 players must step up given the obvious need at guard. Too many nascent players fill the Frogs depth chart along the offensive line.

Furthermore, Eddie Williamson may, or may not, coach the offensive line in 2014. If Williamson opts to retire, Jarrett Anderson is the likely replacement.

What to watch: Which newcomer will step-up?

Austin Schlottmann was an underrated signee in the 2014 class, and he may be the newcomer most ready to step up. He can play any position across the offensive line, and he couples good footwork with raw strength. Ty Barrett was the higher rated player in the class, but his film suggests that he may take longer to adjust to the college level. Frank Kee has the size needed to play in the Big 12, but he must show that he has the quickness and footwork to stay in front of smaller players. Adding a player of his size to the offensive line is ideal.

Breakout player: Bobby Thompson


Kee should compete for an immediate starting position
I'm buying what we saw from Thompson in the final game of the year against Baylor. I think he has the size and experience to become a reliable member of the starting line. The 6'6 rising junior has been in the system longer, and he has more knowledge about the speed of the college game than do some other players whom he will compete against.

Keep an eye on: Jamelle Naff and Lloyd Tunstill

Both players have been a constant tease for fans so far in their career. The time is now for one of them to step up. At 6'4, 325 pounds Tunstill has the body to be successful. Tunstill is 6'4, 305, and after redshirting his first year on campus, many are curious to see what the Frogs have in Tunstill. He was an all-conference selection both seasons at College of the Canyons.

Spring predictions:

-Bobby Thompson emerges as a likely starter.
-Matt Pryor or Frank Kee emerge as a strong contender to start at one tackle spot.
-Fans continue to worry about the viability of the offensive line in 2014.


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