A first look at 2008 - Offensive Line

Now that the Aggies have hired a new coach, what will he have to work with in 2008? Aggie Websider takes a look at the 2008 squad by position, beginning with the offensive line.

The Texas A&M offensive line entered the 2007 season touted as one of the top-five lines in the country by nearly every preseason magazine. But the group of seniors that had been with Franchione from day one never seemed to live up to the preseason attention as a unit.

Whether it was a matter of not getting the job done, or a lack of innovation in the play calling department, the Aggies were not able to run the ball as effectively as they did in 2006, nor were they able to provide consistent pass protection, which seemed to effect quarterback Stephen McGee even when he did have time to get the ball off.

So while Mike Sherman, who has spent 14 of the last 24 years coaching offensive lines will lose the experience of Corey Clark, Kirk Elder, Cody Wallace and Chris Yoder, he has a solid base to build around.

Returners Yemi Babalola, Michael Shumard and Travis Schneider will have to become the go to guys up front, and several youngsters will have to step up in spring practice and show that they're capable of taking over.

Redshirt freshmen Evan Eike and Danny Baker, both all-state offensive linemen in high school, are in an excellent situation to push for playing time in 2008, but returners Lee Grimes, Robbie Frost and Kevin Matthews will all have a chance to be impact players next year.

It's not an ideal situation in the trenches for the Aggies, but with Sherman's experience as an offensive line coach, the offensive line may benefit the most in the short term from the Sherman hire.

BOTTOM LINE:
It's going to be a rebuilding unit, although there are three solid veterans to build around. The success of the line depends on whether or not two or three youngsters can emerge out spring practice. If so, the line will be in good shape in 2008.

KEY RETURNERS (height, weight, 2008 classification)
Yemi Babaloala (6-4, 315, SR)
Michael Shumard (6-5, 309, JR)
Travis Schneider (6-8, 303, SR)
Kevin Matthews (6-4, 300, JR)
Lee Grimes (6-6, 339, JR)
Robbie Frost (6-6, 302, JR)

UNDERCLASSMEN WHO COULD STEP UP (height, weight, 2008 classification)
Evan Eike (6-5, 300, RS-FR) – Was rated the No. 43 guard in the nation by Scout.com and was second-team Class 5A all-state after paving the way for a 1,900-yard rusher as a senior at Bryan High School.

Danny Baker (6-5, 296, RS-FR) – Was rated one of the top offensive linemen in the state coming out of high school and was a second-team all-state selection.

KEY LOSSES (height, weight)
Corey Clark (6-6, 326)
Kirk Elder (6-5, 308)
Cody Wallace (6-4, 296)
Chris Yoder (6-3, 314)




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