Spring Preview: Offensive Line

Taking a look at an offensive line that is replacing multiple starters

The Candidates

Siaosi Aiono
Due to injuries on the offensive line in 2012, Aiono got a lot more playing time than what was expected from the redshirt freshman. Aiono provides the Utes with a young, athletic tackle which has the ability to be a very good tackle in the Pac-12. Though only a redshirt sophomore, Aiono will come in with a lot more experience/talent than an average sophomore would. With the underclassman title still attached to him, Aiono is somebody who's development is still very much in process. Look for Aiono to surprise a lot of defenses this year while starting at right tackle.

Andrew Albers
At 6'8"300 pounds, Albers provides the Utes with a very big body that will come in and compete for a starting spot from day 1. After coming to Utah out of Costa Mesa high school, Albers decided to take a step away from the game of football for a little bit but ended up getting back into the game and attended Orange Coast College where he earned second-team all-southern conference honors as a sophomore. With 2 years of eligibility and a redshirt year still available, Ute fans should be excited to watch this kid for the next few seasons.

J.J. Dielman
Dielman is a young, talented player that still needs to put on a bit for size to compete for a starting spot. While the talent is there, if Dielman is able to put on a little bit more weight there is a load of potential in this kid. While he may not make much noise early in the season, or this season at all, the future is very bright for him and will be a key contributor for the Utes down the road.

Kala Friel
Joining the Utah program in 2009 as a walk-on and eventually going on an LDS mission, Friel has since earned a scholarship for the display of his ability on the field. Friel is a player who could most definitely see time on the offensive line this season as a projected backup.

Vyncent Jones
As a starter at multiple spots on the line last year, Jones should have a much more consistent year as to what position he will be playing. It is almost certain that Jones will be the starting center in the 2013 season. With a good amount of experience under his belt, Jones will be an excellent leader for this offensive line.

Carlos Lozano
Lozano is a massive kid who weighed around 400 pounds when he first came to Utah. After training this past season to get himself to a better playing weight, Lozano has trimmed down to about 360 pounds. With Lozano's size alone, it is easy to see why so many are very high about his ability to play on the offensive line. If Lozano can control his weight and continue to train hard, he may very well be on that starting line when the season comes.

Daniel Nielson
One thing the Utes have been stressing that past couple seasons is depth, and depth is what Nielson provides for the program. While only a freshman in the 2012 season, Nielson proved that he is a promising player that should develop very well. From what I've seen from Nielson, I think he's best suited at the tackle position. I'm not sure Nielson will grab one of the starting spots during this season unless injuries occur, but he does provide the Utes with a solid player that will be ready for when his number is called upon.

Jeremiah Poutasi
With the 2012 season under his belt, Jeremiah will look to add to his impressive freshman season in 2012. After playing right tackle last season, look for Jeremiah to make the move to left tackle this season. With a 6'5", 350 pound frame. Jeremiah has tremendous size and ability to be a great left tackle for the Utes and protect the QB's blind side.

Marc Pouvave
Coming off a torn Achilles tendon which sidelined him for the 2012 season, Pouvave is a player that the Utes missed very much last season. Pouvave is an experienced player who has a great chance at being a starter for the Utes. Pouvave is one of the offensive linemen to keep your eyes on during spring practices to see how he has come back from his injury. The talent is definitely there, the only thing that worries me is how the injury may have affected him

Junior Salt
Coming off a broken foot which sidelined Salt for the 2012 season, Salt will most likely end up playing on the offensive line for Utah. With the ability to play on both offensive and defensive line, Salt is very talented on both sides of the ball. With Salt starting at right guard, this adds an extremely talented and reliable player to the offensive line. Salt has an extremely high ceiling, if he lives up to even close to what Utah expects from him, Salt has all-conference potential.

Percy Taumoelau
Percy is one player that may see some time with the starting offensive line in the 2013 season. While I don't think his ceiling is as high as others are, he is a good solid player that provides the Utes with somebody they can count on when his number is called. I personally don't see him winning a starting spot once the season rolls around, but with that being said, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if he did win a starting role.

Jeremiah Tofaeono
Coming off the 2012 season which was hampered by an injury, Tofaeono looks to be the starting left guard for the 2013 season. As a will be senior, Tofaeono would be a solid guard for the Utes. Pairing up with Poutasi on the left side, Travis Wilson has a good couple of guys to protect his blind side.

Projected Depth Chart Going Into Spring
Left Tackle
Jeremiah Poutasi
Andrew Albers

Left Guard
Jeremiah Tofaeono
Marc Pouvave

Center
Vyncent Jones
Hiva Lutui

Right Guard
Junior Salt
Marc Pouvave

Right Tackle
Siaosi Aiono
Percy Taumoelau

What needs to happen
While Utah's offensive line was cursed by the injury bug in 2012, Utah cannot afford for the same to happen in 2013. With a projected very solid starting offensive line, the Utes will need these players to stay healthy and provide Travis Wilson enough time in the pocket to analyze the field. With the spread offense fully coming back to the program, the Utes are going to spread the ball around and go back to the high-tempo offense which got them to two BCS bowls just a short time ago. With the projected starters looking good on paper, the backups will need to be ready to step in and play when their numbers are called. Injury-prone Latu Heimuli will need to become a reliable player that will provide the Utes with the performance that the program knows he can provide. If Heimuli can stay healthy, he is the player that I can see breaking into the starting lineup sometime in the 2013 season.

Projected Starters Coming Out of Spring
Left Tackle
Jeremiah Poutasi

Left Guard
Jeremiah Tofaeono

Center
Vyncent Jones

Right Guard
Junior Salt

Right Tackle
Siaosi Aiono

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