We've already profiled the Pokes' defensive starters in three weeks of enthralling position features that ranged from analytically brilliant to downright ridiculous. (And don't feel bad if you missed a story or two and can't tell us which were which [brilliant and ridiculous, that is]; my grandpa still can't figure out how to log on to the site.)
Today we finish off our most audience-engaging week of position profiles: the offensive linemen. And I say "audience-engaging" for at least three reasons:
(1) Because it is one adjective made from two words that make up one word which some people might not even consider a word at all, which is right on par with what some of my main goals are as a professional journalist,
(2) Because one of our features this week sparked the most animated message board discussion that we've had since JonInFlorence tried (much to the chagrin of this site's more purist Cowboys fans) to the use the forum for his own personal, non-sports related opinions, and…
(3)Because I have big plans for this last story, which, regardless of the kind of reaction you may or may not have upon reading it, breaks the mold of our last two profiles in that I make at least four semi-subliminal references to my grandpa and only use the word "inexperienced" approximately 17 times as opposed to our usual 40+ in the other OL features.
Either way, after tonight's story, we are down to just three weeks of profiling left before September 1, and we'll need to get through a talented group of receivers (which includes a slew of productive returning starters), a squad of established running backs (who now have some added help from a couple exciting freshman) and a quarterback group that arguably shows as much promise as the team has displayed at the position in the last decade. Meanwhile, we'll still be bringing you weekly recruiting updates…and somewhere down the line, someone is going to have to show my grandpa how to log on. We'll try not to let you down.
For now, though, it's on to the center position.
Anchoring the middle of this year's line is 6-foot-4, 296-pound Tim Bond. Last year, Bond started all 12 games of the season—nine at right guard and three at the center position in place of injured senior Jason Karcher.
During the 2006 season, he was the only first time starter on the O-line. This year, he'll be one of only two returning starters, and the Cowboys will be looking to his experience (along with that of OT Kyle Howard) to help the rest of the unit's members fulfill their respective duties. In fact, Bond's experience extends beyond 2006; during the spring of '05, he earned himself the backup spot behind center Drew Severn and logged valuable minutes in that role. Even as a high school senior, Bond gained tremendous leadership skills, making all the offensive line calls for his unit.
His versatility may be his most attractive asset, and the big junior could move over a spot if the three youngsters currently anchoring the guard positions struggle in '07. If coaches don't like that idea, they can always put him in charge of administering noogies when fellow teammates miss their blocking assignments…which, as we all know, is the best way to get anything done.
At 296 pounds, Bond will be big enough to bust open a few holes for the Pokes' two talented and seasoned running backs, Wynel Seldon and Devin Moore, but we expect him to be light enough on his feet to be an effective pass blocker as well.
Bond may be the most talented of the Cowboys' '07 offensive linemen and has already garnered national attention. He was one of less than 50 players in the country to be named to the Rimington Trophy Preseason Watch List this last spring. The trophy is given out at the end of each season to the nation's top center.
In high school, Bond earned 2nd Team All-State (Arizona), 1st Team All-City and 1st Team All-Region honors as a senior.
Look for him to open a lot of holes up front in 2007 as one of the line's most consistent producers.
Bond's 2007 Keys to Success:
1. Leadership. For the O-line to be successful in 2007, it's going to take a lot of work from the two experienced, returning starters. Bond will have to show his younger teammates the ropes, all the while proving to be a worthy performer at his own position. I'm not saying the squad isn't talented or that it won't be successful, but any time a unit is this young, there is pressure on the more experienced players to step up and lead the others along.
2. Don't get injured. While the Cowboys have enough depth to replace Bond if they had to, the most likely solution to a Bond-injury would involve moving current starting guard Russ Arnold over and giving his co-starter Jack Tennant full-time responsibilities at the right guard position. This would put a ton of pressure on three extremely green guards to step up and perform beyond the already high expectations coaches have for them. And with backup center Erik Kottom choosing not to return this season, if one of the other members of the line goes down, the Cowboys might have to start letting my grandpa suit up as a rotating substitute (and he might forget to turn up his hearing aids in the huddle). Then again, the sky could always fall down and ruin the entire season anyway…do we worry too much on this site?
P.S. Just a little reminder to all our registered users out there: Tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of our "Buy One Get One" promotion. Check it out on the front page. If you purchase a subscription any time in the next 24 hours, you'll get one month of premium service absolutely free!
P.P.S. I should add that the promotion could also come in handy for those of you already subscribed to the site. If you are a monthly or 6-month subscriber, just upgrade to an annual subscription by tomorrow at 11:59 p.m. PST and get one free month tacked on to the end of your year's service. It may not come in handy for those of you still trying to figure out how to log on, however. You know who you are.
P.P.P.S. I really don't have anything to add here, but I haven't had a chance to type P.P.P.S. in a published article before.
O-line at a Glance: Tim Bond
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