March 31, 2009

Spring Report - Offensive line

There will be a lot of areas that Bruin fans will be scrutinizing this spring the quarterback position comes to mind. The competition at running back and at wide receiver will also grab attention, but probably the position that will garner the most interest this spring will be the much maligned offensive line.

Unfortunately two players from the unit who were going to be counted on, right offensive guard Darius Savage and right offensive tackle Mike Harris will miss spring because of injuries. Both players started to pick it up last season and are being counted on to at least provide depth if not win starting jobs outright.

Since there are great number of offensive linemen we will break it down by the position the player in listed at on the spring camp depth chart.

At left tackle, junior Sean Sheller is listed No.1. He was all set to be a starter a year ago and by now most Bruin fans know the story of Sheller's ATV accident that sidelined him for the season and even put some doubt that he would ever play. Sheller worked his tail off to get ready by spring and he is looking good weighing in at 295. Just having Sheller back and healthy is going to be a big help for the Bruins.

Running behind him is walk-on redshirt freshman Brett Downey. This young man walked onto campus weighing in at 257 and with hard work, he is now tipping the scales at 285. He definitely looks the part of a left tackle with his lean and long build. He may end being a steal for the Bruins down the line and could earn a scholarship.

Lining up at the third spot is junior Brandon Bennett who came to the Bruins as a highly recruited player of the much ballyhooed offensive line class of 2006, but his issues with weight have hindered his growth as a player. His high school coach once said that if he was ever to gain control of his weight he had a big future, so far he has not been able to control his weight.

Lining up at the No. 1 left guard will be sophomore Jeff Baca, who played admirably well as a true freshman, even though he would have been better served redshirting. That he ended up starting out of position gives you an indication of the kind of shape the offensive line was in. Baca has been a workout warrior this offseason and now weighs 305 of solid muscle. Just having a healthy, stronger Baca playing inside will help the Bruins improve along the offensive front.

Running at the No. 2 left guard spot this spring will be senior Micah Kia. So far his career hasn't measured up to his vast potential. Granted, Kia's true senior season will be the first time, he has the same offensive line coach in consecutive seasons. This line would become exponentially better if the light turns on for Kia and he lives up to his promise. Kia has put in the work this offseason as he is now weighing 320.

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