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07' Offensive Line - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

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07' Offensive Line - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

OFFENSIVE LINE

As avid Burrowing Birds fans know, so goes the offensive line, so goes the BBs offense. In those years when the line has been filled with rookies and/or decimated by injuries, FAU struggles mightily (see 2002 and 2005 and stretches of 2006).

While the BBs are primed for a breakout season in 2007, if the line falters, the impact will be felt.

Starters returning: Nick Paris, Jarrid Smith, John Rizzo, Brandon Jackson.

Starters lost: Nello Faulk, Antes Perkins

Backups returning: Lavoris Williams, David Matlock, Jarrett McDonald

Backups lost: None

I know that four starters returning and two starters lost adds up to six, but the line was shuffled a lot this year, and Perkins started the season as backup but ended up a starter, so we?ll go with six.

Faulk (6-7, 270) and Perkins (6-4,286) are literally and figuratively big losses. The duo were both forced into action as true freshmen, which is not good for offensive linemen, especially in this offense, which is complicated and requires the bulk, strength and speed to run block and pass protect with equal skill. According to coaches, Perkins, who started the season as backup, was actually playing as well or even slightly better than Faulk by the end of the season.

The good news is center Paris is expected to be fully recovered from his broken leg by the time spring practice begins. Brandon Jackson will also be back, though he was suspended for four games this season, meaning he can?t be counted on unless he matures quickly. Rizzo is quite a story, a walk-on who was starting by the end of 2005 as a true freshman and had another strong season in 06, playing through some tough injuries.

Smith will be a senior, the only one, and should be the leader, but there is a concern he may not be back. Smith is as good a student as he is a football player, and will graduate this spring, and could decide to take his degree and enter the work world. Word is he is leaning toward returning, especially knowing how good FAU could be next season. If Smith does not come back, the line takes another big hit.

Injuries and suspensions allowed some young backups to get a lot of playing time, especially David Matlock at center, who did well in place of Paris. Lavoris Williams and Jarrett McDonald also got a lot of quality time and did OK.

Quite a group redshirted last year, included these two heavyweights: Ryan Wischnefski (6-2, 310) and Dennis Bowling (6-3, 313).

The Voice said he expects the line to be the ?equivalent? of this year?s line, and possibly better by the end of the season. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement, but a truthful one. That said, this unit is probably the shakiest going into next season, which is not comforting, and could be the only unit not to show significant improvement.

Outlook: Fair to Good

Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton



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07' Offensive Line - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

I'm excited about seeing Wischnefski and Bowling play next year. Both were highly thought of recruits. Plus it is great to see that us recruiting linemen with true D-IA size. By the end of the season next year, we should have the best offensive line we have ever had.
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07' Offensive Line - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton


fauowls44 said

I'm excited about seeing Wischnefski and Bowling play next year. Both were highly thought of recruits. Plus it is great to see that us recruiting linemen with true D-IA size. By the end of the season next year, we should have the best offensive line we have ever had.

Ditto…i like his commentary, but im gonna go a little different on the outlook for the O-line…these guys had a whole year to learn the system - unlike Faulk and Perkins who were thrown into the fire as true freshman…that makes a BIG difference…i think the O-line will be a nice surprise…as you stated, we arguably have the most talented line thus far in the program's history…

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07' Offensive Line - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

Sounds pretty good. The O-line has really been the achilles heel of this team for a while. It will be nice to have a good one in place. How long until kickoff 2007?? I am getting hungry for some Owl football. GO OWLS!!!

You can run kitties, but you can't hide!!!
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07' Offensive Line - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

The only worry is if it struggles early. We need to one or two nonconference wins next year if we want it to be a true successful season.

Even if we win every sunbelt game our RPI would only be in the 80's.If we win seven games next year and go 0-5 in the OCC, winning five out of seven games come against teams that have an RPI of 95-119 doesn't impress people much.

Wins against USF, Kentucky, Oak State should be conceivable. Minnesota and Florida are still pipe dreams.
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07' Offensive Line - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton


Exit39 said

Minnesota and Florida are still pipe dreams.

Two things:

Schellenberger smoked a PIPE for like 40 years…who better to dream? ;)

Secondly, Minnesota STUNK this year…how much better will they be next year…when they lost Maroney, they went down the tubes…

Ill have to agree with you that (at this point in development) Florida is a stretch, but Minnesota im going to politely disagree…untill i see something out of them other than the season they put up last year, its a winnable game…
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07' Offensive Line - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton


Florida_Owl said

Exit39 said

Minnesota and Florida are still pipe dreams.


Secondly, Minnesota STUNK this year…how much better will they be next year…when they lost Maroney, they went down the tubes…

Ill have to agree with you that (at this point in development) Florida is a stretch, but Minnesota im going to politely disagree…untill i see something out of them other than the season they put up last year, its a winnable game…

Minnesota wasn't very good this year, but they still made a bowl. They will bounce back and have a pretty solid year next year. They have had a serious power running attack for the past 6-7 years. Maroney wasn't the only guy for them. Before him they had Marion Barber III among others. Pinnix didn't meet expectations this year. Next year they will be better. GO OWLS!!!

You can run kitties, but you can't hide!!!
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07' Offensive Line - Sun Sentinel/Ted Hutton

We might catch them in an off year (Minn) have to see what develops over the summer for them.
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