July 9, 2011

Preseason position breakdown; The Hog Mollies

Louisiana Tech went to the junior college ranks in the 2010 recruiting class to find immediate help and depth for their offensive line. Those players were plugged in to the depth chart immediately and some could push for playing time this season, and lots of it.

A quick glance at the starting offensive line on the post-spring depth chart and every name is familiar to Tech fans. The left tackle has played nearly every position on the line at some point in his career, Kris Cavitt. At left guard, Kevin Saia received his first career start as a true freshman at LSU in 2009 and has been there ever since. Center, Stephen Warner, has been a staple for Tech for what seems like an eternity and is only a Junior. The newest name of the bunch is right guard Vince Cano who is a redshirt junior. Right tackle, Jordan Mills, started at left tackle much of his freshman year in 2009. In 2010, Sonny Dykes' staff decided to move him to right tackle and he played a backup role most of the season.

Having an offensive line that has experience is one of the most important aspects of a successful football team.

Each backup along the line has seen playing time at the college or junior college level.

Many of the backups along the line are those former junior college players Tech signed in the 2010 class. Those are left tackle Larry Banks, Junior College All-American Jeremy Grafree at left guard, and a possible starter at right guard the monstrous Oscar Johnson. The primary concern of junior college lineman is their conditioning and that is why the summer strength and conditioning program with Coach Damon Harrington is so important.

Redshirt sophomore Matthew Sheppard[/db] will be the backup center this season. If the spring is any indication though, Sheppard needs to work on his snaps. During the spring, he struggled with high snaps and off target snaps. If Warner goes down, Tech could be in trouble at the Center position.

Houston Lantrip will back up Mills to start the season at right tackle. Lantrip was a rare junior college transfer after his freshman year. He is a raw powerful offensive lineman that will be a quality backup for Mills.

The offensive line for Tech should allow whichever quarterback wins the starting job to feel comfortable knowing that the protection will be there in front of them.

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