Rams Look To Build Line From Inside Out
Statistically, Things Can Only Improve For The Boys Up Front
Lots Of Questions At Offensive Tackle Position
An offensive line is pretty much judged by two statistics, rushing yards and sacks given up. In 2018 Colorado State ranked 123rd (out of 130 teams) in rushing and gave up some 30 sacks. One would figure that things can only go up from there but stranger things have happened.
Before the 2017 New Mexico Bowl, offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Will Friend packed up and headed to Tennessee to be the new offensive line coach for his old roommate and new Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
He missed the bowl game and a veteran Rams offensive line gave up five sacks in that one game to bring their total for the year to 13. Several factors lead to the offensive line’s continued decline in 2018 but one thing is certain, Friend was missed.
Coming into 2019, the Rams offensive line has a lot to prove and they have a couple of things going for them. First, offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Dave Johnson is back for his second year and second, head coach Mike Bobo’s health has improved and it will hopefully continue to improve and he won’t have to miss a good portion of fall camp like he did a season ago. Both of these will be key when you factor in that the current offensive line has a grand total of 26 starts between them.
Redshirt sophomore guard Barry Wesley figures to be a big part of the Rams offensive success this season. He started six games a year ago and at 6’6” and 310 lbs, he could very well be confused for a part of the Rocky Mountains. He will be joined by senior Jeff Taylor and junior center Scott Brooks on the interior of the line. Between the tackles running was not a strong suit for Colorado State last year, even with a bruiser of back in Izzy Matthews. That has to improve if the Rams are to find a balance on offense and possibly get back to bowl eligibility.
The tackle spots are more of a question mark. Two JUCO transfers are penciled in right now (TJ Storment and Keith Williams) but there are several redshirt freshmen and sophomores who could get a shot on the edge. We’ll know more when fall camp starts and we see who is getting a chance at the position. Of course, injuries always play a factor but look for opposing teams early in the season to come up with all kinds of exotic blitzes to test the edges of the Rams line.
Colorado State’s offensive line could not get much worse from a year ago but then again, maybe it can. Truth is that the group may possess a lot of talent but it’s young and inexperienced. Guys haven’t played together that much. If the current strongest part of the line, the guards, can hold things together in the first two games or so and some cohesion can occur, then by the time the Rams hit Mountain West Conference play, they’ll be good to go. That is the best case scenario.