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A look at the offensive line

Unit returns all five starters

August 3, 2009 · Athletic Communications

HEADLINES
Key Losses: None

Key Returnees: RT Mark Fisher and C Mark Thompson

Battle to Watch: With added depth on the line, competition has definitely been upgraded so there is not just one particular battle. The best battles to watch this fall will be between Mark Thompson and Jake Padrick at center, Brandon McLeroy and Colin Boss to try to crack one of the guard spots, and Alex Stuart and Jamal Lewis for the other guard position. Everything is tougher in the trenches, so keep a sharp eye on the developments here as September rolls closer.

Spring Standout: Junior Mark Fisher displayed consistency with everything he did. His pass protection was tops on the team, and he really improved in his run blocking which was a necessity. Guard Alex Stuart also received recognition for his play.

Coach Jimmy Ray Stephens on the offensive line
"We will be much more experienced this year with all of our linemen returning and should have more depth. We are still a young group with only one senior, but most of these guys have gained game experience. We should have competition at every position in the fall, which will only make our group better. Injuries have plagued us the past two years, so if we can get a little luck in that regard I believe we have a pretty good unit."

PLAYERS
Left Tackle
MIKE WILLIAMS (r-Sophomore) - Is the most athletic lineman on the team ... Can run, has good quickness, and is a competitor ... Is small for a tackle and needs to gain size and strength ... Needs to be more consistent.

JEREMY MICHEL (r-Junior) - Sat out last year after transferring so he is still an unknown ... Has the athleticism to play but needs to gain game experience ... Gaining strength in the offseason is a priority.

Left Guard
JAMAL LEWIS
(r-Junior) - A two-year starter with a wealth of experience ... His biggest asset is his strength ... Needs to improve his footwork, pad leverage, and flexibility.

EVON LETTSOME (r-Junior) - A player who provides solid depth and good size ... Needs to improve his foot speed and aggressiveness.

COLIN BOSS (r-Sophomore) - A five-game starter as a freshman last year who was limited in spring drills following shoulder surgery ... Has lost weight but needs to lose more during the summer to be effective ... Should compete for playing time at one of the guard spots.

Center
MARK THOMPSON
(r-Senior) - The lone senior who has the most game experience of any lineman on the team ... Can play any position on the line because of his intelligence ... Has the ability to make all the calls ... Needs to improve pad leverage and aggressiveness.

JAKE PADRICK (r-Sophomore) - Missed the past two seasons because of injuries so staying healthy is key ... Joins Mark Fisher as the team's most physical lineman ... Has all the tools and can push for a starting job at center or guard ... Just needs game experience.

Right Guard
ALEX STUART
(Sophomore) - Was the most improved lineman in the spring after playing in 11 games as a true freshman ... Plays with good pad leverage and has a good punch in pass protection ... Needs more game experience and be more consistent with his assignments.

BRANDON MCLEROY (Sophomore) - Was limited in spring practice following shoulder surgery ... A potential starter in the fall who has a Division I body with excellent lower-body strength ... At the end of last year, he was one of the best linemen on the team as a true freshman ... Needs to improve upper-body strength.

Right Tackle
MARK FISHER
(Junior) - The top lineman on the team in terms of the total package with a good combination of strength, speed, quickness, and intelligence ... A physical and intelligent player who is very coachable.

CHRIS HAWKINS (r-Junior) - A versatile player who can play center, guard, or tackle ... Will serve in a backup role at tackle because of the low numbers at the position ... Needs to improve leg strength and pad leverage.

Returners
50 Colin Boss (r-So., OG)
74 Mark Fisher (Jr., OT)
75 Chris Hawkins (r-Jr., OT)
62 Evon Lettsome (r-Jr., OG)
70 Jamal Lewis (r-Jr., OG)
*Brian Lorman (r-Fr., OT)
60 Brandon McLeroy (So., OG)
57 Jeremy Michel (r-Jr., OT)
71 Jake Padrick (r-So. , C)
65 Alex Stuart (So., OG)
72 Mark Thompson (r-Sr., C)
78 Mike Williams (r-So., OT)

Newcomers
58 Jesse Grisham (Fr., C)
76 Jordan Johnson (Fr., OT)
77 Josh Walker (Fr., OT)
*Non-scholarship

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