Originally Published: Aug 24, 2010 4:50 PM CDT
As part of the buildup to the season, I am previewing a different position for the Cowboys every day or so on my blog.
If you dont count quarterback (one starter, Zac Robinson, and hes gone), the Cowboy offensive line lost more to graduation than any starting unit on the team. Four of five starters and 144 career starts. And it was not just the 6th overall pick in the NFL draft, Russell Okung. It was glue guys like Brady Bond, Andrew Lewis and Noah Franklin.
Only Lane Taylor is a returning starter and he was a surprise starter last year. The Cowboys are starting fresh with a new offense and four new starters on the o-line. I suppose that if youre breaking in four new guys up front, might as well install a new offense as well.
In golf they say that its easier to start a player from scratch than to try to break his old habits. I dont think its that way for offensive lineman. In fact I asked new coordinator Dana Holgorsen that questions, "is it easier to start from scratch with these guys?" He looked at me as if I had just asked him what that brown oblong thing with the laces was.
The Cowboys have three things going for them on the offensive line:
1. The new offense involves short passes which likely means lineman will not have to hold blocks as long as in, say, a dropback or zone-read passing scheme.
2. The last couple of recruiting classes has greatly boosted the Cowboys offensive line talent level. They may be inexperienced, but theyre deep.
3. Most importantly, they have one of the best in the business in Joe Wickline coaching them. Mike Gundy has frequently said of the o-line, I dont have to get too involved. I go over there and have complete trust that Coach Wickline will have the right guys out there in the right spots.
Having said all of that, there will likely be several spots along the line that have more than one player occupy them this season. Bear in mind that nearly all of these are interchangable. At the guard spots we will likely see Taylor and Jonathan Rush with talented Anthony Morgan, who was a JUCO transfer and played some last season and mammoth but slimmed-down Owasso redshirt freshman Brandon Webb also factoring in.
At tackle we will see Nick Martinez, a JUCO transfer who played in 12 games last season. Parker Graham certainly looks the part at 6-7 and 300 pounds. 6-6, 330 pound Levy Adcock will be in the mix.
Grant Garner looks to be the most solid choice to start at center, but Taylor could also see time there as could Casey LaBrue who transferred from Missouri State and is from Enid.
Up next: Wide Receivers.