Bicknell Confident in Bulldog Offensive Line
Updated Aug 24, 2004 16:11:05
RUSTON - Sleepless nights have been the norm for Louisiana Tech head coach Jack Bicknell leading up and into fall camp.
With the graduation of four-year starters at quarterback, place-kicker and punter, Bicknell has had plenty to worry about as his team prepares for its season opener against Nevada Sept. 6 in Ruston.
However, one area of this year's squad that the New England native isn't too concerned with is on the offensive line where all five starters return from a season ago.
"Obviously, it's important," said Bicknell about having all five letter winners return. "At that position, experience is critical. Those guys have seen every twist and blitz imaginable. It's unusual to have five starters returning on the line; we're fortunate. I'm confident knowing that these guys have been up against the best teams in the country."
Much of running back Ryan Moat's success last year was due to the job done by tackles Adrian Gonzalez and Lester Brown, guards Aaron Lips and Jordan Lang and center Marcus Stewart. The five paved the way for Moats to rush for 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging an incredible 6.5 yards per carry.
Bicknell is confident that this group will be one of the strengths to this year's team. "We have some good size up front," said Bicknell of a group that weighs 300 pounds or more at each position. "Obviously, run blocking will be critical this year. They have to open some holes and they have to protect our quarterback."
As pleased as the sixth-year Bulldog boss is of his starters, he is just as happy about the depth at the position. The current two-deep for Tech on the O-line includes tackles Ryan Considine and Tyler Miller, guards Ira Horyna and Marcus Lindsey and center Jacob Peeler.
"I think we have some guys that can play," Bicknell said of the second teamers. "From one through 10, this is the deepest group we've had since I've been here. I wouldn't be afraid to play any of them at any time."
Lindsey, a sophomore from Wossman High School, was highly touted out of high school but has struggled with weight issues since arriving on the Tech campus. However, Bicknell said he still likes the young man's potential.
"I think he is going to be a good player," Bicknell said. "He is big and physical. When he gets on a block, the opposing player is in trouble. He still has to lose some weight if he wants to help himself; however, he moves as well as any 380-pound guy can."
Tech will practice twice on Wednesday with 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. sessions.