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Zips breakdown: OFFENSIVE LINE

By mrasor Published: June 4, 2007

Conventional wisdom has no importance when discussing the offensive line at Akron.
In 2005, a bunch of newcomers was expected to get first-year quarterback Luke Getsy killed. They gelled quickly and protected him well, along with allowing running back Brett Biggs to have a tremendous senior season.
Last season's line was full of experience -- and full of holes apparently. They couldn't pass block, run block or really do much of anything without getting flagged for a false start or holding penalty. And that's odd because two linemen earned postseason accolades: sophomore tackle Chris Kemme (All-MAC Second Team) and senior guard Andy Alleman (third-round NFL draft pick).
See what I mean about conventional wisdom?
Except for Kemme, who will start at left tackle, this year's line is almost completely new. The other tackle is Keith Huebner, whom says has "tremendous upside." I recall J.D. Brookhart praising the sophomore's progress over the spring, too.
At the guard are senior Mike Schepp and freshman Mike Ward. The latter won the job from Garrett Brewster over the spring. Brookhart also spoke highly of Ward, who began spring as the backup center. Schepp, meanwhile, spent last season as the backup left tackle.
Big Jim Holley will start his first season at center as a senior. The 6-foot-3, 300-pounder was Homecoming King in high school. I don't know much else about him.
I do know, however, that shotgun snaps were a pesky problem during spring. About one in three was errant -- not so faulty that it would have led to a turnover, but just bad enough to throw the quarterback out of his rhythm and cost the offense a split second.
Brookhart spent most of the spring emphasizing run blocking. By the end of the 15 practices, I'd say the Zips were pretty proficient at it. The challenge will be to glue these five guys together so they can protect a freshman or sophomore quarterback. My guess is that most early season passing plays will feature two tight ends or two backs to help with pass blocking. That's where depth at running back and tight end really helps the rest of the offense.
Although it would be nice to be optimistic about the inexperienced line, it's way too hard to say with certainty it will be good. Recent history has shown that.
The Akron Beacon Journal previewed the Zips' bid for national championships this week.
Three athletes -- Natalie Sako, Auston Papay and Stevi Large -- will shoot for All-American status (at least) in Sacramento.

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