August 1, 2010

Positional breakdown: Offensive Line

Heading into the 2010 football season one of the positions that will be watched closely on the offensive side of the ball for the Houston Cougars is the offensive line. As the quality of play from the Cougars lineman continues to increase, the Cougars staff will have tougher decisions on who should play and second year offensive line coach will continue to push his group of guys to get the most from them

Going into training camp the probable starters that are in place are sophomore Jacolby Ashworth at left tackle, senior Isaiah Thompson at left guard, senior Jordan Shoemaker at center, junior Chris Thompson at right guard and senior Roy Watts at right tackle.
Newcomer to the offensive side of the ball, former defensive tackle Isaiah Thompson looked good in spring drills and showed that he was able to handle the job. Redshirt freshman Kevin Forsch however will push the senior in training camp for playing time. As with every other spot on the field in the Cougars coaching staff's minds, the best player will play.

Also pushing for playing time on the left side will be senior Jaryd Anderson who played extremely well last year as he started four games at left guard and appeared in every game for the Cougars.

The right side of the line seems a little more solid with last year's starters Chris Tompson and Watts back, but this will be a year you start to see the Cougar's depth starting to pay dividens as a pair of redshirt freshman will start to see the field. Ty Cloud and Ralph Oragwu will likely start to see plenty of reps in order to start preparing the for their future rolls once Watts and Thompson move on.

Blake Sargent will once again be the primary back up at the center position and the sophomore from Friendswood will look to continue his development for when senior Shoemaker leaves.

With three redshirt freshman that have clearly benefitted from the year in Coach Larry Jackson's strength and conditioning program likely to start seeing some playing time this year, the slow task of building offensive line depth will start to show. Cloud, Oragwu and Forsch are up to 324, 315 and 303 respectively and will start to develop more this season with playing time in order to fill holes. In a perfect world for head coach Kevin Sumlin and staff none of the four incoming freshmen this year will have to play. Bryce Redman, Chris Hill, Rowdy Harper and Austin Lunsford could all use the head start afforded last year's freshman and hopefully will get it.

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