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Positional Preview: Offensive Line

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Returning Players and Position

Billly Joe Murphy (Sr.) Starting Right Tackle

Chandler Burden (Sr.) Starting Left Tackle

Jake Lanefski (Sr.) Swingman Guard and Center

Stuart Hines (Sr.) Starting Left Guard

Larry Warford (Jr.) Starting Right Guard

Matt Smith (Jr.) Starting Center

Trevino Woods (Jr.) Tackle

Kevin Mitchell (So.) Guard

Sam Simpson (So.) Center and Guard

David Noltemeyer (R-Fr.) Right Guard

Max Godby (R-Fr.) Left Guard

Teven Eatmon-Nared (R-Fr) Tackle

Newcomers and notes

Darrian Miller (Fr.) Tackle

James Elliott (Fr.) Guard

Zach West (Fr.) Center

Players lost:

Brad Durham (Graduation)

Marcus Davis (Graduation)

Dave Ulinski (Medical)

Overview

The Offensive Line has now become the strength of the UK football program according to Joker Phillips. Last season there were many question marks with the unit, but Mike Summers came in and worked his magic. The 2010 Offensive Line ranked 2nd in the conference in sacks allowed (19) all season.

The 2011 Offensive Line returns four starters and several players who have a lot of game experience. The starters will be Chandler Burden (LT), Stuart Hines (LG), Matt Smith (C), Larry Warford (RG) and Billy Joe Murphy (RT). Jake Lanefski has become the units swing man and back-up center.

The leader of the unit is Stuart Hines, a Bowling Green native. While Hines has become the leader, Larry Warford is the best lineman on the team. Warford, a Richmond native, has received All-SEC honors and will have a chance to enter the NFL draft as a junior. Most people don’t think Warford will make the leap, but I wouldn’t rule it out either.

Chandler Burden came to UK has a defensive end before the staff moved him to left tackle. He has shown a lot of character, work ethic and determination in becoming the man who protects the quarterback’s blind side. Burden missed time this off-season due to a knee injury, but is now 100%.

Billy Joe Murphy played a huge role on the 2010 team. He backed up Burden and Brad Durham. Still, Murphy has started nine games in his career and Mike Summers has become a big fan.

There has been some concern about the starters missing a lot of time during camp. Don’t worry. These guys are getting their work in and will be fine. The staff doesn’t want to push them and risk an injury in a meaningless scrimmage when they know their starting unit is set. The scrimmages are giving the staff a chance to evaluate the younger guys and determine who they can call upon in the case of an injury.

Last season Matt Smith was able to beat out Jake Lanefski for the starting center job. Smith was learning to make the blocking calls at the line of scrimmage and will be more confident this season. Lanefski may not be a starter, but he will see a lot of action and will be very valuable in the event the Cats suffer an injury inside. Think of Lanefski as your back up quarterback on the offensive line.

In the 2010 class, the staff signed Teven Eatmon-Nared from Ohio. He redshirted last season, but has changed his body a ton under Rock Oliver. He also benefited from Burden’s injury and received a lot of reps in the spring. Eatmon is actually in a perfect scenario. He was able to come in as a true freshman, learn and get ready for his second year. He too will see action this fall, provide depth and gain valuable experience for the future.

Three other names to remember for fall are Trevino Woods, Sam Simpson and Kevin Mitchell. They were all listed at back-ups on the depth chart heading into fall camp. Also, walk-on’s Tyler Davenport, Max Godby and David Noltemeyer are listed on the three-deep depth chart. I don’t look for these guys to see serious action this fall, but we’ll have to keep an eye on them.

The Cats signed a dynamic trio of recruits in February. Darrian Miller, Zach West and James Elliott are all very impressive true freshmen. While I expected them all to redshirt, I wouldn’t be shocked if Darrian Miller doesn’t. Based on feedback, Miller is very explosive and has great feet. The staff loves his potential to become a tackle. Zach West turned down offers from Penn State and Tennessee to stay home and play for the Cats. He will likely redshirt and develop as a center. He spent time this summer working with Dermontti Dawson. James Elliott is thick, strong and will develop as an inside player.

While many people are concerned about the departures of Mike Hartline, Randall Cobb, Chris Matthews and Derrick Locke. I’m not. The Cats return a ton of experience on the offensive line and anyone who knows football understands the game is won at the line of scrimmage. This unit should be able to impose their will on teams, establish the running game and give Morgan Newton protection. While I like UK’s running backs, any of them should be able to run the ball behind this offensive line.

As always, you can check out my site, Bleed Blue Kentucky, or follow me on Twitter. You can also become a fan on Facebook for updates.

Article written by Aaron Cordero

11 Comments for Positional Preview: Offensive Line



  1. mdsd10
    3:05 pm August 22, 2011 Permalink

    yes sir.



  2. stevem
    3:13 pm August 22, 2011 Permalink

    How big are any of these people? Fans want to know.



  3. Wakecat
    3:25 pm August 22, 2011 Permalink

    I thought James Elliott was slated to be a Gray Shirt and show up next Spring. Did several other folks not making it to campus open a slot for him to join this Fall?
    Also Aaron, of the Freshman class, who did not make it. I know B. Tandy and D. Washington did not make it,but did some other Freshman fail to qualify. Finally, are Michael Bailey (S) and Mark Crawford (DT) eligible / on the team?



  4. Ghostofbearbryant
    3:38 pm August 22, 2011 Permalink

    Look forward to some UK OL boys in the NFL soon



  5. bigbluedude
    3:40 pm August 22, 2011 Permalink

    our offensive lineman always look fat, slow, and very un-athletic. hope this bunch is better



  6. Tanks fer Nuttin
    3:46 pm August 22, 2011 Permalink

    Good info Aaron, thanks.



  7. Catsfan
    3:47 pm August 22, 2011 Permalink

    If we have a true freshman, not named Michael Oher, starting at left tackle this year, we will be in a world of hurt when our conference games start.



  8. Cat fan
    4:04 pm August 22, 2011 Permalink

    The core of any good or well oiled offensive unit is The Offensive Linemen. When the linemen grad out at 90% during a game win will be the outcome. Shear size and strenght are not true indicators of a units potential. Just from preliminary info this team should be able to score consistently and with ease. I am truly anxious to get this season rolling! GO CATS!



  9. DooDoo
    4:58 pm August 22, 2011 Permalink

    5. Like ur momma?



  10. Hard Hittin CAT
    6:11 pm August 22, 2011 Permalink

    Having a group of guys like this should allow for us to be able to run the ball and control the tempo of the game. I personally love seeing us able to run for about 5 yards a pop with the other team unable to stop us. GO CATS!!!



  11. Chest Rockwell
    8:37 am August 23, 2011 Permalink

    Errata–Sam Simpson is a redshirt sophomore.