Not so fast, my critical friends.

As James Earl Jones might say, There are just so many choices."/>

Purple Reign Preview - It All Starts - Part 3

Purple Reign Preview - It All Starts - Part 3

Some people might think the <b>Wildcats</b> are playing <b>"What's My Line?</b><br><br> Not so fast, my critical friends.<br><br> As James Earl Jones might say, <i>There are just so many choices.</i>

The Guard position is maybe the biggest question mark on the offense this year.
Its the one that has two new faces, and only one, maybe two identified backups. Of course, Coach Randy Walker made it easy after the Spring game by naming the favorites going into Camp Kenosha:
If we played tomorrow, I'd say Greg [RS So Greg Lutzen - #61 6-4 270 NU Photo right] and Ike [RS JR Ikechuku Ndukwe - #60 6-5 325 NU Photo below] are the two guards. I expect them to be very good for different ways and different reasons, but I think they can be very very good guards for us. [Randy Walker after the Spring Game]
But he put in a caveat - don't let down guys...
They need great summers, great separations, but you can't coach feet and you can't coach balance and they're big strong kids and they're both 3 and 4 year veterans and they're not rookies. I told both of them its your time, step up to the fight - its there take it.
besides as he's said, there are some other bodies rolling around camp...
But I think they'll get pushed. Its unfortunate that Joe Tripodi [6-3 280 NU Photo left] missed the Spring, he'll be back, in fact he's cleared to go now - wish he could have gone in the Spring.
Joe Tripodi is a heck of a football player. He did really a nice job last Fall. I fully expect him to battle those guys. Jim Devine will be in that mix.
And you were worried about the Guards...

Well, I'm a little worried, because we lost Jeff Roehl our "nasty" right guard to graduation and the NY Giants and our left guard to a graduation position change situation, and suddenly I think I see a potential clear blitz lane developing on both sides over two "rookie" guards. [and I'm sure a few defensive coordinators will think they see it too.]

However, the key to playing guard is hand/foot quickness, getting position on your man and making your blocking assignment. You also tend to want guards to be a little shorter than your tackles so the QB can see over them when they stand up [altho they're not supposed to be standing completely up - "low man wins" but I digress.

As a RS Junior, Ike Ndukwe has been playing his dues and playing with pain to earn a shot over on the left side - we've been hearing how he's battled for a position in camp, only to suffer a back injury each year. This should be his year, and we sure need his experience, potential and size over on the left side this year.

Not only do you have to protect the back of our right handed QB, the left side is a big running lane for the 'Cats - at 300+ lbs Ike could be a big factor in opening up holes for Jason Wright or Noah Herron in that slot come August 30th. Check out the picture we use for our preview logo - that's a shot of Noah runing thru that wide open left side.

Ike seems to be the guy to fill in now that Matt Ulrich has moved over to snap the ball.

Whoever wins out on the right side side has a slightly easier job. But the Wildcats seem to trap more over there, and depending on what happens with our tackles, we might be playing two new players over on the right , a very tricky situation for a young offensive line.

Greg Lutzen, a former Defensive End, brings those quick defensive line moves over to the front five. I'd expect right now, if you drew up the 2 deep, he's also backed up by Donnie Baskins [6-3 295 NU Photo left], then maybe Vince Clarke, Joe Tripodi and some others.

Of course the other guy who we haven't heard much about [he also was hurt during the spring] was Junior Scott Crohn. At 6-0 and 270 he's a little small for the Big 10, but then again I knew a kid who played 4 years, started 2 as an undersized left guard. He just had good feet and knew how to hold and not get caught. Might see Scott in the mix at guard this year too.

So there you have it - the guys on either side of the center. I hope you're encouraged.

Tomorrow we look what might be the other bright spot up front - if a certain student gets his "academics" in order - the Offensive Tackles


Projected 2003 Depth Chart:

Right Tackle Right Guard
Greg Lutzen
[6-4 270 So]
?Vince Clarke?
[6-5 300 So]
?Joe Tripodi?
[6-3 280 Fr]
Center
Matt Ulrich
[6-2 305 Jr]
Jim Devine
[6-3 280 Fr]
Vince Clarke
[6-5 300 So]
(Maybe) Trevor Rees/
Austin Matthews?
Left Guard
Ikechuklu Ndukwe
[6-5 325 Jr]
Donnie Baskins
[6-2 295 J
Left Tackle



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