Bull Futures is a series of pieces about players who have given a verbal commitment to Buffalo this season.
The offensive line, under the leadership of first year coordinator Alex Wood, did improve their run blocking which helped propel Brandon Oliver to a record breaking season. They did not, however, provide solid enough pass protection for the second straight year under Coach Jeff Quinn.
Quinn's purported specialty was offensive lines. Before the Bulls kicked off their his first season Quinn had already stitched up three offensive line commitments. This past off season things things moved at close to that speed. So far Quinn has three offensive lineman this season and one, Robert Richie, of those linemen is perhaps the most highly rated offensive linemen to ever choose Buffalo.
Most services have Richie around the 100th best lineman of the class, and some have him rated higher than incoming Quarterback Collin Micheal.
The offensive line returns four starters and every backup on the unit. Of all their linemen the Bulls are only losing Matt Ostrowski and Josh Violanti returning are a glut of sophomores and Juniors. It's not too likely a freshman has a key role on this years line.
Still, between the red shirt freshman returning and the guys signing up this season Riche may have the best shot.
Riche committed to Buffalo back in August and did so over offers from CMU, EMU, Toledo, Bowling Green, Army, San Diego State, Marshall, and Ball State.
Scouts have indicated that he may have some work to do as a run blocker but even those who point out that he 'needs work' is also seem him as a solid enough pass blocker to be considered the 25th best recruit in Michigan.
Pass protection is a strong part of his game; flashes the ability to short set and play stout against the power rush. Although he plays to tall at times we see the ability to bend and slide to the deep edge without crossing his feet; demonstrates the ability to stay in front and handle inside change up moves. His arm length is an asset -- ESPN
Riche had the senior season that most expected of him. He was named to the 2011 The Southeastern (Michigan) Elite First Team. Riche was "a key reason why Donte Fox and quarterback, Shaun Austin had great 2011 seasons"
Plymouth tallied 3,575 total yards on offense and an astounding 7.8 yards per play. In addition tho being first team KLAA he was also named named to the Detroit Free Press All-State First Team.
He also chipped in on the D-line, registering 13 tackles, 11 assists and 1.5 sacks.
Riche may find his way onto the depth chart this season but with so much returning experience and the upside a redshirt year has on a player with his potential it's probable you don't see him on the field this year unless the line is decimated by injury.
After a season to ramp up this may be the best UB lineman since Jamey Richard, if not better.