After several years of rebuilding Coach Quinn is finally close to fielding a complete offensive line. In 2010 Quinn challenged the line to get leaner, more athletic, and agile so that his high powered spread offense could push the ball down the field.
The problem was that's not the line he inherited. The other problem is that he was left with just a few starters and a very thin bench behind them. The 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes were heavy on the line and spring and summer have been good to Buffalo in terms of injuries.
Quinn has also moved away from the fast, lean, athletic line that he first envisioned. The emergence of Branden Oliver and past struggles of the offense have move Buffalo's coach int the opposite direction. The linemen have been getting bigger. They are not quite as fast as they might otherwise be but UB Strength and Conditioning coach Duval has done a good job balancing their mass with some athleticism.
The line will open the season with the challenge providing time for a new starting Quarterback for the third time in as many years.
On the left side at Tackle Andre Davis is a player who has already proven his versatility and his durability. You have ot be durable to start every game on the line, and versatile to get moved to that line after being targeted as a defensive lineman.
Davis, a 2010 recruit, spent that season learning the Buffalo offense on the scout team. Last season, as a red shirt freshman, Davis played in every game, starting as a right guard.
At left Guard is Jasen Carlson. Carlson made an immediate impact as a true freshman when the Bulls called on him in seven games, including a start. Last season Carlson spent the first half of the season nursing a nagging injury.
By the time the Temple game came around Carlson was healthy enough to contribute and a couple of games later he earned the starting job at left tackle.
Trevor Sales looks to start at center. Sales came to Buffalo from La Porte Indiana via Delaware. The 315 pound sophomore is just one more piece of an offensive line rebuild three years the making.
Last season he provided a body for the scout team but after just one year he has worked his way into the starting center clot. He is sitting in front of Gabriel Barbe and Anthony Bartholomew on the depth chart.
Graham Whinery is one of the few players left on the line who were a part of UB's 2008 MAC Championship season. Whinery was a freshman that season, he spent the year with a red shirt watching the Bulls seemingly right their ship.
During his redshirt freshman year he served in a backup capacity but still saw action in a hand full of games.
Since then Whinery has started in every game played by the Bulls. He has never missed a Jeff Quinn coached game, which is saying something considering the turnover and injury problems the Bulls have had over the past two seasons.
Coming out of camp this season he is once again starting at right guard. He will spend his senior season playing in front of Dillon Guy.
On the left tackle is Gokhan Ozkan who checks in at six foot seven and 330 pounds yet he is surprisingly mobile.
After suffering a season ending injury in 2010 Gokhan came back last season and took the starting slot for right tackle. He was a big part of Branden Oliver’s program-record 1,395 yards rushing, much of which was gained between the tackles.
Coming out of the blue and white game Ozkan is again pegged to be the starting right tackle, ahead of Jake Silas on the depth chart.
|Left Tackle||Andre Davis||SO||12||6'4"||303|
|Left Guard||Jasen Carlson||JR||7||6'1"||301|
|Right Guard||Graham Whinery||SR||12||6'4"||302|
|Right Tackle||Gokhan Ozkan||SR||12||6'6"||326|
The starters should manage just fine. Buffalo's bigger problem has been depth and for the first time in three years UB seems to have a good number of established, healthy, and big players on the bench waiting for their chance to get it. This could be the best line since 2008, perhaps they are even a more solid unit then the Bulls fielded that season.
They can't control the turnover at Quarterback over the past few season but for the first time in a long time the starter should have enough time to make a few good reads.