There was a time, back in 2010, when UB's two deep for the entire offensive line consisted seven players. Post Turner Gill there was so little depth that on player was backing up three different line positions and that player, if memory serves, was a guy converted from the defensive line that spring.
Is it any wonder we were terrible running the ball and won just two games?
But times as they say are a changing. If this is a breakout season it will be Branden Oliver and Khalil Mack getting most of the accolades but if you want to see where UB has changed the most since 2010 look to the trenches. There is a healthy 12 guys on the post spring two deep and five players, mostly freshmen, still getting into the scheme of things.
At Tackle alone there are six players who may see time this season. Among them is just one Senior and one Junior.
|Jasen Carlson - sr
|Dillon Guy - sr
|Dan Collura - jr
|Dan Collura - sr
|Dillon Guy - jr
|Dan Collura - so
|Todd Therrien - sr
|Dan Collura - fr -r
|Todd Therrien - jr
|Jesse Back - sr
|Todd Therrien - so
|Jesse Back - jr
|Gabriel Barbe - sr
|Jesse Back - so
|Gabriel Barbe - sr
|Gabriel Barbe - jr
There is no doubt that the UB offense will miss the skill power stars who finish their carrer this season. You don't just replace Neutz and Oliver especially if you're a mid major. There is comfort in knowing whoever steps into those shoes in 2014 will be behind a line which will change little after this season.
The only senior, Jasen Carlson, took over the sport during a dreadful span in 2011 that saw UB shutout for the second straight year by Temple. Since that low point with Carlson playing something of a leadership role the line has gotten better each year Calrson has not missed a game.
Dillon Guy is a product of Jeff Quinn's push into Canada. UB is literally just across the bridge some some of the most populated areas our neighbor to the north has to offer. Canadian football has it's wonky rules but the physics of throwing a defensive lineman around don't change at the border.
A freshman who turned heads this spring was Dan Collura. The freshman spent a lot of time with the first team and is backing up the only senior on the line. There is a very good chance Collura sees the field a lot this season in preparation for a run at the starting job next year.
Todd Thereien and Jesse Back are also part of the youth movement. The sophomores ahve yet to see the field in a game but came out of spring ball each behind Jasen Carlson. Barbe has seen time on the field mainly as a special teams player. Another Canadian on the line who won an armful of awards in Quebec.
If football games are won and lost in the trenches than there is no reason to think that after this year UB should sink back to the level they were playing in 2010. The depth at line is the product of three of recruiting focused at restocking bare shelves. The results of that building project is a line which should maintain it's level of play for at least the next few seasons.