In the lead up to the season opener, we'll be taking a look at each position group and every player on the roster to try and figure out where they stand on the depth chart and what to expect their roles to be this coming season. We start with the big uglies up front, the offensive line.
The o-line was one of the hardest hit groups by graduation, losing starting tackles John Kling and Bobby Blodgett and starting guard Dillon Guy. UB does return three players with significant playing time from last season but there have been more questions than answers so far and the offensive line may be a deciding factor in whether the UB offense succeeds this coming season.
LT - Roubbens Joseph, Sr., 6-5, 310
A former JUCO standout at Hudson Valley Community College, Joseph was one of the top 50 offensive tackles in JUCO before landing at UB. He was mainly a reserve last season until late season injuries thrust him into the starting lineup in three games, generally at guard. This season, Joseph will move to his more natural position protecting the blindside of the yet-to-be-determined UB Quarterback. Joseph has the size, athleticism and push at the point of attack to be solid in both pass protection and in the running game. He won't be the bulldozer that former Bull John Kling was, but his footwork and waist-bend will allow him to counter the speed rush, while he has good size to counter the bull rush. Look for Joseph to be the opening day starter at left tackle, and if the need arises he has the positional flexibility to play either tackle spot or play guard in a pinch, making him a very valuable asset.
LG - Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, Fr., 6-4, 302
It wouldn't be a UB recruiting class without pulling in at least one Canadian. Jack-Kurdyla comes to UB from Vanier College where he played with current Bull Dev Lamour. I will admit that I was taken aback when Mark Gaughan reported that Jack-Kurdyla was running with the first team offensive line. There isn't much footage out there of Jack-Kurdyla but from what I have found he looked impressive on the field. It remains to be seen if Jack-Kurdyla will hold on to the starting spot into the regular season, however opening camp with the starters is a good sign for the Montreal native.
C - James O'Hagan, R-So., 6-3, 310
A former top wrestling recruit, O'Hagan was the anchor to last season's offensive line and he has the tools to be one of the best in the MAC. O'Hagan uses his wrestling background to great effect, mauling defensive linemen at the point of attack while having the nimble footwork needed to hit nuanced blocks. There's no reason to think O'Hagan won't continue to serve as the linchpin the offensive line - he was even named to the Rimington Award watch list for the nation's top center. The storyline to watch with O'Hagan will be the chemistry he develops with the starting quarterback. He and Joe Licata worked well with limited offseason work together so his ability to adapt could be a boon for the newcomer under center.
RG - Brandon Manosalvas, R-Jr., 6-5, 310
The final returning regular starter from last season's line, Manosalvas is a road grader with mammoth size. He started ten ames last season and two his redshirt freshman season, mostly at right guard but he has the positional flexibility to play either guard spot or even center in a pinch. Manosalvas has the brute strength to give defensive linemen fits at the point of attack and is a reliable presence in the run game. His height gives him a slight disadvantage against shorter defensive tackles that can get underneath his pads and drive him backwards in pass protection, however he can handle most bull rushes with relative ease, it's quick, penetrating defensive tackles that can give him fits. Look for Manosalvas to be a full season starter at either guard position.
RT - Tyler O'Henly, R-So., 6-7, 315
O'Henly looks to take the reigns at right tackle from recently departed Bobby Blodgett. O'Henly started the season finale against UMass last season and appeared in six games total. He has excellent size for the position but his relative inexperience will be the biggest obstacle to his success this season. Luckily, he has an experienced guard next to him that can help him out in pass protection. O'Henly has the build to be a road grading right tackle and should make a formidable combination on the right side with Manosalvas.
Key Reserves/Names to Watch
Trey Bowman, R-So., 6-4, 302
Bowman was a late signee in Coach Leipold's first offseason with UB and came to the Bulls from Iowa Western where he was a key cog on the NJCAA championship squad from two years ago. Bowman has been mainly running with the second team at the guard position and will bring solid experience behind both Tomas Jack-Kurdyla and Brandon Manosalvas.
Evin Ksiezarczyk, R-Fr., 6-5, 315
Ksiearczyk is a WNY native, playing for West Seneca East high school, and will look to push for playing time at tackle this season. He is a former finalist for the Trench Trophy given to WNY's best lineman and he has the size to be a premier blindside protector. He'll likely serve as the primary backup to Roubbens Joseph this season.
Brad Rowland, Jr., 6-4, 320
Rowland is a transfer from Citris College in California where he played both guard and tackle. There's not much on him but he has been running with the second team offense as a guard and his positional flexibility can make a him a valuable backup.
Albert McCoy, Sr., 6-4, 300
The longest-tenured name in the offensive line group, McCoy has been a key depth member of the offensive line since making the switch from the defense during his redshirt freshman season. If he makes it onto the field this season it will likely be in a backup role as a swing tackle.
Jacob Byron, R-Jr., 6-3, 285
A former United States Marine that served a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Byron is entering his second season on the offensive line. He'll be a reserve but his leadership skills will be invaluable in the locker room.
David Goldsby, Jr., 6-4, 308
Another JUCO transfer, Goldsby was highly decorated at Ellsworth Community College. He earned Second-team All-America status and was a bruiser on the offensive line. He may see time as a reserve and could potentially push for playing time.
Connor Morehart, So., 6-5, 305
Morehart is yet another JUCO transfer coming to UB from Nassau Community College. He was part of an offense that averaged nearly 500 yards per game and gave up the fewest sacks in their conference. Morehart was a 3-star recruit from the JUCO ranks, and could break into the starting lineup. He has been running with the second team most of the summer.
Austin Kunick, R-Fr., 6-4, 285
Another WNYer, Kunick is a walk on to the team and will likely not see much action this season.
Dan Carr, Fr., 6-5, 315
Another WNY walk on, with good size, Carr will likely redshirt and not see playing time this season with the amount of names in front of him.
Jack Klenk, Fr., 6-3, 282
Klenk is yet another WNY native, he'll likely redshirt this season.
Jacquis Webb, Jr., 6-6, 344
Webb is a former 3-star recruit that transferred to UB from Rutgers. He's a mammoth of a man but will be forced to sit this season due to the NCAA transfer rules.
Paul Nosworthy, So., 6-4, 298
Nosworthy comes to UB from FCS Grambling State and will need to sit the season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Kayode Awosika, Fr., 6-5, 285
Last but certainly not least, Awosika, a Minnesota native was a USA today All-Minnesota selection during his prep career. He'll likely be redshirted to give himself time to develop.