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2011 Preview: Offensive Line

By Mike

Rocky Weaver(78) and Darren Keyton(65) will help add some experience to the offensive line in 2011. Image courtesy of CMUChippewas.com.

Who we lose: Jeff Maddux, Colin Miller

Key returners: Jake Olson, Darren Keyton, Rocky Weaver, Adam Schneid, Mike Repovz and Eric Fisher

2010 Red Shirts: Kevin Henry and Andrew Nowak

Could skip red shirt?: No one. Oh no, not at this level.

For the first time in years, the inside of this offensive line is changing. If NFL scouts are any indication, losing Maddux and Miller is really going to hurt—both players were scooped by the Lions and Steelers respectively.

Stat National Rank Conference Rank
sacks allowed T-97 11
rushing offense 108 11

The Chippewas must improve their run defense and turnover margin in 2011 and it starts with the OL.

Not only that, our offensive line really underachieved in 2010—they struggled to make holes for running backs and protect Ryan Radcliff. Much of this could have been attributed to learning a new system and the loss of our beast of a left tackle, Jake Olson but football games are won in the trenches and when a team goes 3-9, far too many battles were lost.

But toward the end of the season, continuity was apparent and the offense started to roll a bit. Mike Repotz and Darren Keyton stepped in nicely and allowed Ryan Radcliff to get comfortable against Navy and Toledo. A small amount of confidence was gained by some important returning pieces and real progress was made toward forging a new offensive line of the future.

Thanks to Coach Enos’ forward thinking, the Chippewas projected starters have a lot of game experience. Check out the following graphic showing the game experience of the projected starting lineup.

Player Position Games Played
Jake Olson Left Tackle 16
Eric Fisher Left Guard 20
Darren Keyton Center 22
Adam Schneid Right Guard 0
Rocky Weaver Right Tackle 35

The offensive line has major game experience at all the positions aside from left guard, but everyone has been impressed with Schneid's progress and if it hadn't been for a couple pro prospects, he may have seen some action last season.

It’s all riding on…

…the health of Jake Olson. This team has had high hopes for LT, Jake Olson each of the last 2 seasons but health has been a problem for the big man. If Olson can stay healthy, protect Radcliff’s blind side and open up some holes to the outside for the run game, this Chippewa team could be very dangerous.

…the ability for Coach Enos to remain dynamic with his play calling. Last season, Coach Enos was forced to become one dimensional because the run game was ineffective or CMU was playing from behind. The success of this group may hinge on the ability for Coach Enos to mix up the play calling and run a balanced attack as intended. Everyone’s job is a little easier when the plays are working on the ground and in the air.

…Darren Keyton becoming the commander of the line. The Chippewas were led by a couple of great players and leaders in Jeff Maddux and Collin Miller—who also were healthy week in and week out. With their departure, CMU is looking for a new leader and who better than the projected starting Center, Darren Keyton.

Expect this unit to return to their 2009 form this season as a better understanding of the offense reached and Coach Enos continues to learn how to use this very talented group.

Check back for the linebacker preview!



This entry was posted on Monday, August 8th, 2011 at 8:23 am and is filed under 2011 season preview, Adam Schneid, Andrew Nowak, Colin Miller, Darren Keyton, Eric Fisher, Jeff Fantuzzi, Jeff Maddux, Kevin Henry, Mike Repovz, Rocky Weaver. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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4 Responses to “2011 Preview: Offensive Line”

  1. TheChipReport.com

    UPDATE out of Mt. Pleasant: Jake Olson is taking reps at left guard which will change the starting line up considerably. Stay tuned for more on this development.

  2. TheChipReport.com

    From Drew Ellis’ blog:

    “Left tackle Eric Fisher is emerging as a leader on the team. He has been very vocal with his teammates and with his size, commands a lot of respect.”

    It seems like Fisher and Olson will be swapping positions.

  3. hmmm

    except fishers a tackle and maddux was a guard….

  4. TheChipReport.com - A Central Michigan Football Blog

    [...] Offensive line [...]

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