Talent and Experience Highlight Offensive Line
CLINTON, MS - In the coming weeks, we will take a chance to preview each position on the field for the Choctaws as we head toward the season opening "Backyard Brawl" on September 3rd against Millsaps. We invite MC fans to take a look and get more acclimated with the 2011 group of Choctaws.
The schedule will be as follows:
Quarterbacks – August 15th
Running Backs – August 16th
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends – August 17th
Offensive Line – TODAY
Defensive Line – TOMORROW
Linebackers – August 20th
Secondary – August 22nd
Special Teams – August 23rd
Offense – August 24th
Defense – August 25th
Overall – August 26th
Most football experts will tell you that the most important position on the field outside of the quarterback is the offensive line. If there are no holes for the run plays or protection for the pass plays, there will not be much production.
For the 2011 version of the Choctaws, they have a mix of experience and holes to fill. Senior Cory York (Okeechobee, FL) returns for his senior season and will move to the center position after Jonathan Shaw held down the spot for three years. The Okeechobee, FL native saw extensive playing time as a freshman before missing his sophomore year due to injury. Cory has started the previous two years and will be the leader of the offensive line from the middle.
Senior Justin Cardwell (Moody, AL) also returns for his senior season after starting for the previous two years at tackle. The Moody, AL native has good size and footwork to provide protection for the Choctaw offense. Justin started seven games last year and sets up as one of the more talented players at his position in the conference
The other returning starter on the line is sophomore Sylvain Alarcon (LaPlace, LA), who earned the final four starts of the season. Alarcon knows the offense and has made a big jump athletically from his freshman to sophomore seasons.
Junior Brennan Herrmann (Baton Rouge, LA) was slated to be a starting offensive lineman in 2010 before an injury in preseason camp forced him to miss the entire season. Ready to go in 2011, the Choctaws are excited to see what the talented Baton Rouge native can contribute.
Offensive line coach Corky Houghton talked about his returners, "I feel like these guys will carry the line this year. They have been here and know the offense. I will be leaning on them to motivate our young guys.
"Our line as a whole has been very coachable. They are doing all the right things and I have a great group of hard-working kids.
"Injuries have taken their toll in the preseason. We have had to have all our guys practice at several different positions. They have done a great job of adjusting and picking things up. In the end, it will be a good thing for our guys because we will have a lot of versatility as the season goes along. That is a big thing for what we do as an offense."
Filling the other spot on the line will be a battle between three players in Eric Madere (Kiln, MS), Cody Saxton (Canton, MS), and Dustin Springer (Birmingham, AL). Madere is the only returner of the group. He has a year under his belt, and got a lot of experience in his rookie season.
Saxton is a transfer from Holmes Community College that has shown flashes in the preseason that could merit a starting spot. Springer was with the Choctaws in the spring to pick up the offense. The Birmingham native walked on at the University of Alabama last season.
Houghton talked about his newcomers, "We have a very talented group of newcomers. I think a lot of them will help us going forward."
The Choctaws are hoping the experience of the offensive line combined with the talented newcomers will give MC one of the top fronts in the ASC. With so much talent at the skill positions, the offensive line could hold the key to a successful season in Clinton.
Tomorrow we will preview the defensive line of the Choctaws.