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Football Position Preview: Offensive Line

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: July 31, 2014
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With just one week before fall camp starts, ODUSports.com will take a look at a position group each day this week to get you ready for ODU Football.

Offensive Line Preview

The offensive line was the position hurt the most by graduation, losing four-year starter Jack Lowney, three-year starter David Born and two-year starter D.J. Morrell.  Morrell is currently in camp with the St. Louis Rams while Lowney had a tryout with the Baltimore Ravens.

ODU does return several players with starting experience, including Josh Mann, Connor Mewbourne, Troy Butler and Tyler Fisher.

Mann had started 23-straight games at center until he tore his ACL late in the victory at Idaho and missed spring practice for the second-straight year. However, the Virginia Beach native is on track to be ready for fall camp.

Another local product, First Colonial’s Mewbourne, started 11 games last season, nine at right guard and a pair at right tackle.  He missed part of spring practice with a knee injury but is also expected to return for fall practice.  He is penciled in as the starter at left tackle.

In ODU’s comeback win over Liberty, Born was injured and out for the season.  Fisher stepped in at left guard, his first start against All-America defensive tackle Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh, and Fisher held the first round pick to two tackles and no sacks.  Fisher stepped in without ODU skipping a beat  and started the final six games, becoming the first true freshman to ever start on the Monarch offensive line.

Butler played in 11 games, starting the final four contests, three at right guard and one at center.  A versatile player, Butler is penciled in as the starter at right guard.

Ely Anderson and Kyle Bottoms are penciled in as co-starters at right tackle to begin fall camp.  Anderson played in nine games in 2013, switching in at right and left tackle, while Bottoms played in eight games mostly at right tackle.

Sophomore Tyler Compton had an impressive spring practice for ODU that included a hand injury that he played through.  Compton played six games last season and provides solid depth at both guard and center.

Sophomore Andrew Maddox is another versatile linemen who can play both guard and center for the Monarchs.

ODU redshirted four offensive linemen in 2013 who will add depth including Tyler Burns, Davis Farmer, Eric Hampson, Grant Johnson and Eli Kessner.

True freshman Darius Garcia joined the team in January and had a solid spring practice and will fight for playing time in 2014.

Old Dominion added a pair of players in February in Nick Clarke and Raul Martinez.  Martinez, a junior college transfer from Pasadena CC. ODU also added Manuel Matiarena, a teammate of Martinez’s at Pasadena CC.

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