Spring Preview: A Look at the Offensive Line
ODUSports.com will do an eight-part preview, taking a look position-by-position at the Old Dominion University spring football roster. Today we highlight the offensive line.
ODU graduated starting tackles Jack Lowney and D.J. Morrell, and left guard David Born. Born missed the last six games after knee surgery and true freshman Tyler Fisher filled in and played well. ODU also returns starters Josh Mann, Troy Butler and Connor Mewbourne.
Offensive Line (14)
Josh Mann – Started 11 games at center before an injury sidelined him for UNC game
Eli Kessner – Walk-on redshirted in 2013
Grant Johnson – Walk-on redshirted in 2013
Tyler Burns – Redshirted in 2013
Troy Butler – Started the last four games in 2013, three at RG, and one at center
Davis Farmer – Redshirted in 2013
Andrew Maddox – Played in five games as a redshirt freshman last year
Ely Anderson – Played in nine games at right and left tackle
Tyler Fisher – True freshman started final six games at left guard
Connor Mewbourne – Started nine games at right guard, and two at right tackle
Kyle Bottoms – Played in eight games rotating in at right tackle
Eric Hampson – Redshirted in 2013
Tyler Compton – Appeared in six games at guard and center
Darius Garcia – Mid-year signee from Fork Union Military Academy
2014 Signees (2)
Nick Clarke – 6-4, 290 – Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee
Raul Martinez – 6-5, 285 – Burbank, Calif./John Burroughs/Pasadena CC
Offensive Line Preview
ODU has big shoes to fill at tackle losing four-year starter Lowney and two-year starter Morrell. Ely Anderson saw action in nine games last season at both right and left tackle and will look to fill in at one spot. Mewbourne started 11 games in 2013, mostly seeing time at right guard but also slid out to right tackle. Senior Kyle Bottoms also saw time at tackle last year.
Born got hurt in the first quarter against Liberty and Fisher played the rest of that game and started the final six of the year at left guard.
Troy Butler returns for his junior season after starting four games in 2013. He started three games at right guard and the season finale at center. With Mann missing spring football practice, Butler is likely to get the bulk of the work at center.
Mann had started 23-straight games at center prior to suffering an injury at Idaho and missing the UNC game. He will miss spring practice but hopes to be ready for fall camp.
Sophomore Tyler Compton saw action in six games last season at guard and center while fellow sophomore Andrew Maddox played in five at guard and tackle.
Tyler Burns, Davis Farmer, Eric Hampson, Eli Kessner and Grant Johnson all redshirted in 2013 and will look to make an impact this spring, while Darius Garcia enrolled in January.
Player Spotlight - Tyler Fisher
We will spotlight one player from each position group as we preview spring practice. Today we talked to sophomore guard, Tyler Fisher.
Q: It seems to be harder to play on the interior line as a true freshman, how were you able to handle the adjustment so well? I had good coaching and when I wasn’t playing took a lot of mental reps and was able to watch David Born. He helped me a lot and kind of prepared me to be ready. I was just waiting on my moment and took full advantage of it.
Q: Your first career start came at Pittsburgh, who featured All-America Aaron Donald. What was your preparation like that week? Coach Dee had me watch a lot of film that week and when I wasn’t watching film on Pittsburgh I was watching film on myself. I saw how good he was and I wanted to make a good impression on my first start.
Q: Aaron Donald was held to just two tackles and no sacks. What did you think of your performance? It was a whole offensive line effort to stop him. He didn’t get any sacks but I think we could’ve done better.
Q: What do you take away from your first season as a Monarch? I had a lot of good things but also bad things. I just want to get better and improve moving on to next year. I want to work on the little things like my footwork and to be more aggressive.
Q: How have winter workouts gone for you? The beginning was tough doing different workouts in the weight room and different drills outside on the field, but after awhile you get used to it and get better.
Q: Favorite Movie: This is the End.
Q: Last book you read: A Michael Jordan biography.
Q: Dream Vacation: A cruise to the Bahamas
Q: Favorite thing to do in the Hampton Roads area? Going to the beach. I’m looking forward to it getting warmer and going to the beach.