Article GT Team Preview: Offensive Line


Every year, it feels like this is the year that the Jackets finally have the necessary personnel on the offensive line to field the skill and depth necessary to turn what's often been viewed as deficiency into a team strength. So, with that said, this feels like the year when the Jackets have the skill and depth necessary to field one of the top offensive lines in the ACC. One new challenge for the "big uglies" will be the increased emphasis on pass blocking. The Jackets ran the ball on 81% of their plays from scrimmage last year, and will always be a "run-first" team, but with Lee's big arm and playmaking ability in the passing game, the five in front will have to be able to shuffle backwards as well as they explode forward. In the past, so many of the Jackets' blocking schemes depended on forward movement at the snap of the ball in a manner similar to a Roman phalanx, but with the emergence of Lee, linemen may be called upon to pull & otherwise scheme in a manner they may not be familiar with. The good news is, this is probably the group to do it. Guard Shaq Mason is the line's most talented, athletic player, and Ray Beno provides the leadership and mean streak that so many teams find contagious. As I said before, Will Jackson is a talent, but his ankle-tether to the trainer's station has to be cut before he can realize his full potential. Morgan Bailey and Jay Finch will also start, and are big, athletic monsters, but Thomas O'Reilly and Nick Brigham will push for playing time, and O'Reilly could end up starting if Jackson misses much time.

Projected Starters:


Key backups:
Bryan Chamberlain
Trey Braun

Who to watch:
Chase Roberts


Helluva Engineer
North Shore, Chicago
Bailey will miss 5-7 games with injury. I love it when he's out there, but he always seems to get a little more than nicked up. He's been the most snake-bitten kid I've ever seen. Hope he stays healthy.