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  1. #1

    Default Shama: Fleck High on Gophers Offensive Line

    per Shama:

    Third-year Golden Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck expects his offensive line to be among the better ones in the Big Ten next fall. Offensive line performance has often been an issue in the program’s recent past and Minnesota hasn’t had a center, guard or tackle chosen in the NFL Draft for 13 years.

    The enthusiastic Fleck said the Gophers, who begin spring practice next Tuesday, could have “incredible line play in the making.” Minnesota has several offensive linemen with starting experience returning from a 7-6 team that closed the year winning two of its last three regular season games, and then won a bowl game by the largest margin in program history.

    Fleck believes a top offensive line is “the name of the game” in the Big Ten Conference. He knows programs that win at a high level consistently have offensive lines that excel and produce top players.

    “It’s a very, very physical conference,” Fleck said. “It’s a long season. It’s nine conference games. …It is a battle every single week, especially up front. If you can have bigger, stronger, more athletic, smarter (linemen), and you continue to develop that every single year, I think you’re going to have a lot of success.”

    Fleck’s returnees include Connor Olson, a starting guard who could move to center and replace Jared Weyler who was a senior last fall. Fleck said it’s also not clear yet whether Blaise Andries, another starter last season, will end up at tackle or guard.

    Fleck couldn’t talk about his offensive line without quickly discussing a tight end roster that is loaded with big bodies who are counted on to complement the blocking of the center, guards and tackles. The tight end group includes 6-foot-4 Jake Paulson, a starter last season, who has bulked up from 245 pounds to 270.

    http://shamasportsheadliners.com/

    Go Gophers!!


  2. #2
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    The starting 5 should be very good but there also appears to be some quality depth as well. An OL staying completely healthy all season is rare. Having guys that can step in when needed and still play at a high level is huge for a program like ours.

  3. #3

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    Yep, if you have a dominant offensive line, with some decent players at the skill positions, and even an average defense, you’re basically Wisconsin at worst. There’s no reason why this program can’t be In the same class as Wisconsin year in and year out. I’m tired of the usual excuses that some use for this comparison.


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  4. #4

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    Very solid that leaves me very hopeful for a great year coming up. Can't do much without a good line to open up between a running and passing game.

  5. #5

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    You cant have a great O-line without a great LT.
    Who lines up at LT? JJ Guedet?

  6. #6
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    Guessing Blaise.
    Kingdom Warriors

  7. #7

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    It is often mentioned the possibility of moving C. Olson over to center and if so he will do a great job. I thought he had an outstanding year at Left Guard and as the season continued to improve so did his play. They are saying he has had a good off season and hopefully he has gained more strength in his lower body, as his one small weakness was anchoring in pass pro every once in awhile and that got better as the season moved on. The one name that is not brought up regarding the center position is John Schmitz. In watching him play last spring he was very quick, anchored well in the A B gap and hustled down field to finish blocks. He gave the appearance of being a very tough kid. He reminded me of a couple of very good centers back in the 60's by the names of Greg Larson and Steve Lundeen. I am also looking forward to seeing where Nathan Boe is at in the developmental stage of his career. I hear that the kid works his tail off and if so that can always play a big role in getting better every day.

  8. #8

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    Personally, I can't wait to see a bigger, stronger Jake Paulson. Kid was a hell of a hitter last year. If most of those 25 new lbs. are muscle, he's gonna be sending guys to the hospital.

    JTG

  9. #9

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    Watching the Ol push guys around as season progressed was one of the nicer developments

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PitinoFan View Post
    Yep, if you have a dominant offensive line, with some decent players at the skill positions, and even an average defense, you’re basically Wisconsin at worst. There’s no reason why this program can’t be In the same class as Wisconsin year in and year out. I’m tired of the usual excuses that some use for this comparison.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Could not agree more. There is zero reason why we can't compete in the West. We might not be fully ready for primetime this year but in the very near future we are hopefully looking at a program that will be considered a favorite to win the division.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by PurplePride View Post
    You cant have a great O-line without a great LT.
    Who lines up at LT? JJ Guedet?
    Be nice if Dickson is good for left tackle.

  12. #12

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    It sure is refreshing to see OL as a strength and not a liability. In the past decade, MN has had decent RBs who achieved yardage IN SPITE of poor OL play. Imagine what 3 stud RBs can do with an OL that is on the upswing? Exciting stuff.
    Ski-U-Mah is Native American for "we're in a rebuilding year"

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyganas View Post
    It sure is refreshing to see OL as a strength and not a liability. In the past decade, MN has had decent RBs who achieved yardage IN SPITE of poor OL play. Imagine what 3 stud RBs can do with an OL that is on the upswing? Exciting stuff.
    We don't have to imagine what it would look like, we have seen it before under Mason. Now pair a really strong running game with so true threats on the outside and suddenly you have the makings of something really really special.

    Trying to do the Minnesota thing of not getting excited about anything because disaster is always right around the corner but with some growth and development at the QB position the potential of this offense is off the charts.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by PurplePride View Post
    You cant have a great O-line without a great LT.
    Who lines up at LT? JJ Guedet?
    Dickson is considered the frontrunner.

  15. #15

    Default

    The guy who left (Greene) was pretty darn good. If Dickson can play close to that level we should be ok.

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