The Brigham Young Cougars offensive line had its share of struggles in 2012. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Robert Anae felt the o-line needed to be an area of emphasis in recruiting, and during January--a time that BYU, typically, doesn't make major recruiting headlines--they crossed the country trying to find offensive line talent.
On National Letter of Intent Day, BYU signed, an astounding, eight offensive line prospects. Half of these prospects came from the junior college ranks, which is a sure sign the Cougars coaches don't want to wait to see improvement up front. Will this emphasis on offensive linemen in this recruiting class payoff?
That is the question BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL put forward to site visitors this past week, and they unanimously voted "Yes." It is the first time in the history of this site that a poll question had a unanimous response (141 questions).
I agree that the offensive line will be improved, and this emphasis in recruiting offensive linemen will deserve some of the credit for the improvements. How much of the credit is another question.
Anytime emphasis is placed on a specific area, it is almost guaranteed that improvement will be made. However, recruiting isn't the only way BYU has emphasized improved offensive line. Mendenhall brought back Anae as offensive coordinator. Anae played offensive line in college and was coaching this position at Arizona the past two seasons. While performing his offensive coordinator duties, Anae will also help coach the offensive line. BYU has also added Garett Tujague, another former offensive lineman as a player, to be the new offensive line coach.
I think the vote would be very near unanimous, if not unanimous, to a similar question: Will the new coaching hires bring improvement to the offensive line in 2013?
Back to the recruits.
There are many ways that signing eight offensive linemen will bring improvement to the offensive line in 2013. One or more could be part of the starting lineup on opening day at Virginia. Maybe none of these eight signees start this season, but the competition that their presence will create could push the offensive linemen currently in the program to improve. The improvement from this class of offensive line talents could come in the form of depth. Injuries have depleted the offensive line in recent seasons. If the offensive line suffers a few injuries during the season, these players could step in and keep the offense going without skipping a beat.
It will be shocking if the offensive line is not improved in 2013, and the emphasis placed on this position group in recruiting this year will be part of the reason for improved offensive line play.
Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll: "Should Bronson Kaufusi leave the BYU basketball team early to participate in spring football practices?"
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