An O-line is like the guys on the front lines
Last season, there’s little doubt that Penn fielded one of the best offensive lines in Ivy football history.
But the Quakers will lose four of their five starters to graduation this spring.
Columbia’s offensive line, anchored by two-time 1st Team All Ivy Jeff Adams, in the opposite position. The Lions will return four of their five starters for 2011. In addition to the LT Adams, they are C Kyle Stupi, LG Bob Hauschildt, and RG Xander Frantz.
Only RT Dan Cohen will graduate in May.
But how good were those four starters coming back?
By just about any account, the Lion O-line was very solid. Columbia finished fourth overall in rushing yards, and pass protected well enough to land on top of the entire league in pass efficiency.
And in a stat that I think especially points to the strength and clutch value of a front five, the Lions were second in the league in 4th down conversions.
As far as new faces among the starters, there are a number of players who climbed the depth chart last season and may replace Cohen or get on the field in other ways.
Rising senior Sam Cecil has the most experience of the returning non-starters, and last year he was Cohen’s top backup.
Rising sophomores Jimmy Yukevich and Joe Ghergurovich both cracked the two-deep by the end of last season. And based on my announcer’s law that the players with the hardest-to-pronounce names will eventually make the starting lineup, Yukevich and Ghergurovich have a great shot!
That law also favors the hard-working Alec Kosminskas, a rising junior who battled some injuries last season.
I also like, and have always liked, rising junior Eric Walker, who has the size and great Texas high school football experience on his side.
A veteran offensive line is a rare gem in the recent history of Columbia football. You have to go back many years to find the last time the Lions were returning four starters. And you’d have to go back even further to find two of four returning starters who are as good as Adams and Hauschildt in particular.
Will that be enough to push Columbia over the top to a winning season in 2011?