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In-Depth Depth Chart – Offensive Line

 

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Offensive Line … 

Fall “Pencil” Depth Chart:

Left Tackle: 

Josh Kaiser, Sr. … Jake Moretti, R-Fr. … Frank Fillip, Fr.

Left Guard:

Brett Tonz, Jr. … William Sherman, R-Fr. … Chance Lytle, R-Fr.

Center:

Colby Pursell, R-Fr. … Heston Paige, R-Fr. … Joshua Jynes, Fr. … Justin Eggers, Jr.

Right Guard: 

Tim Lynott, Jr. … Kary Kutsch, Soph. … Kolter Smith, Soph.

Right Tackle: 

Aaron Haigler, Jr. … Hunter Vaughn, Soph. … Jack Shutack, Jr.

 

By the Numbers (2017):

— Aaron Haigler … Played in 11 games … 763 snaps … 10 touchdown blocks … 15 perfect plays on passing touchdowns … 5 1/2 sacks allowed

— Tim Lynott … Played in 10 games … 709 snaps … 11 touchdown blocks … 15 perfect plays on passing touchdowns … 3 1/2 sacks allowed

— Josh Kaiser … Played in nine games … 418 snaps … three touchdown blocks … five perfect plays on passing touchdowns … 4 1/2 sacks allowed

— Brett Tonz … Played in three games … 63 snaps … one pressure allowed

 

 

Reasons to be excited:

Colby Pursell looks like he will be a four-year starter at center

It’s been awhile since Colby Pursell has been in action, but the redshirt freshman is not a newcomer to the CU program.

Pursell enrolled in January, 2017, after accepting a gray-shirt season in 2016. A member of the Recruiting Class of 2016, he delayed his enrollment, but did not sacrifice his five years of eligibility. As a result, even though Pursell has been through two spring practices, a full season with the team in 2017, and is into his second fall camp, he is still a freshman.

Pursell has used his time to learn the center position, and, in his own words, “taken off bad weight and put on good weight”. At 6’4, 290-pounds, Pursell has shown good command of the center position, which requires him to be the signal caller for the line.

 At the Fall scrimmage on August 11th, coaches were anxious to see how Pursell would perform, and he didn’t disappoint.

“It was really good to see  Colby Pursell out there,” MacIntyre said in his post-scrimmage analysis. “We didn’t have a bad snap the whole day in his first live scrimmage in that situation.”

“He’s a very calm guy,” Klayton Adams, CU’s offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator said of Pursell. “Sometimes we have to push him to be a little less calm. His blood pressure very rarely rises. I would expect him to play that way when he gets into a game. … I’m excited about his progression.”

The right side of the line appears set

From CUBuffs.com … Junior right guard  Tim Lynott, Jr. has 24 starts to his credit, the most of any player on CU’s offense and second on the team to linebacker Rick Gamboa’s 37. Right behind Lynott in terms of experience is junior right tackle Aaron Haigler, who has started 16 games in his career at guard and tackle. Both started for the Buffs as redshirt freshman in 2016 as well as most of last season.

Lynott is coming back from an Achilles injury suffered in the 10th game of the season last year. But after a rigorous rehab program, he has showed no signs of the injury hampering his performance in camp.

“(He) has been able to knock the rust off pretty fast,” Adams said. “He’s been able to do pretty much every single thing we’ve done without being limited. He’s picked up where he left off mentally and we’re trying to get him to take some steps fundamentally and become more of a complete player. But I’ve been impressed with him so far.”

Haigler, meanwhile, is by all accounts having his best camp yet as a Buff. One of seven team captains — and the only junior in the group — his leadership will be an integral part of the line’s development.

“He’s an excellent leader in the fact that he has no ego so he helps all the guys on the offensive line,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He does extra work, he teaches them and he works with them. He also inspires them with how hard he works and the way he can handle all the things that college life presents: academics, athletics and social. He’s a true college student and a true college football player.”

Jake Moretti continues to make progress

Like Colby Pursell, Jake Moretti has been with the team since the spring of 2017.

Like Colby Pursell, Jake Moretti is being counted upon to be a factor in helping the 2018 offensive line have a better season than it did last fall.

Unlike Colby Pursell, who was a two-star project coming out of high school, Moretti was a star in the making before he ever hit the Boulder campus.

The four-star recruit from Pomona high school in Arvada, Moretti was a finalist for the Colorado state Gatorade Player-of-the-Year in 2016 … despite missing his senior season due to a knee injury.

Yes, Moretti is that good (or at least could be that good).

The former Ohio State commit who flipped to Colorado, Moretti is still recovering from his injuries, and is being brought along slowly. Too slowly for some Buff fans, but the CU coaches seem to believe Moretti is on a proper path.

“He can move his feet, he can roll his hips, he understands how to play,” MacIntyre said. “He gets out there and  it looks like he’s had a hundred reps, a thousand reps. To me, there are some guys that have that ‘it’ factor.”

Offensive line coach Klayton Adams still has Moretti on a “pitch count”, limiting his practice time as Moretti recovers from a nerve injury which came after his high school knee injury.

But Mike MacIntyre has stated that Moretti will definitely play this fall. “He’s going to play for us this year,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “But I don’t know how much right now.”

If so, Moretti will add some much needed talent – and much needed depth – to the Colorado offensive line.

 

Reasons for concern:

— Where is everybody?

Buff fans knew that they were losing three starters from the 2017 offensive line – Jonathan Huckins, Jeromy Irwin and Gerrad Kough – which would make the 2018 offensive line a question mark.

Then an already inexperienced roster got even thinner.

Three more offensive lineman from last season’s roster are also gone. Isaac Miller, who started nine games last season, medically retired. Dillon Middlemiss left the team so that he could focus on graduating. Grant Polley, a potential star, is sitting out the season, and may or may not play football again.

Thanks to injuries and other issues, CU started six different offensive line combinations in 12 games last year. While Lynott (1,649 career snaps) and Haigler (1,311) have seen plenty of playing time, the experience dwindles dramatically after that. Only two other Buffs have seen time on the offensive line in a game — Kaiser with 502 snaps and Tonz with 63.

Last season, with four returning starters, the offensive line was a liability. The Buff line surrendered 39 sacks, eighth most in the FBS. Even with Phillip Lindsay in the backfield, the Buffs finished 74th in the nation in rushing.

Colorado has exactly four upperclassmen out of 17 scholarship offensive linemen. It would not be out of the question to have three redshirt freshmen starting this fall, including the entire right side of the line.

Yikes …

 

Bottom Line … “As Maine goes, so goes the nation” is an old political axiom.

For Colorado football in 2018, that axiom could be amended to, “As the offensive line goes, so goes the Buffs’ season”.

If Tim Lynott has fully recovered from his Achilles injury, and can be dominant at right guard, and …

If Jake Moretti is able to play a significant role this fall, and play to the level of his high school hype, and …

If Colby Pursell can, as a redshirt freshman, take control of the line, and make effective calls under pressure, and …

If Aaron Haigler, Brett Tonz, and Josh Kaiser can be solid (along with Will Sherman, who will be an all-service backup), and …

Okay, you get the idea.

Now, it is the stated goal of offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini to play fast on offense. Quick hitting plays can help disguise deficiencies along the offensive line. A more mature Steven Montez, making good decisions, can bale out a line which is not giving him unlimited time to throw.

If ifs and buts were candies and nuts …

There is hope that the 2018 offensive line, despite losing three starters and three other potential starters, will be better than last year’s team.

Well, the 2017 line was supposed to be a strength, and disappointed us in a big way.

Perhaps the 2018 offensive line will also be a surprise, but a pleasant one …

—–

2 Replies to “In-Depth Depth Chart – Offensive Line”

  1. The Mighty Buff Oline. (Beginning Note: Goulash! Goulash I say)

    Last years line lacked leadership. You all know why. And IMHO lacked talent as well. Experience? Yup they had some. The hype came because of the supposed experience factor. (Sounds familiar…working harder, better shape, leadership, blah blah…..Talent peaked and the ol “Play the experience” deal screwed the Buffs.)

    Regardless, I am all in on this oline. Partly because of the talent that is waiting to show itself and because of the different/new/better offensive scheme. If you weren’t at the scrimmage you missed the tantalizing bits and pieces of FOLSOM-FIRE….and you are gonna like it…really you are….!

    Go Buffs.

    Note: The talent is there and getting better than it was.

    1. It didn’t help that Irwin and Frazier, two co-captains and supposed senior anchors on the line decided to turn knucklehead at the start of the year and get themselves suspended.

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