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2014 BYU Football: The Offensive Line

The offensive line can make or break a team. How will the Cougars offensive line stack up this year?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

In today's game of football, offensive linemen are the most overlooked group of players on any team. When playing well, they go unnoticed. Yet as so as a flag is thrown for holding, they become the most hated player on the team. Nobody seems to remember them opening up holes for the 1,000 yard running back, or holding off massive defensive linemen so the quarterback can complete a game-winning drive. Yet, when analyzing some of the great teams of past and present, they all had one thing in common, great offensive lines.

In his preseason rankings, Phil Steele has ranked BYU's offensive line as 15th in the country. The unit is ranked in the same area as national powerhouses LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, and Auburn. All of these programs have sustained success through putting together a great offensive line and then building around it. Finally, BYU seems to be establishing an experienced and talented group of young men in the trenches.

This year BYU returns five starters that have essentially played every position along the offensive line. To explain the versatility you have to look at the depth chart before spring practice, after spring practice, and the first of August. The charts show that players are shifted all along the line from left tackle to right guard to center. It shows the athleticism, versatility, experience, and great coaching that the offensive line has attained.

BYU also brings back 10 guys that started at least one game last season, six of whom started at least six games. BYU released this as their depth chart in July at BYU Media Day.

LT

LG

C

RG

RT

De'Ondre Wesley

6-7, 330

Terrance Alletto

6-3, 323

Edward Fusi

6-0, 300

Tuni Kanuch

6-2, 325

Brock Stringham

6-6, 290

Michael Yeck

6-8, 292

Brayden Kearsley

6-4, 295

Terrance Alletto

6-3, 323

Kyle Johnson

6-4, 295

Ului Lapuaho

6-6, 323*

This year's offensive line is quite talented, Michael Yeck, a 1st Team All-Independent selection last year, is now a backup at left tackle after starting 13 games last year. De'Ondre Wesley is now the starting left tackle after having a terrific off-season and starting eight games last year at right tackle. Terrance Alletto has been discussed as shifting anywhere in the middle of the line at either guard or the center position. He will fit very nicely at left guard with very good size, athleticism and experience. He also as experience after starting seven games last year. Edward Fusi had six starts last year and will become the full time starter this year at center. Tuni Kanuch was a highly touted freshman coming into 2013 and had to sit out the entire year due to a torn pectoral. Kanuch will go into this year with very high expectations while starting at right guard. Brock Stringham is another offensive lineman that has started all over the place, starting three games at left guard in 2012, three games at right tackle in 2013, and looks to be the starting right tackle this year.

This group of offensive lineman has 87 career starts and legitimate NFL size and athleticism, which will leave them every reason to have a standout season. They will be the reason the Cougars succeed or fail this year on the gridiron. All the experience is there for them to succeed and make room and space for the star players like Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams, but the true stars and heroes are the guys in the trenches carving out that space on the field yard by yard. This year's linemen have a chance to be great and become part of a magical season for the Cougars, they must take the chance and run away with it for the next 13 games.