2010 Indiana Hoosiers Football preview: offensive line.

While it's fun to talk about position players, and easier for novices like me to evaulate them based on statistics, clearly, the offensive line is crucial to the success of both the running and passing games.  Last year, IU struggled to establish much of a running game, but generally excelled at pass protection, allowing only 16 sacks of the less-than-speedy Ben Chappell all season. Fortunately, the line is a position where experience matters quite a bit, and four of IU's five projected starters on the O-line have substantial starting experience.

Who's back?

Starters (based on spring depth chart):

Andrew McDonald, 6-6 Jr. LT: McDonald moves into the starting line up after two years as a reserve.  He started two games as a redshirt freshman in 2008, and played in 8 games, all as a reserve, in 2009.

Justin Pagan, 6-5 Jr. LG:  Pagan was a rarity, an offensive lineman ready (or at least needed) to play as a true freshman.  Pagan started 5 games as a freshman and 11 last year, after missing the Eastern Kentucky game with an injury.  According to IU's stats, Pagan allowed only one sack in 2009.

Will Matte, 6-2 So. C:  Matte, started every game at center as a redshirt freshman last year.

Cody Faulkner, 6-5 Sr. RG:  Faulkner started 11 games at RG as a sophomore of 2008, but injuries limited his action in 2008.  Along with James Brewer, he is one of the last two remaining members of the "Seven Blocks of Limestone," Terry Hoeppner's nickname for the oversized linemen who enrolled at IU in 2006.

James Brewer, 6-8 Sr. RT: Brewer struggled with injuries in his first two seasons, but started all 12 games for IU in 2009. 

Reserves:

Josh Hager, 6-9 Jr. LT: The tallest player on the IU roster has seen action in seven games in his first two seasons.

Mark Damisch, 6-6 So. RG: Damisch started the season opener last year (in place of Pagan) and saw lots of action in remaining games. 

Jordan Marquette, 6-3 senior C.  Marquette is a junior college transfer who saw action only in the Akron game during his first season at IU.

Who's gone?

Roger Saffold, Alex Perry, Pete Saxon, Mike ReiterSaffold, taken early in the second round of last year's NFL draft, is the most significant loss.

Who's new?

Colin Rodkey, 6-4 Fr. RT: Rodkey currently is penciled in as Brewer's backup, and given Brewer's injury history, may end up playing quite a bit.

Aaron Price, 6-4 Fr. RG: Price is expected to back up Cody Faulkner, another player with a history of injuries.

Also, the Hoosiers signed two lineman in the spring, Cody Evers and Bill Ivan.  I haven't read anything, in either direction, suggesting whether they are candidates to play as true freshman, but given that eight of IU's two-deep consists of players with substantial game experience, it seems unlikely.

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