The fourth entry in our eight-part positional breakdown focuses on the Wolfpack’s rebuilt offensive line. Last week, we discussed quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. The d-line is up later today, with the rest of the defense and special teams following later this week.
|LT||Jake Vermiglio||6-6, 220||Jr||20||Started 3 as Tr Fr (’07), leg inj. (’09) missed two games|
|LG||Andrew Wallace||6-5, 299||RS So||2||Both starts in ’09 at LT|
|C||Camden Wentz||6-3, 290||So||0||Played in five games (’09), #13 C per Scout.com|
|RG||Zach Allen||6-3, 314||So||0||Played both G and T last season as reserve|
|RT||Mikel Overgaard||6-6, 280||RS Jr||0||Orig. walk-on TE at Wash St., transf. from JuCo in Utah|
|C||Torian Box||6-3, 295||Fr||0||Played LG/RG/C in HS, #15 C per Rivals.com|
|OL||Tyson Chandler||6-6, 340||Fr||0||Converted DT, spent ’09 at Fork Union Military Academy|
|C||Wayne Crawford||6-3, 303||RS Jr||0||1 GP (’09), 6 GP (’08), converted DT|
|T||Robert Crisp||6-7, 299||Fr||0||Five-star recruit, top-5 tackle nationally, could win job|
|T||Duran Cristophe||6-6, 287||RS Fr||0||Three-star recruit (Scout.com/Rivals.com)|
|G||Gary Gregory||6-4, 325||RS Sr||0||4 GP (’09), missed spring practice|
|T||Sam Jones||6-7, 321||RS Fr||0||Played G and T at Hargrave in ’09|
|G||Henry Lawson||6-3, 290||RS Jr||0||Played line in two games (’08), 25 GP on ST|
|RG||R.J. Mattes||6-6, 303||RS So||8||Tore ACL v. FSU in ’09, expected back mid-September|
The 2009 Wolfpack offensive line was built around several veteran players. LG Julian Williams, C Ted Larsen and RT Jeraill McCuller — all seniors — were, if nothing else, dependable, combining for just one missed start. But joined by sophomore LT Jake Vermiglio and RG R.J. Mattes and Andy Barbee, the group failed to improve much on middling 2008 numbers. Rushing offense in ’09 held steady at 120 ypg (87th nationally) and sacks allowed per game numbers increased to an even 2.0 (53rd).
With everyone from the preceding paragraph not named Vermiglio unavailable for the opener at Western Carolina, Tom O’Brien has no problem admitting that the arrangement of the line is, as of now, to be determined. Replacing three veteran starters on the line is never an easy task, but it’s made even more difficult when injuries and dismissals add to the the attrition. The very hush-hush booting of four-star guard Denzelle Good last week plus the injury to R.J. Mattes puts a lot of names in the hat for O’Brien.
The hinge on which the entire lineup swings is the recovery of sophomore right guard R.J. Mattes. Mattes, who went down with an ACL tear and missed the last four games of 2009, is expected back by the second or third game and should retake his starting role despite missing nearly a year.
But in the opener, expect to see a lot players rotated in. Unless much changes between now and September 4, the starting five should be what’s listed above. The guy probably getting the longest look in that game will be top recruit Robert Crisp. O’Brien and others have raved about his physical skills in camp, saying it’s the mental adjustments that he’s working on most. Expect Crisp to spend time on the field with both the first and second-team offense. With his primary position of left tackle occupied by the only experienced lineman in Vermiglio, little has been said about whether Crisp can make the move to the other side — but it’s a move that may be necessitated by O’Brien’s desire to line up the best five guys.