August 20, 2006

Buffs looking for continuity on the o-line

Two years ago in 2004, the Buffaloes were fortunate to field the same starting five offensive linemen for every game. They were not as fortunate last year. Every offensive lineman, aside from center Mark Fenton, was banged up or moved around on the line at some point during the season.

So far during preseason camp, the first team offensive line has been relatively healthy. However, Edwin Harrison, who projects as the starting right tackle, has been "dinged up" with a shoulder injury for the last week.

The offensive line did not have it's best performance during this past Friday's scrimmage. The defense racked up six sacks and three quarterback hurries during the scrum.

"Those guys have got it rough because you have to get five guys on exactly the same page," head coach Dan Hawkins explained. "If you go back and look at the tape of [Friday's] scrimmage, probably 70 percent of the issues that we had on offense was because there was one [offensive lineman] that is not in step with everybody else and then it makes all 11 look bad.

"That's the nature of it. Those guys get no love, they only get hate when they give up a sack or have a busted assignment. But I do think we've got the makings of having a decent group in there. But every little minute thing becomes a huge issue down in there. There are no small errors."

Senior Jack Tipton has earned the label "Mr. Versatility" on the offensive line. Like a sixth man in basketball, he is the first one off the bench. Tipton has been working with the first team offense at right tackle for most of the last week in Harrison's absence.

"I can play guard or tackle, so I'll play wherever they need me," Tipton said after Sunday morning's practice. "I came in as a tackle my freshman year and jumped around. I have pretty much practiced and played everywhere."

Tipton first emerged as a dependable lineman during preseason camp last year. He started four games in 2005 and played a total of 305 snaps. Tipton missed spring practices due to knee surgery but reported to camp in good condition.

"It started to click for me last year because I started playing in some games and getting some good reps," he said. "Hopefully this year I can build off that and finish my senior season in fine fashion."

The remainder of CU's starting offensive line projects as follows: Tyler Polumbus at left tackle, Brian Daniels at left guard, Mark Fenton at center and Daniel Sanders at right guard.

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