Offensive line shooting for depth behind senior leadership

Published 4:48 pm Friday, July 14, 2017

New offensive line coach Ryan Kineard is preaching a different philosophy to his players this season.

Rather than focus on zone blocking, Kineard is bringing back the hard-nosed approach of a power-based line.

“We have kind of changed our mentality from a zone type team to a power type team,” Kineard said. “We are no longer finesse blocking. We are attacking people a little more. Trying to be a little more physical at the line of scrimmage. Trying to get them out of that mind set of zone blocking.”

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The process has been a little bit of an adjustment, he added, but he believes he has the personnel this season to make it work.

Seniors Iran Brown, Spencer Van Housen and Hudson Barber are anchoring the revamped offensive line, bringing size and experience to the line of scrimmage to protect the quarterback and make holes for running backs like Dameon Pierce.

Kineard said Brown comes to practice every day with a “lunch pail” attitude and is eager to get to work. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman isn’t afraid to push himself, and Kineard added he would go to war with him any day.

Van Housen is a player that was a little under the radar when Kineard got to Bainbridge, he said.

“I said, ‘Man, that’s a good looking kid right there.’ He works his tail off,” Kineard said. “So I gave him a chance and he has really done a good job this summer.”

Hudson Barber started on offensive line last season, but has had a slower summer due to a leg injury. Barber has been released by doctors and is slowly easing back into his role. He is another lineman that Kineard said will be a solid player in 2017.

Junior brothers Brad and Ben Mitchell caught the attention of Kineard. Both are sharp, strong and hardly ever miss their blocking assignments.

Two rising freshman, TJ Lee and Lawson Chandler, have tons of potential that could earn them a spot on a starting roster sometime this season.

“He is going to be pretty special,” Kineard said about Chandler. “He is about 6-foot-3 and weighs about 300 pounds. He is a special kid. If we can just get him a little more physical, he can be a big time guy in a couple years… Lee is kind of on the same line as Lawson. A good looking kid that can move. We are expecting good things out of them.”

Official positions for the lineman aren’t set in stone. Kineard comes from a school of thought that doesn’t designate a player as a “center” or a “left tackle.”

“I think (they are) an offensive lineman,” Kineard said. “I think he should be able to play if I need him to play left guard, he should be able to play guard. If I need him to play center, he can play center.”

Van Housen is a specific player Kineard will experiment with moving around all over the offensive line this season because of his athletic ability.

Check back next edition for a run down on Bainbridge running backs.