Lamar offensive taking shape
At 6-foot-6, John Woods is the tallest; Joey Chavez is the shortest at an even 6-feet.
Tipping the scales at 325 pounds, Emone Bailey is the heaviest. At a puny 260 pounds, Ryan Jones and Kyle Gillam are the smallest.
On the average, they stand 6-3 ½, and they weigh 279.2 pounds.
Two hail from California; one is a Floridian, and six are Texans. Six have junior college experience, and three are redshirt freshmen.
These are the nine players in the mix for major playing time in the offensive line for Lamar University’s 2010 football team.
“They are a good bunch of guys,” said Nathan Reeves, the Cardinals’ offensive line coach. “Three of them have been on campus for only a week, so they’ve had some catching up to do.
“That’s the difficult part, but they’re picking things up faster than 18-year-olds would. That’s for sure.”
While much could still change between now and the Cardinals’ season opener at McNeese on Sept. 4, the pecking order is beginning to take shape at most of the positions.
Kameron Edwards, a 6-3, 280-pounder from Sacramento, Calif., by way of San Mateo Community College, and Ryan Jones, a 6-4, 260-pounder from Kirbyville by way of Kilgore Junior College, are running 1-2 at the left tackle.
Six-foot-5, 280-pounder Stephen Babin from Bellville is No. 1 at left guard, and Kyle Gillam (6-1, 260) of nearby Lumberton is holding down the starting center slot. Joey Chavez (6-0, 295), out of Diamond Bar, Calif., and Fullerton Junior College, is the backup at both positions.
Cameron Epple (6-3, 293) of Granbury by way of Blinn College is running No. 1 at right guard, but is being pushed by the 325-pound Bailey, who is from Houston Elsik.
Jacobson Joseph (6-5, 310) from Plantation, Fla., by way of Fullerton JC, is running slightly ahead of the 310-pound Woods, who is from Rockport and played his JC football at Kilgore College.
“These guys have never played together before, but they’re working together amazingly well,” said Reeves, who was an all-district quarterback at Orangefield and played his college fooball at Hardin-Simmons. “With Andre (Bevil, the Cardinals’ starting quarterback) being so mobile, it’s going to make things a little easier for them.
“They’re working hard at getting on the same page together. The thing about offensive line play is that four can get everything just right on a play, but if one gets it wrong, the whole unit looks terrible. Everyone has to be on the same page.
“The guys who were here in the spring are a little ahead of the newer ones, but we’re getting them tons of reps as much as we can, and they’re coming along very well. They have to develop an attitude about themselves that they’re going to be the aggressors. You can’t be passive and survive in the offensive line.
“You just have to let loose and play. Right now, they’re thinking a little too much and not just letting loose and playing. They’re getting there, though.”
The their first of two pre-season scrimmages was held Saturday. The second is scheduled for Aug. 21, and the Cardinals will play their first home game in newly-renovated Provost Umphrey Stadium against Webber International on Sept. 11.