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December 13, 2013

Grading The Team: Offensive Line

Now that the Houston Cougars' regular season has concluded, the team has begun it's preparation for the January 4 BBVA Compass Bowl Game against Vanderbilt, their eighth bowl game since 2003.

As the team begins it's workout this week, CougarsDen has continued it's look at how each position group fared during the Cougars regular season and given each position group a grade.

Today we continue the series with a look at the offensive line which really struggled in 2013.

Things didn't get off to a very good start when the unit lost it's starting left tackle less than one game into the season. Senior Ralph Oragwu suffered a partial tear of a ligament in his knee and was for all intents and purposes done. Junior Rowdy Harper filled in for a short time before the team finally settled on DeAnthony Sims who filled in well enough to land on the American Athletic Conference Second Team All-Conference team.

Harper bounced back and forth from the inside to the outside on the left side of the line for the first couple games before settling in at left guard for the majority of the season.

The rest of the line also struggled at times but at least it avoided the injury bug. Junior Bryce Redman took over the center duties mid-year last season and started every game there this year. Senior Kevin Forsch finished out his battle tested playing career at right guard all season and sophomore Zachary Johnson took the starting right tackle spot during camp and never relinquished it.

One of the strangest situations of the year was senior Ty Cloud's pre-season injury and disappearance for most of the season. He was a player they missed.

That group struggled as a unit for most of the season. They had good showings against certain lesser opponents but during some of the most important games struggled to open running lanes and had difficulties providing protection for the quarterbacks.

As a whole the unit never lived up to the unit that was thought to be one of the strongest last spring. A grade of D for their performance in 2013 is harsh but truthful. With three of the starters out the door to graduation and shakiness from at least a couple of the returners, the Cougars will look for an influx of youth and new faces next season. It will clearly be the biggest area of concern heading into the offseason.

Houston NEWS


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