Citadel position report: Offensive line looks to ‘find five and play five’

Coach Ron Boyd

Coach Ron Boyd

Jeff Hartsell
Aug 19 2014 5:41 pm

When Ron Boyd settled into his office at Seignious Hall last spring, The Citadel’s new offensive line coach turned on the video to check out what he had to work with. He saw a unit that would lose four senior starters, and a system that had a lot of players rotating in and out of the game.

“On my first day, that was the first meeting I had with our guys,” said Boyd, who spent the last nine years as offensive line coach at Lenoir-Rhyne, the last three under new Citadel coach Mike Houston. “I told them, we don’t rotate. We find five and we play five. That’s a lot different from what they’ve done here in the past.”

Much of The Citadel’s preseason camp has been devoted to finding those five guys, and in recent days a starting unit has begun to form.

If the Bulldogs had to play their season opener against Coastal Carolina today rather than Aug. 30, the starting unit would look like this:
. Tackle Isaiah Pinson (6-3, 250, redshirt freshman)
. Guard Kyle Weaver (6-2, 275, sophomore)
. Center Ryan Bednar (6-1, 280, sophomore)
. Guard Sam Frye (5-10, 270, junior)
. Tackle Victor Hill (6-2, 265, reshirt senior)

Harrison Davis, a 6-2, 260-pound sophomore, started camp at center but is now the prime backup at tackle. Mike Mabry, a 6-1, 220-pound junior, is the third guard right now, Boyd said, with true freshman Javion Duncan (6-0, 255) making a push there after moving over from defense.
Frye started all 12 games at center last season, while Bednar played in 11 games as his backup. Hill played in 12 games with the second unit, while Weaver did not play and Pinson took a redshirt season.

“We don’t have a lot of experience,” said Boyd, whose offensive lines at Lenoir-Rhyne produced the last four winners of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy in the South Atlantic Conference. “That’s why we’ve done a lot mixing and matching in camp. That unit really has to jell, and I think we’ve settled on a lineup that we can be pretty comfortable with and stick with.”

Boyd’s “no rotation” plan means his linemen must be in top physical condition. “They will be,” he said. “Slowly but surely, they will be. The good news is we’ve gotten better in that regard every day during camp, and we’ll be okay. We’ve got to keep pushing and grinding, because they’ve got to be in shape.” “It’s a new position for him, because he has been a guard,” Boyd said. “It’s understanding the offense, how and why to do what we want to do. There’s not a lot of ‘how and why’ understanding right now, even though they’ve run a similar (triple-option) offense. We do a lot of different things in technique, so right now we’re teaching ‘how and why’ on top of effort and technique.”

Frye — who has had older brothers play at The Citadel, Appalachian State and Army — is the “linchpin” of the line right now, Boyd said. “He understands that it takes to play four quarters in a ball game,” said Boyd, who played his college ball at West Virginia Wesleyan. “That’s a mindset, and they are starting to figure that out. We want to get after people in games, so we’ve got to practice like that.”

It’s too soon to tell if Duncan, from Woodmont High School in Simpsonville, will redshirt this season or get a chance to play. “He’s shown a lot of promise and will be in the mix all season,” Boyd said. “But even as the year goes on, we’ll be a work in progress because we don’t have a lot of veterans.”


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