Commentary: Previewing the Cougar offensive line
Last week we covered the quarterbacks, the leaders of the offense, the ones who are responsible for calling the plays in the huddle.
But in order for the quarterback to perform well, he needs to have a well-rounded offensive line around him.
This week, we cover the men who are responsible for protecting their leader.
Senior Alex Cooper (6’4″, 297) -Cooper started all 13 games during the 2014 season at right tackle, and was one of the strong-points for the Cougar offense.
He helped the Houston offense gain 2,391 yards on the ground for 4.8 yards per rush and 28 rushing touchdowns in those 13 games.
During high school, Cooper participated on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, but converted to offensive line during the 2012 season at UH.
Cooper played a combined 25 games in the past two seasons, giving the team team some stability along the line for his senior year.
Senior Ben Dew (6’4″, 315) – Dew started all 13 games in 2014 at left guard, following transferring in from the University of Hawaii.
A New Zealand native, Dew, one of four seniors on the roster, will look to build upon the success the Cougars achieved in the run game at the end of last season and maintaining a good pocket for quarterback Greg Ward Jr.
Senior Carter Wall (6’4″, 295) – Wall appeared in just two games last season for the Cougars, providing depth behind an experienced offensive line which featured such starters as Rowdy Harper.
In his second season at UH, the senior should be more comfortable in the offense and able to contribute on offense.
Senior Zach Johnson (6’6″, 295) – Johnson, a prospective starter for the Cougars last season, spent the year on the bench having suffered a tear to his ACL in spring ball.
Johnson started 11 games for UH in 2011, participating at right tackle in a Cougars offensive line which was fourth in conference, allowing just 29 sacks to opposing defenses.
Johnson will be looking to bounce back from a devastating injury, and seems ready to serve as a strength for the Cougars on the field and continue his leadership off the field.
Sophomore Marcus Oliver (6’3″, 270) – Oliver started all 13 games last season for the Cougars, one of just four UH freshman to do so, and fit in well with the experienced offensive line.
With a year of starting experience, Oliver should provide leadership and composure for the Cougars, and serve as a corner stone for the line for years to come.
Oliver adds to the depth UH has along the offensive line, and his size should make him a valuable asset this season.