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Revamped offensive line will outpace defenses off field

The offensive line has benefited from practicing against high-level defensive linemen like Ed Oliver and Isaiah Chambers every day at practice. Corbin Ayres/ The Cougar

Classes have started, training camp is coming to a close and another season of UH football is quickly approaching. The focus will be on the offense this year, and the driving force behind its success is the offensive line. The big men in the middle are confident that they will come out to play.

“This is probably going to be one of our best seasons in the past few seasons. We have good cohesiveness,” said junior tackle Josh Jones.“So I feel like we’re going to be great this year.”

The line will have higher expectations of itself this year, as it is stocked with veterans at every position. It features four-year starter Will Noble and the return of junior guard Kameron Eloph.

Eloph was injured last season, so this training camp was a good test to see if he’d be ready this year. So far, camp has been good to him, and he claims to be ready for the upcoming season.

“My injury was a minor setback to a major comeback,” Eloph said. “I feel good. It hasn’t been bothering me.”

Health is going to be an important part of this year’s success, especially since the offense is going to be focusing on moving quickly down the field.

The line is getting used to the new pace this training camp, as they have been practicing at game-time speed. It’s proved to be a bit of a challenge for the linemen, but their work will help them accomplish their goals.

“I feel like we’re getting used to it. It’s hard, they push us every day to go fast, every single play,” Jones said. “I’m getting used to it. Overall we’re just trying to push ourselves out there.”

If anything is going to slow down this year’s offensive line, it won’t be a lack of chemistry. Many of the starters have been together for years, and some of the bench has gotten meaningful playing time. They believe the experience will only benefit the team.

“Luckily, we’ve got a veteran group,” senior center Will Noble said. “We’ve got a lot of players who’ve been there, done that, so it’s just refining things and making sure we click as a group and get back running.”

The line had a lot of success last season and will try to recreate some of its proficiency. The team rushed for over 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns.

UH will likely continue to run the ball at a high rate after averaging 37 rushes per game last year. With Duke Catalon leaving the team for personal reasons, there will be less firepower in the running back room. The offensive line will need to be effective to aid the running game. 

In general, the line had a very efficient training camp this year. Not only have the linemen been getting rave reviews from the coaching staff, but they have also rated themselves highly. When asked about the quality of their camp, they each echoed the same basic message.

“It’s been productive,” Eloph said. “The offense and defense (is) just getting better.”

There is still some time before the Cougars play in the first game. So far, the coaches have gotten exactly what they were expecting from the offensive line. UH may expect to have its best O-line in years, but there will be an extreme effort to make sure this goal is achieved.

“Every year, we work with what we got and we’ve got to go for it,” Noble said. “This year is no different. We’re going to do our best and try to put our best product out on the field.”

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