Experienced offensive line developing depth

Preseason All-American guard Chris Hering (left) and All-Conference center Adam Mann (right) anchor the Hawks' offensive line. The two seniors lead a unit that returns five players who earned starts last season.
Preseason All-American guard Chris Hering (left) and All-Conference center Adam Mann (right) anchor the Hawks' offensive line. The two seniors lead a unit that returns five players who earned starts last season.

Head Coach Mike Turk on Day 4 of preseason camp: "Overall, today was a little better. It was a lot better as far as the attitude and the level of enthusiasm. For the most part, it was pretty enthusiastic and very competitive. That's really what training camp is all about, competing and making each other better every day. We still have a long way to go, but today I felt like we took a step in the right direction."

                      

Position Spotlight – Offensive Line 

Projected Starters: LT – Reed Crosby (Jr.), LG – Kodee Kuncho (Jr.), C – Adam Mann (Sr.), RG – Chris Hering (Sr.), RT – Josh Horwitz (So.)

 

A Closer Look: The offensive line enters the season as one of the most experienced positions for the Hawks. Of the projected starters, all five started games in 2017 and two players (senior right guard Chris Hering and senior center Adam Mann) are entering their third season as starters.

A preseason All-American, Hering earned All-Region honors last season and is a two-time All-Conference selection. Hering graded out at a team-high 91-percent last season. Mann was also an All-Conference selection last season. He graded out second on the unit behind Hering last season and led the team with 34 knockdown blocks.

Junior Reed Crosby, who was second on the team last season with 33 knockdown blocks, returns for his second season at left tackle. Junior Kodee Kuncho missed most of last season with an injury. After starting the first two games at tackle last season, Kuncho is moving to left guard this season. Rounding out the starting unit is sophomore Josh Horwitz, who started the final seven games last season at right tackle.

In addition to the starting five, another group of five is already emerging in the preseason. Seniors Alex Kent and Jesse Rowlen and freshmen Darrell Hixon, D.J. Adams and Colin Langford are adding needed depth and earning attention from the coaches.

 

Turk on the starting unit: "The first group of guys is pretty solid as far as knowing what to do. All five of them played for us in some capacity last season. When you look at the group as a whole, there is a lot of experience there. It's probably as much experience as we've ever had in one group of offensive linemen. Hopefully that will pay off for us."

Turk on the senior leadership of Hering and Mann: "Both of them are very experienced players and great leaders. With as many young guys as we have this year, it's great to have two guys like that to set the tone and show them how things are supposed to be done. Chris and Adam both understand the importance of that responsibility."

 

Others to Watch: OG/C – Alex Kent (Sr.), OG – Jesse Rowlen (Sr.), OT – Darrell Hixon (Fr.), OT – D.J. Adams (Fr.), OG/C – Colin Langford (Fr.)

 

Turk on the emerging depth of the offensive line: "Behind the starting unit, we have some guys who are showing us some good things and starting to come along. Alex Kent is an older guy who has been here and is seeing time at guard and center. Jesse Rowlen has been a wrestler here and hasn't played football since high school, but he has shown us some good things at guard.

"Among the freshmen, we have three guys who have really caught our attention so far. Darrell Hixon and D.J. Adams are doing good things at tackle and Colin Langford has been getting reps at guard and center. I'm encouraged by what I see out of all three of them. There are several others in this freshman group that we are really excited about. We feel like we are developing some depth, which is something we haven't always had on the offensive line."

Next Practice: The Hawks return to the field at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday for the first practice in full gear. Practices are open to the public.