July 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Buffalos tackle David Bakhtiari talks to reporters during PAC-12 Media Day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
We know who will be manning the left tackle spot, and we know the two guys that are listed as co-starters on the right side. I know who I would like to start at RT and who I think makes an incredibly valuable reserve, but we'll see how that battle plays out in fall camp. Also something that we should all keep our eyes on is how the youngsters perform and develop. There are some exciting kids that line up at tackle on the 2nd and 3rd units, and it should be fun to watch how they grow behind the guys slotted to start.
- Ryan Dannewitz, Sr - Dannewitz is the lone senior along the offensive line. He's always had good size and offers some versatility in that he has played both tackle spots and has practiced regularly at right guard. But some of his physical limitations were demonstrated last year when he was pressed into regular duty on both the left and right sides. I like his ability to come in and provide stability should a starter miss some time, but he isn't our best option to play full games and is susceptible to the quick pass-rushers we consistently face in the Pac 12. Dannewitz good guy and the kind of kid you want on your team, but he is most valuable to the team as the first guy off the bench.
- David Bakhtiari, Jr - Let's not focus too much on my incorrect prediction that the coaches would slide him inside to guard in favor of Alex Lewis taking over the LT spot. Instead, as our best offensive lineman, Bakhtiari keeps his spot on the left edge and Lewis moves to the left guard spot, giving us the most athletic left side of our offensive line in a long time. Combine them with center Gus Handler, who has reportedly been a beast in the weight room, and we should see some great things out of that Left side.
- Jack Harris, Jr - I want him to finally be healthy. I've liked him every time I've seen him, but injuries have derailed each of the last couple of seasons for him. He plays mean, is strong, has long arms and can move; an ideal right tackle. He is listed as the co-starter at RT with Dannewitz, but I like his chances to once again claim the starting spot going into the season. We just have to hope he can hold onto it and avoids injuries.
- Marc Mustoe, RFr - He seems to be solidly in the #2 spot behind Bakhtiari on the left side. Now, that doesn't mean he's ready, but the fact that the coaches listed him alone on the depth chart at LT (where Dannewitz was listed previously, in addition to his other positions) says something about how ready he may be to step in. He's long, at 6'7" and while he's still filling out, he looks well suited to eventually holding down the edge. Not yet, but down the road.
- Stephane Nembot, RFr - I can't wait to hear how he's progressed since the spring. He has just a ton of potential, and has the crazy-good reach that you want out of a tackle. I think it will be at least another season or two before he's ready to truly see any time on the field, but he could be special once he finally does. He sounds motivated and I wish I could get into practice to watch him. He needs to learn some technique, but he has time.
- Jeromy Irwin, Fr - A big boy out of Houston that I think we should be more excited about than most of us have been. A big part of the reason we got him was because we also offered his twin TE brother (who you can read about by going back to the TE breakdown listed at the end). Bakhtiari said that Irwin looked good for a guy coming in as a true freshman. He may also get looks at guard, but I'm listing him here for now. Hopefully we won't need to see him anytime soon, but he's still a guy that we should look forward to seeing down the road. He's a mean, road-grader type, and as he gets bigger and stronger, I think he'll push for a spot in the two-deep.
Bakhtiari is the leader and best player on this unit, and I'm happy that we should have him around for the next two years. I think Jack Harris, once he gets into the flow of things, can be very good opposite of him. And I think Dannewitz is a valuable part of the Offensive Line this year, even if he doesn't start. Then we have a bit of a class gap, but I like the youth that is behind the Juniors at Tackle, and I'm excited to see who the Buffaloes, who we know are going heavy on the O-line in the next recruiting class, bring into the mix. I think we will be surprised this season by the performance of our Offensive Line, especially if Harris is able to really settle into his spot at RT. We aren't deep here at all (something we saw last season), but the flexibility of Dannewitz helps that a little bit.