A hot and sticky Sunday in the midst of June, today makes 76 days to the football season kickoff in West Lafayette. The weather seems just right, because I have had a very busy schedule. Whenever it gets really hot and muggy outside, I try hard to stay busy, so I'm not just sitting around my apartment, sweating my ass off and bitching about how Lafayette doesn't have one big, beautiful lake to take advantage of in this heat.
Apart from doing my homework for the two summer classes I am currently enrolled in, running mundane errands, making sure I didn't forget to call one of my parents on their special holiday today (which I sadly have a knack of doing) and picking up my girlfriend from O'Hare Airport in Chicago (who is returning from a month-long stay in London for Study Abroad), I have somehow managed to find the time to squeeze in this story for the loyal fans Hammer & Rails. Trust me, I am surprised. I am typically never on top of this many daunting tasks during the weekend.
So, as the Countdown Tour continues to roll down the Purdue offensive line, I find it very coincidental that my busy Sunday is completed by a post about the senior Guard and Center, #76 Rick Schmeig; if you have been paying attention to reports coming out of the football team's spring and summer practices, you know what I mean when I say that Schmeig has been both busy and focused all summer long.
Rick Schmeig - Sr. (RS)
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH (Oak Hills HS)
6'3, 320 pounds
2012 Projection: Starter at Left Guard, Contributor at Center and Right Guard
Rick Schmeig has had a long road to success at the college level. After a dominant high school varsity football career at Oak Hills in Cincinnati, Rick was redshirted his freshman year in 2008. Then, during his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, he saw limited time as a reserve but managed to a few starts during each season at both the right and left Guard positions. Finally, in his junior year last season, Schmeig was named a full-time starter at the Left Guard spot, where he helped anchor a unit of big men that worked to produce a powerful running game that totaled over 2600 yards on the season and rushed Purdue straight into its first bowl game in years.
Now coming upon his senior campaign this year, Rick Schmeig should be very excited for 2012. He is expected to lead a Boilermaker offensive line that will be bolstered by multiple upperclassmen and returning starters. Yet, while it is becoming clearer and clearer as summer workouts go on that Purdue's O-Line should be much stronger and more stable in 2012 than in seasons past, it remains unclear exactly where #76 will line up on the offensive front this fall.
As stated above, reports coming out of the football team's summer workouts claim that Schmeig has accrued countless first team snaps at multiple positions along the offensive line. Speculations about where he has been lining up include his incumbent Left Guard spot and also Center. Based on these findings, it seems that Schmeig will be used as the utility guy for the 2012 Purdue O-Line. However, that doesn't mean bad things for #76 like less playing time or starts during his senior year. On the contrary, I expect Schmeig and the coaching staff to take full advantage of this opportunity to utilize his versatility. Look for the big fella to assume a leadership role and be a featured piece along the offensive front as he makes starts and notches significant playing time at Left Guard, Center or anywhere else along the O-Line that the coaches think he will success and possibly shore up inconsistent play from other Purdue protectors. Schmeig's frequent movement along the O-Line should help to keep opposing defenders on their toes as other teams will have to account for that extra, stressful variable of where the athletic #76 lines up.