Kickoff is only eight weeks away, and while I lament that the summer is going by far too quickly, the bitter taste of a 10-game losing streak and our Bucket being held captive in Bloomington has me longing for some football. That means the most experienced offensive lineman on the roster is up today as we celebrate the date in which we told the Brits to GTFO, we're our own country now.
Robert Kugler - Jr. (RS)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (North Allegany HS)
6'3", 280 pounds
2014 Projection: Starter at Center
Just about the only thing we know on the offensive line is that Robert Kugler will be starting. Out of a possible 25 games (13 in 2012, 12 in 2011) Kulger has started 19 games and has more starts at the FBS collegiate level than every other offensive lineman on the roster. Only Jordan Roos with six and Jason King with five have any.
That's probably the way it should be given the disaster that was the 2013 line. Fortunately, there were not many snap problems despite multiple quarterbacks playing and Kugler was by far the most consistent performer. That's to be expected when his father has been an NFL offensive line coach and is the current head coach at UTEP. In spring 2013 he won the offense's pit bull award for tenacity. This came on the heels of him winning the team's most improved award for the 2012 season.
Kugler enters his junior season as the unquestioned leader of a unit that will honestly make or break the season. He has a chance to be one of the better interior linemen in the Big Ten and provides at least one solid player to build the line on. he also enters 2014 on the watch list for the Rimington Award, which goes to the nation's top center.