There is no denying this in the game of football.
Games are won and lost in the trenches.
Luckily for Purdue Football. Both the offensive and defensive line are improving in West Lafayette.
There are questions on the offensive line, but just looking at the roster, we are getting older there after a complete overhaul of that group of players, starting in the 2018 is going to pay off in 2020.
It starts at Left Tackle with 5th year senior Grant Hermanns, who said recently he is very excited with the potential of the offensive line this season. He also stated he believes this is the most talented offensive line we have had at Purdue, since he arrived.
Hermanns, is going on his 4th year as a full time starter. While he has battled injuries he is going to be the anchor and the veteran of the offensive line.
But, he is not short of talent next to him.
Here comes 4 star freshman, Gus Hartwig from Zionsville, Indiana. Coach Brohm has talked Gus up. Even labeling him the best freshman offensive lineman he has recruited. All that talk leads me to believe that he will play early and often. Maybe in game one. Gus is a machine.
At Center, Sam Garvin is serviceable, he did a nice job after Viktor Beach got hurt last season. Beach is not playing this year and Garvin is kid of walking into a job. Cam Craig will challenge him for this spot though and will be right on his heels.
At right guard I have Mark Stickford from Carmel, Indiana. The 4th year junior has come a long way since being recruited by Coach Brohm. He was a late offer after Coach was hired on and he was a lean 6-6, 250 pounds. Now at 6-6, 305 pounds, he looks like a Big Ten Guard and has 3 full years of experience and coaching from Dale Williams.
Then finally at Right Tackle, I have Will Bramel. The third year sophomore did a nice job last season when called upon. Not far behind him is Eric Miller. Both are giants at 6-7, 300 Pounds and finally look like Big Ten Offensive linemen after being in the weight program for 3 years now.
I am not saying that this offensive line is going to roll people over in run blocking. But, outside of Hermanns these are all Jeff Brohm recruits. He offered these guys scholarships when they were tall skinny high school linemen. He loves athletic offensive linemen and again these guys all move very well.
These guys HAVE to be improved. They have been in the program for 3 to 5 years outside of Hartwig who is just as good as any of them the moment he walked in. But it isn’t just the starting 5, we have 5 solid back ups as well.
Eric Miller, Cam Craig, DJ Washington, Greg Long and Kyle Jornigan all provide great depth, with Greg Long as a grad transfer leading the group with Eric Miller.
Some are worried about offensive line. I am not as worried as in years past, I am more optimistic to see what this now experienced group will be able to accomplish in less than 2 weeks.