clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Iowa State Football Position Previews: Offensive Line

The offensive line will go through some shuffles early on once again.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Since the beginning of last season, Iowa State’s offensive line has been a revolving door. Injuries, player departures, and trying finding the right mix have led to constant reshuffling. This season started off no different, but appears to have the right mix now that camp has been going for most of the month.

Let’s take a dive deeper into Iowa State’s offensive line and what it may look like this fall.

Starters

When Iowa State released its fall depth chart the starters were Jake Campos at left tackle, Robby Garcia at left guard, Julian Good-Jones moves back inside to his natural position of center and Oge Udeogu at right guard. As of now, Bryce Meeker looks to be the starter, but Sean Foster will be pushing for playing time. If I had to guess, Meeker will start game one and Foster will get his chances to prove himself as they arise during the game.

One of the most interesting stories out of camp is Robby Garcia’s transition to offensive line from the defensive line. “Garcia is playing really well right now and he was obviously a bit raw coming over, I keep telling him, you are starting to look like a guard, you’re starting to look like a guard every play,” Jake Campos told the media recently. Jake Campos happens to be his roommate as well, and is aiding his transition to the offensive line.

Depth

Iowa State’s offensive line depth is full of unknowns. After the departures of two graduate transfers in the spring, most of the depth in the two deeps is full of unproven juniors and seniors, excluding Sean Foster who is a redshirt freshman, but Josh Knipfel is the name that sticks out most. The transfer from Iowa Western Community college is built like a Power 5 lineman and could push for playing time. I would expect to see some shuffling in the depth chart before the Northern Iowa game. If Iowa State is forced to use any of their depth they have, it could make things very interesting.

The good news for Iowa State is Tom Manning. Manning has proved time and time again that he can put together a good offensive line with inexperience. It proved to be true late in the 2016 season as the offense was able to set Big 12 era school records in points per game and yards per game. Should Iowa State have to go deeper into the depth chart, it makes one feel better having Tom Manning on your side.

How it stacks up vs Big 12

Post spring practice, ESPN staff writer Mitch Sherman ranked Iowa State’s offensive line last in the Big 12, citing inexperience and developmental pieces looking to be the main focus. While nobody can fully dispute that claim, the season has yet to start and the offensive line still has plenty of time to show growth during the season.

Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State always prove to have one of the better offensive lines in the conference. Oklahoma will return 8 offensive lineman who had playing time last season, including Orlando Brown who may be a first round NFL pick next year. In comparison, Iowa State’s offensive line is not a flashy bunch compared to the rest of the conference, but they are eager to prove they belong.

Outlook

I think Iowa State’s offensive line will be better than last year’s, depending on health. Jake Campos is an All-American caliber offensive lineman, and Julian Good-Jones appears to have the tools as well. Iowa State’s abundance of talent at skill positions, such as Jacob Park, Allen Lazard, David Montgomery and Mike Warren, can be a big benefit in bailing out the offensive line when needed. The play will not have to be perfect, but just good enough to give the above-listed a chance to take off. The first three games of the season will be the best indicator for the baseline of this group, but the offensive line has a bunch of young, eager talent that will certainly look improve throughout the season.