You might not have been able to tell from the kind of vocabulary offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh was using during Monday’s practice, but he seems to really like his young offensive linemen.
It’s this group of four true freshmen, combined with three redshirt freshman offensive linemen from the class of 2009, that will be the future foundation of everything the Wildcats want to do on offense.
For now, the true freshmen might give up a speed rush to Brooks Reed coming off the edge in practice. They might not go hard every time from snap to whistle. That’s OK. It’s early. What is encouraging is they look the part.
Mickey Baucus, Fabbians Ebbele, Carter Lees and Trent Spurgeon are part of what appears to be Mike Stoops’ most physically impressive freshman class.
“These guys, there are all in the 6-6 to 6-8 range, and they all have long arms, and they are all 290 to 300 pounds. They’re athletes,” Bedenbaugh, also the co-offensive coordinator, said of his linemen.
“But the biggest thing is, just mentally picking up the game. They’re getting a lot of reps right now, but it’s going to take some time.”
With six seniors and one junior (guard Vaughn Dotsy) in the two-deep, Arizona doesn’t have much margin or error with injuries. The experience drops off quickly. Redshirt freshman Eric Bender-Ramsay is listed as a possible backup at left tackle. Chris Putton is a second-stringer at left guard.
The opportunity could be there for a true freshman.
“We’ve got to have one of them develop in case we get into a situation where we need them,” Bedenbaugh said.