Youth movement on K-State's offensive line

Youth movement on K-State's offensive line

Losing both Travis Triplett and Chris Boggas this past week changes some things around on the K-State offensive line. The Wildcats now feature a youth movement trend on the two-deep depth chart, including two redshirt and two true freshmen.

With the sudden departure of offensive linemen Travis Triplet and Chris Boggas, the Kansas State depth chart looks quite different than what was probably expected last spring—very young.

Malcolm Wooldridge takes over at left guard with true freshman John Hafferty in at the two deep. Fellow true freshman Gerald Spexarth will back up senior Jon Doty at left tackle. Logan Robinson and Jacob Voegeli, both redshirt freshmen, are penciled in at the two-deep at right tackle and center behind Jeromey Clary and Mike Johnson.

K-State head coach Bill Snyder was asked at the first weekly press conference Tuesday how the losses of Triplett and Boggas will affect the team.

"It doesn't change anything in regards to how we practice or what the focus is," he said. "It just means that if someone gets hurt or someone leaves, someone steps up and whoever is next in line gets their opportunities. That's the way we address this. You recognize and accept what the issues are and move on. The young guys deserve to be there and I think they are doing relatively well. It hasn't altered the way that we've practiced so far."

And with the opening game against Western Kentucky just two days away, Snyder said losing the two linemen hasn't slowed the offensive unit's progress.

"I don't think you can ignore the fact that it is a little bit of an issue, but I don't think that it has slowed down or sped it up, or motivated us one way or another," he said. "We just go on."

Though Snyder said it's an issue and they have moved on, nonetheless, there isn't a lot of experience backing up the core of the offensive line starters now. But despite all that Snyder remained firm, saying the No. 2s have earned the right to be there, not matter their age.

"I don't think there could be any way you couldn't play a number two young guy," he said. "They've practiced well. They have been in the mix from the very beginning. They've been good in running the offense, and they are in the right places at the right times. That's not easy for anyone, but especially for freshmen, it's a little bit more complex. I think they will continue to progress and keep working hard."

It wasn't until a few years ago, it was almost a given that a K-State freshman lineman would redshirt. Nick Leckey broke that mold and then it was later until current right tackle Clary managed to see the field as a freshman too.

But Snyder said it isn't that simple, or a given, that all freshman are better off to have redshirted and have the fifth year than be thrown into the mix as a true freshman.

"There is a yes and no answer to that," he said. "No, just because you would like to have them for that fifth year. But you have to ask yourself the question if you're going to be better in your first year or your fifth year. The obvious answer is that you will be better in your fifth year. With that being said, you'd like to have an opportunity to have as many years as you could. By the same token we have some seniors across our offensive line. The experience the younger guys will gain would be beneficial for the future as well."

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