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Aggies Sports

OUTLOOK 2009: Aggie Offense

Posted Saturday, July 25, 2009 by staff
Assessing the hopes for 2009 gridiron success for the OPSU Aggies, begins with the quarterback position. The Aggies return starter Vinnie Gay, a fan favorite because of his competitive spirit. Gay leaves it all on the field every time he plays, but he knows for the Aggie offense to achieve success in 2009 he must become more efficient in the passing game. Of course, that is, if he can hold his starting position. Gay looks to be in a early training camp battle with red-shirt sophomore Kevin Lauchland. Lauchland spent his sophomore season holding a clipboard and watching Gay feel the brunt of an inexperienced offensive line. But, for 2009, he’ll be competing with Gay for the job as field general and his presence will force Gay to avoid having a bad day at practice or he’ll get to watch Lauchland lead the Aggies
In speaking of the offensive line, it was the most improved area on the team in 2009, but it needed to be. Senior tackle Quinton Jones will be back to lead the group with hopes of drawing attention for post season honors. A more experienced, Gilbert Pedraza returns after having started the last two seasons for the Aggies and he is joined by sophomore Joffrey Wallace, also a returning starter. Tim O’Neil a juco transfer from the College of DuPage helped the line step it up a notch in the spring when he rested away the starting center position away from returning starter Bryan Burke. However, Burke has had a good summer of preparation and will enter fall camp looking to re-gain his spot or take somebody else’s job in the trenches. Big sophomore Curtis Roberts who also started all last season in the offensive line will look to re-earn his job after moving to a back-up role in the spring. Also looking to challenge for playing time are senior Austin Cleland, junior Micah Herron,  East Texas Baptist transfer Carlos Perez along with juco transfers Danny Smith from Coffeyville and Brian Armendariz from East Los Angeles College. A number of talented freshmen will look to do battle for playing time, as well.
“It will be competitive. We should have depth and the competition for playing time will only make the guys who do end up as starters play that much better. “ state Aggie offensive line coach Sven Hack.
With Darryl Brister, a sophomore returning starter at tailback joining fellow sophomore returning starter Jose Mendoza at fullback, the Aggies look to be firing on all cylinders at the running back position. Junior Zach McCaskill will also figure heavily in the Aggies plans as will red-shirt freshman Leon King. The Aggie running back stable looks to be fully stocked and ready to produce big results in 2009. Senior Michael Vera also showed flashes of brilliance in the spring, as well.
“We are fortunate to have a fine group of backs. They all have the ability to make big plays and overall may be our biggest weapons on the offensive side of the ball.” Stated Aggie head football coach Mike Wyatt.
The receiving corps return senior starter Chad Sauceda and junior tight end Greg Fortner. Both are capable of making big plays. Consistency in catching the football for Sauceda and blocking for Fortner will areas both will need to see improvement in for 2009. Junior Tyler Bennett, and sophomore speedster Christopher Pearson should also figure into the plans for the Aggies. The group will also look at a talented group of transfers in Clay Dirickson, Michael Graffman and Doug Williams. Spring transfer Shea Tarbett put in a strong bid for a starting position with his efforts in the spring, as well.
“There may be a couple of other players who will figure in, as well. The bottom line is the receiver have to be able to make the catches this year. We had too many dropped passes in 2008. The potential is here to be successful. It is up to them to produce.” Added Wyatt.
If the Aggie offense can raise their play in fall camp as much as they improved in the spring, they should be exciting to watch this fall.

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