The quest for depth on the offensive line continues this spring, and OL coach Matt Luke may not really find it until the freshmen arrive in August.
The Rebels are enjoying a long Easter weekend right now, a three-day break made longer by the fact that they practiced early Thursday morning and won’t return until late on Monday. The next workout is Monday night at 8.
Tackle Robert Conyers and guards Justin Bell and Jared Duke seem to be the players next to be judged “game-ready” by Luke, who relied heavily on his starters for most of 2012.
The four freshmen include the nation’s No. 1 OL prospect in Laremy Tunsil. He’s a true tackle, and the Rebels return starters at both tackles in Emmanuel McCray and Pierce Burton.
If Tunsil is as good as projected he could find his way to early playing time. That would mean as a young guy he’d be learning a new position or that McCray or Burton would move inside to guard.
“That’s something we’ll have to look at. My job as a line coach is to get the best five on the field, and if that means one of them doing that, we certainly will,” Luke said.
For now, Luke doesn’t see any of the freshmen as players he has to have for the group overall to be successful.
“You never know till you get them here, put the pads on and go to work. You can’t count on them, I know. You want them to come in and contribute. If they do it’s a bonus. The good news is we’ve got a lot of experience coming back, so if they don’t, we’re OK,” he said.