2017 Spring Preview: Offensive Line
April 11, 2017

They say it all begins up front, meaning that the offensive line has the opportunity to shape the way a game will be played. A dominating line can open up holes for running backs to plow through or provide that extra second of protection needed for a quarterback to find an open receiver.

What the Minnesota offensive line will look like in the 2017 season is still somewhat of a question that new offensive line coach Ed Warinner will look to answer. The Gophers have had between four and six healthy members of the line this spring. Vincent Calhoun, Garrison Wright and Jared Wyler, who were all starters last season, missed spring practice this year as they are recovering from offseason surgeries.

Reserve Ryan Just has also missed spring practices with an injury and Noah Kuehn had to step away from the game due to polycystic kidney disease.

That means Minnesota has had six offensive linemen participate in spring practice in Nick Connelly, Bronson Dovich, Donnell Greene, Conner Olsen, Quinn Oseland and Sam Schlueter. Spring injuries saw that number to dip to four at times.

The most tenured of that group is Greene, who joined the team prior to last season after spending two seasons at Coffeyville Community College. Greene played in 13 games last season and started the final eight at left tackle. He helped block for an offense that rushed for 2,387 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Dovich played in 11 games last season as a redshirt freshman. The Chaska, Minn., native saw the majority of his action on special teams, but made his Minnesota and collegiate debut as a reserve offensive lineman against Indiana State.

Connelly, who is from Red Wing, Minn., played in nine games, but like Dovich, played mostly on special teams. He did see action on the offensive line as a reserve against Indiana State, Maryland, Rutgers and Northwestern as a redshirt freshman last season.

Oseland redshirted in 2015 and made his collegiate debut last season in his home state of Illinois. The 6-6, 320 pounder also competed against Northwestern and at Wisconsin.

Both Olson and Schlueter redshirted last season and could see their first action as a Gopher this year. Olson is from Monticello, Minn., and helped lead the Monticello Magic to a 10-2 in 2015 as he was named Associate Press First Team All-State.

Schlueter is from Victoria, Minn., and attended Mayer Lutheran High School. He captained the Crusaders to a 7-4 record as a senior in 2015 and was also named Associated Press First Team All-State.
 

 

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