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O-Line Optimism

Colorado Offense Depends on O-Line Improvement

Colorado’s Tim Lynott (56) and other offensive linemen take the field at Nebraska in 2018 | Getty Images

By Ian McCollam, SportsPac12

The Buffaloes return several talented skill players this season, led by star receiver Laviska Shenault and veteran quarterback Steven Montez. But without better pass protection and run-blocking from their beleaguered offensive line, Colorado isn't likely to score enough points to turn the program around. 

Holes in the Right Places

Colorado's offensive line had a rough time of it last season, finishing 11th in the Conference in sacks allowed per game, while contributing insufficiently to an offense that ranked 10th in yards per game. Despite their struggles, there is good reason for optimism in 2019: The Buffs return a mostly veteran line under new offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic, with some talented young players who seem ready to step up. 

—The Veterans— 

Last season, the offensive line rotated a group of underclassman, each of whom played a significant amount of time. Unfortunately, the Buffs lost fifth-year senior-to-be Brett Tonz, a frequent starter, to medical retirement after the spring. The remaining veteran leaders of this year's unit must provide the leadership needed to give first-year head coach Mel Tucker a fighting chance.

Tim Lynott

Offensive guard Tim Lynott, a Colorado native out of Regis High School, recorded 33 career starts last season, more than all other linemen on the team combined. The fifth-year senior brings maturity and experience to his significant role in determining how this unit performs. At 6-foot-1 and 300 pounds, Lynott is an imposing run blocker. Under Kapilovic, Lynott is projected to play at either the guard or center position to anchor the trenches.

Arlington Hambright

Oklahoma State grad transfer Arlington Hambright is expected to compete and contribute right away at the tackle position. Hambright, originally from Ypsilanti, Michigan, should provide reliable reinforcement, after starting six games for the Cowboys. OSU went 5-1 in that stretch before losing Hambright to an injury.

—The Young Talent—

Colorado's talented young offensive lineman will continue to go through some growing pains, but should have ample opportunity to gain needed experience this season.

William Sherman

William Sherman, out of Allen High School in Texas, was rated a three-star tackle by 247Sports, attracting offers from 16 other schools. Based on the Pro Football Focus scale, Sherman graded out as one of the best tackles in the Conference last year, earning Pac-12 Honorable Mention as a redshirt freshman. He seems poised to take another big step forward this year. Sherman and Hambright give Colorado two of the better tackles in the Conference.

Colby Pursell

Colby Pursell, a reshirt sophomore, was the only player to start every game last season. Originally a part of the 2016 recruiting class, Pursell took a gray-shirt year, joining the team in the winter of 2017. Pursell won the team's John Wooten award that year, given to the player with the best work ethic. Coaches have high expectations for Pursell in 2019.

—Other Contributors—

A couple of other players who have the potential to start and play a significant amount of time this year include Frank Fillip and Casey Roddick.

Frank Fillip

Frank Pillip,  a true sophomore offensive tackle from Houston, Texas, is expected to contribute significantly, especially following the medical retirment of Tonz. At 6-foot-7 and 290 pounds, Fillip brings protypical size to the tackle position, and will be relied on as the next man up behind Sherman or Hambright.

Casey Roddick

Redshirt Freshman Casey Roddick,  a 6-foot-4, 310-pound guard out of Ventura, California, was originally part of the 2017 recruiting class, but—like Pursell—gray-shirted his first year in the program. He had a great spring and appears ready to compete for a starting spot.  

Kary Kutsch 

Kary Kutsch, a junior from Redding, CA, is expected to battle Casey Roddick for the left guard position. A late transfer addition to the 2018 Class, Kutsch reportedly chose Colorado over five other schools. At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, he has the size and strength to play guard or tackle, providing added depth at both positions.

Bottom Line

Colorado returns plenty of talent and experience on the offensive line this season with the addition of Hambright, who should help transform the unit from a liability into an asset. If this group lives up to its promise and controls the line of scrimmage, the Buffalo offense could prove surprisingly effective.

Ian McCollam (@IanmccolamSp12) covers Colorado football and basketball for

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