TCU football preview: Could the O-line be a strength for the Horned Frogs again?

From the beginning of fall camp last season, everyone at TCU seemed to be in agreement that the offensive line was the best unit on the team.
That ended being truthful as the Horned Frogs had one of the nation’s best offensive lines led by Steve Avila and Alan Ali. Those two and fellow starter Wes Harris are gone, but TCU could be in a unique position to still maintain excellence despite such huge losses.
“In a weird sort of way I think it’s the offensive line again,” Sonny Dykes said when asked who was standing out in the summer. “We’ve got two returning tackles that I think are two of the better tackles in our league, some of the better guys in the country. We’ve been able to add some guys in the middle. Some big, strong physical guys. I think our offensive line could be another strength of the team.”
The Star-Telegram continues its TCU football preview with a closer look at the offensive line:
Listed players on the roster: Brione Ramsey-Brooks, Coltin Deery, Ezra Dotson-Oyetade, John Lanz, Quinton Harris, Robby Rochester, Ben Taylor-Whitfield, Riley Self, Jackson McNeff, Mike Stoker, Hudson White, Michael Nichols, Gannon Gaubert, Marcus Williams, Jasper Lott, Willis Patrick, Andrew Coker, Garrett Hayes, Brandon Coleman, Cooper Powers, Tommy Brockermeyer
Production from 2022: Coleman and Coker started at tackle for TCU last season. Lanz played the sixth most snaps on the offensive line for the Horned Frogs. Patrick started all 11 games he played at Jackson State. Deery started two games at center and played in 10 games at Maryland.
Rochester, Hayes and Williams saw action in double digit games while Dotson-Oyetade appeared in two. Nichols played in the first five games before a season-ending injury.
Projected starters: Brandon Coleman, John Lanz, Coltin Deery, Willis Patrick, Andrew Coker
Next up: Marcus Williams, Robby Rochester, Garrett Hayes, Michael Nichols, Ben Taylor-Whitfield
Breakdown: There’s a lot to like about where the offensive line stands starting with returning starters Coleman and Coker. The duo may be the best tackle combination in the conference and could move their way up NFL draft boards with another strong season in what should be a balanced offensive scheme.
Lanz was the sixth man last season and is a versatile chess piece in the interior as he can play center or guard. The same can be said for Patrick who mainly started at guard, but has experience playing everywhere on the offensive line. Deery was a big grab from the transfer portal as he figured to contend for a starting spot with the Terps and now will have a chance to do the same with TCU.
Chemistry will need to be worked on, but that sounds like a solid starting five. After that Williams, Rochester and Hayes have usually been the first ones off the bench and bring a mixture of talent and experience. Hayes was one of the highest rated recruits to ever sign with TCU. Health will be something to watch for Nichols as he’s still working back from last season’s injury.
Whitfield was a freshman Dykes mentioned by name at Big 12 media days as a young player that was standing out in summer workouts. It takes time for offensive linemen to develop, but Whitfield is coming from an esteemed program like Duncanville where he faced top talent on a daily basis. He could be ahead of the curve.
Brockermeyer was a former five-star and transferred in Alabama. He’s another player that will take some time to develop as injuries have held him back the last few seasons. The upside is there and he could become a contributor overtime.
Storyline to watch at fall camp: How quickly can the offensive line gel at fall camp? Coleman said at Big 12 media days the biggest goal for the unit was to build chemistry.
Biggest question: Will any of the reserve linemen like Hayes or Rochester make a push for one of the interior starting spots?
Best scenario: Coleman becomes this year’s version of Steve Avila and becomes an all-conference lineman. The offensive line is once again one of the Big 12’s best and plays a pivotal role in TCU’s new offense remaining explosive.
Worst scenario: TCU remains solid at the tackle spot, but doesn’t have the same effectiveness generating power inside. The offense suffers and takes a significant step back leading to a constant shuffling at pieces across the offensive line.

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