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2018 Wake Forest Football Preview: Offensive Line

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The offensive line was a point of emphasis from Coach Clawson from day one. Entering this season, Clawson’s vision continues to come to fruition.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Duke Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Calling themselves the “Beef Boys”, the Wake Forest offensive line has finally emerged and molded into Clawson’s vision when he took over the program years ago. In Clawson’s first three seasons as coach, Wake Forest’s offensive line was a work in progress at best, allowing 48, 40, and 39 sacks during his first three seasons as coach.

While Nick Tabacca (offensive line coach) has worked hard to develop talent, the fruits of labor paid off last season with the group posting a staggering improvement by numerous statistical measures.

Detailed a bit last year in the Journal, one of the major keys to success of the group is the sheer numbers of reps the group has taken. Ryan Anderson, Justin Herron, Phil Haynes, Nate Gilliam, Patrick Osterhage, and Jake Benzinger have played plenty of snaps together, culminating in the strongest unit of the roster in talent and experience entering 2018.

Herron, Haynes, and Anderson should get some looks for All-ACC consideration. Even with the starters entrenched, the coaching staff is not resting on their laurels, preparing players like Zach Tom, Taleni Suhren, Loic Nya, and Je’vionte’ Nash to take over the reigns entering 2018. While the top 6 linemen are set it’s great to see the next group getting their bodies ready for camp, evident by their weight movement (some cases up or down).

While some may wonder why offensive linemen are losing weight and going down to 270, the answer is simple. Wake Forest is willing to be patient with their linemen and allowing players to develop into premier physical condition. It is not uncommon for young players to come in with a little bit of unhealthy weight and then once introduced to a strong strength and conditioning program, healthier weight is added. There’s a reason why 300-pound offensive linemen can run 5.0-flat forty-yard dashes while putting up 30 reps of 225 on the bench, their bodies are trained for it.

Sure, the offensive line isn’t the “sexiest” position group, but don’t forget to give them props entering 2018. With NINE offense starters back on a team that put up huge offensive numbers in 2017, look for the Deacs to continue to lean on their “Beef Boys” in 2018.