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Kentucky Football: Offensive Line Expectations For 2017 Season

Arguably UK’s biggest strength this season is along the offensive line.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

When Landon Young was asked about the comments from Jonathan Allen after last season’s Alabama game, a big smile came upon his face.

“That was a definite confidence booster having him saying that these were some of the best linemen he’s gone against,” said Young. “It’s building a tradition of what this line means.”

Speaking at media day for the 2017 season, Coach Eddie Gran said Young is ready to start if needed. “Absolutely, I think we’ve got a lot of guys like that. The one thing I talked about a week ago was competition. Coach Stoops has done a great job here, going into his fifth year here, and we’ve created competition at every position so there’s nothing locked down.”

Entering his second season as Offensive Coordinator, Coach Gran isn’t looking to see who is the best player. He’s looking for the players ready for the big stage.

Coach Gran added, “Make me play you. Show me. Make it happen. Benny (Snell) made me play him.”

The Wildcats return one of, if not the best, offensive lines in all of the SEC. They return 68 career starts, with 47 of them coming in 2016. The O-line was a semifinalist for the Jon Moore Award, which recognizes the nations’s most outstanding offensive line, per the UK Football Media Guide.

With Seniors Kyle Meadows, Cole Mosier, Nick Haynes, and Junior George Asafo-Adjei leading the way, the O-line looks to depth as one of it’s biggest strengths. Sophomore Young said, “We have a group of kids that are very selfless. We handle situations with humility. And if that means you give up starting time and still playing good reps as a platoon system, you know we’re not going to complain about that because we’re still getting those good reps in games, but also it’s not just a personal thing, you’re helping the whole team out. We’re putting in fresh guys, and we’re pounding it down the field, down the field, down the field, without wearing a guy down completely.”

One thing is for sure. Given Coach Stoops recruiting haul over the past four years, the offensive line has come into it’s own, as it provides not only holes for the running backs and protection for whoever is Quarterback, but also depth to wear down the opposing team’s defensive line.