POSITION PREVIEW: Interior Offensive Line

Yesterday, I talked about the bread. Now it's time to look at the essential part of any sandwich — the meat, cheese and mayo.

As promised, today's entry will focus on K-State's interior offensive linemen (centers and guards), as well as any bench or walk-on tackles I didn't profile yesterday.

Unlike the tackle spots, there are no question marks on the interior of the line.

Team captain Zach Kendall anchors things at left guard, where he started every game last season. His counterpart at right guard is Kenny Mayfield, who took over the position in late September and only improved from there, finally going toe-to-toe with Ndamukong Suh in the season finale and more than holding his own.

But possibly the best offensive lineman on the team is center Wade Weibert, who could be the most talented Wildcat to man that spot since Nick Leckey was scrambling for a fumble in the Big 12 Championship. Although Wade sat out Fan Appreciation Day, he was in pads and there's no reason to think he has any serious issues. The stage is set for an All-Big 12 appearance, in my opinion.

All that and more after the jump.

The Bulldozers

#50 Nick Puetz

Salina native Nick Puetz spent two years at Coffeyville Community College, then participated in spring practice at Wyoming before deciding he wanted to transfer home to a slightly less boring school. He'll have to sit out this season as a transfer, I think, but he probably will challenge for a starting spot at guard next season. We'll have positions open, considering all three starting interior linemen are seniors this year.

#51 Cameron McLain

Cameron was getting interest from Kansas, Iowa State and Missouri, but decided to walk on at K-State. That's pretty cool, yo. He spent last year blocking for future Nebraska QB minor league pitcher Bubba Starling.

#52 John McClure

Likewise, John McClure spurned KU to walk on as a Cat. He played at Wichita Heights and he's already 320 pounds.

#54 Trevor Viers

For those who might have forgotten, Trevor actually started at center two years ago when Jordan Bedore was hurt. He then was supplanted by Weibert and Kendall last year, but saw ample time as a backup. He replaced Weibert at Fan Appreciation Day and likely will be the full-time backup center. However, Viers also is a senior, so it will be important for the staff to develop someone like Jordan Allred or Tomasi Mariner at the position, too.

#59 Zach Kendall

Zach started his career at K-State as a fairly high-profile defensive line prospect for Ron Prince, but he blew his knee out his freshman year and switched sides the next season. Last year, he turned into an absolute road-grader, and he's been one of the most vocal team leaders this offseason. Plus, now that Lamark Brown has flamed out, Kendall's the last player worth a damn we've pulled out of Missouri.

#61 Drew Liddle

Drew's yet another 300-pounder walking on out of high school. Something tells me we're going to have a really big offensive line for the next four years or so.

#64 Tomasi Mariner

Tomasi grayshirted last season and will have a redshirt available this year. He's a popular pick to move into the starting center role next year, based on comments from the coaches this spring. Besides having some pretty sweet hair, Mr. Mariner has a lot to live up to in taking the number of fellow Topekan Nick Stringer, No. 64.

#65 Mike Powell

Hutchinson Community College is a pretty successful juco program right now, so I'll welcome any walk-on from there with open arms. Mike was second-team All-Jayhawk Conference both seasons, so he's no scrub. He passed up on Mizzou to walk on in Manhattan.

#66 BJ Finney

At "only" 260 pounds, BJ is a solid lock to redshirt and spend most of his time at the training table. He played at Andale High School, not far from Colwich, where former Wildcat lineman Gerard Spexarth grew up, and my family farm. Hell, go back far enough and we're probably related.

#67 Kenneth Mayfield

I probably heaped enough accolades on Kenny already, so I'll just summarize by saying I was really surprised how much improvement he made last season. I never thought he would turn into what he has, and he definitely wouldn't have under Prince. I think Mayfield's development is a real testament to the coaching talent we got in Charlie Dickey.

#68 William Cooper

William's still a little undersized after his redshirt year, but he has a nice frame and should be able to pack on enough weight to be a solid guard by his junior year, somewhat like Mayfield did. But the only way he'll see any time this season is if we start to be plagued by injuries.

#69 Nick Ward

Nick's another Andale kid who's been around for a while. I think he might even have been on the depth chart at center or guard early last year, before more scholarship players started to step up. He's a quintessential kind of Snyder walk-on, but hopefully our O-line talent now is deep enough that we won't need him very much on game days.

#74 Wade Weibert

There's a great story about Wade in this month's Powercat Illustrated, if you happen to pick up a copy. Basically, his cousin is Monty Beisel and he grew up dreaming of playing for K-State. In fact, he wanted to so badly that he committed to Ron Prince, seemingly something that no other talented Kansan did in that dark, three-year period (see: Smith, Brodrick; Harper, Chris; Brown, Arthur; Brown, Bryce; etc.) Well, it's all worked out for him, because he now gets to play his two years for the legend that coached the team when he was growing up.

#76 Jordan Allred

Jordan's a "three to play three" juco player who might redshirt not because he lacks size, but because he possesses a valuable skill we will need the next three years. You see, in addition to being a mammoth offensive lineman, Allred's also an accomplished long snapper — and with all-world snapper Corey Adams graduating after this season, we'll need Allred's rare ability in the years to come.

#77 Colten Freeze

I think Mr. Freeze actually started a few games last year before Mayfield's emergence, so you know he's capable of handling that responsibility. Like Ethan Douglas, it seems he's cross-training at both guard and tackle, which makes him a very versatile backup. He should provide quality depth this season and very well might move into a starting role next year.

#79 Keenan Taylor

Like William Cooper, Keenan's still a little undersized after his redshirt year, but reports from Fan Appreciation Day already had him running with the twos. If he's already functioning as Kendall's primary backup, that says something for Taylor's talent level and potential, I think.

 

Depth Chart Predictions


Left Guard

  • Starter: Zach Kendall
  • Backup: Keenan Taylor
  • Third-String: William Cooper

Center

  • Starter: Wade Weibert
  • Backup: Trevor Viers
  • Third-String: Tomasi Mariner

Right Guard

 

Other Position Previews

Running Backs | Tight Ends | Wide Receivers | Offensive Tackles

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