Bragg moves to center, OL taking shape
Nobody can accuse Zach Yenser of not trying to find the right combination of players to mold his offensive line in fall camp. Over the last two weeks he has moved players in different spots across the line trying to find the right mix.
After getting a look at various line-ups he is ready to settle in with his group next week in preparation for the season-opener against Rhode Island.
“On Monday we will start rolling,” Yenser said. “We will go through this weekend with our staff and find out who those guys are. We will start crunching the numbers and see where people are when we start preparing. We will let those guys get a good feel who they are playing next to.”
One new position change is already in place. Yenser said they have moved Jacob Bragg from guard back to center. Bragg signed with the Jayhawks in 2015 and was recruited to play center.
Last year he moved to guard starting five games. In high school he was selected to play center in the Under Armour All-American game.
“He was brought here as a center and was one of the top ones as a recruit,” Yenser said. “We moved him to guard after our first spring and let him clear his brain so he didn’t have so much on him. He has stepped up in a leadership role and we put him back in that spot to see if he can handle it. He has been getting a lot of snaps all week.”
Yenser said it is a two-man competition between Bragg and Joe Gibson at center.
In fall camp Gibson, Bragg, and Mesa Ribordy have all seen action at center. That’s been Yenser’s plan. He went through a situation when he was the offensive line coach at Cal that has prepared him to have different players ready at center.
“My first year at Cal I had three centers get hurt,” he said. “You learn your lesson and that’s why we always have four to five guys snapping during practice. I’m not just going to throw a kid at center who has never snapped the football. I’ve said it before… they are going to play whenever we need them.”
The move now allows Mesa Ribordy to shift to guard. Yenser said last week Ribordy, a walk on from Louisburg, will find a way on the field. It appears that will be at guard barring any injuries or last-minute changes.
“That’s what’s great about being as mobile as Mesa is,” Yenser said. “He can go back and forth. I like him a lot at guard. He is about 292 pounds right now. He has been playing on the right side along with a Hakeem (right tackle). I know they are freshmen but they are special guys.”
Ribordy and Jayson Rhodes have been playing the guard spot with Malik Clark and Larry Hughes. Yenser also said Jordan Shelley-Smith has been getting reps at left guard.
“My goal has been to get someone like Jordan to go from left tackle to left guard and stay on the left side and being able to give depth there,” Yenser said. “Larry Hughes is doing the same thing staying on the right side.”
Yenser said D’Andre Banks is staying at left tackle with Shelley-Smith and freshman Antione Frazier getting reps. Adeniji is emerging at right tackle along with Clyde McCauley, Cam Durley, and Hughes.