continued Another constant at B'ville is a big, imposing offensive line. Despite the graduation of Luke Earle, Alonzo Whitehurst, Dave Sawatzke and Mo Bouvia, the Bees remain quite strong in the trenches.
Marcel Penfield (280 pounds) returns for his senior season at left guard, flanked by tackle Karl Smiley (250 pounds) and center Jacob Geer (260 pounds). Jakeith Jackson (275 pounds), a starter since his sophomore year on the defensive line, now goes both ways, working at right tackle with Sam Gosson (215 pounds) at right guard.
Despite all this, B'ville knows it will need to throw the ball. Fortunately, senior quarterback Gage Blasi has some experience, having started three games last fall when Josh Demoski sat out due to a concussion.
Blasi, when he does throw, deals with a new group of receivers after the graduation of Joe Stanard, Shay Sargeant and Eric Anthony. Sam Smith, Mitch Rein and John Mercurio take over in the slot, while Mike Yorkey and Kevin Carson give B'ville a pair of big, experienced tight ends.
To preserve the arms of quarterbacks (and also work on special teams), the program bought a $3,000 machine, similar to a baseball pitching machine, that simulates long passes as well as punts. The machine even can be made to spin the ball like a spiral (for passes) or end-over-end, as punts would.
From B'ville's 4-3 defensive alignment, Jackson is a three-year starter at tackle, part of a senior rotation that also includes Penfield and Joe Nasoni. Brayton Cronk starts at end, with Yorkey and Kevin Carson still battling to see who gets the other end spot.
It's much the same situation at linebacker, where Stanard's work earned him a look at Syracuse University as a walk-on and Rouse stood out, too. Burchill moves in at middle linebacker, flanked outside by Calvin Tanguay, with Leija or Eric Candee still in the mix, too, though all will see action.