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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA’s offensive line charged with chemistry

UAs offensive line  charged with chemistry

Offensive linemen are part of an unheralded fraternity. They knowingly put themselves in harm’s way each and every snap for the betterment of the team. While that isn’t appealing to everybody, having a quality group of offensive protectors is a necessary part of any successful offense.

Perhaps the biggest key to becoming a cohesive group is maintaining good chemistry, and the Wildcats’ unit might have a leg up on some of their competition.

“”It’s just a matter of hanging out and those guys being around each other. That’s what we really pushed when I first got here and it takes time,”” said offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh. “”It’s changing a culture and as an offensive line they’re a different group. These guys force the issue.””

Senior Mike Diaz, right tackle Adam Grant and reserve offensive lineman Phillip Garcia took that notion a step further — they all live under the same roof. At a combined 970 pounds and 19-feet-5-inches, the trio is definitely living large, and living together has helped them bond.

“”This year we spent a lot of time together during the offseason when last year we just went our own way,”” said Diaz, the starting left tackle. “”We were still pretty tight as a unit, but this year instead of going our own way the leaders of the group stood up and said, ‘Let’s not go our own way, we’re all in this together. We’re brothers.’ So that’s what we did. … It helps out a lot hanging out off the field.””

Sharing the same cerebral wavelength could be noticed throughout Saturday night’s 19-6 Arizona win against Central Michigan University. Facing an undersized Chippewa defense that continually used linebacker blitzes, the Wildcats’ offensive front controlled the contest via the run game. They paced a 448-yard offensive outburst and kept first-time starting quarterback Matt Scott free from pressure for most of the game, as the sophomore signal caller was only sacked once on the night.

But it was another thing the offensive line produced that was most visible on Saturday night: three puddles of puke near the 20-yard line on the north side of the field that Grant deposited midway through the second quarter.

“”A little bit of food came out, a little bit of noodles,”” Grant said. “”I kind of have a medical problem with my stomach. Supposedly, the doctors say when I throw up it’s like a fight mode and it gives me energy or something.””

Grant pointed out that his spewing bout seemed to energize the UA offense as well.

“”Actually, right after I threw up we scored that touchdown, so it kind of worked out well,”” he added. “”I felt kind of bad because I threw up in the middle of a play. I can’t remember if it was (number) 15 or (number) 98, one of them I got, but you’ve just to keep fighting through it.””

Whether it’s fighting through a churning stomach or a daunting defense, this group of linemen is willing to do it. And the fact that they prefer to do it together bodes well for the UA football team this season.

“”We’re all best friends, we always hang out, we always know what we’re thinking and we have the same sense of humor and everything,”” Grant said. “”We pretty much know what we’re all going to do when we’re going to run a play. We all think the same thoughts, it just works out well.””

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