(ST. JOSEPH) Reigning MIAA Conference Champion Missouri Western will have playmaking talent to replace on offense in 2013. The Griffons were the best in the conference at moving the ball last season, thanks in large part to one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country.
But the biggest turnover could be in the trenches, where ever member of last year's line must be replaced.
"Those five guys we had before us, they were awesome in teaching us," senior Jeremy Jacobsen said. "Just watching them in practice, you take a lot of mental things from them."
"They were really good players," Savannah product Josh Ferge said. "We took a lot from them. They had great form and were very humble."
The unit sported four All-MIAA honorees, including All-American talent Macon Allan. Now, Jacobsen and Ferge are the lone seniors, but all five linemen understand they could be under the microscope.
"(Jacobsen) got voted captain and that's what he talked about," quarterback Travis Partridge said. "He talked about how basically nobody expects them to do much. They have kind of a chip on their shoulder and I like it. That's something you really want to see as a competitor."
The upperclassmen are charge with acclimating redshirt sophomore Leonard Wester and sophomore Travis Anderson along with Mount San Antonio College transfer Christian Orduno.
But they feel the transition has been smoother than expected.
"It's surprising, Christian's only been here for three or four weeks and we're really coming together and playing as a group," Ferge said. "We're pushing the ball, doing good things."
Having a senior signal caller also helps, especially one like Partridge that can do damage on the move. Ferge echoes what the quarterback is capable of after seeing him progress since their high school days in Savannah.
"He's definitely improved a lot since high school. He's improved every year, so it's always a little different, always getting better."
"We're not always going to be perfect out there," Jacobsen added. "We strive to be, but the times we aren't, we know he can get out of the pocket and move around a little bit and make plays happen."Familiarity is one thing, but game reps are the ultimate measuring stick, and the revamped line will start getting them in a big way this week as they cut their teeth with a conference clash at Central Missouri.
"Really the only thing we're lacking right now is game exprience. We've got some big shoes to fill and hopefully we can do that this Thursday."