By their own admission, they aren’t the biggest offensive line in the league. But when it comes to heart, determination, communication and work ethic, they may be one of the best.
Sophomore Scott Fithen, juniors Matt Holleran and Dru Vaughn, and seniors Charles Mitchell and Chris Morosetti comprise the first line of protection for quarterback Ricky Rahne.
“We don’t want to give up any QB sacks, any QB hits or anything like that,” Morosetti said.
After giving up 28 sacks a year ago, this group stayed in Ithaca all summer to increase its physical strength for the second straight year.
“The biggest thing about that group is that those guys have stayed up here for two summers, they basically haven’t gone home in three years. They have stayed here and lifted. So physically they are probably as developed as they can be,” head coach Pete Mangurian said.
And the Red hopes that this unity of this group can overcome its smallish size. Fithen, the left tackle, is the biggest at 6-7, 277-pounds, Holleran goes 6-2, 259-pounds at the left guard, Morosetti tips the scales at 6-1, 249-pounds in the center spot, Vaughn is 6-1, 267-pounds at the right guard, and Mitchell weighs in at 6-3, 270-pounds at the right tackle.
Though they may be on the small side, Morosetti feels confident that the group is in the best possible shape.
“If you looked at the numbers of all the offensive line members when we came in and now, you would probably see a reduction in weight, but body-fat would be reduced well beyond that and you would see increase in lean-mass,” Morosetti said.
“[Strength and conditioning] coach Tom Howley has helped transform our bodies into [that of] a more in-shape lineman,” Morosetti said.
And the important part of this for the Red will be the renewed effort at a running attack. With junior speedster Evan Simmons looking for a seam, the line must find a way to spring him free.
“Running the ball is something we focused a lot on in the off season. We wanted to get in the weight room so we could be a stronger, more physical team up front,” Morosetti said.
“We all like to run the ball. It makes you feel good when your running back has a 20-yard gain.”
And Simmons appears eager to get his chance to please the big guys up front.
“I have a lot of respect for those guys. They are a close group and I am dependent on them,” he said.
The closeness of these men is yet another of their strengths. Having spent practically every day of the last three years together, they are comfortable with each other on the field, and are always on the same page.
“I can know what the right guard is thinking, I can know what the right tackle is thinking, and they can know what I’m thinking,” Morosetti said.
And this teamwork, combined with their relentless work ethic, may lead the Red to its ultimate goal, an Ivy title.
Archived article by J.V. Anderton