September 13, 2007

Offensive Line Boasts Talent, Experience

Print More

The Red’s offensive line has been one of the team’s strengths for each of the last three seasons and with a number of experienced starters returning, this year looks to be no different. The line is anchored by two fifth-year starters, center Ted Sonnenberg and right guard and co-captain Brian McGuire. Both players, who have started in 20 games alongside one another, helped Cornell rank among the national leaders with 215.4 yards per game and 40 rushing touchdowns over the last two seasons.
“The fact that we have been alongside one another for so long is definitely really important for this team,” Sonnenberg said.
In 2005, the line plowed the way for first team All-Ivy recipients Ryan Kuhn and Luke Siwula, who each recorded 1,000-yard seasons as part of the Red’s eighth ranked (248.6 ypg.) rushing attack nationally, scoring 26 rushing touchdowns in the process.
But the tandem’s success did not end there. In 2006, the offensive line allowed no sacks in four games amd helped Cornell to six 200-yard rushing efforts. Sonnenberg — a 6-4 283 pounder out of Holgate, Ohio — enters the 2007 campaign with 26 consecutive starts, the longest such streak on the team.
“I take pride in that streak,” he said.
As a rare four-year starter, Sonnenberg first took over his duties in 2004 as a sophomore. He played in nine games and started the team’s last six contests that season, during which the Red accumulated a 6-4 (4-3 Ivy) record. Since that time, Sonnenberg has started all 20 games for the Red en route to two consecutive honorable mention All-Ivy awards, blocking for one of the nation’s top rushing offenses.
McGuire is two inches shorter than his counterpart, but just as effective. After a spectacular spring in 2005, McGuire took over the starting right guard position and — much like Sonnenberg — has started all 20 games since that time while receiving honorable mention All-Ivy accolades in 2006. He is a hard-working player, who takes his responsibility of leadership seriously.
“He is definitely the leader of the offensive line,” Sonnenberg said. “He is always very positive and motivational regardless of the situation.”
Another imposing figure on the line is junior left tackle Steve Valenta, who started 10 games last season and has the potential to dominate up front. Although he is the biggest member of the line — standing 6-6 and weighing just over 300 pounds — he also has outstanding footwork, a combination which the coaching staff believes gives the junior the ability to earn All-Ivy recognition this season.
“He is just an imposing presence and got some good experience starting last year,” Sonnenberg said.
Rounding out the starters on the line is sophomore right tackle Quentin Bernhard III and senior left guard Loren Rosenberg. Bernhard — who split time at the right guard position last season as a freshman — contains the athleticism to lock down the starter’s role while Rosenberg will get his first chance to start after playing in nine games last year on special teams. Other players who may compete for these two positions include senior Matt Cosh and juniors Josh Barvin, Justin Mortensen and Babk Motamedi.