Well-regarded Grambling offensive line on a new learning curve

It’s easy to target Grambling experience-rich, well-regarded offensive line as a strength going into the 2011 campaign. Except that so much has changed.

After all, this group most recently worked within a system that focused primarily on the run — utilizing a pair of bruising backs along with a mobile quarterback who often made plays through designed play action. Doug Williams’ new offense is expected to return to a pro-style attack. That means a more conventionally balanced approach, with pocket presence as a key requirement for the passer.

And a much different skill set from the men up front.

“Some of the things that they used to do, we are asking them to do differently — a more power blocking not as much shield blocking,” Williams said. “So they are going to have to learn how to use their hands and feet and drive and get a little stronger.”

The line is anchored by fifth-year senior left tackle Aaron Jackson, who’s joined by senior left guard Bennie Peoples, redshirt junior center Julian Wyndon, and junior right tackle Sanford Banks. Grambling opened camp with a pair of freshman at right guard, Clint Marsh and Andre Gunn.

Banks was the Tigers’ lone first-team preseason All-Southwestern Athletic Conference honoree for 2011. Wyndon made the second team.

“They made All-SWAC in that offense,” Williams said. “I can’t go off of what they did last year in that offense; this is what we are going to judge them on. What we do here today. We have a little work to do, it’s a work in progress but the good thing is that they have all been in game situations. I think that’s a positive there.”

Their quick maturation will be key to smoothing the way for an offense that lost both of those senior running backs — including the record-smashing Frank Warren, who signed with the Dallas Cowboys — along with its starting quarterback, who transferred.

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