Cowboys working to replace four starters on offensive line

This spring, McNeese State has begun the process of replacing four starters on its offensive line.

Like anything else that happens this time of year, whether it’s spring football or spring cleaning, it is a work in progress.

Arguably no two players on the Cowboys roster have had to put in more work than Nick Gorman and Quentin Marsh, who were switched from defensive to offensive by the coaching staff this offseason. Both have three years of eligibility remaining.

Coach Matt Viator made the move knowing the team would be short on bodies at the position until a new crop of freshmen arrive in August.

“They’re both natural to the position,” Viator said. “They’re going to be really good players. They’re really talented players.”

Marsh said it didn’t take too much convincing that the move was right for him.

“My initial reaction wasn’t bad. I’ve played offensive line (in high school). I thought about it and thought it would be a real good thing for me to try out,” Marsh said. “I like it a lot right now.”

The transition has been easier for Marsh than Gorman, who had no blocking experience outside of playing tight end in high school.

“It’s been a rocky road trying to go from defense to offense,” Gorman said. “I’m doing something I’ve never done in my life. But I’m slowly getting the hang of it.”

The challenges are multiple for Gorman, who has been the first-team center in spring practices.

“Basically you’re the quarterback of the O-line,” Gorman said. “It’s been a struggle trying to snap it, get the Mike (linebaker) call and get used to all the quarterbacks behind you.”

Marsh said the biggest difference in going from pursuer to protector is the mindset.

“It’s more of a mental game on the offensive line,” Marsh said. “You have to be calmer. You can’t run to the ball and just blow people up. You have a lot of different things to think about.”

Perhaps the strangest element of making the switch is getting physical with the very guys that Gorman and Marsh practiced and sat with in team meetings last season.

“I never thought I’d really have to do it,” Gorman said. “But it’s just another day going against a guy I have to do something against, I’ve got to get it done.”

Both players respect their new position coach, Rob Sale, and think he will have them prepared for the fall no matter how many growing pains occur.

“I’ve made progress in every little aspect of the offensive line, due to great coaching, really,” Gorman said. “He pushes me to be the best I can be. He’s not going to let anything go that’s not my best.”

"Couldn’t ask for anything more," Sale said. "Nick's playing center, Quentin is playing guard and tackle. They’re both natural to the position. They’re going to be really good players. They’re really talented players."