Toth, Swindle will lead experienced line in 2015

By Josh Ellis

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In a league where games are won and lost in the trenches, Mark Stoops and the UK football program can finally say it has an SEC-caliber offensive line.

Returning four of five starters from last year, UK now has its most experienced offensive line in the Stoops era – a line that could propel the Cats into the postseason in 2015.

Last year the Cats’ offensive line had a combined 74 career starts between the bruisers up front. That unit allowed 34 sacks (2.83 per game), and finished the season ranked 101 out of 128 teams.

This year the career starts between the returning offensive linemen jumps to 95. After facing first round NFL Draft picks year after year, this year’s experienced line is poised to have a much-improved ranking when it comes to sacks allowed.

Leader and most experienced of the bunch is senior Jordan Swindle, who was moved from right tackle to left tackle in the spring. Swindle began his career at right tackle, starting ten games as a freshman and all 12 games his sophomore and junior year.

Understanding that this group has been together for three years now, Swindle feels more comfortable with his fellow linemen now more than ever.

“We’ve just been around each other (another) year and we’re playing well together,” Swindle said. “We’re learning the little idio-secrecies of playing with somebody next to you that you’ve been with for three years now.”

Along with Swindle, junior center Jon Toth will be another anchor on this year’s offensive line. During his freshman year, Toth started all but one game and was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team. He started every game last season and looks to build upon last years success.

“I think we’ve all got one year under our belts and we have a lot of returning starters from last year, so it’s good to have that experience going into this year,” Toth said.

Lining up between Swindle and Toth at left guard will be another upperclassman with ample experience – Zach West. West is a three-year starter at the left guard position and will feel as comfortable as ever seeing two familiar faces next to him.

Switching over to the right side of the line will be returning starter Ramsey Myers. The 6-foot-4, 320-pound sophomore started all 12 games last year and was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team.

The only hole the Cats have to fill this season is finding a starter at right tackle. Sophomore Kyle Meadows and true freshman George Asafo-Adjei both competed for the starting job for much of fall camp, but migraines limited Meadows for more than a week of camp. Stoops also announced on Monday that Meadows would be suspended for the first game for a violation of team rules, meaning that Asafo-Adjei, who is a mammoth 6-foot-5, 325-pounds will be making the start in his first career game.

While the offense is deep and talented at every position, it will rely on the strength of the offensive line to give them time to create plays.