Some things you can count on, some potential upsides, some ?'s
Re 2019 -- The really good news IMHO, 2019 OL will be at least solid in their calls/assignments/schemes!!! That's 50% of the battle for any OL. The 2018's OL was often confused on their calls/assignments/schemes (leading to busted plays, penalties, sacks) + lacked quick feet at T to slide & pickup Speed Rush (Rountree & Knox) + and were often injured (as many as 3 & always at least 1 Starters were missing from game #3 thru AFA), causing major reshuffling & re-learning on a weekly basis. Here's my other thoughts:
A) Our OL has excellent/proven Coaching (both GJ & Zerb who now also understands the scheme better), player Leadership (Wesley, Taylor), Size. Ram OL's developing Knowledge, Strength, Techniques, Synchronicity in yr #2. I would not count out Johnson developing or coming up w/ another "Wesley" type of top OL player in 2-Days (a Darkhorse) who could even be a Frosh?
B) The '19 OL will definitely be stronger & may be more athletic vs '18. My pure guess is that the OL will be better, more consistent & solid in '19 (a consistent C or better level) ... and the Wild Cards that could make this OL operate consistently at the B level w/b Jeff Taylor getting 100% well + Noel arriving ready to play at a high level + a Darkhorse popping up in 2-days.
C) No doubt in my mind that whomever our Top 5 or 6 are, they will be better than 2018's best OL, and will Gel together quickly (1, 2, 3 or 4 games?), thus helping the entire O show off it's weapons and deliver a 7+ Win season.
D) BTW, lets not forget the significant boost this 2019 OL will receive from having excellent 2nd year FB & TE blockers like Prentice/Butler/McBride blocking the iso's & edges, in SYNC w/ this OL. This will be a huge batch of help that '18's OL did not enjoy (1st yr in the new DJ scheme + McBride was a Frosh).
The Q's I have are 3-fold:
1 - how quickly will our OL Gel ? In time to allow our O to score 28+ vs UCB (game #1)... or in time to score 28+ vs Arky (game #3)... or will it require more than 3 games to get there???
2 - how much EXTRA excellence can the addition of a Taylor or Noel or a Darkhorse kid bring to the mix?
3 - can our top 5 or 6 OL guys remain Healthy all season?
Who the heck knows... all I'm certain of is the serious levels of Improvement that will be shown by 2019 OL, over 2018's OL. And I am genuinely excited to watch 2019 unfold!!!!!
Some Player detail:
#1) Wesley returns after devouring the new Greg Johnson zone-blocking schemes and becoming a Unit Leader, getting his scholly awarded to him (was a walk-on '16 thru '17), proving his ability to know & play T, G or C. He's now a RS Soph. He is a D. Johnson find whom Johnson can claim as his 1st major development type player at CSU.
#2) Taylor (a Sr. who can play G or C) has played significant time as Starter, had shoulder surgery after last season. Would love to know how he's progressing w/ his Re-hab to 100%. If he's not available in '19, he can RS and return in 2020, fully healthy. Should he be unavailable for 2019, there's plenty of decent/large/athletic young guys who have some lighter experience starting/playing @ G.
#3) Brooks (Jr. who played in 8 games in '18) is being designated as having won the 1st string C position during Spring. This is great news as he was signed as a Hi-Po kid outta Cali who has shown good promise for Rams.
#4) TJ Storement (JC) who's got all the tools including smarts, feet, strength, size to start at T for us... and not get beat consistently by speed rushers.
#5) then there's Keith Williams (T), Desmond Noel (G or T who played under Johnson @ Ohio) who both are thought to be fine players, who could start in 2019... from what we hear neither are optimal for T.
#6) there's several young potential 2019 "Dev Projects" under Johnson's wings who show good promise (size/athletics/smarts/some gameday experience), but are still unknowns to RamNation (not to the Coaches)... Joctavius Phillips, Chez Jackson, Sherard, Lebron, etc (all Soph's or RS Soph's). Any 1 of these could come on strong in '19 to play major roles for Rams OL.
#7) then there's the other RS Fr/Soph's who've yet to see the field... & then a couple of potentially promising Frosh OL kids.
Best guesses for Starting 5, at this far too early date seem to be (not necessarily mine):
A) Storement (T) - Wesley - Brooks - Taylor (?) - Williams (T)
B) or it could be Storement - Wesley - Brooks - Noel - Williams (T)
C) or Storement - Phillips - Brooks - Noel - Wesley (T)
Just my thoughts... 2019 Better than 2018, but not yet a great OL... until 2020.