Hokies Football Preview: Wyatt Teller Leads an Improved Virginia Tech Offensive Line

Our position-by-position preview of the Virginia Tech Hokies continues with our breakdown of the last offensive positional unit, the offensive line. The Hokies’ offensive line has made a lot of improvement under Stacy Searels in 2015 with a more athletic offensive line led by young offensive guard Wyatt Teller.

Pre-Fall OL Depth Chart

Left Tackle

  1. Jonathan McLaughlin
  2. Yosuah Nijman
  3. Austin Clark

Left Guard

  1. Wyatt Teller
  2. Parker Osterloh
  3. Cole Pettit
  4. Cody Rhodes

Center

  1. Eric Gallo
  2. Kyle Chung
  3. Tyrell Smith
  4. Zachariah Hoyt
  5. Andrew Moras
  6. Jack Willenbrock

Right Guard

  1. Augie Conte
  2. Braxton Pfaff
  3. Alston Smith
  4. Billy Ray Mitchell

Right Tackle

  1. Wade Hansen
  2. Darius Redman
  3. D’Andre Plantin

To say this depth is complex is understating it, but the Hokies starting offensive line seems set while many will be battling to climb up the depth chart. Meanwhile, every backup offensive tackle will be battling to get ahead of the other to get the chance at replacing Wade Hansen in 2016 or even pushing him for his job, especially for senior Darius Redman.

When talking about the offensive line, it all starts with star offensive guard Wyatt Teller who broke through once he was given the starting left guard job during the middle of the 2014 season. Teller proved to be a difference maker, and that performance nearly earned him a spot on the 2015 Preseason All-ACC team.

Teller is a dominant run blocker that created some huge holes down the stretch of the season, and helped the Hokies improve their rushing attack. Teller’s run blocking helped J.C. Coleman become a much more dangerous running back, creating the space Coleman needed to use his speed to create some big runs.

Teller is also an improving pass blocker that definitely will become more reliable and consistent in that area as he gains more experience at guard. Teller has the potential to become one of the best offensive linemen in Virginia Tech history while having the upside to become an All-American.

To the left of Teller will be a healthy Jonathan McLaughlin who is back at left tackle after moving to right tackle last season before injuries ended his season. During the 2014 season, McLaughlin was heavy on his feet, which clearly hurt him in pass blocking, but that seems like it was likely due to the injury issues he had to deal with.

McLaughlin has become a leader on the offensive line, and has helped build chemistry with his teammates that is much better than what the Hokies have had in the past. McLaughlin also looked healthy and more like the player that was a solid left tackle with a bright future as a freshman for the Hokies in 2013.

McLaughlin seems like a player that is definitely in line for a bounce-back season as someone that is healthy, and is used to the blocking scheme that Stacy Searels runs. McLaughlin seems prepared to have the best season of his collegiate career as a leader on the best Virginia Tech offensive line in a few years.

At center is sophomore Eric Gallo who played in a couple games behind David Wang, and learned a lot from the veteran center. During many games including the Military Bowl, you could see Gallo working with Wang on the sidelines to make sure his teammate was ready if he had to come in due to injuries.

Now, Gallo is the Hokies’ center and coaches have been raving about his talent, and his work ethic to become the smartest man on the offensive line. Gallo has very good size plus a good amount of athleticism that makes him someone that projects to be a quality center with plenty of upside.

Gallo may face a learning curve early in the season against Ohio State, but Gallo showed that he is ready to be a very reliable center for the Hokies over the next three years.

Augie Conte is the other guard across from Wyatt Teller, and the redshirt junior guard earned a spot on the All-ACC Breakout Team from ESPN’s ACC Blog. Conte moved around some on the offensive line in 2014, but is now able to settle in at his best spot at right guard.

Conte is another quality blocker that has above-average athleticism along with good size for an offensive guard at the collegiate level. Conte has made lots of improvement over the last 12 months, and is ready to create some holes for the Hokies at the right guard position for J.C. Coleman and the Hokies’ running backs.

The one possible position battle could happen at right tackle with Wade Hansen the very likely starter. Hansen made the transition from defensive tackle to offensive tackle during fall practice before last season, and his transition has earned him a scholarship as he is very likely to be the Hokies’ starting right tackle.

Hansen has looked solid this spring though teams seem likely to try to go after him early in the season as the less experienced offensive tackle. Hansen doesn’t bring the most experience, but he does bring some past experience along with solid chemistry that is very valuable.

Darius Redman made the transition from offensive tackle to tight end, but seems likely to still be a backup this fall. Austin Clark has shown some potential, but his time as a starting offensive tackle for the Hokies doesn’t seem to be this fall.

The uber-athletic Yosuah Nijman could be the numberĀ 3 offensive tackle this fall, but could be the backup right tackle and the man to push Nijman as a great athlete with big upside. Nijman has the potential to be a very good offensive tackle, but Hansen seems like the man to beat.

The Hokies seem to have plenty of depth on the interior with Alston Smith falling all the way to third string, and Braxton Pfaff rising up the depth chart. Parker Osterloh has also made the move inside, and his size makes him a very intriguing prospect at the guard spot.

OL Depth Chart vs. OSU

Left Tackle

  1. Jonathan McLaughlin
  2. Darius Redman
  3. Austin Clark

Left Guard

  1. Wyatt Teller
  2. Parker Osterloh
  3. Cole Pettit
  4. Cody Rhodes

Center

  1. Eric Gallo
  2. Kyle Chung
  3. Tyrell Smith
  4. Andrew Williams
  5. Andrew Moras
  6. Jack Willenbrock

Right Guard

  1. Augie Conte
  2. Braxton Pfaff
  3. Alston Smith
  4. Billy Ray Mitchell

Right Tackle

  1. Wade Hansen
  2. Yosuah Nijman
  3. D’Andre Plantin

Not much change should be expected on a Hokies’ offensive line that is definitely the best Virginia Tech has had in a few years.

Check out more of our 2015 Virginia Tech Football Preview right here.

Advertisements