April 7, 2008

The clock is ticking for Ingalls, O-Line

Like a fine wine or good scotch, the development of an offensive line takes time. But time is a luxury that Bret Ingalls doesn't have.

The second-year offensive line coach must identify three new starters for his line and then get them to operate as a single, cohesive unit by the time the Wildcats take on Syracuse in their 2008 season opener on Aug. 30. To add to his burden, it is very likely that not a single one of his three new first-stringers will have started a game for Northwestern in the past.

Ingalls' unit took its first steps toward achieving those daunting goals last week as Northwestern began spring practice. And not surprisingly, Ingalls described the steps that the offensive line took on the first four days of spring football as baby ones.

"We're in a developmental stage," said Ingalls, slightly red-faced from the blazing sun that the Wildcats practiced under for two and a-half hours on Saturday. "There's a lot of inexperience, and we have to develop them by the end of spring ball to feel better about fall camp.

"There's been some progress, but they have been small steps. Thank god we have 11 more practices."

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