Training Camp Preview: The offensive line

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Today, continues its in-depth, position-by-position look at the 2006 Boilermaker football team heading into training camp. The Boilers are scheduled to report to campus for preseason practice on Aug. 6.
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In 2006, Purdue will have the luxury of fielding an experienced, talented offensive line with no apparent weak link. Barring injury or colossal underachievement, the line should be very good, probably the Boilermakers' best since the Rose Bowl year of 2000.
Key Players
Mike Otto: A fifth-year senior and fourth-year starter, Otto is one of the league's best at his position, though he's generally overlooked by the media.
Jordan Grimes: The physical prototype for a dominant guard, that's exactly what Grimes should be as a true junior. He's already being touted as one of the top guards in the country.
Uche Nwaneri: If the senior guard returns quickly to pre-suspension form, the Boilermakers will have a dynamite set of guards.
Robbie Powell: Though Powell is filling the lone hole on the line, there are no worries whatsoever about him. He played center early in his career before spending last season filling in for Nwaneri at guard. He had a great spring, by all accounts.
Sean Sester: With only 11 starts under his belt, the sophomore right tackle is still the young pup of the O-line. But he had a solid season as a redshirt freshman starter and should only get better.
Garret Miller: After seeing significant action as a reserve as a redshirt freshman, Miller will back up both tackle positions as he preps to likely step into a starting role in '07.
Impact Newcomers
Eric Hedstrom: This is a reach, as Hedstrom still has a long way to go physically. But if any young player is going to contribute, it looks to be the 6-foot-7 Hedstrom, who can play guard or tackle.
X Factor
Nick Fincher: Every time the junior seems poised to contribute in a reserve role, health problems seem to crop up. With depth perhaps being the only question about the line, a healthy Fincher could give Purdue a much-needed experienced reserve at guard.
Best Competition: All the legitimate competition with the offensive line will occur in the second and third levels of the depth chart, where a handful of players will battle for the right to back up a starting five that would seem set in cement.
Lowdown: Barring injury, there are no worries here.
The Roster Rundown
• Cory Benton — C, 6-3, 286, So.
• Nick Fincher — OG, 6-4, 292, Jr.
• Jordan Grimes — OG, 6-3, 325, Jr.
• Eric Hedstrom — OT, 6-7, 295, R-Fr.
• Jason Kacinko — OG, 6-6, 303, R-Fr.
• Dan McGowen — OG, 6-0, 279, Sr.
• Garret Miller — OT, 6-8, 289, So.
• Uche Nwaneri — OG, 6-3, 300, Sr.
• Mike Otto — OT, 6-5, 304, Sr.
• Justin Pierce — OG, 6-4, 310, Fr.
• Robbie Powell — C, 6-5, 297, Jr.
• Ryan Prater — OT, 6-5, 270, Fr.
• Nick Raben — OG, 6-3, 275, Sr.
• Zach Reckman — OT, 6-6, 274, R-Fr.
• Sean Sester — OT, 6-8, 309, So.
• Zach Smith — OG, 6-4, 286, So.
• Neal Tull — OG, 6-3, 294, Jr.
• Dan Zaleski — OT, 6-4, 291, So.
Previous Position Previews:
The quarterbacks
The wide receivers
The running backs
The tight ends
The linebackers
The defensive tackles
The defensive ends
The safeties
The cornerbacks
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