It’s crowded on the BYU offensive line.
Brock Stringham has one last chance to stand out in a crowd.
The 6-foot-6, 290-pound senior from Colorado has been up and down the depth chart during his career, which began in 2008 and has been interrupted by an LDS mission, as well as a series of injuries. But now, in the summer of 2014, Stringham is a leader on the offensive line and competing for playing time at right guard or right tackle.
The way to solidify a starting role is to get noticed during practice, and that’s not easy. As many as 10 offensive linemen are in the running for starting spots, each trying to show he is the right guy for the job.
“With Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall, it’s definitely one thing,” Stringham said. “It’s all about effort. Not just effort during the play, but after the first block. You need to make that extra block. He takes that into account. It’s about every little detail and every little drill, how hard we go.”
Stringham said most of the feedback from the coaches comes in film sessions.
“It’s kind of hard for them to do in practice,” he said. “There are 17 offensive linemen, so they point out some things, but have to move on. Sometimes you don’t get immediate feedback, but when we’re watching film, we’re in there for a long time. Coach (Garrett) Tujague is really good about telling you what you did well and what to work on.”
Stringham has suffered through a broken leg, a back injury and a torn shoulder during his career. The shoulder injury derailed a promising 2013 season where he started the first three games of the year and played in eight.
“It always seems like I get started doing great, then I get hurt,” Stringham said. “I’m trying to be positive, have no regrets and just keep playing.”
BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae has high expectations for the offensive line, which helped produce a school record 3,475 yards rushing last season.
“Most of the guys are right on the money,” he said. “There are a few that need to catch up to the team in double days, but I’m pleased with where we’re at. I still feel we’re way challenged to progress that group to a level that we really want nationally.”
Stringham said he and his trenchmates are ready to take on that challenge.
“As the offensive line, we’re the energy of the offense,” Stringham said. “If we’re physical, if we’re out there blowing people up, if we’re screaming, sometimes even getting into fights –- even though that slows down practice -– we’re there to show we’re going to dominate.”
Stringham said the Cougar offensive line is ready for a big season.
“We’re light years ahead of where we were last year,” he said. “We came in confident. We came in knowing could go toe-to-toe against our defense. They’re awesome because they’re always flying around. Going into a game after playing against our defense, it feels easier. It feels slower. So I appreciate that our defense gives us everything they have in practice.”