No mixing and matching for O-line this season

If one thing’s been consistent along Wyoming’s offensive line this season, it’s been the lineup.

UW has used the same five starters in all four of its games, and it’s expected to be the same again when the Cowboys open Mountain West play at Nevada Saturday.

The Cowboys used seven different starting lineups each of the last two seasons due to injuries and production — or lack there of.

“We’re not as deep as we’ve been,” coach Dave Christensen said. “We’re trying to redshirt a couple of guys, and there are a couple of guys in our two-deep we’re trying not to play because they’re not ready to play yet.

“If there was a guy that was equal to somebody that was in there we would certainly play them. We’re not in a position where we’re going to switch anybody out right now.”

The starters are: seniors Josh Leonard (left) and Kyle Magnuson (right) at tackle, junior Tyler Strong (left) and redshirt freshman Jake Jones (right) at guard and senior Nick Carlson  at center.

Of the backups, only redshirt freshman tackle Austin Traphagan has played, and he’s seen time in only one game. Christensen described him as the team’s “sixth man off the bench” in terms of offensive linemen.

Senior guard Zach Rushing split time with Jones early in the season, but he recently walked away from football for personal reasons. Other than Traphagan, none of the players listed on the two-deep roster has played in a game.

Christensen said wants to redshirt a pair of junior-college tackles this season — Connor Rains and Walker Madden since both his starting tackles this season are seniors. Rains is listed as Magnuson’s backup.

True freshman Chase Roullier is listed as Strong’s backup, but is another Christensen wants to redshirt. Redshirt freshman Rafe Kiely is a backup at both center and guard, but has yet to play.

If one of the starters got hurt there aren’t a lot of options. However, both Magnuson and Carlson have played guard. So, for instance, if one of the two guards got hurt, Magnuson could move to guard and Traphagan could play tackle for Magnuson. This scenario happened in the Cal Poly game on Sept. 15. Jones left with an injury (Rushing was already out with an injury). Magnuson moved to guard and Traphagan played tackle.

Thoughts on this, good or bad?