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Two weeks after spraining a shoulder in the season opener against Baylor, SMU left tackle Ben Gottschalk was back in the lineup against Texas A&M and spent the afternoon tangling with the Aggies' star defensive end, Damontre Moore. During the game, Gottschalk twice had to be helped from the field with injuries. But the junior from Sherman Oaks, Calif., said there never was any thought given to taking the rest of the day off.
His first injury came when he tweaked the same shoulder he hurt in Waco two weeks before.
"It flares up every now and then," Gottschalk said Wednesday. "It will be really painful for about 10 or 15 seconds, and then the pain dissipates, it goes away, and it goes back to feeling the way it felt before. I just have to make sure I stretch it out right and take care of it."
Gottschalk's second injury was a sprained ankle, but he returned to the field shortly after suffering the injury and has taken part in all practice drills this week as the Mustangs begin preparation to defend the Iron Skillet Sept. 29 against TCU. Gottschalk said there is "100 percent chance" he will be in the lineup against the Horned Frogs.
Gottschalk said that overall, he has been pleased with the performance through three games by the Mustangs' offensive line, which was widely perceived as perhaps the team's biggest unanswered question at the beginning of the season after the graduation of all five 2011 starters.
"No," he said when asked if the line had exceeded his expectations, "but that's because my expectations are much, much higher than the expectations of people who don't play on this line. Some people's perception can be so convoluted, so hyperbolic ... it's ridiculous.
"(The offensive line is) getting there. We're far from a finished product, but we're getting better in every single game, and that's encouraging. It's kind of deceptive, maybe, when you play teams like Baylor and Texas A&M, because their talent is so good, but when you watch the film, it's obvious that we're blocking better each week."
If the offensive line was viewed as a question mark going in to the season, the question within the question might have been center Taylor Lasecki. The other four starters â€” Gottschalk, left guard Jordan Free, right guard Blake McJunkin and right tackle Bryan Collins â€” are all juniors and seniors. But Gottschalk said he has been very impressed with the redshirt freshman manning the middle of the Mustangs' line.
"We don't think of him as 'the young guy' of the group," Gottschalk said. "It's crazy that he has four years left (including 2012). Where he'll be by the time he graduates is unreal. You look at how good he is already, and if he stays healthy ... I think he has graded out the highest overall of the offensive linemen through three games, and he's supposed to be 'the new guy.' But his snaps are great, his blocking has been great. He's doing his job. He's handling his business."
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Glad to hear he is practicing and looks to be ok. I agree, the OL has certainly not been as much of a problem this season as a lot of people feared.
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Just want to add my voice to the fact these guys have performed better than expected with all the hype about so few starts. Good for them guys and go get those froggies.
5 posts • Page 1 of 1
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