One of the biggest question marks surrounding the Rams recently has been their offensive line.
But one constant has been offensive tackle Adrian Martinez, who has started in all but one game the past two seasons.
Martinez and the young Rams offensive line (one senior and four sophomores) can make a big statement tomorrow against a TCU defensive line, regarded by most as the best in the Mountain West.
“It’s the season opener, it would be a great, great way to get our first win of the season,” Martinez said. “We would definitely show the conference who we are.”
Chase Ortiz comes into the game without his tag-team partner, Tommy Blake, who is ranked by The Sporting News as the fifth best defensive end in the country.
But Darryl Funk, CSU’s offensive line coach, said he thinks Ortiz may actually be the better all-around player.
“For three years, Blake has a little more stats, has a little bit more of an intimidating presence but Ortiz may be the best end in the league,” Funk said.
Martinez said he and his teammates spent this week preparing diligently.
“We’re really focusing on being more aggressive, more stout and on not letting one of those guys loose to get to the quarterback,” he said.
Funk said the Rams will have a “plan A, plan B” philosophy, and that both Martinez and fellow tackle Cole Pemberton will see work against Ortiz.
“You make some special considerations for those type of ends,” Funk said. “But by the same token if you focus too much on the ends then all of a sudden a young d-tackle will step up and kill you. It basically comes down to execution of what we do.”
Martinez said he’s ready for the challenge.
“I know we’re going to get it done,” he said. “There’s no other choice for us.”
Hometown: San Clemente, Calif.
By the Numbers:
13 – career starts for the sophomore
45 – advantage in pounds over TCU DE Ortiz
5 – rank in the CIF wrestling championships his junior year in high school