O-Line Still Coming Together

Cody Wichmann

The Fresno State offensive line has gone through a change in personnel and scheme in the offseason. The Bulldogs head into their last week of preparation without a solidified starting offensive line. Sophomore right tackle Cody Wichmann discusses how the unit has come along through fall…

The Fresno State offensive line had to lose weight and increase their speed and stamina in the offseason to catch up to the tempo of the new offensive scheme. Cody Wichmann played at 330 lbs last season, but has since dropped 30 pounds in the offseason. Wichmann credits Strength & Conditioning Coach Joey Boese for getting the linemen in shape.

"[Boese] pushed us really hard," said Wichmann. "My weight loss; I changed a lot of eating habits, cut my meals in half… That and working out will shed the pounds. Boese had us on some pretty rigorous stuff. The 30 pounds just came off."

Wichmann felt the difference immediately as fall camp started. He says the weight loss has not been a setback in holding his blocks either.

"I'm feeling faster right now," Wichmann said. "Definitely faster than last year at this time, holding blocks is not much of a difference, if any at all. It's just all about technique."

Along with a new conditioning routine, the offensive line has learned new technique from offensive line coach Cameron Norcross. His high-energy coaching style has helped the unit adapt to the up-tempo offense.

"I like playing under [Norcross]," said Wichmann. "He's super emotional, he'll ring you if you mess up, it doesn't matter who you are… His technique is effective, powerful; it's meant to knock people off the ball… I'm a follower."

"We're going pretty fast right now, but we still need to pick it up. [The offense] is basically as fast as you can go."

The offensive line has also had to mesh with a change in personnel. Austin Wentworth served as a mentor for Wichmann as he played alongside the right tackle at the guard position. Wentworth has since moved to left tackle to replace the hole left by Bryce Harris. The right guard spot has been filled by redshirt freshman and former walk-on Bo Bonnheim.

"I've still got to get my trust going with Bonnheim," Wichmann said. "Playing next to Wentworth is like playing next to a dictionary. Bonnheim, he's doing well. He's picking it up real fast. That's what happens when they throw you into the fire like that."

Bonnheim has gone from walk-on to potential starter in just one year. Wichmann commented on the growth he's seen from Bonnheim.

"He busts his butt all over the field. That's why he's starting right now. He just flies around and he's got a great competitive nature."

The starting offensive line has yet to be solidified however. Matt Hunt, who was projected to start at left guard, has been set back by injuries in spring and fall camp. Mike Saenz had seen first team reps in his place; however the coaching staff has considered moving center Richard Helepiko to left guard with Lars Bramer taking over the center spot. Wichmann commented on the unit's questionable depth.

"Second team… some of the guys are impressing me," Wichmann said. "We've got some new guys in that are starting to pick it up… They're still a long ways from where they need to be. So is a lot of the second sting. But we got a couple guys we can fall back on if someone gets hurt."

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