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2022 MAC Football Positional Previews: Toledo Rockets offensive line

A number of dependable pieces return to the Rockets lineup in 2022, which should propel the offense forward while it figures out the run game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 10 Toledo at Bowling Green

The Toledo offense was one of the most efficient offenses in the MAC— and the NCAA, thanks in large part to an offensive line which was filled with talent and limited opposing defenses.

The Rockets finished as the MAC’s top scoring offense, with 33.4 yards per game, but where they found their best success was in the running game, with the offensive line blocking a unit which rushed for an average of 196.2 yards per game (good for 30th in the country) in 2021.

The offensive line was also capable in pass protection, with the Rockets passing for an average of 239.1 yards per game, but there’s room for improvement, as the Rockets were a paltry 104th in the country in sacks allowed (36.)

There’s a few departures from last season, but nothing too bad, as the returning players and a handful of newcomers should give some depth to a unit which was already very strong to begin with.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Toledo at Notre Dame Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The good news for Toledo’s line is that both tackles will return to the starting lineup in 2022, a key development for protecting an emergent talent in Dequan Finn.

Senior Mitchell Berg (six-foot-six, 295 lbs.) brings 22 starts in 36 appearances, and will return for a sixth-season after using the COVID season to recover from an off-season surgery. Berg is the most experienced presence on the line, and was instrumental in helping the run game last season.

Junior Lavel Dumont started the first seven games of the 2021 at right tackle before picking up an injury which took out the rest of his season. It was the second-straight year Dumont lost a season in such fashion, playing just one game in 2020. For now, he’ll project as the starter given his size and experience, but there could be competition during camps.

Currently penciled in as potential backups are fellow super-senior Kelvin Ateman, who returns for a fifth year as a reserve lineman with 15 game appearances over four seasons, and sophomore Michael Bergen, who picked up a start at right tackle last season in six appearances.

There are two intriguing underclassmen who could make some noise on the roster as well, with redshirt freshmen Jackson Stoefen (six-foot-four, 290 lbs.) and Tanner Wigard (six-foot-six, 303 lbs.) both showing FBS-ready frames and impressing in the spring camps.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 10 Toledo at Bowling Green Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The interior will miss the stalwart presence of guard/center Bryce Harris, who finally graduated after six years of service in Toledo, but they will not be lacking for talent at the center and guard positions.

Junior lineman Tyler Long will likely take the reins at center to replace the departing Harris for the long term after starting 12 games at right guard last season, while former left guard Nick Rosi returns after missing all of 2021 with an injury suffered early in camps.

Rosi was a third-team all-MAC selection in 2019 after playing left guard, while playing right guard and right tackle in the 2020 season; one would assume he takes over at the right guard spot to replace Long, especially with Vinny Sciurry earning the left guard position about halfway through last season.

One name which could make some noise for rotation or starting time is Edinboro transfer Chris Ocasio, who has 20 starts as a guard at the Divison II level and stands at six-foot-two, 300 lbs. Whether it’s for a backup role or as a starter, Ocasio will fit in immediately from a size and experience standpoint for a team which had limited options for the interior after their starters.