The potential has been talked about enough, the expectations are whatever you think they are and the talking is just about over.

Wyoming East will get that extra week off before opening the season, but the fact remains this team will be as good as it is because of one major factor. Make that a big factor. As in, the big offensive line.

"They know it all starts with them," new coach Larry Thompson said of that offensive line. "They know we win and lose with them.

The Warriors return four of five offensive linemen and will start a line that averages 234 pounds per player.

That's not as big as Wyoming East lines in the past, but it has the potential to be stronger. Literally.

"This is the strongest line I have ever been around in my life," Thompson said.

Across the front are senior left tackle Tanner Jenkins (6-foot-6, 275 pounds), senior left guard Noah Francis (6-0, 240), junior center Josh Reilley (5-11, 230), senior right guard Brandon Morgan (6-1, 210) and senior right tackle Isaac Perdue (5-11, 215).

"We have an offensive line coach this year (Brandon Peck) and that should make us a lot better," Reilley said. Coach Thompson has gotten us a lot more position coaches and that is going to help. (Thompson) has changed the atmosphere around here. We have everybody back (on the line) and we think we will have a better line."

The line wasn't bad last season, helping then-sophomore Caleb Bower to rush for 1,290 yards and 12 touchdowns. The team rushed for 203.1 yards per game, despite being shut out twice.

Still, there are mammoth expectations, especially for the big guys up front.

"We don't expect them to drive opposing linemen 20 yards down the field," Thompson said. "When I say that, I think of the scene in (the movie) 'The Blind Side' where Michael Oher drives a kid all the way down the field and dumps a kid over the back stop. I don't expect a player to do that. It's an unrealistic expectation. But I do expect them to give relentless effort on every play, whether it is a pass play, a run play or some type of RPO (run-pass option) system or trickery. If these kids understand their blocking assignment and do it relentlessly, this line will be devastating."

It starts with Jenkins, who was named the King Lineman at West Virginia State's camp over the summer and was offered a scholarship on the spot. The other returning starters are Reilley, Francis and Perdue.

"I think Tanner has a chance to be the best lineman in the state," Thompson said. "These guys have a chance to be a special group."

Senior Hunter Sammons (6-0, 220) and freshman Charlie Stewart (6-2, 240) will provide depth on the line. Wyoming East opens the season Sept. 6 against rival Westside at the War Zone. They will scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 24, at Wheeling Island against Wheeling Park.

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