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Andy Hodges

Capps’ move to offensive line could be good for everybody

Moving Austin Capps to the offensive line is permanent and just another personnel move that likely will continue for awhile with a group that is down on numbers.

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Chad Morris was pretty straightforward in his press conference after Saturday’s scrimmage on the status of the depleted offensive.

Austin Capps, buried in the numbers on the defensive line, has been moved to offense. To some, that was his best position coming out of Star City as a four-star lineman in 2016. The previous staff didn’t believe he was tall enough at 6-foot-4 and moved him to defense.

Morris had to have been a little surprised to see the depth of the offensive line when he took over and it’s basically a group that has been without much above the graduate assistant level of coaching for two years under the previous regime.

It appears Capps didn’t have any issues with the move.

“He told me he’d do anything to help us win,” Morris said Saturday.

Hjalte Froholdt, the only member of the offense getting much preseason recognition, has moved to center and he said Saturday it shouldn’t be a big transition.

“I’m not worried about Cappsie making the transition one bit,” Froholdt said after the scrimmage Saturday. “He has played in the offensive line before. He knows how to pull. He knows pass sets. So he’s ahead of where I was when I moved. He’s mature. He is taking to it.

“He’s played in the SEC. He is ready for what we do. And, I don’t think he’s surprised by anything the defense is going to do. He knows the trigger points and where the blitzes are going to hit and where they are coming from.”

Froholdt made the move from defense to offense a couple of years ago and former center Frank Ragnow (now with the Detroit Lions in the NFL) helped him out, but he thinks Capps is ahead of where he was.

“He’ll come to me if he needs something,” Froholdt said. “He’s not a greenie. He knows more than I knew when I made that move. He’s smart and he will be fine. He’s patient and will stay with it.”

For Capps, it’s a way to get more playing time. There were 16 defensive linemen and just nine healthy offensive linemen. Just from a numbers standpoint he starts off at second team if he can keep walking.

That’s not a slight. Considering the way things have gone with the offensive line the last couple of seasons, staying upright is an accomplishment.

“We’ve had a lot of moving parts,” Morris said of the offensive line that got a lot of attention in the scrimmage.

And Capps had help from Froholdt and offensive line coach Dustin Fry, who’s been busy as they are bringing freshmen Noah Gatlin and Silas Robinson into active duty on the line.

“Fry has been behind him on everything,” Morris said. “He’s helped him out.

“We are moving guys around. For today, it was the first time for Gatlin at left tackle. I’ve bragged on Noah and Silas. Sure, they’ve made some mistakes, but they are doing good things for freshmen.”

With Morris’ offense, the installation process will likely be never-ending. There will be things added constantly, mainly because that appears to be his approach.

But they’ve hit the point where getting ready for the games that count has to start soon.

“We’ve got enough in,” Morris said about the offense. “Now we have to figure out what we can handle.”

Like Capps’ move to the offensive line, the entire personnel situation will likely change on a regular basis and could halfway through September.

“We will see where we are in another week,” Morris said. “We’ve got a long ways to go.”

And an ever-shortening time to get there.

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