UK Football

Getting to know UK's unsung bulldozers, the offensive linemen

The 2009 Kentucky offensive line was the most productive of the Rich Brooks era. It helped the Wildcats finish fifth in the Southeastern Conference in rushing offense and tied for fourth in fewest sacks allowed. Offensive linemen are often faceless among the fans and the media, known primarily as the big guys who do the dirty work up front. But as the Wildcats prepare for Sunday's Music City Bowl, the UK offensive linemen took time out to answer some questions and provide a feel for what goes on inside their heads.

Zipp Duncan



Senior left tackle

6-foot-5, 291 pounds

Favorite food: Steak.

Typical day of meals: On a normal day, I start out with some fruit or something when we get to football, maybe a nutritional shake. When we get off the practice field, some kind of a sub sandwich. Before class, get a snack and then have a big meal for dinner, steak, chicken or mashed potatoes.

Shoe size: 15.

Favorite NFL offensive lineman: Jake Long, Miami Dolphins.

Toughest player you've ever had to block: Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia.

What's more difficult, run blocking or pass blocking and why? For me, I would say pass blocking because you kind of have to wait and see what they are going to do, see how they are going to attack you.

Favorite type of play to block for: Probably something where I pull, that is something I like to do, pull around and hit someone and I get to feel like a running back for a while.

If you weren't a football player, what other sport would you play: Probably a power forward starting for Coach Cal.

If Coach Brooks said he'd let you play two positions, what other position would you play? Go back to tight end. Somewhere I could use some athleticism and let the fans see my hands, they never got a chance to see that.

Do you think the SEC and NCAA should keep more stats with regard to offensive linemen, such as sacks allowed and pancake blocks? I don't think so. I feel like you pretty much know your stats. It could get way too trivial. We will watch film and see what we did. It would be way too trivial.

Which player on the team who's currently not an offensive lineman could make the transition and be a good offensive lineman? Chandler Burden. Big strong kid, athletic, he has a future at offensive line.

Funniest offensive lineman: To be honest, we are a pretty funny bunch. We do a pretty good job of playing with each other and keeping everyone level-headed. Everyone gets hit with a joke everyday. I say the whole group, when you get us together.

Strongest offensive lineman: Christian Johnson, by far.

Fastest offensive lineman: I don't want to disrespect myself by saying anyone else. I am the fastest, by far. It should be a unanimous decision on that and if it is not I will be highly disappointed.

Best basketball player among the offensive linemen: I hate to brag on myself again, but it's me. I played in Rupp Arena my senior year (in high school). I was the guy.

Best video game player among the offensive linemen: Once again, it is me. As a graduate, I have a lot of time to play video games, I am apparently one of the best in the business.

Who has the most Facebook friends among the offensive linemen: I don't know. I am more of a Twitter guy now.

Best dancer among the offensive linemen: That is probably a toss-up between Christian and Jorge.

Best singer among the offensive linemen: Christian, he can hold a tune.

Who would win an eating contest among the offensive linemen? I would say it has to be Jorge Gonzalez. He is the two-time defending champion rib king (at the Music City Bowl). Got to give him the nod.


Christian Johnson



Senior left guard

6-foot-4, 330 pounds

Favorite food: It has to be Chinese food.

Typical day of meals: I usually skip breakfast. I don't know why. Somehow I always end up at Nutter, where I usually eat a Nutter Bar. Then I will go somewhere for lunch, and eat a little something. But, I am a big dinner eater. I love to cook, when I get home I can cook something up. I can really throw down in the kitchen, so there is really no telling for dinner.

Shoe size: 14.

Favorite NFL offensive lineman: Orlando Pace, Chicago Bears.

Toughest player you've ever had to block: It definitely would be Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU, or Jeff Owens, DT Georgia.

What's more difficult, run blocking or pass blocking and why? I would say pass blocking because you have to cover all the realms. You have to be covered and have good technique. Run blocking, I can just come off the ball trying to rip into someone.

Favorite type of play to block for: I love screens, but most of the time it is hard for me to get out there. I love dive plays because it is usually just 1-on-1 and you can just blow someone up.

If you weren't a football player, what other sport would you play? I would probably be in track and field, I like shot put. Or probably a fisherman, like a bass pro angler.

If Coach Brooks said he'd let you play two positions, what other position would you play? It would probably be nose guard or defensive tackle.

Do you think the SEC and NCAA should keep more stats with regard to offensive linemen, such as sacks allowed and pancake blocks? Heck, yeah. I feel like that stuff matters. A lot of the time you look at the guys that they have ranked higher then some of us, it is because their school is highly touted and their name is more known. They give up more sacks then our whole offensive line has. We are running the ball better, so I feel like it is unfair, but at the end of the day the truth comes out.

Which player on the team who's currently not an offensive lineman could make the transition and be a good offensive lineman? Honestly, I would say Chandler Burden.

Funniest offensive lineman: It is Jorge and Zipp; those two guys, they crack me up.

Strongest offensive lineman: Matt Smith.

Fastest offensive lineman: Trevino Woods or Zipp Duncan.

Best basketball player among the offensive linemen: I am the best basketball player, they can say what they want to say. But ask anyone that has seen me, I can put on a show on the basketball court.

Best video-game player among the offensive linemen: Jorge, it has to be between Jorge and Zipp, they are both real good.

Who has the most Facebook friends among the offensive linemen: I don't want to say me, but I think me. I have about 2,000.

Best dancer among the offensive linemen: I am going to say Larry Warford.

Best singer among the offensive linemen: I think it is me, but it is funny hearing Jorge and Zipp sing.

Who would win an eating contest among the offensive linemen? (Freshman walk-on Stephen) Duff, no doubt.


Jorge Gonzalez



Senior center

6-foot-3, 300 pounds

Favorite food: Cuban food.

Typical day of meals: Healthy, lots of health food.

Shoe size: 16.

Favorite NFL offensive lineman: Kevin Mawae, Tennessee Titans

Toughest player you've ever had to block: I would absolutely say Myron Pryor.

What's more difficult, run blocking or pass blocking and why? If you would have asked me this last year, I would have said run blocking. If you ask me this year, I would say pass blocking, just because people are doing a lot more moving around.

Favorite type of play to block for: Trap.

If you weren't a football player, what other sport would you play? Baseball.

If Coach Brooks said he'd let you play two positions, what other position would you play? Quarterback. Hefty lefty for sure.

Do you think the SEC and NCAA should keep more stats with regard to offensive linemen, such as sacks allowed and pancake blocks? I don't care too much about that, so probably not.

Which player on the team who's currently not an offensive lineman could make the transition and be a good offensive lineman? I would have to say Nik Brazley (5-foot-9, 190-pound sophomore wide receiver).

Funniest offensive lineman: Me. But other than me, I would say Christian, he is pretty funny looking.

Strongest offensive lineman: Christian Johnson.

Fastest offensive lineman: Zipp Duncan.

Best basketball player among the offensive linemen: Zipp Duncan

Best video-game player among the offensive linemen: No doubt that is me.

Who has the most Facebook friends among the offensive linemen? Me again.

Best dancer among the offensive linemen: I would either say Larry Warford or me.

Best singer among the offensive linemen: I would give that to Christian.

Who would win an eating contest among the offensive linemen? Clearly that is me.


Stuart Hines



Sophomore right guard

6-foot-4, 295 pounds

Favorite food: Steak.

Typical day of meals: Breakfast: nuts/fruit/bagel. Lunch: Usually a sandwich. Dinner: chicken, or some sort of meat and veggies.

Shoe size: 13.

Favorite NFL offensive lineman: Garry Williams, Carolina Panthers.

Toughest player you've ever had to block: The defensive tackles for Georgia were really good and physical.

What's more difficult, run blocking or pass blocking and why? Pass blocking for me, because I like to be more aggressive and go after them.

Favorite type of play to block for: Power plays.

If you weren't a football player, what other sport would you play? I would want to play basketball, but I would probably be better at shot put or something like that.

If Coach Brooks said he'd let you play two positions, what other position would you play? Probably defensive tackle. ... I don't know where else I would fit in at, and I played a lot of defensive tackle in high school.

Do you think the SEC and NCAA should keep more stats with regard to offensive linemen, such as sacks allowed and pancake blocks? No, because I don't want people to know about my sacks.

Funniest offensive lineman: Christian Johnson.

Strongest offensive lineman: Christian Johnson.

Fastest offensive lineman: Zipp Duncan.

Best basketball player among the offensive linemen: Billy Joe Murphy.

Best video-game player among the offensive linemen: Christian is the worst. I watched Billy Joe kill him in NCAA football.

Who has the most Facebook friends among the offensive linemen? Probably Zipp. He is popular with the fans.

Best dancer among the offensive linemen: Larry Warford. He always dances in practice.

Best singer among the offensive linemen: Jorge Gonzalez. He should sign a deal.

Who would win an eating contest among the offensive linemen: A freshman we call King Duff (freshman walk-on Stephen Duff). He can put a restaurant out of business on wing night.


Justin Jeffries



Senior right tackle

6-foot-6, 320 pounds

Favorite food: Chicken.

Typical day of meals: Depends, I might go get breakfast in the morning, then keep eating throughout the day.

Shoe size: 14.

Favorite NFL offensive lineman: Orlando Pace, Chicago Bears.

Toughest player you've ever had to block: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU or Everette Brown, DE, Florida State

What's more difficult, run blocking or pass blocking and why? Probably pass blocking, because you are kind of vulnerable sometimes.

Favorite type of play to block for: Probably a sweep. Something where I get to pull around a little bit, get on the edge.

If you weren't a football player, what other sport would you play? Golf.

If Coach Brooks said he'd let you play two positions, what other position would you play? Quarterback and safety.

Do you think the SEC and NCAA should keep more stats with regard to offensive linemen, such as sacks allowed and pancake blocks? Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely.

Which player on the team who's currently not an offensive lineman could make the transition and be a good offensive lineman? Corey Peters.

Funniest offensive lineman: Jorge Gonzalez, Christian Johnson or Zipp Duncan.

Strongest offensive lineman: Christian Johnson.

Fastest offensive lineman: Zipp Duncan.

Best basketball player among the offensive linemen: Zipp, although Christian is pretty good.

Best video-game player among the offensive linemen: Probably Zipp or Jorge.

Who has the most Facebook friends among the offensive linemen? I don't know, it might be me.

Best dancer among the offensive linemen: Larry Warford.

Best singer among the offensive linemen: Me.

Who would win an eating contest among the offensive linemen? Jorge Gonzalez, because he is the sloppiest.


Brad Durham



Junior right tackle

6-foot-4, 310 pounds

Favorite food: Steak and spaghetti.

Typical day of meals: Wake up and eat breakfast. Eat after practice. Dinner after class. Snack before bed.

Shoe size: 15.

Favorite NFL offensive lineman: Orlando Pace, Chicago Bears.

Toughest player you've ever had to block? Jermaine Cunningham, DE, Florida.

What's more difficult, run blocking or pass blocking and why? Pass blocking, because you are giving them a chance to run at you and you have to react to their speed ... It is difficult, instead of going at them, you have to wait for them.

Favorite type of play to block for: Power running play ... A double-team block.

If you weren't a football player, what other sport would you play? Basketball.

If Coach Brooks said he'd let you play two positions, what other position would you play? Tight end.

Do you think the SEC and NCAA should keep more stats with regard to offensive linemen, such as sacks allowed and pancake blocks? Absolutely.

Which player on the team who's currently not an offensive lineman could make the transition and be a good offensive lineman? Corey Peters.

Funniest offensive lineman: Jake Lanefski.

Strongest offensive lineman: Christian Johnson.

Fastest offensive lineman: Zipp Duncan.

Best basketball player among the offensive linemen: Zipp Duncan.

Best video-game player among the offensive linemen: Zipp Duncan.

Who has the most Facebook friends among the offensive linemen? Don't know, Jorge Gonzalez probably has the fewest (said jokingly).

Best dancer among the offensive linemen: Larry Warford.

Best singer among the offensive linemen: I don't think any of us can sing.

Who would win an eating contest among the offensive linemen? Jorge Gonzalez.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments