What looked like a potential strength turned out to be, if not a liability, not a strength. Jahaziel Lee and Jake Stickler became the primary tackles, starting a combined 18 games. Will Bryan and Bailey Ivemeyer also played, starting a combined four games.
Play was inconsistent. Penalties at times were a problem. Players were slowed by injuries.
That their play didn’t match what Tech had last year doesn’t surprise, given that Lee was a sophomore and that Stickler and Ivemeyer had rarely played prior to this season. Bryan had the additional challenge of playing both tackle and guard.
If for no other reason than by providing competition and depth, the return of Fromayan and Klock and the health of Marshall would have helped. All three, and Fromayan in particular, were playing effectively at the end of the season.
Fromayan had the quickness and agility to get out and lead on tosses and to throw cut blocks at the line of scrimmage, while also having the strength for drive blocking.
Had they stayed and improved over last season, it would have been a lift for the Tech offense, which struggled in pass protection and blocking on runs to the perimeter.
The increased depth likely would have allowed Bryan to stay at guard, where he could have concentrated on rotating with Shamire Devine. Marshall could probably have spelled center Kenny Cooper, who was highly effective but likely could have used an occasional break.
Fromayan and Klock’s departures were unusual, to be certain, but a part of what makes Tech a different sort of football team than some of its competitors. Most players take their education and post-football opportunities seriously and aren’t deadset on the NFL.
Klock had an opportunity for continued playing time at Tech and left with no hard feelings. He planned to transfer closer to his home in Pennsylvania before the opportunity to enroll at a school of Northwestern's caliber arose. Fromayan had been a NASCAR fan since his childhood and, having earned his degree, was eager to pursue a career in it.
For a team that lost three games by one possession, Fromayan, Klock and Marshall would almost certainly have made a difference.
Marshall plans to return next year for his redshirt senior season.
The series will continue Tuesday.