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Published: Saturday, 8/14/2004

Redshirt following star pattern

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Two starters on the Bowling Green football team's offensive line bear more than a passing resemblance to one another.

No, Scott Mruczkowski and Kory Lichtensteiger don't look like twins. But Greg Studrawa, the Falcons' offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, certainly sees the similarities between the two linemen.

"They're exactly the same [player],'' Studrawa said. "[They're] aggressive, young go-getters, and those are the kind of kids I want to play.''

So when BG opens the 2004 season at Oklahoma on Sept. 4, Mruczkowski, the Falcons' senior All-American candidate at center, will line up next to Lichtensteiger, the redshirt freshman who will start at left guard,

Mruczkowski's first start came in 2001, when he moved to left guard to start as a redshirt freshman as BG opened the season against another Big 12 school, Missouri.

Eerie, isn't it?

Mruczkowski, who wears number 79, also sees the similarities between himself and Lichtensteiger, whose uniform number is 78.

"[Lichtensteiger] reminds me a lot of myself, being in that exact same position,'' Mruczkowski said. "He's in the same shoes I was in: stepping in [as a starter] as a redshirt freshman

playing left guard, having never played the position.

"But he's got the same mannerisms as me. He's a quiet guy, he's a funny guy, and he's a hard, hard worker. That's why he has a starting job.''

The coaches agreed that Lichtensteiger got their attention in the spring with his hustle and aggressiveness.

"He has great athleticism and great enthusiasm,'' Studrawa said. "He plays the game like you want a young guy to play it: aggressively. The mistakes he made this spring were aggressive [mistakes]. But once he makes a mistake, he doesn't make it again. He earned the job in spring ball.''

Bowling Green head coach Gregg Brandon agreed, adding, "[Lichtensteiger] is a really talented athlete. He was a high school basketball player, and he's very light on his feet for a 300-pound kid. He's like a dancing bear out there.''

The 6-3 Lichtensteiger said he takes pride in being aggressive on the field.

"I think as long as you're aggressive when you make mistakes, the coaches aren't going to be as mad as you and you're not going to be as mad at yourself,'' Lichtensteiger said. "If you get a knockdown on the play, even if you made a mistake it's not going to look as bad because you got a knockdown.''

Lichtensteiger said he isn't worried about making his third position switch in as many seasons.

"I played left tackle in high school, so moving to center was a big adjustment to me, especially [snapping] from the [shotgun],'' Lichtensteiger said. "But once I got used to that, switching to left guard wasn't that difficult.''

And Mruczkowski, who made the switch several years ago, doesn't worry about Lichtensteiger's adjustment.

"I think he's going to do fine because he plays really, really hard, " Mruczkowski said. "Right now he's not familiar with the position, and it's hard for him to come out of a two-point stance and it's hard to make all the calls he needs to make. But the kid plays hard, so he will be fine.''

Brandon said he's not worried about Lichtensteiger's future, either.

"He's very tenacious and just an excellent blocker,'' Brandon said. "He's going to be a special player when he gets done here.''

LEININGER SUSPENDED: Defensive lineman Matt Leininger has been suspended indefinitely for violation of a team rule, Brandon said.

According to Bowling Green Municipal Court records, the junior from Liberty Center was charged Aug. 4 with disorderly conduct while intoxicated and an underage alcohol offense. His pretrial hearing is set for Friday, Sept. 17.

"We'll evaluate that suspension following the Southeast Missouri game [Sept. 11] and see where we're at,'' Brandon said. Brandon added that Leininger will practice with the scout team during his suspension.

LATKIEWICZ LOST: Freshman Lance Latkiewicz saw his college football career end before it even began when a stress test before fall drills detected a heart condition that will force him to stop playing football.

"It's very unfortunate because he was a top freshman recruit,'' Brandon said of the defensive lineman from Allen Park, Mich. "But I feel bad for the kid because he's done - he can't play football any more.''

INJURY REPORT: Fifth-year senior Andy Grubb, listed as the starter at right guard, has not practiced with the team since fall practices began Monday.

"Right now he's got a disc problem that needs to settle down,'' Brandon said. "He had that last year after Ohio State, but we don't know [how long he will be out].''

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.

RICHMOND, Calif. - Oregon incoming freshman Terrance Kelly was shot to death two days before he was set to leave for school.

The 18-year-old linebacker from De La Salle High School in Concord was shot in the driver's seat of his car outside his brother's home Thursday night, said Richmond Police Sgt. Enos Johnson yesterday.

Police said they found Kelly lying in the street next to his car, shot in the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Johnson said police had not identified a motive or suspects.



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