During the recent run of BC Lions victories most fans will point their fingers and give credit to the Leos outstanding Canadian Running Back Andrew Harris. The humble Harris will always deflect and give kudos to the horses up front, the offensive linemen that have been paving his way.
So who are the big fellas up front?
#65 Ben Archibald
Archibald has been providing the veteran leadership to this unit as long-time Center Angus Reid has yet to return from a back injury.
#68 Patrick Kabongo
Switching from Right Guard to Left Guard this season the effervescent and intimidating Patrick Kabongo is making a huge presence on the field and in the locker-room.
Standing 6’6” and a trimmed down 360lbs, the University of Nebraska product has found both a starting spot and has become a beacon for inspiration in his second season with the club.
#59 Matthew Norman
Lions fans over the years have come to rely on two things; there’s always good weather at BC Place and Angus Reid starts at Center.
But after starting over 200 straight games Reid has remained on the sideline since training camp opening the door to his heir apparent. Most of us remember Matthew Norman from last season where he got off to tremendous professional start only to leave part way through the season to pursue a teaching degree.
A decision that made every educator, coach and parent proud by the way. But what most people forget that he was playing Guard last season, and Tackle at the University of Western Ontario, really only learning the nuances of Center this training camp. The 6’3” 317lb Norman has shown that even in his second season he has the ability to make the smart decisions.
#50 Kirby Fabien
The first round pick from last year’s draft has proved to the Lions coaching staff that better late than never is paying off with huge dividends. After being selected 7th overall in 2012, Kirby Fabien elected to return to the University of Calgary to hone his craft. Wise choice, since he has stepped in and played remarkably well.
Since establishing himself as the starting Right Guard in training camp the 6’6” 295 lb rookie hasn’t looked out of place after opening week and has developed great chemistry with the rest of the group.
#63 Jovan Olafioye
Feel blessed Lions fans, this man should be playing south of the 49th parallel. Widely considered one of the most talented and strongest Tackles in the game, Jovan Olafioye has been an All-Star in each of his first three seasons in BC and in 2012 took home the award for the league’s Most Outstanding Lineman.
6’6” 325lb mauler out of North Carolina Central has been a dream find for BC’s GM Wally Buono. After going undrafted in either league, Buono invited him to training camp where he has found immediate success as the anchor of the right side of the line.
So next time you’re at BC Place, instead of watching the ball, fix your eyes on the line of scrimmage and watch as these guys combine leverage and strength with grace and elegance.
A ballet of bulldozers where every down is a war.
Cheers, The Bartender