Offensive line calls itself FOOL, but Towson's success is real

November 21, 1992|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Don't dare laugh at this FOOL.

Recent years haven't been kind to Towson State football, but when the Tigers go to Delaware today (1 p.m.), the objective is the program's first winning season since it moved up to Division I-AA in 1987. The success begins with the aforementioned FOOL -- the Fraternal Order of Offensive Linemen -- that has Towson State on a record-setting offensive pace.

Towson State (5-4) will be looking to play ball-control against Yankee Conference champion Delaware (8-2), and the Tigers up front enjoy the stakes and responsibility. Introducing, from left to right:

* Karl Nieberlein -- Mount Nieberlein to the initiated -- is a 6-foot-5, 287-pound left tackle. A junior, he's a three-year starter out of Mount St. Joseph High.

* Left guard Greg Lohr (6-2, 252) is touted as one of Towson State's best offensive linemen ever. A three-year starter from Springfield, Pa., the senior is being pushed for All-America honors.

* Center Mike Gunthrop (6-2, 271) is another three-year starter. The only other senior starter on the line, he was an All-Metro at Poly.

* Junior Andy Rehkemper (6-3, 274), a Columbia resident who attended Pallotti, and sophomore Alan Brown (6-2, 270) alternate at right guard. One of them will move to the left side to replace Lohr next season.

* Right tackle John Loch (6-4, 266) is a junior out of Arundel High. Gunthrop said that Loch is the group's comedian, and that he deserves credit for devising the FOOL acronym two years ago.

Tight end Sean Patterson belongs, since the Towson State offense underwent a shift in philosophy when Gordy Combs replaced Phil Albert as coach last winter. The Tigers used to be known for their propensity to pass, but Combs has kept them on the ground more. The result is better balance and a school-record pace of 438.7 yards per game in total offense and five victories, equaling the total of the past three seasons combined.

"We went through difficult times when these kids were growing up, but they knew they were going to be a strong point for our team," Combs said. "They're experienced, and they've matured as a group. They've got tremendous size, but they're not big, slow people. They all have a lot of athletic ability."

Tony Vinson, a junior transfer from Purdue, gained more than 1,000 yards in the Tigers' first seven games but suffered a season-ending knee injury at Indiana, Pa. Brian McCarty, last year's starter, moved up on the depth chart and gained 245 yards in last week's victory over Northeastern.

"We moved the ball when we began to throw last year, but we weren't as good at run blocking then because Greg [Lohr] only weighed 245 and I was 255," Gunthrop said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.