Lineman becoming a man

A man in the shadows – that would be the way to describe BGSU left guard Kory Lichtensteiger as he has quietly become an All-American candidate after being outshined the past two seasons by his fellow teammates on the offensive line.

Despite being named second-team Mid-American Conference for the second year in a row this past season, the 6-foot-3 inch, 305-pound Lichtensteiger didn’t receive quite the same accolades of his teammate Rob Warren, who was named first team All-MAC and was one of the top tackles in the country. In 2004, he also had to deal with most of the attention and praise going towards Scott Mruczkowski – now playing for the San Diego Chargers, along with Warren and line-mates, such as Andrew Hart, despite having a year that earned him Freshman All-American honors.

But this past Thursday, Lichtensteiger, a redshirt junior and native of Van Wert, finally stole the limelight as he was named honorable mention preseason All-American by NATIONALCHAMPS.NET.

Though Lichtensteiger finds himself as the highest regarded lineman in the MAC entering the summer and is finally the anchor of the Falcon offensive line, the new found attention isn’t quite as big a deal as most would think it would be.

“The limelight is all right – I’m not sure how much I like being in it,” Lichtensteiger said. “I’d rather just kind of get my job done. But it’s better to have the recognition than to not have it at all.”

Getting the job done is what Lichtensteiger has done as he helped the Falcon offense be one of the most efficient offenses in the nation the past two years. Last season the Falcons finished second in the MAC in passing [283.9 yards] and scoring [33.8 points] and in 2004 they ranked second nationally in total offense [506.3] setting a MAC record for scoring at 44.3 points per game.

“He [Lichtensteiger] is one of the best players I’ve ever coached,” said BG assistant coach Greg Studrawa. “He is the kind of kid that just loves to play the game of football and I think those kind of guys are the best lineman.”

Lichtensteiger’s love for the game will make him one of the more vocal leaders on the field this season as many new faces will be in the huddle come September. With most the experience being up front on the line, the typical leadership role that is mostly placed on the quarterback could fall more on the hands of the offensive line.

“The line is going to have to suck up a lot of the responsibility,” Studrawa said. “We’re going to have to run the football more than we have and go back to the same philosophy we had with Josh Harris in his first year at starting quarterback when we had a bunch of young receivers.”

Lichtensteiger and his line mates know they’ll have to come together as a group in camp to make sure that the inexperienced guys behind them will have the best protection possible to get the touches and game experiences they need to develop.

“It’s going to be a lot different,” Lichtensteiger said. “We don’t have a superstar coming into the season like we have in the past few years. We got a lot of solid guys in about every position, just we don’t have the experience so we’ll have to learn under fire with actual game reps.”

The Falcon line this year will be 300 pounds across and will receive a lot of help from Sean O’Drobinak, a 6-foot-4 inch, 270-pound tight end that has established himself as both a threat in the passing game and as a run blocker.

Still though, most of the attention will be on Lichtensteiger, as opposing teams will really had to start focusing on him in film studies.

“He has gotten a lot of respect with other teams in this league,” Studrawa said. “People know that guy [Lichtensteiger] will knock your socks off and you better know where No. 78 is on the field.”

When Lichtensteiger is off the field, most know they can find him trying to suck up family time with his wife and son at their home in town. As an aspiring parole officer, Lichtensteiger has accumulated a grade point average of 3.8 in criminal justice and yet finds time to spend with his young family and play football at an All-American level.

“It gets a little overwhelming at times,” Lichtensteiger said of his balancing act. “You definitely have to prioritize and sometimes I don’t pay as much attention to school as I should and put playing with my son ahead of that, but when I’m home alone or on road trips I’m definitely hitting the books.”