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Baylor Football

Jake Fruhmorgen highlights revitalized depth on offensive line

April 21, 2018
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Jake Fruhmorgen has seen a lot of success in his three-year career at the collegiate level. He played as a true freshman for a 14-1 Clemson team who lost to Alabama in the 2015 National Championship game. He then started eight games at right tackle for the Tigers in 2016, a team that also finished the season 14-1 and found revenge on the Crimson Tide in the National Championship game.

Colt Barber
Jake Fruhmorgen transferred to Baylor prior to the start of the 2017 football season and is projected as the starting left tackle for the Bears.

But an injury, a decision to transfer, and a couple of days as a Florida Gator later, Fruhmorgen found his way to Baylor, the University where he will finish his career.

In Waco, the two 14-1 seasons he found during his two-year stop at Clemson were a distant memory. The former high school All-American watched from the sidelines as the Bears hit rock bottom, finishing 1-11 in his first year on campus.

Fruhmorgen, along with fellow highly regarded transfers Jalen Hurd and James Lockhart, knew they could help, but it would have to wait another season.

"It’s been along time," Fruhmorgen said. "I haven’t not played a year of football in along time. I’m really excited. I feel like, as an offensive line, we are all really excited for another year to get better."

Flipping the win-loss column would be ideal, though balancing it out would seem to be the more realistic goal. An offensive line that has had time to "get better" better do just that if there is any chance to accomplish either.

As a unit there will only need to be one starter replaced, left tackle Mo Porter, from the final depth chart in 2017. It's a natural fit for Fruhmorgen as he hopes to help the group become more consistent in pass protection, and most specifically improve the run game.

True sophomore left guard Xavier Newman has received several tips from the fourth-year junior and noted the chemistry that the entire line has found this spring.

"Jake has really come in and helped really a lot because we have Malin hurt right now so he came in and took that position at the left tackle," Newman said.

Colt Barber
Sophomore Xavier Newman started eight games at left guard for the Bears as a true freshman in 2017.

"We got that good connection with each other. Me, Pat (Lawrence) and Teck, we played last year together, so now having (Christian) Beard and Jake Fruhmorgen come in, we’re just taking them along with us and they’re helping us a lot."

Like Newman, Fruhmorgen did not have the opportunity to redshirt his freshman season at Clemson, something that he wishes he had the chance to do in retrospect. Now that he has over half of his redshirt season complete, the hunger and competitiveness is fueling him heading into 2018.

"I think I was mature enough to understand that it was necessary," Fruhmorgen said. "Maybe when you’re a freshman you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. You kind of think I want to play now. I think I needed to redshirt when I was first at Clemson and that didn’t get to happen, unfortunately. Getting this year was huge for me, just body wise and everything."

Recently assigned to the offensive line, assistant coach Shawn Bell has seen first hand the type of athlete he has projected as his starting left tackle. After arriving at Baylor to begin the fall semester, Fruhmorgen was sidelined briefly with an injury. Once back and active, the chatter about his athletic ability began to pick up.

"Jake has an unbelievable ability to come off the ball and bend and do some special things with his body," Bell said. "That experience carries over to our young guys. He’s played in a lot of big games."

"We saw a little bit in the fall. He was running scout team, but for him to come out here and what he’s doing at left tackle is special. He’s a tremendous person and he cares so much about everything he does."


"TRUST THE PROCESS"

Colt Barber

Over a year into Matt Rhule's tenure, that string of three words is the most polarizing phrase known to Baylor fans. You love it as a Baylor fan or you hate it, but you can count on it creating conversation at first mention.

But "the process" isn't isolated to Baylor. In fact, Fruhmorgen made mention of a process at Clemson, something he was able to see the results of when he chose the ACC program out of high school.

"I always tell people, 'so coach has a process here, right?'" Fruhmorgen stated. "So when I went to Clemson obviously they were at the tail end of that process so we were seeing the fruits of that. Guys from previous years who obviously didn’t have as much success."

It was a process that took Clemson from a 19-15 record in Dabo Swinney's first 34 games to seven-straight 10-win seasons from 2011-2017 is similar to what Fruhmorgen is seeing in Waco.

"I think it’s cool seeing us building a foundation right now and then maybe a couple of years from now we see maybe a National Championship, or maybe this year, hopefully. I think it’s cool seeing the building blocks of it."

National Championships? OK, maybe that's a little out of reach for 2018, but with several key pieces in place, and several key additions to the active roster made following 2017, Baylor should expect a massive step up from their 1-11 record last fal. That is if "the process" actually carries any credibility. 

“I think the guys already have it, to be honest with you," Fruhmorgen said of the players around him having a matching desire to win as what he saw from his teammates at Clemson.

"I think, obviously, last year is not what they wanted, but a lot of the guys have instilled in them the determination and the competitiveness that I’ve seen out of a lot of Clemson teams have. A lot of guys here, like Pat and Teck and all the o-linemen, they are all super competitive guys and I can see the willingness to learn and be good at this.

"I think it’s already here, to be honest with you."

"I want my offensive line group to be the best in the Big 12, the best in the country."
- Shawn Bell

In his first spring as an offensive lineman, junior Sam Tecklenburg is one of those with an competitive spirit and a willingness to learn and improve. After a rough go of things in his first season as center, Tecklenburg is putting a lot of pressure on himself and the rest of the offensive line, a big reason Baylor's offense was incredibly inconsistent from series to series last fall.

"I love that it comes down to us and I think the rest of the guys do," Tecklenburg said. "We take a lot of pride in what we do and I think we’ve learned a lot from last year.

"There’s a lot of times we felt like we let the rest of the team down, and I don’t have a problem saying that we did at points. I think we’re ready. I think we have a lot of guys who are hungry to get out there and play some games again and prove what kind of football players we are. Put the team on our back, in a sense."

That sense of pride and pressure undoubtedly comes from their new leader who expressed very similar thoughts on his process to coaching the line. He's putting the pressure on his unit, but also on himself and he looks to climb the ranks as a college coach. 

"I want that pressure that the group is under my name," Bell said. "I want my offensive line group to be the best in the Big 12, the best in the country."

Discussion from...

Jake Fruhmorgen highlights revitalized depth on offensive line

5,424 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by Brian Ethridge
HuMcK
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I thought he looked pretty good in the spring game to my non-expert eyes, he held his own against the pass-rush several times and I dont think they ever had to slide any help to his side. He's definitely an upgrade over a one legged Mo Porter. Unfortunately, Xavier Newman was still giving up pressure on the interior (looked like he was going against Tyrone Hunt), but I think our DL will make fools out of a lot of decent OL this year.

Also, can we settle once and for all how to pronounce his name? John Morris said it's pronounced "free"morgan, and all this time I've been using "Fruu"morgan.
Brian Ethridge
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Staff
Fruh like shoe - Morgan
HuMcK
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Brian Ethridge said:

Fruh like shoe - Morgan


That's what I'd always thought and used. John Morris even specifically said on the TV broadcast that it sounds different than it looks when he told JJ Joe that it's pronounced "free"morgan, so somebody must have given him some shoddy info. Either way I'm glad to have him on the OL.
Brian Ethridge
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HuMcK said:

Brian Ethridge said:

Fruh like shoe - Morgan


That's what I'd always thought and used. John Morris even specifically said on the TV broadcast that it sounds different than it looks when he told JJ Joe that it's pronounced "free"morgan, so somebody must have given him some shoddy info. Either way I'm glad to have him on the OL.
His mom and dad came by the tailgate Saturday, I hadn't been drinking, and they pronounced it like you and I.
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