LC’s Manick getting hang of center spot
By Brian Peloza Post-Tribune correspondent August 11, 2012 11:30PM
Updated: September 13, 2012 6:31AM
MUNCIE — Ball State coaches had joked in the past with offensive lineman Dan Manick that he would someday switch positions.
After last season, those jokes came to fruition, as the Lake Central graduate was asked to move from offensive tackle to center.
“Coaches have always joked that I was going to play center and I was going to move to center because I wasn’t big enough to play tackle,” said Manick, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound senior majoring in biochemistry. “I was kind of expecting it a little bit, but it was still a little bit of a shock.”
Manick has 28 career starts on his resume, all at offensive tackle. He started every game last season and the first seven games of 2010 before an ankle injury sidelined him.
His switch to center was for a simple reason, said Ball State coach Pete Lembo.
“We asked him to move inside so we could get our best five linemen on the field,” Lembo said. “Dan embraced it from Day 1. He’s a very bright and cerebral player, so the responsibilites that come along with being a center have come very naturally to him.”
Manick said playing center is a “more confined” feeling than at tackle.
“Everything is a little bit quicker, so you have to react quicker,” said Manick. “The hardest thing, and this may sound silly, but it’s the snapping. I will still occassionaly have a bad snap and it’s something I’ve been working on.”
Ball State runs out of a shotgun formation 85 percent of the time, Lembo said.
“There were a couple of hiccups early in spring practice but he’s been very steady in preseason camp,” Lembo said.
Ball State has the most experienced offensive line, in terms of career starts, according to Phil Steele’s College Football Preview magazine.
Along with Manick’s 28 career starts, he’s joined by Kitt O’Brien with 26 career starts, while Austin Holtz and Cameron Lowry each have 20.
Such depth will make it hard for offensive tackle Matthew Page, an East Chicago Central graduate, to crack the starting lineup. He did make one start last season due to injury, and it came at Oklahoma.
“How about that for the first game to start in your career,” Lembo said. “We feel very good about Matt and he’s becoming more detailed conscience. I feel very comfortable if Matt had to play for us this season and looking ahead to 2013, we’re going to be counting on him to be a quality starter for us.”
Page played in three games as a redshirt freshman in 2010.
“I’m like the sixth man,” Page said. “Hopefully nobody goes down but if someone does I’d be the one to step in...I definitely do (think next season is his chance to start), but it’s all up to me and working hard. When that time comes I will accept my new role on the team and until then I will work hard in my current role.”