Minson set for final home game as Mavs’ left tackle
Colorado Mesa University’s football team has endured several changes in recent years.
In addition to a school name and uniform change, the Mavericks changed offensive coordinators, offenses and quarterbacks.
The one constant has been at left tackle.
Brett Minson has manned the position for more than three seasons.
The 6-foot-6, 285-pound senior has started every game he’s played the past three seasons and more than half the games his first year.
“Brett has played a lot of football in a position that’s really important in the left tackle,” Mesa coach Joe Ramunno said. “He’s done a lot of great things. He plays a position that doesn’t get the notoriety other positions do.”
Minson will start the final home game of his collegiate career Saturday when the Mavericks (3-6, 2-5 RMAC) host Adams State (5-4, 3-4 RMAC) at noon at Stocker Stadium. Kickoff was moved up an hour to accommodate Fruita Monument’s game Saturday night at the stadium.
It’s the final home game for 13 seniors, including eight starters and three key reserves. They will be recognized before kickoff.
“I try not to think about (the last home game) too much,” Minson said. “I’ve always said I didn’t like going to 6 a.m. running or lifting workouts, but once it’s gone, I’m definitely going to miss that.”
The Riverside, Calif., product came to Mesa State in 2007 with a several other California players. It was the first year Mesa was able to use the Western Undergraduate Exchange program with California students.
Minson was a player on the bubble of making a Division I program, Ramunno said.
“I wanted to be an environmental science major and this area was perfect for that,” Minson said. “What really drew me to this school was Coach Ramunno and Coach (Bill) Stafford. They recruited me and made my decision a lot easier.”
Minson redshirted his first year and was starting by the end of his redshirt freshman season.
He has become a leader in the offense, especially on the offensive line.
“I felt I had to teach the younger kids how to be an offensive lineman,” Minson said. “You’ve got to acclimate the kids to the level we play at. You’ve got to be mean on the field.
“It’s wanting to push kids out of the way and put people down. It’s wanting to create holes to make other teammates look good.”
Although offensive linemen tend to go unnoticed, left tackles have drawn more attention in recent years with the impact of rush defensive ends, blitzing linebackers and defensive backs.
“It’s a spot where on the offensive line, not too many people get seen, but both the tackles are seen,” Minson said. “If you make a mistake, it gets noticed.
“You’ve got to understand the plays, where your quarterback is going to be, what his drop is, what he’s doing with the ball and position yourself. It’s a game of chess, basically.”
Minson and the rest of the offensive linemen have kept Steve Romero and the rest of the quarterbacks safe for the most part. They’ve allowed 20 sacks this season, which ranks 99th out of 150 Division II teams.
Harding (Ark.) University has allowed three sacks this season, Dixie State (Utah) College has given up 55.
“We always want to limit the number of sacks, but one of our goals is to get our running back to 1,000 yards,” Minson said. “We’re close to doing that. That’s a big pride thing with offensive linemen.”
Mesa is 44th in rushing yards per game and Jake Cimolino is closing in on a 1,000-yard season. He has 850 rushing yards.
Considering the changes in coaches, offense and personnel, the line has done a solid job.
“It takes time,” Minson said. “We just started putting this in. We have young receivers, a freshman quarterback starting in a new offense, not any of us had too much experience running.
“Everyone is getting more comfortable. We’re starting to learn how to work together as a team. Our rushing yards have been outstanding.”