Perhaps Curtis Lowery should have gone into carpentry. After all, building walls is his specialty.
But Lowery is a football coach, and the walls he builds are meant to offer protection for quarterbacks and other skill players, so they can continue to light up scoreboards and send Stephenville to victory after countless victory.
Lowery didn't have a single starter returning last fall, yet 'The Wall' powered the Yellow Jacket offense to an average of 38.8 points per game. Senior laden again in 2011, only one starter returns from the group this year.
"It's not as nerve wracking as it has been in the past," Lowery said of again rebuilding the offensive line. "I realize when we start over so to say that we will eventually get there. Every group is different, but in Stephenville all the kids do their absolute best to exceed the expectations we put on them. That's something that starts at the top with Coach (Joe) Gillespie's leadership, and the kids feed off it."
Lowery returned to his alma mater - where he helped the Yellow Jackets to their first two state football championships in 1993 and '94 - in 2008 when Gillespie was promoted to head coach. He had four returning starters in 2010, but has not had more than one in any other year.
"It's kind of something I've gotten used to," he said. "And it's not a bad thing that we usually have a good group of seniors up there. It just means the next kids in line always have to be ready."
The 2012 line may be short on experience, but they are one of the deeper groups Lowery has had in Stephenville.
"We have more depth than we usually do, and we have some young kids who were pushing for spots in the spring so our JV group is stronger," he said. "We're even comfortable pulling kids up if we have to for even more depth. But for the most part we want those kids where they can play the most and get as much reps as possible."
Bryan Manley is the lone returning starter up front, and has proven himself a solid piece to build around.
"Manley brings leadership to us. He's come so far since the first game last year," Lowery said. "He understands the concepts of what we're doing up front and he doesn't bust any plays. When things aren't going so great, he's been through it and he's there to let the other guys know that as long as they keep working hard, we'll all get through it together."
It doesn't hurt that Manley, a Texas Sports Writers Association 4A all-state pick last year, stands 6-foot-4 and weighs in at around 270 pounds.
"That definitely helps. He has great size and is a good athlete for a big kid," Lowery said. "He's really physical and has good feet."
Tyler Ferguson won the starting nod at center in the spring, Lowery says, while Nick Pack will start at right guard and Raul Rocha at right tackle. Matt Diaz and Garrett Tanner are vying for the starting spot at left guard.
Justin Pack, Dayton Laxson and either Diaz or Tanner will provide depth, and Lowery says Laxson can play center or tackle.
Lowery, who played college football at Texas Tech, says he's been impressed with the way the offensive line has picked up right where they left off in the spring.
"We put a lot of stuff on their plate in the spring, so on day one (Monday) we thought we would start slow and see what they retained, but they were ready to go. They retained so much that we're already putting in our whole playbook," he said.
The four-day acclimation period - when full pads are not allowed - is toughest on linemen, Lowery explains.
"At the position we play, it's all about pad level. We want to hit and stay low, but we can't do that right now because the last thing we want is a helmet to a collar bone or something like that. So we're playing higher than we really want this week, and as soon as the pads go on we have to stress getting back to good, low pad level," he said. "We don't want to create bad habits."
The pads will come on Friday, a day before 'The Wall' and the rest of the Jackets go on public display for the first time at the annual Blue vs. Gold intrasquad scrimmage at the SHS practice fields.
"Friday and Saturday are big days for us. We can get the pads on and really see where we stand," he said. "I'm ready, I can't wait."
When a carpenter constructs sturdy walls, it makes for a structure that is safe for all.
With Lowery doing the construction, Stephenville's offensive success appears safe, too.
Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports