BLOOMINGTON - Luke McAvoy responds quickly when asked how he differs from twin brother Kyle.
"He's a little bit stronger than me, but I'm a little bit quicker," Luke said. "So it kind of evens out."
"I would agree," Kyle chimed in.
Yet it's how the McAvoys are similar that has the Bloomington High School football team eagerly anticipating the potential power of its offensive line when the Purple Raiders' season begins Friday against Danville at Fred Carlton Field.
"They have great size and good strength," BHS coach Rigo Schmelzer said. "The question now is just foot speed and balance. That's something they will work on as they grow. They are still really young kids."
Entering their junior season, Luke is 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, while Kyle logs in at 6-6, 282.
Big runs in the family. Father Tim is 6-5 and played at the University of Illinois, while older brother Tim is a 6-6, 291-pound senior offensive lineman at Michigan.
"You see that could be you in the future," said Kyle. "I want to learn from what he (older brother Tim) did and improve on that. I definitely want to at least be all-conference if not all-state."
"It gives me a lot of motivation," Luke said. "It shows me it's possible."
Kyle returns as a starting tackle on the BHS offensive front, while Luke steps in at a guard.
"You can see Luke walking down the hallway and sometimes his elbows and knees are going different directions," said Schmelzer. "But if you see him on the field, I think Luke has feet and footwork as good if not better than Kyle.
"Kyle has a much larger chest cavity and width of shoulder. We kid if his lower half ever caught up to his upper half, he's tipping the scales at 320."
Schmelzer called both McAvoys good students and good teammates.
"Their work ethic is great. They feed off one another," said the BHS coach. "They are just great-natured individuals. They are well liked and respected by the other players."
The McAvoys will team with returning All-Area performer Todd Boaz, a senior guard who has trimmed from 240 to 225 pounds, and 6-2, 333-pound University High sophomore transfer Demetrius West at a tackle. Dionte Helm, a 195-pound junior, is the frontrunner at center.
"We should definitely be getting a lot of surge every play," Kyle McAvoy said. "I kind of expect no sacks this year hopefully."
With a father who played at Illinois and a brother in uniform for Michigan, the Oct. 31 matchup of the Big Ten teams at Champaign will hold particular interest for the McAvoy brothers.
"We'll definitely root for Michigan," Kyle said, "but we won't be upset if they lose."
Meet the Purple Raiders
Head coach - Rigo Schmelzer, 17th season (16-year record 152-35)
Conference - Big 12
2008 - 10-2 (8-1 in Big 12). Lost to Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, 32-12, in quarterfinals of Class 6A playoffs
Jake Morris, WR, 6-0, 145; Josh Williams, WR, 5-10, 135; Kyle Nolan, WR, 5-10, 160; Donnie Bogle, WR, 6-2, 180; Max Aper, TE, 6-0, 190; Kyndell Smith, WR, 5-7, 132; Jake Mullenix, WR, 5-9, 140; Adam Lienhop, WR, 5-11, 160; Ryne Dicken, RB, 6-0, 190; Derrick Simmons, RB, 5-10, 170; Chris Childers, RB, 5-8, 178; Verl Jamison, RB, 6-1, 228; Brooks Tryon, TE, 6-0, 197; Kyle Stark, RB, 5-6, 165; Jeremiah Brittin, C, 5-8, 170; Chris Swanson, G, 5-11, 215; Todd Boaz, G, 5-10, 225; Travis Castillo, C, 5-11, 210; Jake Nobiling, G, 5-8, 195; Dane Thornton, T, 5-10, 256; Brad Nicholas, G, 5-10, 220; Tyler DeHart, TE, 6-0, 192; Corey Wilson, WR, 5-9, 165; James Wimp, TE, 6-2, 200.
Torre Harrell, WR, 6-0, 170; Justin Brooks, RB, 5-7, 165; Tyler Dicken, QB, 6-2, 180; Cody Hubbs, RB, 5-8, 183; Dean Jordan, WR, 6-2, 181; Daniel Thul, RB, 5-10, 160; Michael Reilly, TE, 5-7, 156; Seth Devine, QB, 5-10, 157; Evan Tyson, WR, 5-9, 130; Charles Hill, RB, 5-10, 165; Luther Thompson, RB, 6-0, 200; Carlton Slaughter, WR, 5-7, 147; Ryan Strange, TE, 5-8, 165; Eric Schmidt, RB, 5-7, 157; Carson James, RB, 5-8, 180; Dallas Thornton, RB, 5-10, 198; Michael Whalen, RB, 5-9, 176; Dionte Helm, C, 5-10, 195; Daryl Payne, C, 6-0, 183; Matt Varney, G, 5-9, 222; Ryan Nguyen, RB, 5-9, 166; Grant Jacobs, T, 6-0, 320; Luke McAvoy, G, 6-6, 250; Karri Turner, T, 6-0, 264; Justin Embry, T, 5-10, 260; Tevin Doage-Hoye, T, 5-9, 260; Kyle McAvoy, T, 6-6, 282; Jeff Drake, TE, 6-2, 190; Treyton Shickel, TE, 5-9, 185; Irvin Hooker, TE, 6-1, 200.
Demetrius West, T, 6-2, 333.
Friday - Danville^
Sept. 4 - Normal Community at ISU^, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 - At Urbana^
Sept. 18 - Champaign Central^
Sept. 25 - At Mattoon^
Oct. 2 - Champaign Centennial^
Oct. 9 - At Normal West^
Oct. 16 - At Decatur Eisenhower^
Oct. 23 - Decatur MacArthur^
(^) - Big 12 games
Games start at 7 p.m. unless indicated
Five things to watch
-- Derrick Simmons (457 yards last season) and Justin Brooks are first in line to replace departed 1,113-yard rusher Darrelynn Dunn. "They are not the big-name tailback we've often had," said Coach Rigo Schmelzer. "But they are two very fast kids who can move well."
-- Tyler Dicken, a 6-foot-2 junior, will start at quarterback and has the potential for big production. "He has the opportunity to be one of the better ones I've had a chance to work with," Schmelzer said.
-- A Purple Raiders' defense that graduated Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Johnson and another All-Area selection in pass rush specialist Davion Howard does return six starters led by linebacker Ryne Dicken, who was second to Johnson with 102 tackles in 2008.
-- BHS' sophomores from last season were undefeated despite having receiver-safety Torre Harrell and offensive lineman Kyle McAvoy on the varsity squad.
-- Schmelzer is encouraged by his depth on both lines. Dane Thornton, Travis Castillo, Verl Jamison and Brooks Tryon bring experience to the defensive front.