ORONO — The two sophomores will be making their 12th collegiate starts at offensive tackle Saturday. But does that mean Isaiah Brooks and Jamil Demby are now veterans on the Maine football team?

That depends on who you ask.

“They’re still young. There’s no question,” Coach Jack Cosgrove said Tuesday as his Black Bears (0-1) prepare to face Tulane (0-2).

“Sometimes you get a little bit overzealous when talking about them. The fact is they haven’t arrived yet. They’re in that process. It’s not all that common for us to have guys that young playing for us at that position particularly. You can protect a guy a little at guard with the center and tackle. You expose them at the tackle spot. It was a huge leap of faith last year to put them in those situations.”

Brooks started 10 games as a redshirt freshman. Demby, a true freshman, joined him in the lineup in Week 2 and became a fixture.

It wasn’t always pleasant. The Black Bears went 5-6, averaging 3.0 yards per carry and the quarterbacks were sacked 40 times.

That’s in the past, Demby insisted. “It’s not my time to be young anymore. I’ve got to step up for the offensive line and be a leader,” he said.

“I feel more like a veteran,” echoed Brooks. “I’ve learned not to be scared of anybody. They’re just people. I have the technique to block anybody.

“I have high expectations to do good. I think we can be the best offensive line in the conference.”

Colonial Athletic Association play begins Sept. 26 at home against Rhode Island. Up first is another matchup with an FBS-level defensive line. On Sept. 5 at Boston College, Maine ran for only 7 yards, quarterback Dan Collins was sacked five times in a 24-3 loss.

Tulane has allowed 102 points in two losses to ACC teams, so there’s greater optimism for the offensive line this week. It should help having starting tailback Nigel Beckford back after a one-game suspension.

“Our goal is 100 yards rushing at least. That’s going to start for us this week,” senior center Bruce Johnson vowed. “That, and no sacks. We have to do a lot better. (The Boston College game) wasn’t what I expected.”

Brooks and Demby will be vital in keeping Collins upright and providing Beckford with daylight. Demby, at 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, is the larger of the tackles. Brooks put on 10 pounds over the summer to top out at a mere 6-5, 295.

Brooks is also gaining confidence; he’s actually speaking up. As a true freshman, he rarely uttered a word.

“I got more comfortable. I’m still not a big fan of talking,” he said. “I just want to be remembered and for everyone to know me as a good person.”

He’s hard to miss, and not just because of his size. Brooks likes to dress up, particularly on what he calls “Tie Tuesdays.” Indeed, he showed up for Tuesday’s interview in a black dress shirt and bright tie, a stark contrast to the shorts and T-shirts his teammates were sporting.

But his teammates are happy to see Brooks coming out of his shell. On his 19th birthday last November, 15 to 20 of them also wore ties to mark the occasion.

Demby is more naturally outgoing, constantly smiling. At least until he gets on the field.

“I start to get emotional, get real hyped and enthusiastic,” he said. “There’s a different side to me on game days.”

NOTES: Senior guard Daniel Carriker, who started eight games last year, has seen his football career ended by a concussion. Benedict Wezel started in Carriker’s place at Boston College and likely will do so again at Tulane. Sophomore guard John Reddington will return Saturday after missing the opener with an injury. … Maine will be without starting safety Darrius Hart. The sophomore suffered a bruised lower leg in the Boston College game but played through it. It swelled considerably the next day. He’s expected to miss just one game. Freshman Mozai Nelson has been backing up Hart, although sophomores Jason Matovu and Spencer Carey also could play at strong safety. … Junior middle linebacker Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga will miss the Tulane game with a bruised leg.