October 19, 2006

Insider Report: The OL is starting to click

When the season started, Florida State's offensive line was supposed to be new and improved. However, through the first five games it only looked slightly better than the injury riddled unit that struggled at the end of the 2005 season. The first real signs that the 'Noles' offensive front made a real step forward took place last weekend at Duke.

The Blue Devils are hardly a defensive juggernaut, but they probably blitz more than any team in college football. Not only does Duke usually bring the house at opposing quarterbacks, they do so with seven and sometimes eight-man blitzes. Despite the all out attack on the Seminole quarterbacks last weekend, the offensive line did not surrender a single sack and there were very few hurries.

"The situation we had last week was a lot of eight-man blitzes, a lot of crossing, safety blitzes with both safeties, so you have to know who's shifting and maybe let the outside go but they all have to have a hat on a hat and they did a great job," offensive line Mark McHale said. "The concept of what we are doing and everything, I was real tickled with that.

"We watched Virginia and they (Duke) had about seven sacks, Alabama and Virginia Tech was the same thing so boy I was worried to death there was going to be something there. But they focused, and not only picked that stuff up but blocked them. I was real pleased with that."

McHale noted that junior guard Jacky Claude graded out the best of the starters and was the lineman of the week, while freshman Matt Hardrick had the top overall grade at 91 percent.

"He (Hardrick) had only 12 snaps but he did a heck of a job," McHale said. "He didn't have any missed assignments for a freshman and I was real pleased with him."

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