Grayling Love Likes New O-Line Intensity

The Sun Devils' offensive line utility man is seeing many changes these days. He has moved from his right tackle position of last year, to practicing at left guard during spring practice, and along with his peers is now under the tutelage of the team's new offensive line coach Brent Meyers. The junior told DevilsDigest that he embraces those moves, and foresees his unit building on their successful play from the 2003 campaign.

We caught up with Grayling Love following the second spring practice in full pads, which he perceives as a much-welcomed sight. "It feels great to get back in pads and get back into the swing of things," he said. "The first two days we're trying to get our nose in there, getting dirty, and smashing defensive linemen (smile)." There has been a true effort to raise the level of passion in practice, and according to the offensive lineman this plan has been executed very well thus far. "We have a lot more competition periods where we go one-on-one offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen. That helps keep the practices strong, and the level of competition high."

Another aspect that keeps Love's juices flowing these days is his new position coach, and his instruction methods. "Coach Meyers brings a new level of intensity here," remarked Love. "I enjoy working with him. He seems to get the offensive line working together, and he's really teaching us a lot. Coach Grimes was great coach, and coach Meyers is another great coach we have here."

The junior commented that the change in the offensive line under Meyers might not be evident in the overall picture, but rather in the means that are used to achieve the objective. "We're learning some new techniques, and the footwork he's teaching us is a little different," stated Love. "But the scheme has pretty much carried over from coach Grimes; we're just refining some things. Coach Meyers is using a different way of teaching us techniques."

The ASU offensive line is one that has received many accolades last season. Love said that his unit may be coming into spring on a high note, but could be challenged by personnel changes this season. "We feel very comfortable from last year," remarked Love. "But we did lose two starters (Regis Crawford and Tim Fa'aita), and another player who played a lot last year (Tony Aguilar). Four of us have starting experience, and two guys saw some playing last year. I'm excited about the young guys on the team, and I feel like all of them can step up and contribute for us. We just have to get everybody on the same page. We still have some work to do, but I think we'll be able to come through as a unit."

While many ‘hogs' are returning to the trenches, oddly enough Love and Drew Hodgdon are the only upperclassmen among the group. The junior realizes this fact does carry added responsibility this season. "Before, it was always juniors and seniors ahead of me," he said. "This year I feel that I do need to have a different type of leadership. Both of us need to be more vocal not only on the line, but also on the team. Drew is more of a vocal leader. I lead more by example, and when something needs to be said, I'm more like a teacher out there, helping guys out with their techniques."

The goals Grayling Love has for himself and his teammates may seem pragmatic, but are nonetheless very telling of the business like manner in which him and his unit carries themselves. "Personally, I want to build on last season," commented Love. "I had a decent season, and I just want to work on the stuff I need to improve on."

"The goals for the whole offensive line," continued Love, "is always to be the best line in the Pac-10, and work our way to being the best line in the nation. We want to lead the Pac-10 in the fewest sacks, and lead the Pac-10 in rushing yards. We have two great running backs in Loren Wade and Randy Hill and I love blocking for those guys. We just want to help move the ball." That mission was executed very well last season, and stands an excellent chance to repeat itself in 2004.

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