Arkansas State's offense has looked promising all month in practices and scrimmages, but the ongoing question seems to be, "What about the inexperienced Offensive line? How are they coming along?" Redshirt junior Zack McKnight spoke with Astate Nation on the progress of the O-line today.
"We came in inexperienced, but with Coach Hiller's help all of us have improved and I think we're ready for the first game," McKnight said.
This will be McKnight's first season to play as a Red Wolf, as he redshirted last year after transferring from a junior college. During his two years at Mondocina Junior College, McKnight played on both sides of the ball but was recognized as an all-state offensive lineman in 2009. He also led Mendocina to a bowl game and was named the team's Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2009.
As a member of the Arkansas State O-line, McKnight attributes their quick improvement to O-line coach Darren Hiller. This will be Hiller's 10th season at Arkansas State.
"He loves his job. He spends a lot of time here, he has a lot of energy and he'll get on us if we do something wrong. He puts in the most time," McKnight said.
Good coaching is essential to any successful team, and the Arkansas State coaching staff has a plan to make this O-line successful: keep it simple. Coach Freeze has said it since day one of fall camp — no matter how complex his offense gets, they keep to the same few blocking schemes to keep it simple for the O-line.
"It's pretty simple for us. We'll have our base plays, and that's all we need to know," McKnight said.
Simple as it may be, being an offensive lineman is no easy job, and certainly not one to be taken lightly. McKnight commented on the importance of the O-line's success for the success of the rest of the team.
"It's very important. We're the head of the line, we control everything," McKnight said. "If we don't do our blocks the play doesn't work, so everything depends on the O-line."
With only one week left to prepare for the season opener at the University of Illinois, McKnight feels confident in the readiness of the Red Wolf offensive line.
"I think we're ready. We've still got a little bit more to work on, but everybody's excited for the game and pumped up for it, so it should be good."