While they performed adequately as a group in some areas on Saturday, offensive line coach Hugh Nall says that the Tigers have a lot of work to do before they are done in the spring. He also plans to make changes in the depth chart as the Tigers hit the practice field on Tuesday for the second week of spring drills.
"I thought we did some decent things," Nall says of Saturday's scrimmage and the first week of practice. "There were too many individual things. We're not an offensive line yet. We've got a long way to go. A couple of guys showed some toughness, but as a whole we're not showing the toughness I want to see."
While the first group had some good plays on Saturday opening holes for the running game and protecting quarterback Brandon Cox, it wasn't the overall performance that Nall wanted to see from a technique standpoint. Because of that he says he'll will try some backup players with the first unit to give them a shot at the starting job.
The first of that group is sophomore Andrew McCain, who will move to the first-team status at right tackle ahead of Daniels. A more consistent performer than Daniels in the first week, the 6-6, 300 McCain is coming on stronger at tackle after redshirting last fall while learning how to play the position. He had previously worked at tight end, defensive end and defensive tackle.
Two of the players who are expected to get a longer look this week are redshirt freshmen Mike Berry, who has been playing center, and Bart Eddins, who has worked at guard and tackle.
Playing some tackle last fall, Berry will get snaps behind McCain this week while Eddins will get a look at center after working on snapping the football last week. Both have looked good the first week of spring practice in one-on-one drills and in team action. Nall says every position is still up for grabs at the moment, but he's looking for someone to nail down the positions as quickly as possible.
"I would like to, by the end of the spring, know who my starters are," Nall says. "I would like to know who I'm going to start with in two-a-days. They will be the starters, but right now I'm not happy with any position up front."
Having to replace four starters off last year's team, the Tigers came into the spring with several talented but inexperienced players up front looking to win jobs and only Dunlap back as a full-time starter. Nall says that with one week under its belt, the offensive line has shown flashes of good play, but he's looking for more the next two weeks leading into the A-Day game on March 17.
"I think we're okay," the coach says. "Okay is not good enough. That is across the front. I'm still not sure who my starting five are. That goes from left tackle to right tackle. Every job up there is being fully evaluated."