Entering the 2005 season senior offensive lineman Steve Eastlake knew coaches would look towards him to be the leader along the offensive line. With 24 consecutive starts entering the season, Eastlake was a given to anchor the left side of the Bearcats line from his tackle position. But with many first time starters along the other four positions, Eastlake has worked to keep the younger linemen on track as they learn the process of playing college football.
With all guts and no glory offensive linemen have learned their craft is not understood by football fans. With set steps, hand and foot placements needed for plays to work, most fans only see the rushing numbers on a stat sheet in making the choice if a line did a great job.
As this season has progressed, Bearcat fans have seen this group grow and mature into a solid front for the Bearcats offense. Last weeks win was by far their best performance and Steve Eastlake spoke with Bearcat Insider about the group and playing the hardest positions in college football.
Bearcat Insider spoke with the senior offensive linemen heading into this weeks game against Louisville.
Bearcat Insider: Steve talks about the challenges of playing with a young line?
Steve Eastlake: It can be a challenge. But everyone is really coming together. It was tough coming into the first game because not many of them had any playing experience. But were on our 7th game of the season now and everyone has had enough game experience that they know about the battles and what it's like during a game.
Bearcat Insider: Talk about redshirt freshman Trevor Canfield and how he's coming along?
Steve Eastlake: Trevor has really solidified the right guard spot. He made a couple of mistakes the other week but he played real solid against UConn on Saturday.
Bearcat Insider: With young linemen and you were there just a few years ago, is it just a mental thing that players are thinking so much because there's so much to do? Or is it physical?
Steve Eastlake: It's mental. You want to get your assignments down to the point you don't even have to think. That way when someone tells you a play you just worry about executing your block and nothing else.
Bearcat Insider: Does having two offensive line coaches in Coach R and Coach Staten help or does it put players on two different pages?
Steve Eastlake: I think it helps. Coach Roushar works with the guards and centers and Coach Staten works with the tight ends and tackles. In the past the tight ends would be off doing their own things during practice even though we had certain plays were we block together. Now the tackles are working with the tight ends during practice and that allows for us to get a feel for what they are doing. We then come together as a group and work together. I feel this helps us understand what each of us needs to do for a play to work.
Bearcat Insider: As an offensive lineman is it harder to go against a player like Elvis Dumervil because he's shorter at 6'0 and is able to stay lower then say a 6'3 or 6'5 guy who matches up better with offensive linemen like yourself who stands 6'6?
Steve Eastlake: Yes sometimes. A player like Elvis can drop his shoulder and get around the edge to create a smaller target to punch at, but on the other hand those 6'4 or bigger guys have longer arms and are able to get their hands into you and make them harder to block.
Bearcat Insider: What would you tell Bearcat fans about his week's game?
Steve Eastlake: Wear black! We know there's going to be Louisville fans at the game so wear black so we know who you are.
I would like to thank Steve for talking with Bearcat Insider about his week's game and more.