Been There, Done That

ATLANTA – Barry Richardson fully understands what fellow offensive tackle Chris Hairston is going through. Like Hairston, Richardson got his first start as a freshman against one of the better defenses in the country.

The big senior also expects the same sort of successful results from the freshman that he had four seasons ago.

Richardson got his first-ever start at Florida State midway through his freshman season in 2004. He was placed at left tackle and in his very first start he was up against the likes of All-ACC defensive ends Chauncey Davis and Eric Moore.

He even occasionally went against blitzing or stunting All-ACC players in linebackers A.J. Nicholson and Ernie Sims and defensive tackle Travis Johnson. It wasn't the easiest situation to deal with, but Richardson, who has started every game there ever since, wouldn't have had it any other way.

And that's why he thinks it's a good thing for the right tackle Hairston, who is getting his first start due to the academic suspension of Christian Capote, to be going against Auburn senior and stud defensive end Quentin Groves, a 6-foot-3, 254-pound machine.

"I think it's best to find out what you've got right away because if you play against a person that's not at your level or the level you want to play at, when you do finally play against someone at that level, it's going to be like your real first game and you're going to play like you did against the lesser competition, no matter what you do," Richardson said. "That's how I felt. I just wanted to get that first big game out of the way and then move on from there."

During practice, Richardson said he hasn't had to offer any real words of wisdom or critique Hairston's play. He said the big redshirt freshman has done a solid job in preparation and in play.

"He's real eager and he hasn't had any real problems that I've noticed and need to address," Richardson said. "Sometimes he just needs to stay low, but Coach (Brad) Scott tells him that all the time.

"I think he's ready for it. My first starting game of my career, nobody really came behind me and patted me on the back and did all that. Once he gets into the game, he'll start playing better."

However, Richardson admitted that no matter how ready Hairston thinks he is there's still going to be a lot of nervous energy for the 19-year-old to endure.

"He'll be having some jitters the first snap or two," he said. "That just comes with the game. I still get jitters sometimes. But he'll get use to the game. You just get amped and ready to play. You can't control it. You're just want to go out there right then, but you've got to wait until the defense gets off the field or wait until they kickoff the ball.

"It's hard to describe the feeling. It's not like you're scared or anything, it's just that you're ready to go and you can't control your feelings."

While Richardson approves of the play of Hairston, someone who can do a better job of evaluating is running back James Davis, because he gets a first-hand view of just how good a job Hairston is doing blocking wise.

Davis, too, likes what he sees.

"If y'all watch him close this game, he's going to show you something and what kind of movement he's going to make coming into next year," he said. "He's definitely the most improved offensive lineman we have. I think he's just as good as Capote and those other guys. He's works really hard and should have a good game."

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