Big Continuity: The 2013 Duke OL

TDD's Sam Hovan sat down with interior of the offensive line to find out how the new guy fits in.

Matt Skura is about to be sandwiched by experience on the offensive line. Directly to his left, red-shirt senior and crafty veteran Dave Harding lines up. On Skura's right, man mountain and red-shirt junior Laken Tomlinson lines up.

"It's really comforting, because I know I can trust them," the 6'4" red-shirt sophomore said.

Earlier this summer, Tomlinson was put on the preseason Watch List for the Outland Trophy, an award given to the nation's top interior lineman.

"I do see the Outland trophy watch list," Skura said. "That's something that motivates me and makes me want to play up to his level."

"He's kind of the young pup coming in," Tomlinson said with a laugh. "Spring ball was really good to have the opportunity to play next to him."

Tomlinson mentioned that the repetitions help get offensive linemen on the same frequency.

"Having done it hundreds of times before, you have that special chemistry that is extremely valuable especially when you get into the heat of a game, away games when it gets loud and you can't hear," left guard Dave Harding said.

He described a drill that helps the offensive line build the sixth sense of knowing where the other guys are.

"Coach Latina does a cool drill where he'll line the offensive line up and have no communication at all and have us go through our plays," left guard Dave Harding said. "Maybe at the beginning of the season, that's a little rough. But once you have some continuity or a lot of practice with that group, it gets a little easier."

"The offensive line has to be able to work as a unit, and Skura is the centerpiece of that unit," Tomlinson said.

Dave Harding said people have told him the team had a great year last year, but he said he disagrees with the word great.

"We definitely had a better year last year, but by no means did we consider it great," he said. "We're pushing for a great year. We won't be satisfied until we get to that point…Yeah, we went to a bowl game, but we want to win a bowl game. We want to go to The Orange Bowl. We know this team has the ability to do better than last year's team did."

"I'm just ready for the season to get here, honestly," Matt Skura said.


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