Q & A with OL Coach Mark McHale

Tonight, The Territory caught up with the Seminoles new offensive line coach Mark McHale. The former Marshall offensive coordinator, who has thirty years of coaching experience, talks abut a variety of topics, including his thought on a couple of his newest offensive lineman.

What are your initial impressions of the school and the team?
First of all coaching with the winningest coach in the history of college football in Bobby Bowden is great.   Second thing that hit me when I got here were all the facilities and the upgrades that they have done.  Florida State is one of the few realistic teams that have a chance at a National Championship ever year.  After I got here, I noticed the staff is outstanding.  Not just the football part but the people.  Just great quality people and I ‘m tickled about that.  We're having a lot fun in the offensive meeting room.  There' a lot energy and that's really pleasurable for me. 
Have you had a chance to watch the offensive lineman on film that you will coach?
Yes, we have already watched film.  I've had them do a self-study off of fall tapes and practices along with game tapes.
What do you think of some of your young lineman?
I think some of the young guys like freshman, redshirt freshman and of course I get to evaluate them at 5 AM in the morning in our off-season workouts.  They are athletically talented now.  They are eager and they are great kids.  They are everything you want but we'll have a little youth.  We don't have a lot of experience and we have some injuries.  Hopefully, those guys after surgery like the Niblock's, the Castillo's and the Atkins will benefit from the hands on stuff since they won't participate in spring practices.  That's the part I don't like because I'm a coach and I like to work with them physically.  Some of them like Meinrod with his knee surgery how much he will be able to participate.  That's the only downside to it all. 
Were you brought in to have additional responsibilities outside of an offensive line coach?
Everybody has been here for a long time so I'm just bringing in some new ideas and some new ways of looking at things. 
Is there going to be a different philosophy in terms of the offensive line and if so what will be the advantages of a change?
Yes.  They were a flip flop offensive line.  Probably of the 30 teams in the NFL don't do the flip flop thing.   We won't flip.   I don't know probably because everybody does it.  There were advantages of flipping.  But it does limit your versatility, formations, motion and play-calling.  It does limit you there.  This will help us to be less restrictive in some things and help us expand the offense even more. 
What kind of offense did you run at Marshall?
We were a NFL type of offense.
How long have you know the Bowden's?
This is my circle of 30 years.  I started out in my first job as a graduate assistant with Bobby Bowden at West Virginia.  I worked with Jeff at Southern Miss.  He was the wide receiver's coach when I was the coordinator there. 
Where you surprised when you got a call that there was an opening at Florida State?
I wasn't surprised but flattered.
When did they first contact you?
The first contact was just prior to the convention.  Things happen and Coach Bowden asked Coach Pruitt.  I had eight recruits committed to Marshall and he wanted me to stay with those recruits the last two weeks so we wouldn't lose them.  Three of them were offensive lineman and one was the best quarterback in Mississippi.  It got a little sticky because it leaked out but it worked it out.  I just stayed with Marshall and flew in on signing day.
Was it tough to leave Marshall?
Yes.  Bob Pruitt is the best head coach I have ever worked with in 30 years of coaching. 
Have you had a chance to check out Matt Hardrick on film?
I saw Matt as a junior at Marshall.  I have already evaluated him.  I told Jim Collins who recruited the area that you're wasting your time because he's a Florida and Florida State type of recruit. 
What do like about Matt?
Matt has really good feet for his size.  For a big guy, he's not a heavy footed.  He's really got good feet, good balance and he doesn't overextend.  I thing he's going to be a great football player.  As a line coach when you watch film, he's what you're looking for. 
Jacky Claude came in as freshman and there are a lot people that are high on him. What are your thoughts on him?
 In our off-season program he's graded higher than any other lineman.  He's got some get up and go about him and athletic ability.  We are going to look hard at him playing early.  He will be a guy that I will really keep an eye on this spring and put him into a position to prove to me that he can play.

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