Spring Peek at the OL
How bad was the Seminole offense?
By looking at the stats for the 2004 season, pretty bad even with three senior offensive lineman, three senior wide receivers, a senior tight end and a starting junior running back. In 12 games played, the Seminoles ranked 51st rushing in the country with 163 yards per game average which is hard to swallow when your feature back is Leon Washington who some experts are touting as a first round draft pick in next year's NFL draft. The Noles passing game was even worse by ranking 63rd in the country by averaging 211 yards per game. The ugliest stat of them all is third down conversion where the Seminoles ranked dead last in the country.
The offensive struggles were first noticeable to Seminole fans back in 1997 when Florida State failed to punch the ball into the endzone late in the game against the Gators which contributed to the loss. Also a disturbing sign was when whispers coming out of the Senior Bowl that Seminole offensive line prospects looked very poorly coached. The Territory.org was also told by an unnamed Nole offensive lineman that he learned more in a 20 minute meeting with new Florida State offensive line coach Mark McHale than all of last season.
When rumors started swirling that Marshall's offensive line coach might be headed to Tallahassee, The Territory contacted several people that knew about McHale's reputation and the feedback that we received was that he made average offensive lineman into very good blockers. The feedback from current players on the Seminole roster is very positive and encouraging.
What will change?
In an interview with The Territory, McHale stated that the offensive line will not flip-flop sides of the line. For now on it will be LT, LG, RG, and LT which will result in more versatility and options for the offense. Also, the Seminoles will go to a zone-blocking scheme which is beneficial in picking of stunts and blitzes. We will also see a lot more pulling which will benefit the running backs who excel in space.
State of the Offensive Line:
Florida State has a solid group of lineman. However, there are some depth concerns and further injuries are a major concern. Center David Castillo, Guard Matt Meinrod, and Tackle Cory Niblock will sit out of spring practices. Tackle Courtney Abbott's status is still up in the air.
Prediction along the Offensive Line on September 5th:
Center- David Castillo
Left Guard- John Frady
Left Tackle- Mario Henderson
Right Guard- Jacky Claude
Right Tackle David Overmyer
Coach McHale is very impressed with what he's seen out of the John Frady and Jacky Claude. They are probably the best fit for a pulling offense because of their size and quickness. Because of Ron Lunford's size, he's a better fit at Tackle and Guard Matt Meinrod might not be ready to start right away because of his recovery from his ACL tear.
The Noles will be lacking depth but McHale's hands on style will pay dividends along the line. Expect a noticeable difference this fall.
Pre-Spring Offensive Line Depth Chart:
LT 75 Mario Henderson 6-7 307 JR
72 Ron Lunford 6-5 358 JR
62 Cory Niblock 6-4 301 JR
LG 67 John Frady 6-4 298 SO
66 Cornelius Lewis 6-4 305 FR
C 58 Dumaka Atkins 6-4 280 FR
69 Cory Brookins 6-3 271 JR
63 David Castillo 6-2 304 JR
RG 68 Jacky Claude 6-4 290 SO
65 Jared Martin 6-2 285 JR
64 Matt Meinrod 6-4 297 JR
RT 79 David Overmyer 6-5 284 SO
74 Geoff Berniard 6-8 320 FR
76 Courtney Abbott 6-9 335 FR
Offensive Lineman Lost to Graduation:
Seminole Offensive Lineman on NFL Rosters:
Milfred Brown- Houston Texans
Todd Fordham- Pittsburgh Steelers
Montrae Holland- New Orleans Saints
Walter Jones- Seattle Seahawks
Tra Thomas- Philadelphia Eagles
Brett Williams- Kansas City Chiefs
Todd Williams- Tennessee Titans
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