Trying to Buy Time with the Line

To this point, the biggest player in Florida State's quarterback competition has been the offensive line.

"Anytime he' running for his life, it's hard to evaluate a guy," offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said. "But I can't not put them in those situations. That's the only way the protection is going to get better, and it's the only way to simulate game speed. They are going to get the same pressure against Miami."

According to Bowden, injuries – not growing pains – are to blame for the unit's struggles. While projected starters David Castillo, Matt Meinrod and Cory Niblock have been held out of spring drills as they rehab various ailments, their backups have been quick to pick up McHale's new principles.

"It's not assignments, they are just getting out manned right now," Bowden said. "As long as I'm seeing guys trying to block the right people, I know that they know what they are supposed to do. Now they just have to get their technique straight. They either taking head fakes on the rush or getting pushed or whatever. (McHale) will get that straightened out. That's what spring is for."

McHale is also still in the process of finding the right personnel to fill each role. Last week, sophomore John Frady was moved back to center to compensate for the loss of Castillo after starting the spring at natural guard position. Tackles Mario Henderson and David Overmyer and guards Cornelius Lewis and Jacky Claude each flipped sides on the line.

The quarterbacks have been forced come to grips with the inconsistencies that accompany change.

For much of the spring, the injury-ridden unit – learning a revamped blocking scheme under new coach Mark McHale – has struggled to give Wyatt Sexton, Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee any time to prove themselves. That continued into Saturday's scrimmage when the trio was sacked a combined eight times.

"Not being able to show my arm and my knowledge is definitely a little frustrating, but there is still a lot to be learned and a lot to be gained out there," Sexton said. "I am 100 percent confident that the protection will be where it needs to be (by fall)."

Added Weatherford: "The pressure is on all three of us, so you can't really complain."

Bad news as it may be to many fans, the quarterback competition may drag into the fall when the line is healthy and acclimated.

"That's the thing that is disturbing them right now - the pressure," head coach Bobby Bowden said. "Not having time to do what they can do best."

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