OLine Feature, Grades from Miami, Coaches Reaction

Most of the coaching staff was pleased with the play of the offensive line in the season opener. After only a few months of working with the changes introduced by Mark McHale, the linemen demonstrated a strong knowledge of their assignments and good discipline.

When first-year offensive line coach Mark McHale looks at tape from the game against Miami, one thing immediately jumps out.

"I saw a scoreboard that said 10-7," said McHale.

Besides starting the season with a win and breaking the six-game losing streak, probably one of the biggest positives that came out of the night was being able to evaluate Florida State's players against one of the nation's top defenses.

Miami's defense can frustrate on the field, but it can also be a good measuring stick and learning tool.

The game on Labor Day was the first chance to judge the effectiveness of changes - zone-blocking and the elimination of flip-flopping - installed by McHale.

"We had a lot of first game mistakes," McHale said. "I think your game one to game two is where your biggest improvement is. I think the kids understand, they see it. A big game like that, it's the first time that group has started together."

Head coach Bobby Bowden said he was pleased with the overall effort of his offensive front. Although QB Drew Weatherford was pressured in the backfield, the team gave up one sack (-2 yards), and it was due to coverage. There were also no holding penalties, and the only false start came on special teams.

"Very good discipline," McHale said. "Nothing to get us behind the chains."

Guard Jacky Claude and tackle David Overmyer finished the night without any missed assignments, and three other players missed one.

"The defensive ends were the problem," McHale said. "We had some pressures, but we didn't have any sacks with the O-line. (Miami) gave up nine, so I'm pretty proud of that."

G Matt Meinrod, an East Lake grad, graded the highest on the line and said he thought his unit performed well in their first test of the season.

"Running game, we did what we wanted," Meinrod said. "It looked good on film as far as footwork and technique. Occasionally there was a breakdown, but it wasn't nearly what we expected considering we just got this offense eight months ago."

Meinrod said the breakdowns were a result of small things.

"Keeping our eyes on linebackers because in zone-blocking you have to look at your linebackers too," Meinrod said.


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