OL Coach Mike Sewak Interview

Last season Coach Mike Sewak had to deal with injury and depth problems along the offensive line. Coach Sewak talks about the possibility of running two separate lines, the competition for starting jobs, and what this year holds for the incoming freshmen linemen.

How has the offensive line progressed in the preseason?

"There seems to be a lot quicker pace at practice. I think in understanding the curve is going our way. They understand more about different defenses and how people can stand and jump into different looks. They find out who the linebacker is and who the defensive linemen are they make adjustments. The last couple of days the communication has been good and everyone is on the same page."

With Austin being out for a while what has it been like to have players like Smith and Yandell there to back him up as opposed to last year when you had very little depth?

"There's no doubt that Phil Smith adds a different dimension to our program. We now have guys to go in there and take control of business. Austin being out gave him a chance to get a lot of snaps with the ones. He did a nice job. He and Cord Howard got a chance to play side by side and there was a good relationship as to who was going to take who on pass protection and who was going to come up to the linebacker on different looks. I think that was good for our guys for sure. To have Sellers and Nick Claytor is good too. Here you have a starter who is trying to get his spot back and Brad has done a good job of keeping it."

With the competition along the line everyone will get reps?

"I feel confident that we could run two offensive lines. I feel good about three guards right now and I feel good about three or probably four tackles. I feel good about all three centers. The centers have done a good job. Each has a little to bring to the party and that's been a blessing for us. Maybe we won't have guys going eighty reps. Maybe we'll have guys going sixty-twenty or even forty-forty; who knows."

With the added depth, will this give you a chance to redshirt all four freshmen?

"That's a very distinct possibility. To be honest with you, we're not disappointed with those guys. If they were getting the kind of reps the veterans are getting, all of a sudden by midseason they're in the two deep. Obviously those guys will be so much better with a fifth year than they would be in their fourth year or second year. Guys like Jay Finch are showing the same power and same explosion that they showed on tape in high school. I think Will Jackson has done a super job. Those two guys are at the guards. Ray Beno has been a tough competitor from the get go and we still see that from him. I think in the beginning he was a little swamped because he had to do so much thinking. I think Ray's a lot better player than he was thinking. Antonio Foster has been more than a pleasant surprise for us. There's a bunch of times that we had him running with the twos when we had all the injuries. Those guys, Will Jackson, Jay Finch, and Antonio Foster got some snaps with the twos. I think those guys got a taste of it. They also know what it's like to be counted on and also are held accountable for each and every action because it's not a do over. In that meeting room if you screw up, Coach Spencer and I are quick to point out who the weak link was. I think that also creates a little bit of mental toughness."

Omoregie Uzzi came in as a highly recruited lineman. Where is he right now?

"He's the third guard right now. He's been backing up both guys. He comes off the ball well. He's done a super job in the drill work. When you get into the seven on seven and eleven on eleven it's a little different. You have to remember he's just a redshirt freshman. All of sudden he's in it for the first time and I wish he wouldn't think as much as he does. I think you'd like to just ask him to come off the ball. When you ask him to come off the ball, he's a special football player."

Are a lot of the guys cross training so they can play on either side?

"Exactly, they can go both right and left. We also have guys working at guards and tackles and centers and guards. I look to see where they fit naturally."

As you get into the flow of the game are the reps at a position like center going to be determined by who is having the best game rather than who started?

"I think with that it will probably be a week to week deal. Whoever is playing the best is going to start. I think right now both are capable of starting. Of course Danny did start for us and Sean Bedford has done a super job in his absence. He's done a great job with his technique and his power. We'll see how it goes because Sean has never started here. That will be an interesting scenario for all of us.

GoJackets.com Top Stories