What a difference a year makes.
The 2003 version of the offensive line returns a group of veteran lineman nearly intact. The group that had little experience the year prior is now well experienced. Additionally, the unit has approached the upcoming season from a fundamental approach under the direction of new offensive line coach Mike Summers.
"This year we basically came in and worked on technique and fundamentals, the little things that you need to do to make an offensive line work," said sophomore tackle Travis Leffew.
"Technique is much better this year," added senior center Dan Koons. "We have gotten better with our hands and our footwork. I think we've come a long way from last year."
The shortcomings of a year ago is also serving a tool for motivation as the unit has set a goal to average at least 4 yards per carry and be one of the top offensive units in the nation.
"There are a lot of motivation tools from last season," said Leffew. "The biggest thing is probably the bond we have now and trying to be a family within a family."
Last year may turn out to be one of the best learning tools that this group of linemen could have experienced and with the addition of redshirt freshman Renardo Foster and sophomore Kurt Quarterman, the line now has talented depth as well.
"I think it is 180 degrees from last year," explained Koons. "We have a lot more experience on the line this year. I was the only returning starter on the line last year and we had four other guys who had not played college football and now all those guys are back and we have some backups that played quite a bit last year as well, so we are getting good depth and everyone is more experienced."
Foster, who made the switch from defensive line to the offensive line during spring practice has made a quick transition.
Renardo Foster talks with ITV (ITV)
The confidence has definitely returned to the unit, which has looked impressive throughout fall camp.
"It'll be different this year," said Foster. "Everybody's going out there win this year and that's the bottom line."