2006 Starting LT: Reggie Youngblood

Reggie Youngblood (Houston, Texas) is expected to start at left tackle this upcoming season.

The Hurricanes return to the practice field tomorrow morning, which will feature a scrimmage much like they had last Saturday.

Last Saturday the offense made a number of big plays. Offensive lineman Reggie Youngblood offered his thoughts on the offense's performance in the first scrimmage.

"We did some good things," Youngblood said. "There are some things we could have done better and we still need to work on some things. As a whole I think we did pretty good."

In the scrimamge the wide receivers caught deep passes, which definitely excites everyone including a lineman.

"The receivers are stepping it up big time," said Youngblood. "That is real fun to see the big plays and lift those guys up when they score. We are just playing with different energy. We have (stuff) to prove."

On Wednesday the offense took a step back.

"Pass protection was okay, but we have to get better in the run game."

Head coach Larry Coker has been impressed with Youngblood (6-5/307) as he entered the spring as the expected starting left tackle. Recently Coker said that Youngblood is doing very well and he is "not even worried about Reggie".

"I feel like I have been doing well," said Youngblood, who will be taking over for three-year starter Eric Winston.

One of the things that helps Youngblood prepare for his first starting role is going up against defensive end Bryan Pata every day. Pata, (6-4/280) has played in 32 career games (15 starts) and has 10 career sacks.

"Me and Pata go at it every day. It helps me out a lot in ways you can't imagine. He has speed and power. He is a good player and it makes me bring my stuff every day."

Last year as a true freshman Youngblood played in eight games as a reserve lineman who was used frequently during 'unbalanced line sets' which helped him prepare for this upcoming season.

"It was a good experience for me. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I liked how they used me in the extra package. Everyone always wishes they could play a little more, but I was cool with it."

Heading into the spring he had a few points of emphasis he wanted to improve upon with his individual performance.

"In my pass set, I wanted to work on staying square and try not to get beat inside. I just wanted to use my strength and athletic ability and play like I did in high school."

Youngblood, A.J. Trump, Chris Barney, and Matt Pipho are all offensive linemen who signed with the Canes in 2005. The other three redshirted last season, but they are continuing to improve.

"Everyone is coming along good," Youngblood said. "Pipho has came a long ways. He got bigger and stronger. He is looking good out there."

Andrew Bain has been playing left guard next to Youngblood on the first unit and the two have developed a strong bond with one another.

"That is real good playing next to him because he is a real smart dude," said Youngblood. "Whatever I don't know I can always ask him and he helps me out a lot."

The Hurricanes return to the practice field tomorrow after two days off. They have eight spring practices remaining before the Spring Game on April 15.

"I just have to keep on improving. It is a daily struggle and battle out here. I just have to keep working hard."

Christopher Stock is a Senior Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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