Florida International currently leads the country in tackles for loss—and most of those tackles are due to the tremendous pressure brought by defensive end Antwan Barnes.
Barnes, 6-foot-1, 234 pounds, is an outstanding, explosive athlete with blazing speed who started the 2005 season at linebacker, but was moved to defensive end in the third game of the year. Barnes finished the 2005 season with 11 sacks.
This season, Barnes leads FIU with 12 tackles for loss and five sacks. FIU likes to move Barnes around from side to side, to keep the offense off-balance. UM's Reggie Youngblood will most likely be matched up against him for most of the game.
"He is real fast," Youngblood said. "He is a good player. They move him around a lot in their defense and he has a lot of moves. It is going to be a good game this week and a good challenge for the offensive line.
Youngblood says he feels like he is 100 percent healthy following an ankle injury that kept him out of the Florida A&M game and Louisville game. Youngblood said he graded out the best on the offensive line for the Houston game.
Versus Houston and North Carolina, the offensive line has vastly improved. The line has allowed just one sack for both games. In the running game, the line has opened holes for running back Javarris James, helping the freshman run for over 100 yards in each game.
"Our confidence level is real high," Youngblood said. "We are always striving to be the best, so it needs to be high. You got to trust the man that is playing next to you to do his job. We are all one unit."
The game versus FIU will not be a cakewalk for the offensive line this week. Youngblood calls Barnes the quickest and most explosive defensive lineman UM has seen up to this point all year.
The game will help keep the offensive line can use the game as a building block for the coming weeks. With the talented Barnes lining up on the other side, the offensive line will be focused and sharp.
"I just need to trust my technique and get out of my steps quick," Youngblood said. "If I work on everything I have been coached to do, I will be all right."
Christopher Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Youngblood to take on DE Barnes
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