Larsen looking for 'consistency'

Eighteen months ago Ted Larsen was a defensive lineman fighting for playing time. Now he's not only the Pack's starting center, but he might have a future there at the next level.

When Tom O'Brien asked Ted Larsen to move to the offensive line in the spring of 2008, the junior with three years of defensive tackle experience under his belt didn't complain. His reward for being a team player might end up being a selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.

It's safe to say he never saw that coming.

"I never, ever thought of [playing in the NFL]," Larsen said.

But with just 18 months of experience at the position under his belt, its a possibility. Coming into the season, Larsen is ranked as the eighth-best center available by Scout while CBS ranks him as the fifth best prospect at the position. Overall, he's ranked No. 161 by Scout and No. 138 by CBS, which would make him somewhere around a fifth-round selection.

In addition, he's been named to the watch list for the 2009 Rimington trophy, given each year to college football's best center. Even so, Larsen claims its not something that's on his mind right now.

"All I'm thinking about is just getting to be the best player I can be – proving as much as I can," Larsen said.

Showing overall improvement on the offensive line is part of that process. During the 2007 season Ted Larsen had three sacks as a defensive lineman - now he spends all his time trying to keep them from happening. Last year the Pack allowed 29 sacks and the 2.23 sacks allowed per game was one of the worst marks in the ACC, only three league teams were worse. But Larsen believes the Pack has come a long way from this point last year.

"I'd say its night and day – working together with these guys and the coaches we are extremely comfortable. That's probably the most important, just working together," Larsen said. "We are progressing, getting better every day. We're working hard – I feel like we're pretty comfortable with each other."

Chemistry is often cited as being crucial to good offensive line play, a sentiment that Larsen has come to understand as he's gotten more reps under center. The need to coordinate each and every step to avoid a mistake is what separates it from other positions on the field which require less correlation.

"You are working in such close quarters with each other," Larsen said. "Just the way the protections work, the run blocking schemes – you really need to know the person playing next to you is going to be in the right position and that just comes with time."

But working with, and understanding, the quarterbacks is also an important part of the center's job description. Larsen has been able to work with both Mike Glennon and incumbent starter Russell Wilson, and says the duo has improved significantly from a leadership standpoint.

"Mike and Russell are both working really hard and are doing a good job of operating the offense," Larsen said.

He added that Glennon is certainly ready if needed, but that if he does his job right it shouldn't be an issue.

"Our job is to take as many hits off of Russell as we can and prevent as much as we can," Larsen said.

The biggest issue facing the offensive line as it prepares for September 3rd is consistency, according to Larsen. If the unit can repeat its successes over and over again, they'll be in great position for the start of the season.

"Consistency – we have showed some dominance but it needs to be consistent," Larsen said. "Every down we need to dominate."

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