Sullivan Ready For Starting Role

Sophomore offensive center John Sullivan appears to be in line for the starting center position in 2004. The 6-4, 295 pound Connecticut native sure looks the part and doesn't lack confidence. We spoke with Sullivan after Monday's practice to get his thoughts on spring so far.

Irish Eyes took the time to watch Sullivan on Monday on a number of occasions. On one play, he absolutely buried an Irish defensive lineman only to follow the next play with a butt-chewing. We asked Sullivan if it's been that kind of spring for him. "They're on me a little bit, but I need that," said Sullivan. "I need to work on my technique, I need a coach who's on me all the time and making sure I don't screw up and get lazy, get complacent."

Sullivan says the yelling is a good sign that his coaches believe in him, but he'd prefer the yelling stop at some point. "Obviously I want to get to the point where they're not on me because everything is going fine. I don't know how soon that's going to happen. So for now, I'll just keep working."

The sophomore says he's learned a lot this spring and feels real comfortable at center this spring. "I think I've come a long way. I've taken a lot of reps at center and my pass blocking and my understanding of schemes has really come along. I think I'm doing just fine. I'm right at where I want to be right now."

Sullivan didn't get the opportunity to play last year so we asked him how his body was handling the pounding this spring. "I did scout team last year against Darrell and Ced all year so I'm really pretty used to it. We did a lot of work in the off-season to get our bodies ready for this so I feel about 10 times better than I did last year."

The starters on offensive line will have a lot of experience in 2004 minus Sullivan. He says he sees the unit really playing well right now. "I think we've come together real well. The guys I work with most of the time, I think we're playing better next to each other, we're playing better than we did at the beginning of the spring. We understand concepts better, we seeing things faster so I think we'll be a pretty solid unit."

We had to find out what Sullivan's comment would be to Trevor Laws' accusation that Sullivan is the biggest cheater on the offensive line. "That's Trevor's opinion. Trevor needs to make excuses--I'll just keep my mouth shut."

Sullivan says he feels he has two parts of the puzzle solved with now having the size and strength to play, and he's always had the disposition. "Mostly my technique," said Sullivan when asked what he needed to work on the most. "I've always had that aggressive side and that's never been a problem. It's a whole different game with technique at the college level than it was in high school. Without solid technique, you really can't out-athlete people all the time. You have to use your technique on every play."

Another factor is making all the line calls at center. Sullivan says he feels he has it down, but has a cheat sheet right next to him if need be. "As it's going right now in practice I'm doing it fine--I'm getting the calls down. The other thing is I've got Bobby right next to me. When he's in there and I'm in there it makes it a lot easier with the two of us playing next to each other. He knows what I'm going through and he can help me with that."

"Center, no guard" was his reply when asked where he had been working this spring.

It would appear all signs point to Sullivan as the starter at offensive center. Sullivan really impressed us at practice on Monday as he buried a number of Irish defenders. If he can become consistent, he'll likely be another name people start mentioning as a possible future All-American like classmate Ryan Harris. Top Stories