Beyond QB

All eyes are on the quarterback "race" for good reason - it's the position that is undecided on the offensive side of the ball. While there is competition at the other slots, they seem more settled with the primary players already decided. OC Dan Werner discusses "the rest" of the offense.

With no major graduation losses and everyone surgically repaired, there is across-the-board anticipation for the Rebel offensive line to be better than 2014.

"We feel like we have the talent and the depth to be better and we know our top guys have the experience necessary. Ours hopes are high for that unit," noted Werner. "We just have to keep everyone healthy. I feel much better about that unit because of spring training."

That last comment, about spring training, was not anticipated. At least five of the top eight OL were out in spring due to injury/offseason surgery, but Werner explained.

"We had some success moving the ball against our defense with younger guys on the OL in spring training. They gained a lot of experience because of the inordinate amount of snaps they got and they improved a lot," Werner explained. "Now, we get some of the older guys back, like Laremy (Tunsil) and Aaron (Morris) and Robert (Conyers) and that should get us closer to where we want to be up front.

"It's always harder when you start a program to build an offensive line. Hopefully, we have more things established now and will show improvement and can go from there."

An emphasis in spring was improvement in the run game, which, obviously, is dependent on OL performance and the running backs, who Werner also has faith in.

"We know it's proven, 99 times out of 100, you have to play great defense and run the football effectively to win championships," he continued. "Consequently, we have to improve our run game. We worked really hard on that in spring. We were very physical in spring and hammered being more physical up front and emphasizing to our backs to make what we call dirty runs - to find a way to get that extra yard, to break that extra tackle, to never get stopped behind the line of scrimmage.

"I thought our guys took that challenge and improved and I thought, as coaches, we came up with some new things to help them out. We tweaked a few things and it helped our line and our backs. We have to keep working on it. I have always thought Jaylen Walton was excellent and I was pleased with the way Jordan Wilkins ended last year and Akeem Judd performed in spring. We have a good nucleus of backs with different skill sets. We should be fine."

Out wide and at tight end, Werner used the word "blessed."

"With Laquon (Treadwell), Cody Core, Quincy (Adeboyejo), Markell Pack, Evan Engram, Liggins, Stringfellow, a couple of great looking newcomers (DaMarkus Lodge and Van Jefferson) and some others who can also help, we are really blessed," Werner closed. "We just have to make sure we are getting them the ball in the right places at the right times. They will do the rest - they have proven that time and time again."

Whoever wins the QB race, it's apparent Werner trusts his supporting cast.


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