On the Spot with Greg Roman

Expected to be the strength of the 2010 Stanford football team, the Cardinal offensive line had an up and down game in the season opener against Sacramento State. On one hand, the unit pass protected well, providing Andrew Luck ample time to throw on most pass plays. At the same time, the running game struggled a bit, averaging only 4.5 yards per carry, excluding Alex Loukas' 48-yard scamper.

Following the conclusion of Tuesday evening's practice, The Bootleg caught up with Associate Head and Tight Ends/Offensive Tackles coach Greg Roman to discuss his unit's performance against Sacramento State as well as several other topics.

What's your evaluation of the offensive line against Sacramento State?
I think we did a lot of good things but there are always things to work on. Overall, our goal is to get better and better as the year goes on, but we did a lot of really good things. The pass protection was very good and we threw it a little bit more than we ran it early, so I thought we did a pretty good job there but it's something we need to keep working on. Everything, we need to keep working on everything.

While everyone knows about the four returning linemen, Derek Hall is somewhat of a question mark. What is your impression of his performance against Sacramento State?
Maybe a little jittery to begin with and then settled down and played a heck of a game from there. But Derek has done a fine, fine job from the first day of camp. He's really laid it on the line for the team.

Obviously last year set a high standard, but was there any concern about the running game against Sacramento State. The yards per carry average wasn't all that high and there didn't seem to be as many big holes as we saw.
I think any time I'm concerned after every game whether we do well or not. There are a lot of good things going on. I think they were kind of loading the box a certain way and approaching their defense a certain way that had us going in a certain direction, but it's never good enough to be honest with you, so it's something we constantly evaluate.

How big of an impact has the loss of Jim Dray had on the running game?
. Any time you lose Jim Dray, it's big shoes to fill. Jim was a heck of a player for us. Very consistent, very professional. But the guys we have now are doing a great job. It's unfortunate with Levine. I don't know where his ceiling was. He's going to work hard and get back, but the other guys, Konrad, Coby and Zach are doing a fine, fine job.

Can you talk a little bit about the second unit offensive line group. They got pretty significant playing time – what are your thoughts on their performance?
There were some really good things and there were some things that weren't so good, some plays I think everyone would like to have back. But the great thing about a first game like that is the learning experience it gives this guys of ‘Oh, this is a real game now.' We better get this cleaned up in a hurry. But there were some really, really good things. But again, there are always things that need to be worked on.

Were there any guys on that second unit who stood out in a positive way?
I think they all stood out in certain positive ways and in some ways they know they need to improve. The whole unit I'd say across the board did some very good things, the first and second team, did some things that they hadn't done at the level they did Saturday last year. They took certain things to a new level and there were certain things they need to clean up.

A big surprise for a lot of people was seeing true freshman David Yankey get some playing time. What was the rationale behind burning his redshirt and getting him some action?
Yeah I don't know if it's truly burning a shirt or what that means, but he's earned that position at this point. Whoever earns that position is going to play.

So he's second on the depth chart for the left tackle position?
We'll see. It's a day-to-day evaluation. Right now he is running with the second team.

What have you seen from him that's allowed him to earn that role.
Oh boy. Consistency, constantly getting things fixed, athleticism, strength, size, maturity, so he's done a very good job but he knows, we all know, that it's a race to get better.

Obviously there's no way of knowing for sure, but would you anticipate the other three freshman offensive linemen redshirting or perhaps seeing some playing time?
We'll have to wait and see.

Back to the Sacramento State game, the Hornets got two free shots on Andrew Luck on blitzes. Can you talk about what happened on those plays and what needs to be done to prevent those type of unblocked looks?
Well I'd say it was a schematic issue as much as anything. Scheme is what it is. You look at it, you evaluate it, you fix it, and you move on.

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