Although this unit has plenty of experience together, the offensive line will be adding 1-2 new faces to the starting rotation come August. Offensive Line Coach Brad Bedell now begins his second season with Texas State and he gives us a very uncut, up front interview on the status of his offensive line heading towards the summer and fall. What are some of the strengths you saw in your unit wrapping up spring ball and heading to the fall?
I thought we got more physical. We're lucky enough to return a lot of guys who played a lot of football. We got more physical, technically I thought we got better, but we need to get a little better in the details. Pass protection was solid and because of Coach Cundiff, I thought our players got stronger too.
Who are your five up front or who do you see being a part of that starting rotation going forward?
You got Adrian Bellard (RT) at tackle, he's been starting here for a long time. You got Brandon Sarabia (RG) who played a lot last year and got injured, but he returns. He was up and down, but he did a lot of good things last year, I'm looking forward to see what he can do. At center we have Jackson Hoskins (C) who came out of the spring at that center spot. He needs to improvise more, but it's unbelievable to where he started in the spring to where he finished in the spring. He did some really good things for us, I'm excited to see him develop, but I need to get him developed. It's on hands, a lot of it is on me, that's a position we really need to solidify. At the other guard spot you have Felix Romero (LG) who's played a lot of football for us, a big, strong, physical player. And the other tackle is Ryan Melton (LT), he started every snap for us last year and had a really good spring. He's getting better and better every day.
Inside the guard positions we got some competition going on. Kian Schoenborn who red shirted last year. He did a really good job handling his red shirt freshman year the way he should have. He got stronger and really bought in and did all those things. He's made some strides in his development. At the center spot we have Stephan Jacobs who's getting bigger and stronger every day. I really think that he should challenge that center spot. At the other guard spot you have Zach Crawford who's started a lot of football games for us. I played Hayden Lambert inside a little bit in the spring, he did a nice job, so I'm excited for the inside guys. We just need somebody to take it and run with it.
The young guy that had a really good spring is Tryston Mizerak, who had a red shirt year. He's backing up Adrian Bellard, but he played some center so he's got some versatility. Will Copa made some really good progress, our freshman are developing, is it fast enough for me, no it never will be, but to their credit they're trying, and they're working extremely hard and they understand what their role is going to be.
I can't forget Kannon Mackey, he's worked hard. He's played some center, guard, physicality he's getting there. That young man has made so many strides in the weight room and his strength, and all that. He's in the thick of it, but his development has to come along. He's doing a nice job.
Is the plan to red shirt the 2015 signees (Williams, Rowland, Lemmons) who will be joining you this summer/fall?
I can't answer that. Kreg Lemmons, Willie Williams, Jacob Rowland, I don't plan on red shirting them. I don't like complacency. Our whole deal is the most physical five and the best five that are gonna help us achieve our goal to win football games and bowl games, and things like that. If one of those three can come in and do it, I welcome it. Is it hard to do, extremely. I've been around some guys, I've played true freshman quite a bit, but there has to be a maturity level, a strength level and understanding of the game. You really don't know that until fall camp. You can do what you can do with the NCAA rules in July, but until you get the pads on and they're consistently going against the Mershad Dillon's and Dallas McClarty's, the 300lb kids that are strong, pad strong, quicker, and how they react to that. I think they're going to react great, but I don't like telling kids you're going to red shirt. I think complacency loses you football games and doesn't get you any better. The other thing is that I want them coming in to compete. I don't like everybody feeling comfortable, that's not my deal.
What do you want your identity to be as an offensive line?
Physical! Physical and technically sound.
Are there any areas coming out of the spring where you still feel improvement is needed?
You can always develop the knowledge of the football game. I told them to try and get a hold of as much NFL tape as they can. Study an offensive lineman, have Adrian (Bellard) study Jason Peters of the Philadelphia Eagles. The NFL grasps their attention and it also helps their knowledge of the game to see what other techniques they're doing and have them get a great understanding of our offense. We need to dive in and be more mentally sound. We were good, but it's not perfect. I want perfect, I don't want, hey it was good 99% of the time, I want great all the time. We need to get better in that aspect, knowledge of the game, we got more physical, but we need to be more of a punishing offensive line. They're striving to do that, they want that and they hold themselves accountable to that. My expectations are to never fall back, we're always rising.
Coaches Corner: O-Line
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