Davis: OL largely set for fall

<I>IT</I> talked briefly with offensive coordinator <B>Greg Davis</B> after the Spring Game about the OL -- the spring's biggest offensive question mark -- and the other areas of focus for the offensive staff during spring.

IT: The offensive line is the only spot that you lost any starters. Can you talk about the progress made during spring in identifying the replacements for Mike Williams, Antwan Kirk-Hughes and Matt Anderson.

Davis: The two biggest concerns (on the offensive line) we had going into spring were center and right tackle but the biggest concern was right tackle. We felt that Jason Glynn at center would come in and do just what he did. He's an extremely bright kid, he's very athletic and we thought he would step in there and play extremely well which he did, but it was still a concern because Matt Anderson had started every ballgame for three years but Jason Glynn came in and did a good job. The biggest concern was right tackle because that was not a spot that we had put anybody in there a great deal (last season) and coming out of spring, I feel like Jonathan Scott is going to be a solid right tackle and is going to be a really good player for us. We've still got some things to do in August as to whether or not we leave Lionel Garr at guard or move him back to tackle. How far did Alfio Randall come? He had a good spring. Will Winston . . . So there's a group of those guys there that it'll be August before we know totally how it shakes out, but when we come back in August Jonathan Scott will definitely be the starting right tackle and we'll go for there.

IT: You've often talked in the past about your desire to have at least a three-man rotation at both guard and tackle. Did spring practice provide you with that depth?

Davis: Right now, if we had to play, our two guards would probably be Tillman (Holloway) and Dock (Derrick Dockery), and the swing guy would probably be Beau Baker. Beau played the first half of spring and kind of retwisted his knee and we kept him out the second half, but he's a fifth-year senior that's been around and he would be in the mix for that third, rotating guard. At the tackle spot, it's not as secure as far as the third guy. The third guy's got to come from Will Winston, Lionel Garr or Alfio Randall. The wildcard in the mix is Derrick Dockery. If we feel like through August that we're real secure at guard, we could always kick Derrick Dockery out (to tackle) because he's played out there. Since we've been here, we've always been able to find three guards and three tackles and again that will be the goal. We'd rather Derrick stay at guard but we know in the back of our minds that he can go out there (to tackle).

IT: Aside from the question marks on the offensive line, what were the other things coming into spring that you wanted to find out and what did you find out through the 15 practices?

Davis: There's two things you want to do in spring. Evaluate personnel and tweak the things that you do schematically. One of the things that we worked on real hard this spring was a pass off the zone play. We worked real hard at the slash play to Cedric (Benson) and the zone pass. We were pleased with that. We wanted to play with the option, a option that almost falls into a gadget kind of play. Not that we're going to run the option and try to block every blocker that somebody gives us but there are certain times, especially in long yardage and because we are such a drop-back team, that it presents itself so we wanted to play with that which we did this spring and I was pleased with the way that looked. And then we wanted to continue to play with our other gadgets -- the fake reverse, the misdirections and things -- so those were the schematic things we wanted to do this spring. The fourth thing was we wanted to enlarge and expand our three-step passing game -- our quick balls -- and I'm pleased with the way that's turned out.

[Editor's note: After talking to Davis, IT followed up on the OC's comments about the changes in the offense with QB Chris Simms.]

IT: Can you talk about how the coaches tweaked the offense this spring?

Simms: I think as an offense we became a lot more versatile this spring. We've got a lot of different stuff in where we have quick throws, play action passes that take longer to develop -- we've just got a lot of stuff in right now for all types of defenses and that's what we're gonna need because one week we're playing Oklahoma State which blitzes eight guys every play and the next week we're playing Oklahoma which pretty much just plays off and makes you make the play, so we've got to have a lot of different things to be prepared for the upcoming season. . . . (The tweaked offense) changes things up on defenses. They can't get used to what we're doing. They can't get in the flow. We're always keeping them on their toes. We're being the aggressors and going after them and making them play off of us instead of us playing off of them.


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