Interview: OL Coach Mark Weber

Offensive line coach Mark Weber talks about the performance of his offensive line this season, the pass protection and run blocking, what they need to improve on and how they prepare for different opponents...

How do you think the offensive line performed in the San Diego State game – and how have they performed on the season so far?

"I think they did a pretty good job against San Diego State. They played hard. They did some real good things. The pass protection thing that everyone asks about – it's a whole team effort. To protect the passer. When we get a few sacks, that happens. But I thought one-on-one pass protection and run blocking, and our combination blocking, I thought they played pretty well.

"On the season, I think they've been very consistent. They've played extremely hard. They've held their assignments. We have to just get everything together in sync as an offensive unit. We put a lot of pressure on the offensive linemen. And there's so much involved for them to be good, and they have to be good for the quarterbacks, running backs and all that. We all have to work together. As an offensive unit we have to keep improving and get in sync a bit more with things we're doing in the running game and passing game. If those guys just keep improving we'll be pretty good."

Is pass protection a concern with this offensive line?

No, I don't think it's a concern. I think they're doing a very good job as far as pass protecting, as far their assignment goes."

How about on run blocking?

"I think they're doing a pretty good job in the running game, too. As I said, there are a lot of things they have to continue to improve on, fundamentally and scheme-wise. There's so much involved in all the things that the line does. It's all tied together. Sometimes it might be a breakdown in the offensive line. Sometimes it might be a break down in another position. Sometimes it might be a bad read. There are a lot of things that we just have to get together and keep honing in on and keep improving. The thing that happens is, you get different looks and different fronts that may dictate different runs or different abilities to run against certain things."

In the first half on one of the sacks, it looked like San Diego State was pretty successful on a stunt, and then it seemed like the offensive line picked it up in the second half.

"Are you sure it was an offensive line breakdown? First, though, each play is different. There's different protection and it's a totally different play. There are many variables and really no two plays are the same given how many things can be different. The thing that happens is both teams are out there playing hard. They're going to get you sometimes on some things. They'll twist and do some things like that. We work on those things all the time. Most of the time they picked it up pretty good. The other team has scholarship athletes and they're doing some things and sometimes they'll get you. Our guys have to continue to improve and they're not perfect every time."

Do you make many adjustments in your schemes or technique from the first half to the second half?

"We just talk about it, and then they see it better. It might be an adjustment in technique, or an adjustment in scheme. It might an adjustment in the play. You run a different play. Take advantage of something they do."

How did you think Ed Blanton played?

"I was tickled with Ed. He did a good job. He played hard and he was solid assignment-wise. There were some first-game errors, but I was very pleased with his performance Saturday."

Going into Pac-10 play, do you feel you have a different approach to preparing for Pac-10 teams than non-conference teams?

"The approach that we take with the offensive line is – I want the best performance that they can give at practice every day. The best that they can do. I don't care who you're going against. I don't care what the situation is. I want the best performance. When we got out in the game I want the same performance. I want Ed Blanton to give me his best, whatever is his best. I want Mike Saffer, Bryce Bohlander, to give the best performance they can. It doesn't matter who you're going against. Doesn't matter how good they are. Yes, I want to educate them about who they're playing against, how good they are, know what they're going to do, read stances, read alignments and read fronts. We're going to educate them. We'll have them be knowledgeable. And then it comes down to you do your best job, and you do your best job, and as a unit do your best job and we'll have a lot of success."

Do you prepare quite a bit for specific personnel that you're facing?

"Different opponents will present different things. Everyone we go against is good. They're all good. I don't care who they're playing for. But you adjust things according to tips and keys that they might give you. I want our guys to know what they do. We want to try to gain an edge. The way you gain an edge is by knowing your opponent. Eveything about him. Knowing his stance. Knowing his first two steps. Knowing how he plays this block or that block. But then the rest of it is. you do your job and do it to the best of your ability, you perform the technique that you practiced out here to the best of your ability, then it doesn't really matter who they're playing against."

How much time do you spend scouting opponents and watching scouting tape?

"A lot of time. We're here every night until about 10:00. That's what we're doing. We're watching their scheme, and watching their defensive line. We take the film from a lot of different games, and we look at them in a lot of different ways. Hopefully it will give us that edge I was talking about."

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