August 10, 2006

Practice Insider: OL turns up the heat

Offensive line turns up the heat

After the offensive line got pushed around at the end of last season, one of the goals of the offseason was to change the mindset of the unit to make them tougher. If Thursday's practice was any indication, that mission is well on its way to being accomplished.

From the moment the offensive line went up against the defense, they made it clear they weren't going to be pushed around. There were a couple scuffles where an offensive linemen didn't back down to the defender, and a few plays where the player on offense assumed the role of the intimidator instead of the defender.

Frady, a junior center, had one of most physical plays of the morning when he pancaked sophomore defensive lineman Kendrick Stewart on his back during a rush drill. Fellow offensive linemen Mario Henderson and Jacky Claude were also involved in plays where they overpowered the defender they were matched up against. That kind of intensity and fire had offensive line coach Mark McHale smiling after practice.

Even though the offensive line as a whole showed much more passion and heart, they still had their share of lapses. On a handful of plays, a lineman missed a block resulting in a defender blowing by the protection. That's something McHale hopes to iron out over the next three weeks of practice.

Although the line still has a lot of kinks to work out between now and the season opener at Miami on September 4th, just about everybody that has seen them in action has noticed a definite improvement over last year's unit.

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