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The standard for linemen in spread offenses seems to be a little lighter with more mobility, but the linemen on the Southern Miss roster were more traditional, weighing 300-plus pounds. Why is that? What type of offensive linemen are you looking for?
"When we're recruiting offensive linemen, one of the main things you want to see – and I think everybody's this way – you like to see a guy that can move his feet well, that has athletic ability and can run, is light on his feet. You love for him to have a motor. Then you're looking for a guy that can finish. Maybe somebody that can play with a little bit of a nasty edge to him. So I think most people look for that type of guy.
"The one guy I may shy away from that maybe somebody else wouldn't is that sometimes you get a kid that is really heavy in high school. You're concerned if he's going to be able to handle the workload of what we're going to do offensively. But, my right guard this year was 340 pounds. We've had a left tackle that was 356 pounds. But they were able to play fast and run and get in great shape, so I don't think there's an exact cookie-cutter offensive lineman. It's about how well that person can move and about what kind of work ethic he has."
Something that you do in this offensive scheme is to occasionally leave a defensive lineman unblocked, whether it's an end or a tackle, and then read that lineman. How difficult is it to teach this type of scheme as opposed to the difficulty of execution?
"Most of the time it's defensive ends that we're not blocking. A lot of the things that North Carolina had done with Coach [Sam] Pittman before we got here, a lot of those zone concepts and techniques are going to be the same. More pressure is on the quarterback of now having to read that defensive end for our run game. With our offensive linemen, our tackles will have some different techniques than they're used to having. Those inside guys will be very similar to the things they've been doing in the zone game.
"We'll run some power and we'll run some counter, so a lot of those principles will already be there. When we got to Southern Miss the first time, it was very similar in the fact that they were more two-back, huddle, pro-style. The transition – there was some growing pains in the spring – but by fall camp and by that first game, they really started to be productive.
"For the offensive linemen, the tackles have more concept-wise and technique-wise that's a little different than what they've been used to. Those inside guys will be very similar."
How will things be different for the tackles?
"More of it is going to be in our zone scheme. It's more going to be our backside tackles as opposed to our frontside tackles, if that makes sense, because we're reading somebody on that backside, the technique he's going to use to get to the next level and determine who's most dangerous and things of that nature."