August 24, 2013

Insider report: OL buckles down, Williams, C. Green step up

If Florida State is going to throw a redshirt freshman under center, the Seminoles can take solace in the strength of the linemen protecting him.

In a strange reversal of roles, Florida State's offensive line may be the most veteran unit on the roster, just one year after entering the season as a shaky group.

FSU's offensive line in 2012 could boast a total of 16 starts. Only one player, Bryan Stork, had started multiple games. Both of the tackles were new to the starting lineup. Now, that same unit claims 60 starts worth of experience between its members. Expectations are high - the line is expected to both pave the way for a punishing rushing game and protect newly named starter at quarterback redshirt freshman Jameis Winston.

"It's not where it can be but we're getting there," right tackle Bobby Hart said. "There's room to improve like anything. That's probably the main thing that (Offensive Line coach Rick Trickett) talks about: five guys working together."

Chief among their plans is keeping as much pressure as possible away from Winston.

"As a whole we take great pride in making sure whoever back there is comfortable," left tackle Cameron Erving said. "Even last year with E.J. (Manuel) we wanted to make sure he was comfortable."

Erving said that the offensive line is comfortable with Winston's leadership and abilities, but said he's aware that protection is doubly important with a brand-new quarterback.

"It's definitely important because a young quarterback, you're going to have those ups and downs," Erving said. "You're going to have those growing pains of course."

Hart said he's aware of the sudden reversal of roles from a cobbled-together unit to a veteran group, and said he's excited about the expectations.

"(We can be) as good as we let ourselves be," Hart said. "Coach Trickett does a great job with everything and we have a lot of talent up front and it's really up to us."

Christian Green ready for more targets
In the space of a few months, Florida State's depth chart at wide receiver went from crowded and veteran to thin and young.

One of the few veterans in the unit is Christian Green, and he says he's prepared for the chances that might come his way.

"That's definitely a good feeling knowing that you know," Green said. "Instead of not really knowing how the coaches are going to decide. But it's definitely exciting, I just have to be focused and ready when the time comes."

Green has been up and down at Florida State. He finished in the top five in every receiving category as a redshirt freshman in 2011, but then caught just three passes in 2012 as he was surpassed by a number of other players.

That season was difficult for Green, but he said he didn't let the decreased playing time get to him.

"It's not easy, but I feel like I had the right people in my corner supporting me and encouraging me," Green said.

Now, he's one of precious few veteran options for Florida State at wideout. He said his approach hasn't changed year to year, whether playing or not.

"You always want to try to prepare like you're going to play," "You never know when your number is going to be called. Just me every week coming in."

Green said he'd improved his technique and his route-running.
"I feel like I've always been a pretty good athlete," Green said. "But just focus on the details. Because every school is going to have talent at receivers. So my separating myself is the little things."

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