Aug. 3, 2013
Florida State needs its young quarterback (starter: TBD) to perform well this year but the 'Noles offense is only truly going to go as far as its offensive line well let it go.
Luckily for the Seminoles, they have the chance to not just be good up front but this particular line can be great. With four dominant starters returning from a year ago and a junior right tackle in>Bobby Hart that has starting experience from the 2011 season, FSU's strength on offense is no doubt its talent up front.
Bryan Stork leads the charge as the man in the middle of the line. The redshirt senior has experience playing tackle and guard during his career but he became a true leader and impact player as a center last season. Stork enters his final year at FSU considered to be one of the top centers in the country and his tenacity and mean streak serves as an example of not just his position coach in the fiery Rick Trickett but it also sets the tone for the rest of his teammates.
On Stork's left side,>Cameron Erving is already generating early-round NFL Draft buzz despite playing just one season at left tackle in his career. Following an off-season move from defensive tackle to the offensive side of the ball, Erving entered fall camp a year ago as a starter and never looked back. Fourteen consecutive starts later and Erving will enter this year as one of the best at his position in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
In between Erving and Stork is Matias, who begins his junior on a 15-game consecutive start streak at left guard. Big and athletic, Matias was instrumental in helping pave the way for an FSU school-record 40 rushing touchdowns last year. His counterpart, Tre' Jacskon, has held down the right guard spot for the same 15-game span that started with a bowl victory over Notre Dame in Orlando, Fla. Like Matias, Jackson's size and strength make him an outstanding blocker and one of the very best in the conference.
Hart is the only non-returning starter but he did step in as a 17-year-old true freshman two seasons ago and started nine games as an injury replacement. Despite playing sparingly last season behind junior-college transfers>Menelik Watson and>Daniel Glauser, Hart used a strong spring practice period to vault back to the top of the depth chart where he is listed as the starter entering camp.
Hart will be tested by competition this August but should he hold on to the top job, FSU would begin its ACC Championship defense with an established, veteran offensive line.
Behind Hart, Trey Pettis and former walk-on>Jonathan Wallace also push for playing time. The Seminoles also boast experienced backups with starting experience at left guard >Jacob Fahrenkrug) and center >Austin Barron) that are part of the competition across the line. Redshirt sophomore guard>Ruben Carter is also a player to watch; as is junior>Sterling Lovelady.
As for newcomers,>Wilson Bell,>Ira Denson and>Ryan Hoefeld have been added to the roster to improve depth and add concentration. Despite the presence of established players, each returning 'Noles offensive lineman will be expected to compete each and every day at practice to hold on to their respective jobs.
Watson and Erving showed a year ago that no job on the line is precluded from having a new player step in and claim it as his own.