Friday Q&A: Big Spring for Young Players

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Today’s Q&A with Raleigh Hokie and GMSAHokie is a long one, and a good one.  Pull up a chair, get some popcorn, and be entertained.

1) What are your thoughts on offensive line depth in 2012?

GMSAHokie: I am very encouraged by our depth along the offensive line next year.  I watched these guys very carefully during the Spring and Fall camps last year and came away impressed, for the most part, with what I saw.  It’s hard not to think the line play will take a step back next year, as we are going to be replacing guys with a LOT of experience, but the raw talent is there to have a really impressive unit.

The key for the guys on the first team will be to stay focused and injury-free during the offseason.  They are going to need as many snaps as they can get in order to get their rhythm and timing down and learn each other’s tendencies in order to play as a unit.  I thought Andrew Miller hit a little bit of a wall towards the end of the season last year, which is not uncommon for a guy his age, so I think he will be much improved with another year in the weight room and another full offseason to work on his technique.  Farris will back him up and I think he’ll be a good one – look out for him to get in the mix at guard if the injury bug hits.  He’s a talented guy.

At the guard position, I think we’ll see David Wang and Brent Benedict win the starting jobs with Matt Arkema and Laurence Gibson as the top backups.  All four of those guys are really talented, and let me tell you something about Benedict:  He is a mean, nasty lineman who plays very hard.  He finishes blocks and I mean, he finishes ’em.  He’s listed as a tackle right now, but I just didn’t see him demonstrate the footwork to pass protect on the edge against elite pass rushers last year.  I think he’ll end up at guard and be a very good one.

I think the interior trio of him, Wang and Miller are going to give people fits next year.  That said; don’t count out Arkema or Gibson making this a tough decision for the coaching staff.  Gibson has all of the physical tools,