Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Offensive Line Better, but Not 'There' Yet

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Offensive Line Better, but Not 'There' Yet

Article excerpt

Toward the beginning of the season, offensive line coach Jim Hueber joked that the offensive line room was getting a little crowded with so many bodies in there.

Now, that's not exactly the case.

Starting center Artie Rowell and redshirt freshman Aaron Reese have serious injuries that have kept them off the field, but other players have had to slide into niches to fill any voids.

Overall, Hueber said he is pretty pleased with how his unit has progressed two-thirds of the way through the season.

"We've made great strides, and now it's pushing them to be the best they can," Hueber said.

"If you're asking me, with a fourth of the season to go, if I'm happy with them? I'm never as happy as I'd like to be, but, yeah, they're really trying to be what we want them to be."

The most significant change the line had to make midway through the year was making up for the absence of Rowell, who tore his ACL in the second game of the season against Boston College.

The coaches bounced back between redshirt freshman Alex Officer and redshirt sophomore Gabe Roberts for a couple of weeks, but, in the past three games, have settled on Officer as the full-time center. He'll make his sixth start Saturday against Duke.

"There's things he's still got to learn," Hueber said of Officer.

"We took so much time with Artie and we're taking so much time with him, you're hoping it'll pay off in the same way."

The other shifting has taken place on the left side, where redshirt freshman Jaryd Jones-Smith is still getting occasional snaps at tackle, with regular starter Adam Bisnowaty sliding over to guard, though the rotation isn't as regular as it was earlier. …

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