Nick uses his old contacts list to talk with former BC O-line coach Mike Maser who coached the boys protecting some old Heisman winner.
"...We had a bunch of guys that didn't have the greatest talent, but they had the desire and the will."
The same can be said of the Patriots' offensive line, which has been patched together all season.
Only rookie Logan Mankins and Stephen Neal have played every game at the same position (left and right guard, respectively). There have been three left tackles, two right tackles, and eight linemen who have started games.
Despite losing left tackle Matt Light and center Dan Koppen, both Pro Bowl-caliber players, the line has managed to survive and at times excel. The proof is in the stats: Tom Brady has been sacked only 23 times and is on pace to throw for more than 4,000 yards for the league's No. 1 pass offense. He has been hit a lot (for evidence, see the brace on his right knee), and that will be a concern as the competition gets better.
''It's a tribute to the Patriots offensive line that they have survived and kept Brady upright," Maser said. ''There are obviously a bunch of guys over there with a lot of pride in the way they play the game. There's obviously a lot of desire to keep Tom Brady healthy. That's probably the biggest motivation. Nobody wants to let Brady down. Keep him healthy and look what he does."
''Football is football so coaching offensive linemen doesn't vary that much from team to team and coach to coach," said Maser. ''But Dante and I are different in that I really get after guys verbally. I know Dante can do that as well, but I've always admired the way he can calmly teach football players in a way they can understand. The fact he can shuffle the deck with different players in and out and still be a cohesive unit is really impressive. We've had the same five guys on our line all season, but last year we had a lot of injuries and we had to use different people and it was very difficult for our football team."
Maser, who has been coaching for 37 years, credits Scarnecchia with keeping the likes of Russ Hochstein, Brandon Gorin, Tom Ashworth, Nick Kaczur, and Billy Yates sharp even during stretches when they weren't playing
''[Carolina coach] John Fox always says it and it's true, defense vs. offense just isn't fair," said Maser. ''You have these great athletes on the defensive lines now that are fast and strong, and as an offensive lineman you're just trying to buy as much time as you can for your quarterback to get rid of the ball. It used to be said that a QB has four seconds to drop back and get rid of the football, but now a guy like Brady and our guy Jake [Delhomme] gets it out in 2.7-3.5 seconds.
''If you have a guy who holds the ball longer than that, it's awfully tough to keep these athletic pass rushers away from your quarterback."
12-21-2005 06:23 PM
good article talk about a patch work O-Line :rolleyes: