Because of its youth, Florida State’s offensive line was a work in progress last season. And with 20 linemen on scholarship this year and several sidelined this spring with various injures expect it to remain that way through preseason camp.
Bob Ferrante wrote about the line in today’s Post, focusing on the unit’s need to improve in short-yardage situations. But one aspect of the story I found interesting was Jimbo Fisher pushing All-American candidate, left tackle Rod Johnson, to be more vocal, more of a leader.
Johnson, a rising junior, was voted to the All-ACC first team and was a Sporting News and USA Today second-team All-American last season. He won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the best blocker in the ACC.
But Johnson is quiet. Not a rah-rah guy. A player who leads by example.
And Fisher wants more.
“He gets on me about being more verbal and getting out of my comfort zone,” Johnson told Ferrante. “Pick guys up when they are down.”
Ryan Izzo, who continues to establish himself at tight end, said he has seen the line “communicate” better this spring. He believes Johnson is being heard more. Johnson clearly is the best player on the line which means his leadership is important for this group players, many of whom are young and full of potential.
“I saw Rod stepping up as a leader,” Izzo said. “I see Alec (Eberle), too. I think communication is one of those things that we really needed to improve on. We had a bunch of young guys out there who didn’t want to talk (last year) and I think this year they’re starting to do that a little bit more.”
And how is Johnson doing it?
“Talking with them after every down,” he said. “Being there for the guys when they are down. I’m not the loudest guy. I try to lead by example but now I’m being told to be more action and verbal. This is what I have to do. I know what it takes.”