The 2012 edition of the offensive line is the tallest since Butch Jones arrived. Will they be the best? Sean Hooey and Eric Lefeld joined BearcatReport.com in a post-practice discussion Wednesday night.
To me it always feels like the offensive line has to trust each other more than any other position. Do you feel that is the case?
Sean Hooey: Absolutely. There are plays where if you are blocking one side, we have to trust the guy to our left, we are not even allowed to look to our left. And we have to trust that the guy next to us is making his block and the guy to the other side of us has to trust us. We can't run our offense if we don't trust each other.
Eric Lefeld: As an offense, one wrong and we are all wrong. If we are not together and tuned in to the play and the strategy of the play we will fall in and look terrible.
You came from D-line right?
Eric Lefeld: Yes, sir.
Did you play offensive line in high school?
Eric Lefeld: Yeah.
Eric Lefeld: I bounced between right offensive tackle and left offensive tackle.
I remember the time specifically when Coach Jones switched you over. Was that nerve-racking for you?
Eric Lefeld: Yeah. It was the first camp, first few days into the camp. Older guys like Hooey, (Alex) Hoffman, and (Austen) Buj took me under their wing and showed me the ropes. They showed me how to do things. It has been history since.
Did you enjoy last year? Stepping in and filling in very well.
Eric Lefeld: That is what we practice as an O-line. Nobody knew what was going to happen. Nobody knew Hooey was going to get hurt. For the most part our whole O-line suffered some kind of injury throughout the season. To get to play with them guys was a huge experience.
Is there any difference between blocking for Zach (Collaros) and Munchie (Legaux)?
Sean Hooey: Yeah. It is a little bit different. Obviously Munchie is a little bit taller than Zach. Zach is more of a scrambler. He stayed in the pocket every now and then, but a lot of times he fled the pocket out the flats. It wasn't too much trouble. We blocked for him. I mean, we got our Big East Championship.
Munchie is able to hold in the pocket longer and I think it is because he can see over us better.
So you feel like Munchie hangs in the pocket well? And doesn't flush out too soon.
Sean Hooey:If I am setting my way I don't know what is going on with the left side. If Munchie is getting pressure that way we don't know. We are trusting him to make the correct decision.
Are you pleased with the training camp of center Dan Sprague?
Sean Hooey: He has come a long way. I really like what he has done here at camp. His snaps are incredibly consistent and that's a pat on the back for what he has been able to do.
Do you feel like a whole group? Or adjusting to new faces?
There is no doubt we are kind of young. We have three new guys. Kind of four because me and him (Hooey) switched off throughout the season. We are coming together every day and you learn from your mistakes. At this point, 'Are we ready to go yet?' I am sure we would all say we are, but there is a lot more we have got to do. There is a lot more we have to accomplish. We have to become more of a powerful unit.
How do you make sure you are overburdening your body? These are hot days. They are tiring days. How do you make sure you are not taking too much of a pounding? And how do you recover quickly?
Sean Hooey: I think part of it has to do with our conditioning and our preparation in the offseason. No one conditions like we do. It is a grind, but we get through. We put our heads down and we go.
So when we come out here to Higher Ground we adjust to it pretty quick. We have the best training staff in America in Bob Mangine, who gets us the cold tubs and the foam rollers. Uncle Bob…
How many calories do you guys eat a day out here?
Sean Hooey: (Looks to Lefeld) Do you count?
Just don't stop eating?
Sean Hooey: Just don't stop eating until you are done.
Because you are going to burn it all, right?
Sean Hooey: Oh yeah.
How does Travis Kelce block for you guys?
Sean Hooey: He is a dual threat. He is one of the most athletic people on the field, in my eyes. Before he wasn't the best blocker, but he has come a long way. That is hats off to him and Coach (Dave) Johnson. Also, his football intelligence has come a long ways. He is making a lot of calls that he never used to. It is a lot better experience this camp.
Eric Lefeld: I agree. He communicates really well with us. He has an ability to get out and catch the ball too.