Aug. 18, 2011
Offensive Line Coach Keven Lightner
On returning all five starters:
"I feel good about our experience. We've got some guys who have played a lot of games. Joe, Eric and Vince and AJ, they've been playing for two or three years. We're stronger than we've ever been. We got the best looking crew we've ever had. We got some physical guys up there. All the way across the board, I feel like I have 13 guys that could play right now. I don't think I've ever had that at one time. They know we can be a special unit, a special team. And they're working hard to make that happen."
On freshmen playing this year:
"We have a good group of young guys too, but I'm hoping we can just sit on them for this year. We always seem to have to bring in one of those true freshmen at some point, but we shouldn't have to do that this year.
"We've been able to stay pretty healthy. There's a guy here and there that we're backing off on a little bit, but we're holding up well."
"With the experience that we got, I think we can be something special on offense. We've to be the leaders of that.
We have some young quarterbacks back there. All the ingredients are there. Our guys know that and want to take full advantage of that because it doesn't happen all the time. We want to make sure we do everything we can to be the most physical group in the MAC. And why can't we be one of the best in the country? Nobody is going to outwork us. I want that to happen."
On the Kent State loss and end of last season:
"The whole team kind of came out flat. We didn't establish the run game and had to throw every down. It became a tee-off situation there. It's been kind of pushing us in the off-season. We don't want that to happen again. We're going to be balanced. Any time you run the ball, that's a big thing. They can't just tee off on you.
On the center position:
"Skyler Allen is the returning starter and JD Bales, had a great spring. Lucas Powell is great young center and will step in for Matt Pritchard who is out for the year. Brad Fain is a walk-on."
On the guard spot:
"Eric Herman and Jon Lechner are the incumbents. Vince Carlotta and Sam Johnson are right behind them and Mark Smith, who played as a frosh last year, was light but is now in the mid-280's. All five could start, all five can play."
On the tackles:
"Joe Flading and A.J. Strum are all-conference performers and they're both back for us. John Prior is the other left tackle and Ryan McGrath is opposite him. John and Ryan are as, or even more, talented than the two starters. They're really good players. Bryce Dietz is better than a lot of guys I started in the past, especially when I first got here. All four of those guys (Flading, Strum, Prior, McGrath) will play."
On freshman Mike McQueen:
"Personality wise, I love him. He's a smart kid too. He had some BCS offers and was a great basketball player in high school. He has great feet and hasn't spent a lot of time in the weight room yet even though he's a big huge guy. He's the classic redshirt guy that a year from now should be able to jump right in there and challenge for some playing time."