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Inexperience on Florida Atlantic's retooled offensive line

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Inexperience on Florida Atlantic's retooled offensive line

Inexperience abounds on Florida Atlantic's retooled offensive line

By Marcus Nelson Special to the Palm Beach Post
Posted: 6:09 p.m. Saturday, April 10, 2010

BOCA RATON Florida Atlantic's offensive line received a boost this week when it found it would have the services of at least one player with starting experience.

Unfortunately for the Owls, that player started two games last year on defense.

Redshirt sophomore Andy Czruprynski, who began the spring as a starting defensive tackle, was moved to the offensive line Friday as the Owls struggle to replace all five starters from last season's offensive front.

None of those players have started a game on the offensive line and only a few have even seen game action.

"I've got to take the kids and get then better individually and then I take the best five and turn them into an offensive line," offensive line coach Dale Williams said. "I know that the talent is here. We just have to develop it."

All five lineman from last year's team graduated and the Owls essentially are starting from scratch up front.

"It's going to be a new experience for all of us," said redshirt sophomore Jordan Sessa, who became the starting center when Ryan Wischenfski decided to leave the team after receiving his degree, despite another year of eligibility remaining. "We have talent, just not much experience."

The line's play will be key for quarterback Jeff Van Camp, who started the last five games of the 2009 season after Rusty Smith injured his non-throwing shoulder. The line also will be counted on to open holes for running back Alfred Morris, who led the Sun Belt Conference in rushing last season with 1,392 rushing yards behind a veteran line.

During Saturday's scrimmage, won by the defense 26-24, the offensive line progressed in the latter stages of the drills.

"We started out slow but we definitely got better later in the scrimmage," said right tackle Chris Newbold, who also was a defensive lineman last season. "We have been coming out every day working harder than we have ever worked before. I think you can already see the results."

However, coach Howard Schnellenberger knows the line has quite a ways to go before it will be prepared for the season opener Sept. 4 at UAB.

"We have a lot work to do," Schnellenberger said. "I thought there were a couple of spurts when they did better, but it wasn't a trend."

Newbold said the line will be ready for September's opener for one obvious reason, "We have no choice."

* Sun Belt Champions & New Orleans Bowl Champions-2007
* Motor City Bowl/Little Ceasers Pizza Bowl Champions-2008
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