TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Apr. 13) – Myles Rouse has made quite a transformation from the middle of last season to spring practice. Early last year, he was not getting much playing time. As the season passed the halfway point, Rouse began to get valuable reps in games. His improvement was evident as his playing time increased over the course of last season.
Coming into this spring, the redshirt junior from Atlanta, Ga., will be expected to be one of the anchors of the offensive line. “Myles is an upcoming senior and we’ll be looking to him for a lot of leadership. He’s been having a great Spring at right tackle for us. We’re doing some things differently and he’s doing very well with that and leading the way for us,” offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Alex Jackson said.
It has been quite the process to get to this point, but Rouse is up for the challenge. “From today to the first game we’ve got to work on chemistry. An offensive line is five men, but one mind. We’ve all got to be able to play together and think as one,” Rouse said.
In the new offense, success is based on tempo. It forces offensive linemen to be in superb shape, as in order to take advantage of the defense, plays must be run consecutively and in short order to maintain the momentum on the offensive side of the ball. In addition, with a team expected to run a Gulf Coast-style offense, hustling downfield after a first down or long pass is a trademark of that type of play.
“For us offensively it all starts up fornt,” Head Coach Willie Simmons said. “If we can have a solid offensive line everything else takes care of itself. Being able to run the ball effectively, being able to protect the quarterback and being able to get those playmakers the ball in space is vital to our offensive success. Coach Jackson has the charge of getting those five ready to play and Myles is one of the guys who have stepped up to that challenge.”
The injury bug has bitten the offensive line this Spring. Starters Loubens Polinice and Obinna Nwanko have spent their time on the sidelines during this camp. Both are expected to be fully ready to play in the Fall. In the meantime, Jackson is installing the offensive line scheme and going with the guys in camp.
Rouse realizes his role is elevated, being one of the few returning offensive linemen. “I’ve always been a backup until this year and I always stayed humble and grinded to get to where I am today. It’s the fruits of my labor paying off and I’m glad to see the spot I’m in. I want to take advantage of this opportunity and lead the younger guys behind me. We are going to try to turn this thing around this year,” Rouse concluded.
“I need him to be a leader and he knows that. I look to have a great offensive line with him being a vital part of that. He’s picking up the schemes very well and bringing the younger players along. I feel the sense of urgency is there for him, with this being his last year. He wants to go out the right way…as a champion. The only way you can do that is to work hard on and off the field. It’s also done in the weight room and he is a great example of the type of leader we need right now,” Jackson concluded.