Atkins building cohesion with OL group, values cross training

Florida State offensive line coach Alex Atkins discussed the Notre Dame game with the Tallahassee Seminole Club on Tuesday.

In addition to sharing his thoughts about the game itself, Atkins explains the offensive line is a unit within the team unit and the importance of developing continuity within that unit of five offensive linemen.

“Going back on the game Sunday, we started a new rotation of guys,” Atkins said. “Offensive line preparation is a little unique because the first thing that happens is continuity within the room. There is always an opponent but a lot of things that happen are usually self-inflicted so we have to build continuity off the field. We have to spend a lot of time with each other and that was tough when I first got here but we’ve been able to get those guys around each other a lot more to build that trust. I am starting to see that trust come to the fruit of what we have been planting the seeds of (as the Bible says). The good news is we have a group of guys who will be together for a while and I’m really excited about that progress in that group.”

Atkins said his approach to building depth is different than many. He likes to cross train guys at all five positions rather than a first, second and third team. Atkins likes to rotate players with the first team so they are comfortable when the time comes, as it did on Sunday, when two offensive linemen went down and second-team players had to step in.

Atkins entertains a number of questions about the game, including what the coaches will do to avoid a letdown on a short week of practice for Jacksonville State.

“It goes back to reminding who they chose to play for,” Atkins said. “This is Florida State. It is a little different. Everyone understands the process to get better. There is never a moral victory. You are here now. The things we saw we have to get corrected but we also praised the good with them because we did see some change we hadn’t seen. If you don’t reward that good, they wouldn’t know they did good. We didn’t play our best so we have to go find our best game. Just keep reminding them of that.”

When asked about the crowd, Atkins described it as “awesome and a great advantage.”

“When we do what we are supposed to do, there is no better place,” he said.