Roberts brings veteran presence, bolsters FSU line

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Graduate transfer offensive lineman Ryan Roberts has not only brought his talent, but wisdom and maturity to a young, developing Florida State offensive line.

Roberts met with the media before Wednesday’s practice to talk about his transition to FSU and Kendal Briles’ new offense.

“It’s been amazing,” Roberts said. “Florida State ended up being an amazing option, an amazing opportunity and a blessing (for me).”

The senior offensive tackle transferred to FSU in May after starting for two years at the University of Northern Illinois. Roberts and the Huskies played well against the ’Noles when they visited Doak Campbell Stadium last season, hanging around but eventually falling behind and losing, 37-19.

Once an opponent and now a teammate, Roberts feels at home with the Seminoles.

“The guys welcomed me with open arms,” Roberts said with a smile. “They wanted it, and it was really easy to jump right in.”

Roberts hopes to use his prior experiences to bring order and stability to an offensive line that has struggled mightily for multiple seasons. FSU’s line gave up 36 sacks in 2018 – but Roberts says the Seminoles have forgotten and left in the past.

“Last season is done, nobody is worried about that anymore,” Roberts assured. “All I’ve seen since I’ve been here are guys that want to work and want to get better every single day.”

FSU’s offensive line in the early portions of Wednesday’s practice. (Video by Nick Carlisle)

Of course the biggest challenge for most of the team has been adapting to Briles’ high-speed offense – an offense that should make last season’s pace look like that of a snail. Yet, Roberts welcomes that with elevated enthusiasm as FSU prepares for the opener against Boise State on Aug. 31.

“It’s an amazing challenge,” Roberts said. “You want to be challenged and you want to test your limits. Every day it’s a challenge to fight through fatigue and fight through those mental barriers to try and get to the next level.”

Roberts jogged onto the field for warmups before going through his scheduled drills with the rest of the offensive line. Roberts is confident that the group knows what they need to do to turn the corner.

“We need to continue working hard,” Roberts explained. “It will come. I’m not worried about that at all. Keep working hard, doing it day by day. We can’t be worrying about what’s going to happen four weeks down the road or five weeks down the road. You got to only worry about what’s happening today at this practice.”

This focused mentality has not only caught the eye of those spectating practice but has earned the praise of coach Willie Taggart.

“You can tell that Ryan has a lot of experience,” Taggart said. “He brings a lot of maturity to our offensive line room. He’s been really good at bringing guys along and bringing guys together. It’s been really impressive for a guy that just came in here – to gain the respect of his teammates the way that he has.”

It is only day six of preseason camp but perhaps there are already some early glimpses of a fruitful offensive line for the Seminoles with Roberts at the root of it all.

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