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2018 FSU spring preview: Seminoles offensive line boasts experience, if not depth

Next up will be a key question for Florida State on the OL.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

They’re called the big uglies for a reason. And just as things aren’t always pleasant in the trenches, nor are they typically serene in analyzing who will contribute up front. That said, FSU has a wealth of talent up front— after that, things get a little dicey.

Here’s the deal. The Seminoles’ most likely starters on the offensive line are redshirt-sophomore Josh Ball (6’8, 335), redshirt-junior Cole Minshew (6’5, 332), redshirt-senior Alec Eberle (6’4, 295), junior Landon Dickerson (6’6, 325), and redshirt-senior Derrick Kelly (6’5, 317). Those five have combined for a very respectable 84 career starts, a stat compiled by our own Dak Moyer.

Eberle is the elder statesman, whose 32 career starts are more than twice any other ’Nole offensive lineman. He’s shown a ton of character while playing through painful injuries as a Seminole. Is Eberle a show-stopper? Nah. But in a Willie Taggart philosophy that prizes accountability, he’s a poster child. Eberle is a lot like vanilla ice cream. He’s dependable, reliable, and always there. And again, that’s not a bad thing. Every line, and offense, for that matter, needs a rock.

Dickerson is the best player on this line, who caught a bad break when he missed a good portion of the 2017 season with an ankle injury. This guy is straight fun. He’s an ass kicker who, in my time covering him, has reminded me a little bit of Rob Gronkowski. Obviouly the two play different positions at different levels, but Dickerson is a jocular competitor whose presence in critical to the success of this unit moving forward.

At the other guard spot is Minshew, whose high school tape really impresses. Minshew, at his best, is a pissed-off warthog who can straight bury defenders. At his worse, he’s too top heavy and plays above his pads. I’m quite curious to see how he performs under OL coach Greg Frey, who figures to stress technique more than Rick Trickett.

Ball has all the tools to excel on the left edge. He’s a heady student of the game whose impressive physicality is just what you want from the most important player on the OL. Of course, that’s all rooted in potential. Ball still needs to prove his worth at LT.

And then there’s Kelly. He’s not a sexy selection on this line, but he’s beyond capable, and may just be the sleeper up front for the Seminoles. He has 17 career starts, second only to Eberle. If Kelly can stay healthy, he’s a great option not only on the edge, but across the line, as he’s a versatile player.

Then comes the untested rest.

Redshirt-senior Corey Martinez (6’4, 303), the oft-injured redshirt-junior Abdul Bello (6’6, 304), redshirt-sophomores Baveon Johnson (6’3, 310), Mike Arnold (6’5, 346), Jauan Williams (6’7, 293), redshirt-freshman Brady Scott (6’6, 300), and freshman Christian Armstrong (6’4, 333) compromise the rest of the depth up front his spring. Between them, they have three total starts— all from Martinez.

The theme here is simple: FSU is quite serviceable up front, if it can stay healthy. But when does the ever happen? Okay, 2013. But years, and injury luck like that, don’t occur often. The Seminoles need to develop depth during this spring, lest they fall back when the worst happens.