Brattan: Dill not 'totally alien' to playing left tackle
Tom Brattan, Maryland’s 10th-year offensive line coach, compared his task this week to a wine connoisseur who fetches an aerator to expose wine to air quicker, essentially coaxing more flavors out of the liquid. Instead of waiting for the wine to breathe in a decanter, the aerator accomplishes the job quicker, maximizing the taste faster.
“You ever see those things with wine that you pour through to aerate real quick?” Brattan asked a few reporters Tuesday night. “I am kind of looking for something like that to get them going. It’s a learning curve. Your response has to be second nature. You can practice and practice but until you experience that, it is a different deal.”
Even at full health, the offensive line was a question mark this season after a disastrous performance last season. Now, Brattan is looking to accelerate the learning process because he has a more inexperienced line than he had just a week ago. The loss of left tackle Justin Gilbert (ACL) --- who was arguably Maryland’s best lineman – means that R.J. Dill moves to left tackle and redshirt freshman Pete DeSouza moves into Dill’s slot as the starting right tackle.
Brattan said Dill played some left tackle last season and has practiced at the position but acknowledged that it is a totally different position because of the footwork involved. That’s why Brattan raves about Stephon Heyer’s ability to play both positions.
“It is not totally alien” to Dill, Brattan said. “It may have appeared some Saturday, as it did for a lot of guys, it appeared alien to me.”
Maryland’s offensive line allowed eight sacks. The running game had just minus-10 rushing yards.
“I don’t think I did a good job preparing them for certain things that they saw,” Brattan said. “We got caught in some situations when we were throwing it a lot, and we didn’t do a good job collectively.”
Backup left tackle Max Garcia, a highly touted true freshman, is expected to play some Saturday.
“I think [this] is a character game for us, particularly up front,” Brattan added.
| September 22, 2010; 11:24 AM ET
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