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Florida State's young offensive lineman starting to grow up

Florida State Seminoles' offensive tackles Cameron Irving and Menelik Watson have matured much quicker than expected. How has their play helped the Seminoles offense?

Al Messerschmidt

Florida St. Seminoles tackles Cameron Erving and Menelik Watson have developed into one of the best tackle duos in the nation. That is impressive considering that last season Erving was a back-up defensive lineman and Watson was playing his first year of organized football at a California community college.

When Erving was first moved over, he struggled because he got down on himself after every mistake. But as the season has gone on, he has become more comfortable with the position and has learned to shake off errors better:

"It's just so different from being on defense," Erving said. "It's a lot more reps, a lot more snaps. When you're on defense you have other people that can make the play if you miss it. But if I miss it the play is shot.

"I just had to learn to get past the mistakes and keep going forward with the game."

Watson on the other hand has been terrific at pass protection for quarterback EJ Manuel and is considered by some to be one of the best offensive lineman in the ACC. When you consider that the England native only played his first football game last August, that has to be impressive.

With both Erving and Watson playing as well as they have, the Seminoles have only allowed 13 sacks this season, compared to 41 sacks last season. The offense has also rushed for 653 yards more and nine more touchdowns than they had all of last season.

The Seminoles play the Virginia Tech Hokies on Thursday night at Lane Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.