Luke Meadows came to FAU as the offensive line coach after spending 10 seasons at South Dakota St. - the final six as the offensive coordinator. (OwlAccess.com photo)
Meet the new staff: South Dakota State's ability to run the ball during Nebraska's 2010 homecoming game demonstrated the traits FAU coach Carl Pelini wants to see from his Owls' offensive line.
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BOCA RATON - Luke Meadows may not have been named Florida Atlantic's offensive line coach until January of this year but the way he sees it, he earned the job on Sept. 25, 2010.
That was Nebraska's homecoming game and South Dakota State, which featured Meadows as its offensive coordinator, came to Lincoln as the sacrificial jackrabbits.
As expected, South Dakota State lost that game to a Nebraska squad ranked in the Top 10, but a closer-than-expected final score kept the Cornhusker faithful from celebrating too vehemently.
“Basically I interviewed for this job two years ago when we played Nebraska,” Meadows said. “We ran the ball really successfully against them. We lost 17-3 and they called two touchdowns back on us.”
The Jackrabbits rushed for 141 yards against Carl Pelini's Blackshirt Defense that afternoon.
“We had a good, physical game up front,” Meadows recalls.
Meadows likes solid, physical play – which is part of the reason he enjoys coaching the offensive line. He also prefers the mentality that frequently characterizes the big guys up front.
It's one of the reasons Pelini considers Meadows to be “a real guy.”
“You can get after linemen with out them whining about it,” Meadows explains. “You can get after linemen without having to worry about the psychological aspects of it. I just identify with those guys a little bit more. It's a blue collar deal.”
Upon arriving at FAU, Meadows spent many hours looking at Florida Atlantic game video. What he saw was that even though Alfred Morris had fans marveling at his ability to run over tacklers, overall the Owls weren't very good at power blocking.
In the spring Meadows attempted to change that with some new techniques.
“Our whole concept is we are going to block the front level first,” Meadows said. “We are going to get displacement on that, which should guarantee we get at least two yards per play. Then, if we are able to get the lineman to the linebackers, then we are able to get four of five.”
How are the Owls' linemen taking to the new techniques?
“I think they understand the base principles. Meadows said. “We're nowhere near where we need to be if we want to win a conference championship.”
That disappoints Meadows because he knows that, aside from quarterback play, the offensive line's development may be the biggest factor in determining whether the 2012 version of FAU football is successful.
“The best way for us to start winning is for us to be good up front,” Meadows said. “The skill (positions) should happen quickly. The line is going to take a while.”