BOCA RATON – When Jason Driskel drops back to pass, he isn’t worried about about 270-pound defensive ends crashing down on him from the outside.
That’s because veteran tackles Reggie Bain and Kelly Parfitt have his back (or, in Parfitt’s case, Driskel’s front).
“It’s really assuring for me, it’s assuring for the running backs, I’m sure its assuring for (offensive coordinator Travis Trickett) calling plays,” Driskel said.
A junior, Bain started his first game on campus and has been with the first team ever since. Parfitt, a senior who transferred from Central Florida prior to his junior year, played in all 12 games last season, starting 11 of them. The duo gives FAU the kind of experience coaches – and quarterbacks – crave.
“Experience is the one thing you can’t buy, and you can do your best to simulate, but it’s one thing you can’t manufacture,” Trickett said. “They either got it or they don’t have experience.”
At 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, Bain is far from the most physically imposing left tackle in the country. And he’s not the most overpowering. But he is more athletic than most. And Bain’s intelligence allows him to translate his experience into successful plays.
“The thing that Reggie doesn’t get enough credit for is how cerebral a player he is,” offensive line coach Garin Justice said. “He’s got a really good feel for the game. Never going to really be a guy that overpowers you, but he’s very smooth, a great technician, understands angles, understands what we are trying to do as an offense and, better yet, what the defense is trying to do.”
On the other side, Parfitt is a mauler. He’s a gamer. He played in every game last year despite an injured shoulder that required offseason surgery.
Parfitt’s mental toughness imparts into Justice a faith that he’ll execute his given task on each play.
“He’s one of those guys that just has a lot of grit about him and regardless of what’s going on,” Justice said. “He embodies the find-a-way [mentality]. He’s going to find a way to get it done out of sheer determination and grit.”
As experienced as Bain and Parfitt are they still learn from each other. Parfitt likes the way Bain remains square in pass protection and shuts down the backside on runs.
Parfitt covers a lot of ground on his first step into pass protection, an area where Bain would like to improve.
Bain and Parfitt, and much of the offensive line for that matter, spend extra time after practice trying building upon their strengths.
“We are competing together and so we help each other,” Bain said.