Tom O’Brien was an assistant coach at Virginia when Clemson defensive end Michael Dean Perry taught him the importance of depth on the offensive line.
Late in the game, Perry eluded Virginia tackle Scott Urch for a sack that clinched a narrow win for Clemson. O’Brien said Perry was playing his 34th snap, Urch his 82nd.
"I learned that not only do you have to keep your defensive guys fresh,” O’Brien said. “You have to give your offensive guys a rest once in a while, too.”
O’Brien said some of N.C. State's offensive linemen slumped a bit late last season because of fatigue after having to play 12 games with little backup help. Center Luke Lathan played 872 snaps and left guard Kalani Heppe played 830 last season.
In addition to identifying five starters, O’Brien hopes to develop at least three offensive linemen who can provide depth before the Aug. 28 opener at South Carolina. O’Brien wants to have a backup ready at center, another to back up the guard and tackle on the right side and a third to back up the left guard and tackle.
Moving center Ted Larsen and left guard John Bedics over from defense in the spring helped provide that depth. O’Brien said he has identified eight guys who can play.
“It’s just a question of where they’re going to start and how we’re going to do the rotation,” he said.