Q&A With Offensive Line Coach Nick Tabacca
What's it like to go from being a former letterwinner at Ball State to coaching at your alma mater?
It has been a great experience. I have coached a couple other places now, and I really think coming back to your alma mater is a special experience. As a former Ball State player, I can relate to the experiences our players are going through right now. More than anything I just am really excited to do anything I can to help this program achieve its goals.
Coach John Strollo was the offensive line coach last season. Is there a big difference in the way you approach things as the new offensive line coach?
With any transitions there are always things done differently from one coach to the other. I got to know Coach Strollo during my time at Butler. He is an innovative offensive line coach, and I learned a ton from him. I think the techniques I learned from him are a big reason I was a candidate for the job.
Who impressed you the most during the spring?
We have some good veteran players in this group. I was impressed with the unit as a whole. They have been through a lot. The amount of position coaching changes they have been through is really unbelievable. I was impressed with their resiliency and attitude. We must continue to improve as the season approaches. This unit has high expectations, and we are working to meet those expectations every single day.
Have you been watching a lot of tape on our offensive line from last season?
That is always part of the transition. I went through and watched our cutups from the fall. You learn a lot about the group just by watching them on tape. It helped me in the transition to learning Coach Skrosky's offense. It also gave me a feel for the personnel we have returning.
What adjustments have been made to the offensive line since you inherited this group last spring?
Technique and scheme wise it has been a pretty smooth transition. As I mentioned before, as with any coaching change, there will be differences. I really think this change has been uniquely smooth because of the time I spent getting to know Coach Strollo. When it comes to communication and scheme we have changed some things, especially in pass protection. There is always is a transition in adjusting to different terminology. I might call a technique something different, but we are talking about the same thing.
Our starting center Kreg Hunter was lost due to graduation, how is this spot progressing for the fall?
With Kreg Hunter graduating, there was a big spot to fill at center. We tried some different combinations this spring. Finding the right combination to get the best five offensive linemen on the field is always a challenge. Dan Manick right now has done a good job of moving from tackle to center. Ideally you like to have a guy at center who can communicate well and also has some leadership ability. Dan is a fit in these areas. He made strides consistently in the spring in becoming more comfortable playing as a center. Jake Richard and Taylor Hoke have also done a great job of providing depth at that position.