As a prep standout at Broken Arrow, Zac Veatch was known for his versatility.
He played both ways, was an All-State tight end and considered one of the nation’s top 28 tight end prospects by Rivals.com.
Yet it was always understood that Veatch would grow into an offensive lineman.
“That was kind of the idea,” said the Cowboys sophomore. “Start out as tight end, special teams guy, then once the strength and the weight came along, I’d move inside to the O-line.
“It doesn’t really matter to me, as long as I’m on the field contributing to the team, that’s where I want to be.”
Now up to 290 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame, Veatch figures to be a fixture on the field, projecting as the No. 1 right guard for Saturday’s season opener against Florida State.
Veatch is one of three new starters on the offensive line, with sophomore center Paul Lewis to his left and redshirt freshman tackle Zach Crabtree to his right also jumping into full-time status.
Veatch said that after some rough early adjustments that included getting a feel for new line coach Bob Connelly, the unit has smoothed out.
“It’s been great,” Veatch said. “At first you started out in the spring with a new coach and a new system and it was kind of hard. But since the spring, we’ve been in the meeting rooms, talking and meeting as a group.
“We’ve come light years since the spring.”
FSU SHIFTS SLOGANS
Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston sparked a slogan of sorts early in 2014, suggesting FSU was planning a “Dallas to Dallas” trek in its season, playing off the opening game against OSU and the national title game, both to be played at AT&T Stadium.
Never mind that the games will be played in Arlington, Texas.
This week, however, reports out of Tallahassee have a new phrase in place: “Don’t Eat The Cheese.”
“Don’t buy into everything everybody’s telling you — how great you are, how this, how that,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Don’t be the rat that eats the cheese.”
SEMINOLES RELOAD AT RB
FSU lost leading rusher Devonta Freeman, who started every game and ran for a team-high 1,016 yards and 14 touchdowns. Freeman is now with the Atlanta Falcons.
Yet along the way a year ago, the Seminoles discovered their tailback of the future in Karlos Williams, a converted defensive back who ran for 730 yards and 11 TDs while averaging 8.0 yards per carry — as a third-teamer.
Now Williams is Option A.
“They discovered a hard runner that can see a seam and have the speed to take it,” said Cowboys defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “He runs with his pads down in front of him.”
While FSU may have new faces, Spencer expects a formidable running game from the Seminoles.
“Their offensive line creates things for those guys, but they also do a nice job with their fullback and tailback tandems,” Spencer said. “They're great at exposing people who overrun and over-pursue them. They've also got the speed to catch you on the edge, too.”
Spencer on the leadership of linebacker Ryan Simmons:
“Ryan hasn't disappointed me one day throughout camp. His preparation for the game, his preparation for camp and his preparation for practice — they're all what you want to see in a leader. We've even tested him a few days out there, but he's consistently been a guy who gets the job done. He has earned that distinction with the rest of the team.”
NOTING THE ’NOLES
Florida State enters the season with 14 players on 26 different national college awards watch lists. ... The Seminoles are 22-15 against the teams currently comprising the Big 12; 3-1 against OSU. ... It was against the Cowboys in 1978 that Osceola and Renegade led FSU on the field for the first game. The school’s official mascots, Osceola represents the historical Seminole leader Osceola, riding bareback on Renegade, an Appaloosa horse. ... New FSU linebackers coach Bill Miller spent two years as an OSU grad assistant and six seasons (1989-94) as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator.