Menet, o-line progresses, but there’s work to be done

UNIVERSITY PARK — Michal Menet seemingly had everything working against him coming into the season.

He was asked to switch positions with Connor McGovern from right guard to center, and when put in game situations he saw a lot of atypical defensive packages from both Appalachian State and Pitt.

Mix that with wet weather conditions in Pittsburgh last weekend and it’s easy for someone to forgive him if the mistakes were to come with the obstacles.

However, nobody has had to do that so far because he and the offense have the transition look rather fluid.

Now he, like the rest of his team, is on to Kent State — which Menet says has a lot of similarities on defense to that of the Mountaineers in week one — in weather conditions much like the Lions played in last weekend.

Menet is quick to say he’s grown a lot on the field in just the first two games of the season, but also is the first to point out that there is still work to be done.

“I think there’s always room for improvement no matter how many yards we have rushing. We can always do better,” Menet said. “I think obviously, that starts with us. But when you have great backs like we do, they make our jobs a lot easier. They can make people miss in the second level, the first level if they need to and we have a lot of great guys with a lot of great skill sets that allow us to do really big things with a ball in their hands. I think our rushing game can continue to keep growing as we go throughout the season.”

The offensive line has surprised early on, allowing the Lions to have a balanced attack with an average of 204 passing yards to go with an average of 208 yards rushing in their first two games.

Keeping quarterback Trace McSorley upright is the important task for the line on passing plays and allowing two sacks in a pair of games is promising. That, however, isn’t what Menet and the line take the most pride in.

“I think rushing yards is probably the biggest one for offensive line because like I said, even though we have great backs, the more push we get, the more movement we’re getting off the ball and makes their job a lot easier,” he said. “I think rushing yards is one of the biggest things we think kind of signifies how we’re playing as a unit.”

The transition has come with some room for growth. Defenders have had their success against the offensive line, recording 11 tackles for loss that cost the Lions 42 yards. Defenses also rushed McSorley — whom the Lions are thankful can move around enough on his own — six times.

The toughest part for Menet is having to be responsible for the ball and then helping keep a play alive.

“I think the biggest challenge has just been obviously snapping the ball and then doing everything else after that,” he said. “I think I did a pretty good job with that. I haven’t had many bad snaps and I think from the first game to the second game, I’ve made pretty big improvements in my technique and fundamentals post snap which I think helped me out a lot.”

Menet looks to keep improving on his game going up against the Golden Flash defense.

“I think it’s a little bit of a challenge to snap the ball and have a guy right up on you,” he said. “I was used to it a little bit going through it in camp, but it was good for me to see it in week one so I can really see the areas that I needed to improve on and Kent State is a three-down kind of team so it will have a somewhat similar look. I’m excited to get back out there and just really try to improve from what I did in week one to what I can do here in week three against another really good team.”