John Denton's Knights Insider: Pieschel and Reid Share Tight Bond

Oct. 20, 2010

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By John Denton

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Jah Reid and Nick Pieschel aren't just UCF's biggest and most experienced offensive linemen; they are also the Knights' version of an old married couple what with their tight friendship, chemistry when working together and almost inseparable nature on and off the field.

Away from football, they regularly watch movies together, always choosing comedies over drama or action flicks. Most meals are spent together and Reid even tagged along recently when Pieschel went to get his hair cut. The two are so tight and so well versed with one another that they often finish each other's sentences.

And on the field, they can usually be found side by side. When Pieschel was moved from left tackle to right guard in training camp to assist freshman center Jordan Rae with the line calls, he took his spot next to Reid, the anchor of UCF's line at right tackle. Heck, they're even inseparable on the roster with Pieschel wearing No. 76 and Reid donning No. 77.

``When Nick screws up out there I can tell him how I really feel and I don't have to feel bad putting him down,'' Reid said with a big laugh. ``I'm just kidding - we get along really well out there and we're able to communicate with one another. And we have a lot of fun, too.''

So much fun that tight end Adam Nissley, often a part of the Reid-Pieschel outings away from the field, has to focus extra hard at the line to stop from laughing when the two offensive linemen start making ``dummy'' calls. In an attempt to confuse defensive linemen, Reid and Pieschel often deliver fake calls at the line - something that also keeps the monotony of practice light and fun.

``Those are two goofy guys,'' joked Nissley, who at 6-foot-6 and 266 pounds forms a massive right side of the line with Reid (6-7, 324 pounds) and Pieschel (6-7, 301 pounds). ``I hang around them all of the time and they are two of my best friends on the team. We all have a really tight relationship and it carries over to the field.''

Added line coach Brent Key: ``Those two work together really well. Consistency and chemistry with the guy you are playing next to are such big parts of the offensive line and those two have a great trust factor. Because of their friendship on and off the field it has helped them develop as a unit.''

The Reid and Pieschel relationship has paid big dividends of late for UCF (4-2 overall and 2-0 in Conference USA play) as it heads into Saturday's homecoming game against Rice (2-5, 1-2). A week ago against Marshall, UCF ran for 248 yards and four touchdowns and controlled the ball for 40 minutes, nine seconds in the 35-14 whipping of the Thundering Herd. Most of that, of course, came behind a right side that is as big and powerful as any line in the country.

After some early-season struggles, the Knights have played with a distinct nasty streak up front of late. UCF battered Kansas State and UAB for 252 and 228 yards and the pounding that the line put on Marshall was the finest effort of the season. And for the season, UCF has allowed just five sacks.

``Bad weather and all, I felt like we just played a lot harder at Marshall,'' Pieschel said of a game that featured a 68-minute lightening delay and had heavy rain throughout. ``These last couple of games we've been a lot more physical and we just want to go out there now and dominate.''

Dominant is a word that could be used to describe Reid, the redshirt senior who will most likely get a shot at playing in the NFL because of his rare blend of talent. Reid, a first-team All-C-USA pick last season, has the size (he's slimmed down from 370 pounds four years ago to 324 pounds now), the athleticism (he has a 30-inch vertical leap), the wingspan (think of an NBA power forward) and the power (a 500-pound bench press). Add in that he's already graduated and is working on a second degree in psychology and Reid has the total package.

Reid, a Haines City native who has played in 45 games and started 33, was mostly shy and a man of few words when he first arrived on campus. But Pieschel said he knows better now.

``He's not nearly as quiet as he looks and acts,'' Pieschel said. ``Jah's always on me to get going and he makes me a better player and he makes us better on that right side.''

They are on that right side because Pieschel, a redshirt junior, was able to make the transition from left tackle to right guard. He played 23 games and made 18 starts at left tackle before switching to guard where's he had to be better with his hands and more powerful on the inside.

Reid said playing side-by-side has helped the two of them become better players. Because they know each other's tendencies so well, Reid said they work well together on double-team blocks and they keep each other accountable.

``It's really neat being side by side. It actually helps us on the field because we hang out together so much and talk about football so much,'' Reid said. ``We don't always talk about football, but we have the ability to communicate about what's going on. And now that he's right next to me instead of being across the line, it's just even more beneficial to our friendship.''

They are such good friends that they can verbally rip on one another from time to time. But jokes aside, they said they can take comfort in knowing that the other will be there for them regardless the situation on or off the field.

``With Nick, he's not as dumb as he looks. He's actually a smart guy,'' Reid said with another roaring laugh. ``I always know that Nick is going to be there and not leave me hanging. If I need him to lend me $20 bucks, I expect him to be there for me. And if I get beat inside on the line, again I expect him to be there.''

Cracked Pieschel: ``Jah lets me know about it if I'm not there. I'm always there right behind him.''

And that's what friends are for.


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John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.