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  1. #1

    Default By the Numbers: The OL Situation

    The numbers are in after 3 games, and they ain't good. In spite of outweighing the Vikings by roughly 40 pounds per man, and being healthy and reasonably effective last year, the Gophers OL currently sports these ranks from Football Outsiders:

    98th in Line Yards
    105th in Standard Down Line Yards
    125th in Sack Rate
    126th in Pass Down Sack Rate

    Hoping they get it sorted during the bye.


  2. #2
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    Seems about right. The good news is there’s almost no way to get except except up. Two weeks.

  3. #3

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    Sack rate isn’t really an O Line stat to me.
    Sacks are more a quarterback stat than O line state half the time.

    Team really needs Mo and Smith to play.
    Against G Southern:
    R Smith 11 carries, 5.2 ypc
    C Wiley 11 carries, 2.9 ypc
    B Williams 14 carries, 1.6 ypc
    That’s all behind the same line. Williams and Wiley aren’t as patient as Smith and Mo and it leads to negative plays and 0 yard gains when they cut back when they should have just leaned on the line for 1-4 yards.

    Not saying the line isn’t playing bad. Right now the line is playing bad. I would agree.

  4. #4
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    Heard Mase on KFAN the other day discussing the current Gopher's O Line. He said he always preferred smaller quicker offensive lineman. He specifically mentioned All American Greg Eslinger and the fact he was not a huge guy.

  5. #5
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    Rodney and Mo are both around 4 ypc on the year against average to below average defenses. The coaches will need to determine if this is technique, scheme, personnel, inexperience or a combo of all four. Anecdotally what I’m seeing is guys getting pushed backwards one on one on rush plays, sometimes multiple guys, and were familiar with the issues with pass blocking whether speed rush around the ends, stunting, or simply accounting for a defensive end. More experience and more prep will help - they’ll get better.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompous Elitist View Post
    Rodney and Mo are both around 4 ypc on the year against average to below average defenses. The coaches will need to determine if this is technique, scheme, personnel, inexperience or a combo of all four. Anecdotally what I’m seeing is guys getting pushed backwards one on one on rush plays, sometimes multiple guys, and were familiar with the issues with pass blocking whether speed rush around the ends, stunting, or simply accounting for a defensive end. More experience and more prep will help - they’ll get better.
    I'm not going to go back and review film like our resident OL star analyst Rockford, but my impression has been that the OL (and blocking backs) has been missing zone/gap assignments when the defense twists and stunts, but not necessarily getting physically pushed back. The Gophs run-pass option running attack takes time to develop which allows the defense to get creative in the box; the inexperienced OL hasn't handled it well at times. In a more traditional power blocking scheme with the QB under center, quick hitting hand offs could negate that. I doubt the Gophs change their whole scheme during the season, so the OL just needs to get better at reading the defense on the fly.

  7. #7
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    On some critical plays I’ve reviewed that’s exactly what’s happened sad to say. Is it frequent? Not sure, probably not. Maybe need a dose of “nasty” and “want to”...is warranted...at times. The good news is like you said more practice, mental preparation for what a defense might do will probably go a long way.

  8. #8
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    Biggest disappointment thus far. Hope it turns around.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by GopherJack View Post
    Heard Mase on KFAN the other day discussing the current Gopher's O Line. He said he always preferred smaller quicker offensive lineman. He specifically mentioned All American Greg Eslinger and the fact he was not a huge guy.
    This is something I wonder.

    Faalele and Dunlap are massive human beings. No doubt they're very difficult to bull-rush. Probably a fool's errand to try it.

    But speed rushes and loops/stunts with speed ... that's where I wonder if they're struggling to pick those up. You've got to be able to handle both.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panthadad2 View Post
    I'm not going to go back and review film like our resident OL star analyst Rockford, but my impression has been that the OL (and blocking backs) has been missing zone/gap assignments when the defense twists and stunts, but not necessarily getting physically pushed back. The Gophs run-pass option running attack takes time to develop which allows the defense to get creative in the box; the inexperienced OL hasn't handled it well at times. In a more traditional power blocking scheme with the QB under center, quick hitting hand offs could negate that. I doubt the Gophs change their whole scheme during the season, so the OL just needs to get better at reading the defense on the fly.
    First of all -- thanks, @Panthadad2!

    I agree that it seems like the OL seldom gets overpowered. What I find frustrating is that we seldom seem to get much push, either. We're seldom moving people off the line of scrimmage.

    I'm frustrated that we've assembled a small mountain of supersized supermen, but seem intent on using them as massive technicians, rather than as bulldozers. I would love to see a more "power" approach. We're too passive for my tastes.

    Yes, I admit I'm hopelessly old school. Football has become a finesse game, even in the trenches. But I still think there's room (occasionally) for an attitude of "I'm bigger, stronger, meaner and tougher than you, and I'm gonna drive your ass right off this line and into the defensive backfield ... and there ain't nothin' you can do about it."

    We're not attacking right now. We're reacting.

    JTG

  11. #11

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    Offensive line looks like its regressing. I thought this year they would be a strength. Maybe next year.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockford View Post
    First of all -- thanks, @Panthadad2!

    I agree that it seems like the OL seldom gets overpowered. What I find frustrating is that we seldom seem to get much push, either. We're seldom moving people off the line of scrimmage.

    I'm frustrated that we've assembled a small mountain of supersized supermen, but seem intent on using them as massive technicians, rather than as bulldozers. I would love to see a more "power" approach. We're too passive for my tastes.

    Yes, I admit I'm hopelessly old school. Football has become a finesse game, even in the trenches. But I still think there's room (occasionally) for an attitude of "I'm bigger, stronger, meaner and tougher than you, and I'm gonna drive your ass right off this line and into the defensive backfield ... and there ain't nothin' you can do about it."

    We're not attacking right now. We're reacting.

    JTG
    That's something I never liked about inside zone plays. You don't get strong double-teams on the DL, it's more about getting guys up to the second level, and hoping for a nice cut-back lane to form.

    I like more mis-direction plays for inside runs. Counters, traps, powers. You can confuse and get more movement on the DL.

  13. #13

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    On the much discussed 4 and 1 late in the second quarter, the interior OL got pushed two yards into the backfield.
    I know it was a special teams play but on the blocked FG, maybe the gap between Olson and the long snapper was too side, but GS player just split them.

  14. #14

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    Are the o-linemen in a three-point stance? Or are they in a two-point stance? I'm trying to picture a play, and if memory serves I don't think they've got the hand on the ground except at the goal line.

    Maybe that's typical for an RPO system, but without that forward lean I would think it would be more difficult to get forward drive.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by WorkingMyTailOff View Post
    On the much discussed 4 and 1 late in the second quarter, the interior OL got pushed two yards into the backfield.
    I know it was a special teams play but on the blocked FG, maybe the gap between Olson and the long snapper was too side, but GS player just split them.
    That’s one of the plays I was referring to. Plays like that, or failing to account for linemen in protection on pass plays (twice now by my count) are catastrophic errors that games can turn on.

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