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  1. #1

    Default Up Front: The OL vs. Illinois

    Whenever I see a team execute at a high level, I feel like I'm watching a sport "performed," rather than merely played. There were times Saturday when our offensive line performed football.

    In addition, the OL at times seemed to exhibit more aggressiveness than it has in previous games.

    Is this group starting to hit its stride? Let's go see. Lot's of interesting stuff to look at in the first quarter.

    Our first play from scrimmage (a 6-yard run by Smith) set the tone. Watch in particular the teamwork of Dunlap (#51), Faalele (#78) and TE Paulson (#80).

    via GIPHY



    Dunlap gets a hand on the DL, making it easier for Olson (#64) to make his block, before getting out and at least getting a shove on the LB, who is then immediately engaged by Paulson. At the snap, Paulson helped Faalele with his block before sliding out and driving the LB a good five yards upfield. That's a lot of moving parts, and they were all in sync.

    In the next play, watch Olson get a solid block on the DL before catching sight of the late-blitzing LB. Olson comes off the lineman and chills the LB. (He and Andries are probably the only linemen we have capable of reacting that quickly.) The freed-up lineman succeeds in getting in on the tackle, but because we got a superior push from the line, we pick up four yards. Speaking of push, check out Schmitz (#60). That's a hell of an accomplishment, snapping the ball and driving a DT three yards off the line.

    via GIPHY



    Of course, even when you (nearly) do everything right, sometimes the other guys do it better. The Illinois pick-six was aided and abetted by superior execution of a stunt, with a DT looping from the right all the way around the left end and directly into QB Morgan's face. But the rest of the defensive lineman did such an excellent job engaging our OL, I don't see how our guys could possibly have picked it up.

    via GIPHY



    via GIPHY



    And, while we're at it, let's focus on Faalele on this pass from our first possession, where he inexplicably lets a pass rusher slide through to his inside and deck Morgan.

    via GIPHY



    A completely unforced error, and one of those things that can drive you crazy about Faalele. Few opponents are gonna beat him physically. But he defeats himself far too frequently.

    For the quarter:

    Rushing

    Schlueter (13) 97.4%
    Andries (11) 93.9%
    Olson (13) 97.4%
    Schmitz (2) 83.3%
    Dunlap (13) 97.4%
    Faalele (13) 94.9%

    Passing
    Schlueter (7) 90.5%
    Andries (6) 100%
    Olson (7) 95.2%
    Schmitz (1) 100%
    Dunlap (7) 100%
    Faalele (7) 85.7%

    That's some damn nice work.

    JTG


  2. #2

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    That last GIF you show is one thing I hate about zone/gap schemes. No one really "owns" anyone, you own a gap. It looked at the start like Dunlap had the guy, so I'm guessing Faalele assumed that and then started looking around for someone to block.

    Then the guy makes a move to Dunlap's right and Dunlap assumes that Faalele will be there to pick him up (since that's his gap to protect).

  3. #3

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    I don't mind a zone pass-blocking scheme. Like most schemes, it's great ... theoretically. But it goes to hell in a hurry if one guy neglects his responsibility. In this case it's Faalele, who seems to be expecting a late rush from the outside, which never transpires.

    I think the breakdown on the pick-six is a better illustration of how a zone scheme goes wrong. That DT is coming in from an entirely different zip code, and Faalele and Dunlap are both fully engaged, so they can't open up an inside lane by going after him. Our only chance -- without a TE or RB in pass protection -- is for Andries to realize the threat and cut him off, and that would have taken an extraordinary play. As it went down, Andries first looked to see if Schlueter needed help, and by the time he looked back it was too late.

    OTOH, if Morgan merely throws an incompletion, we're probably not even talking about this play.

    JTG

  4. #4

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    Very surprised that Schlueter got that high of percentage. Just watch the first play. He commits the cardinal sin of all offensive linemen — never, ever let a defensive man cross your face. This play, he should got a 0% or even a minus. Other plays which were pass plays, he does o.k. I didn’t tape the game, so don’t really have anything to look at. Thanks for your effort.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete smith View Post
    Very surprised that Schlueter got that high of percentage. Just watch the first play. He commits the cardinal sin of all offensive linemen ó never, ever let a defensive man cross your face. This play, he should got a 0% or even a minus. Other plays which were pass plays, he does o.k. I didnít tape the game, so donít really have anything to look at. Thanks for your effort.
    I donít believe Schlueter did anything wrong on that first play. The DL was over Andries and he blocks him. No reason for Sam to block him as he would have pushed him towards the play.
    On the play Rockford gives Olson props for picking up the LB, I would count that as a negative as the DL he initially blocked got in on the tackle and wouldnít have had Olson stayed on him. The blitzing LB ran himself out of the play anyway and didnít need to be blocked. Itís a case of trying to do too much by Olson.


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  6. #6

    Default

    Pete, I know you're on record as being down on Schlueter, but the man he's blocking never gets within seven yards of the ballcarrier.

    But it's interesting you point this out, because one of the things I considered while re-watching the first quarter is the value of being perfect vs. being effective. I decided that if the point of blocking is to keep a defender from stopping the ballcarrier, I'm more than happy to live with "effective."

    In terms of grading linemen, I don't award style points. I'm much more interested in effectiveness. That was an effective block. We gained six yards, and Schlueter's man wouldn't have had a play until the runner was more than 10 yards downfield. I hardly think that deserves a "0" grade.

    If you think about it, what you're saying is really no different than those who claim the wins over SDSU, Fresno St., GSU and even Purdue mean little because we didn't look good while winning. Big-time football is tough, and you can be effective (and valuable) without being perfect.

    JTG

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by GFBfan View Post
    On the play Rockford gives Olson props for picking up the LB, I would count that as a negative as the DL he initially blocked got in on the tackle and wouldn’t have had Olson stayed on him. The blitzing LB ran himself out of the play anyway and didn’t need to be blocked. It’s a case of trying to do too much by Olson.
    I wrestled with that one for the exact reason you cited, GFBfan. But I came to the conclusion that Olson didn't have the luxury of seeing what was going on behind him, and that anytime you stop a LB from getting a full run into your backfield is probably a good thing.

    And it's hard to say for certain that the LB wouldn't have been able to make a play.

    JTG

  8. #8

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    So much room for running!

    It was night and day compared to the other games.

  9. #9

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    It looked like Olson and Dunlap were supposed to be double teaming and poor footwork caused them not to be able to block the DL and LB assigned.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by MnplsGopher View Post
    That last GIF you show is one thing I hate about zone/gap schemes. No one really "owns" anyone, you own a gap. It looked at the start like Dunlap had the guy, so I'm guessing Faalele assumed that and then started looking around for someone to block.

    Then the guy makes a move to Dunlap's right and Dunlap assumes that Faalele will be there to pick him up (since that's his gap to protect).
    Just because it's a zone or gap scheme doesn't mean that the players don't know who they're supposed to block. In my expierenses the center will call a number he is working to and the other lineman will base who they go to off of that.

    https://youtu.be/NBZJCXE4Ysw
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  11. #11

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    Loved seeing the Oline have a good game and Rodney and Shannon have the type of performance that we have been lucky enough to see before.
    Keep it up Rockford and Minnesota Maulers.

  12. #12

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    This group of offensive linemen collectively have so much potential.

    If they can play at a high level, consistently, this offense will be unstoppable.

    And if a few of them go on to the NFL after their college careers, imagine the boost that would give recruiting for the o-line down the road!

    It seems as though success breeds more success, especially on the o-line. Once a school gets a reputation as being able to turn out NFL-level guards and tackles, the big high school stars at those positions look to play at that school.
    --------------

    "7 National Titles...

    ... But Let's Not Get Carried Away".

  13. #13

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    Any word on Andries's status after getting injured?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockford View Post
    OTOH, if Morgan merely throws an incompletion, we're probably not even talking about this play.

    JTG
    To me, this was on Morgan. Felt like he was pressing early to live up to the hype. A sack or an incomplete are not the worst results of a passing play, a pick six is. He needed to eat that one and move on to next play...hopefully a learning experience.
    Yes, I did win the Gopherhole 2016 Bracket Challenge - Yes, it was a total fluke.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by GopherinPhilly View Post
    To me, this was on Morgan. Felt like he was pressing early to live up to the hype. A sack or an incomplete are not the worst results of a passing play, a pick six is. He needed to eat that one and move on to next play...hopefully a learning experience.
    Plenty on the QB there - or scheme. Tanner drifts to his right as the O-line blocks to the left which left him wide open to the stunt. I'm guessing Lovie saw that tendency on film then the Illini D executed perfectly.

    Or, the ball might have simply slipped out of Tanners hands. The releasing H-back was open.
    Last edited by Panthadad2; 10-07-2019 at 11:29 AM.

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