Big Dan & Co. vs. Northwestern

rockford

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In reviewing the second half, I couldn't help but feel that this was not necessarily a game where Northwestern beat us, as much as it was a game we failed to win. It was there for the taking ... and we didn't take it.

That was reflected in the blocking grades for the second half -- 83% run blocking, 86% pass blocking. A pretty average performance, which isn't going to cut it when you're playing the division champ, even if they are banged up.

Out of 33 plays from scrimmage in the second half, there were 11 plays where at least one of our three subjects failed to get the job done, and those breakdowns almost always exacted a toll. Sometimes a lineman can get beat silly, but the ball is going the other way, so it doesn't really matter. Not against Northwestern. We got beat at or near the point of attack -- or allowed disruptive pressure on the QB -- way too often.

As an old friend of mine used to say, "You can't be consistent every now and then."

A good example: Andries was 81% pass blocking in the second half. While that's not acceptable, it's not horrendous. But on two of the plays he pretty much whiffed on the block, and the QB would have been eaten alive if RB Ibrahim had not alertly stepped up and chilled the DT. And on the second of those, Ibrahim was called for hands to the face, negating a TD pass. We still managed to score a minute later, making it 24-14, but that TD came with 4:32 remaining instead of 5:37. Certainly not a determining factor, but losing a minute at crunch time doesn't help.

• Schlueter had another complete whiff in pass protection, making it the second I noticed, and I wasn't even watching him. I have nothing against this kid, and certainly wish him all the best, but he sure as hell didn't look like he's been practicing at TE for two minutes, much less two weeks. On both of the plays in question, his footwork was nothing short of atrocious, dooming him to failure.

• On the sack we gave up near the end of the game, Faalele, Andries and Olson ALL failed on their blocks.

• A gentle reminder to Faalele: YOU GOTTA KEEP MOVING YOUR DAMNED FEET! On most of the plays he failed, it was because he was reaching instead of getting into position.

• I found it shocking the number of times I saw one of our linemen simply driven straight back by a defensive lineman. I think that happened more often in this one game than it had in the 5-6 others I've reviewed.

I hope the staff keeps the film from this game handy. Over the winter, whenever our young linemen get to feeling fat and sassy about being starters in the B1G, they should be forced to re-watch it ... and contemplate what might have been.

For the game:
• Faalele: 81% run blocking, 86% pass blocking
• Andries: 78% run blocking, 84% pass blocking
• Olson: 85% run blocking, 84% pass blocking

JTG
 

Catechol

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In reviewing the second half, I couldn't help but feel that this was not necessarily a game where Northwestern beat us, as much as it was a game we failed to win. It was there for the taking ... and we didn't take it.

That was reflected in the blocking grades for the second half -- 83% run blocking, 86% pass blocking. A pretty average performance, which isn't going to cut it when you're playing the division champ, even if they are banged up.
That’s a homer take if I’ve ever seen one. It says “if our players were more skilled, we would win more!” Presenting the blocking grades as if they are independent of the talent and skill of the opposing front seven (I.e. significantly better than most the Gophers have faced this year).
 

rockford

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That’s a homer take if I’ve ever seen one. It says “if our players were more skilled, we would win more!” Presenting the blocking grades as if they are independent of the talent and skill of the opposing front seven (I.e. significantly better than most the Gophers have faced this year).
Do you think when a line coach judges his player's performance, it's based on the "talent and skill of the opposing front seven"? "Gee, Larry, you did a great job blocking that monster DE for a second, right before he decapitated our QB. Nice work!"

It's largely a binary choice: Either you get the job done, or you don't. If your players are more skilled, and execute better, you score higher. I wouldn't think that would require elaboration.

I think you have the "homer" thing backwards. Sounds like you're saying, "We did OK, NW was just better." I'm saying, "If we had managed to execute even slightly better, we may have won." It was possible, we just didn't rise to the occasion.

Here's an idea: Perhaps you could spend your time doing something productive, like educating us on the "talent and skill of the opposing front seven" each week.

JTG
 

WorkingMyTailOff

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Thanks for doing these Jim. That game was there for the taking and a few of our players didn’t quite bring it. Hope today is a complete game from the Gophers!
If not I’m excited for next year
 

rockford

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Thank you, WTMO. It takes a fair amount of time, but it's been fun and interesting.

JTG
 
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