Big Dan & Co. vs. Purdue

rockford

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This will likely be an abbreviated recap, as time is short (and there's Gopher hoops to watch tonight!).

With Donnell Greene back in the lineup at LT, I confined my observations to the three underclassmen starting on the line. It's not that I'm not interested in Greene and fellow senior C Jared Weyler; I simply started this series to see how freshman RT Daniel Faalele was performing, then (with an eye to the future) expanded to include Gs Blaise Andries and Conner Olson.

The OL (and the offense in general) got off to a solid start against Purdue, holding the ball for 12 plays and nearly eight minutes before having to settle for a field goal. Faalele, Andries and Olson were a combined 87% run blocking and 86% pass blocking on the opening drive. That's solid, not great.

Olson had a couple exceptional plays, including a bubble screen where he managed to execute two strong blocks that enabled the receiver to pick up a first down and keep the drive alive. (It wasn't quite enough to rate a "2" on my scale, but it was impressive.)

BTW, RB Mohamed Ibrahim really should be considered an honorary lineman. Dude can block. (At least in the running game; he's struggled a few times in pass protection.) He must enjoy opportunities to hit, rather than be hit, because he ain't shy. He's a 205-lb. missile.

For the first quarter:

Faalele: 83% run, 92% pass
Andries: 83% run, 92% pass
Olson: 83% run, 92% pass

I guess that's nothing if not consistent.

One thing that's become clear watching Faalele for five games -- at this point, he's good, not great. I'm not taking anything away from the kid, because he's doing a notably solid job for a true freshman, and his physical attributes give him a tremendous upside. But at this point in time, all three starting underclassmen on the OL look to be equally effective. If I were drafting a team for the future, I'd take Faalele. If I needed a solid lineman for a single game, Faalele, Andries and Olson are all at about the same level. That's more a compliment to Andries and Olson than it is a knock on Faalele.

If they stay healthy and continue to muscle up, that's an excellent foundation to build on.

More later.

JTG
 

MNVCGUY

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This will likely be an abbreviated recap, as time is short (and there's Gopher hoops to watch tonight!).

With Donnell Greene back in the lineup at LT, I confined my observations to the three underclassmen starting on the line. It's not that I'm not interested in Greene and fellow senior C Jared Weyler; I simply started this series to see how freshman RT Daniel Faalele was performing, then (with an eye to the future) expanded to include Gs Blaise Andries and Conner Olson.

The OL (and the offense in general) got off to a solid start against Purdue, holding the ball for 12 plays and nearly eight minutes before having to settle for a field goal. Faalele, Andries and Olson were a combined 87% run blocking and 86% pass blocking on the opening drive. That's solid, not great.

Olson had a couple exceptional plays, including a bubble screen where he managed to execute two strong blocks that enabled the receiver to pick up a first down and keep the drive alive. (It wasn't quite enough to rate a "2" on my scale, but it was impressive.)

BTW, RB Mohamed Ibrahim really should be considered an honorary lineman. Dude can block. (At least in the running game; he's struggled a few times in pass protection.) He must enjoy opportunities to hit, rather than be hit, because he ain't shy. He's a 205-lb. missile.

For the first quarter:

Faalele: 83% run, 92% pass
Andries: 83% run, 92% pass
Olson: 83% run, 92% pass

I guess that's nothing if not consistent.

One thing that's become clear watching Faalele for five games -- at this point, he's good, not great. I'm not taking anything away from the kid, because he's doing a notably solid job for a true freshman, and his physical attributes give him a tremendous upside. But at this point in time, all three starting underclassmen on the OL look to be equally effective. If I were drafting a team for the future, I'd take Faalele. If I needed a solid lineman for a single game, Faalele, Andries and Olson are all at about the same level. That's more a compliment to Andries and Olson than it is a knock on Faalele.

If they stay healthy and continue to muscle up, that's an excellent foundation to build on.

More later.

JTG
Love these writeups. The awesome thing about Faalele is he is still super raw as he has only been playing football for a couple years. The fact that he is this good already should terrify other teams because the sky is really the limit for him. As he learns and perfects his technique he should just get better and better.

Losing Greene and Weyler along the line will hurt for next year but with a solid core built around these 3 young guys and some promising players waiting in the wings the potential is there for a very strong offensive line.
 

TNGophfan

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This will likely be an abbreviated recap, as time is short (and there's Gopher hoops to watch tonight!).

With Donnell Greene back in the lineup at LT, I confined my observations to the three underclassmen starting on the line. It's not that I'm not interested in Greene and fellow senior C Jared Weyler; I simply started this series to see how freshman RT Daniel Faalele was performing, then (with an eye to the future) expanded to include Gs Blaise Andries and Conner Olson.

The OL (and the offense in general) got off to a solid start against Purdue, holding the ball for 12 plays and nearly eight minutes before having to settle for a field goal. Faalele, Andries and Olson were a combined 87% run blocking and 86% pass blocking on the opening drive. That's solid, not great.

Olson had a couple exceptional plays, including a bubble screen where he managed to execute two strong blocks that enabled the receiver to pick up a first down and keep the drive alive. (It wasn't quite enough to rate a "2" on my scale, but it was impressive.)

BTW, RB Mohamed Ibrahim really should be considered an honorary lineman. Dude can block. (At least in the running game; he's struggled a few times in pass protection.) He must enjoy opportunities to hit, rather than be hit, because he ain't shy. He's a 205-lb. missile.

For the first quarter:

Faalele: 83% run, 92% pass
Andries: 83% run, 92% pass
Olson: 83% run, 92% pass

I guess that's nothing if not consistent.

One thing that's become clear watching Faalele for five games -- at this point, he's good, not great. I'm not taking anything away from the kid, because he's doing a notably solid job for a true freshman, and his physical attributes give him a tremendous upside. But at this point in time, all three starting underclassmen on the OL look to be equally effective. If I were drafting a team for the future, I'd take Faalele. If I needed a solid lineman for a single game, Faalele, Andries and Olson are all at about the same level. That's more a compliment to Andries and Olson than it is a knock on Faalele.

If they stay healthy and continue to muscle up, that's an excellent foundation to build on.

More later.

JTG
Thanks Rockfish (for any old Rockford fans). I've been meaning to comment on Ibriham because I absolutely agree. He laid some tremendous blocks on Seth's wildcat runs and really stuck his head in a linebackers chest on one blitz pickup. I even thought I saw the lb's mouthguard spit out on that one.
 

rockford

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Love these writeups. The awesome thing about Faalele is he is still super raw as he has only been playing football for a couple years. The fact that he is this good already should terrify other teams because the sky is really the limit for him. As he learns and perfects his technique he should just get better and better.

Losing Greene and Weyler along the line will hurt for next year but with a solid core built around these 3 young guys and some promising players waiting in the wings the potential is there for a very strong offensive line.
Agreed on all points. The apparent solidity of the offense makes last week's defensive performance all the more exciting. We get a solid defense, and we're looking at a very successful team.

JTG
 

rockford

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Faalele, Andries and Olson picked up their game in the second quarter, for the most part. I rated our trio at 100% run blocking, and 88% pass blocking. The pass blocking grade was dragged down by a couple uncharacteristic miscues from Olson.

But mostly, the second quarter was all about Purdue coming apart at the seams -- four major penalties, two or three of which resurrected our stalled drives and helped us take a 13-3 lead at the half. And let's not forget the (in retrospect) dumb*** call by Brohm to go for it on 4th and 1 at his own 35-yard line.

I don't recall a greater implosion by a team that wasn't wearing maroon and gold. Or purple.

Our first drive of the quarter ended when a wide open Demetrius Douglas temporarily forgot how to catch. Didn't matter, though. The Boilermakers were ready to lend a hand. Our second drive opened with QB Tanner Morgan hitting Chris Autman-Bell for a 33-yard gain to midfield. There was a relatively comical occurrence on the next play. Two DTs attempted to shoot the A gaps. Both Andries and Olson slipped and/or whiffed (sliffed?), leaving C Weyler trying to hold back roughly 650 lbs. of defensive tackle all by himself. Morgan vacated the pocket and managed to pick up a yard.

The drive nearly ended with two incompletions, with the second marked by Olson inexplicably letting a rusher loose inside. But Purdue obliged with a 15-yard penalty to give us a first down. Two plays later, a facemask penalty made it first and goal at the 10, setting the stage for Seth Green's TD pass to TE Jake Paulson.

It was great to see Paulson get the score. His blocking has stood out on several occasions, but I only recall him being targeted one other time, a game or two ago when Morgan missed him on a seam route.

After Jacob Huff and Blake Cashman came up with big tackles on successive plays to force the turnover on downs, the Boilermakers did everything they could to help us score again. We appeared to fold after three downs, but Olson ****ed off Purdue DT Cornel Jones enough by pushing him around that Jones head-butted him after the play. Fifteen-yard penalty, first and 10 at the 16, leading to another field goal.

The Boilermakers tried to help us score again in the final minute, committing another pass interference, but we were unable to make 'em pay.

It seemed the second quarter was all about our defense stuffing Purdue, and Purdue's defense handing us gift after gift.

For the quarter:
Faalele: 100% run, 93% pass
Andries: 100% run, 93% pass
Olson: 100% run, 79% pass

Faalele was flagged for a holding near the end of the half, but I couldn't dock him for it. Looked like the rusher was trying to go around him outside and lost his footing. Big Dan helped him to the ground and fell on him, but it didn't look like a hold.

For the half:
Faalele: 94% run, 92% pass
Andries: 94% run, 92% pass
Olson: 94% run, 85% pass

Gotta love those grades.

More later.

JTG
 

rockford

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Well, the third quarter is where the Gophers said, "We're gonna ram this ball down your throat and out your butt."

And the Boilermakers said, "What time does the plane leave? I hope the bus is warm."

By my count, we ran 13 plays from scrimmage in the third quarter; 12 were runs. To give you an idea of how dominant we were, our three OL subjects got the job done on every run except the last one ... and that run went for a TD.

On second and 8 from Purdue's 11, both of our guards ran into footing problems. Andries and Weyler apparently each decided that the other guy was going to block Purdue's NT, who squirted through into the backfield and laid a hit on RB Bryce Williams. Andries proceeded to the second level, where he either slipped or failed in trying to chop down a LB. Olson tried to take his DT to the outside, failed, lost position and fell to a knee ... but quickly got up and went after his man. Williams bounced off the initial hit from the NT, but was then confronted by Olson's dude. But Olson was now coming from the outside back in at his guy, and he put the dude on his butt and Williams scraped off and burst around the left end for the score.

Even when things went bad, they were good.

I was gonna dock Olson for that play, but if he hadn't kept with it after the initial failure, Williams doesn't score. Can't diss that.

On the same play, Big Dan blocked down on the other DT and took him somewhere into the next time zone. Faalele drove him at least five yards down the line before the dude just turned his back and tried to run away. He had basically given up on the play when the ball carrier was still six yards from the end zone. Fun times.

On our next possession, Purdue contributed another 15-yard penalty to help us on an 84-yard TD drive. It was another somewhat comical play, one of those runs that ended up in a scrum that just kept moving down the field. Faalele started out pushing a guy around until it should no longer have mattered. That man eventually got loose and wandered over near the scrum, where TE Colton Beebe promptly drilled him and started driving him down the field. He took exception to taking two beatings on the same play, and we got a free 15 yards.

What strikes me in watching the replay is not that we played exceptionally well, although you could definitely see our confidence and attitude ramp up throughout the game. Rather, Purdue's extreme lack of effort stands out. They didn't show up. That happens, as we well know, but I hope we're prepared for a tougher battle against Northwestern.

Through three quarters
• Faalele: 96% run, 93% pass
• Andries: 93% run, 93% pass
• Olson: 96% run, 85% pass

That's dominance.

More later.

JTG
 

Tlsbhansen

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Awesome analysis...thanks for all your work on these!
 

rockford

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Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

The fourth quarter was a bit anti-climactic. Or maybe post-climactic would be a better term, since Purdue was already screwed.

The starting O had just one possession, and it was more of the same -- seven straight runs capped off by a TD pass.

Our subjects weren't quite as dominant in this stretch, but there were a couple plays of note.

On first and goal, Olson got beat inside by Purdue DT Neal, who looked like quite a load to handle. Neal got a tackle for loss, and Olson was flagged for holding. But what was interesting was that Faalele and Andries ended up double-teaming some poor unlucky defensive lineman. It looked like two guys pushing a one-man blocking sled down the field.

On the TD, I first thought Andries slipped up and let a guy get around on his outside. But on further review, it appeared the entire offensive line was sliding to the left, and while Andries made initial contact, he slid off and picked up the NT. My guess is that Faalele was slow closing down to the inside (he had a TE on his flank for outside help), allowing the guy to get through and nearly sack Morgan. But Morgan had just enough time to loop the TD pass to Tyler Johnson in the end zone.

For the game:
• Faalele: 97% run, 89% pass
• Andries: 94% run, 93% pass
• Olson: 91% run, 86% pass

Our guys helped fuel a dominant run game, and looked solid in the passing game, as well.

Season totals -- Run blocking (avg score in parentheses)
• Faalele: 86% - 91% - 85% - 86%* - 97% (89.0%)
• Andries: xx - 100% - 82% - 89%* - 94% (91.3%)
• Olson: xx - xx - 92% - 89%* - 91% (90.7%)

Season totals -- Pass blocking (avg score in parentheses)

• Faalele: 85% - 93% - 93% - 76%* - 89% (87.2%)
• Andries: xx - 91% - 88% - 81%* - 93% (88.3%)
• Olson: xx - xx - 92% - 94%* - 86% (90.7%)

* Scores for Illinois game are based on first half only.

Here's hoping the dominance continues against Northwestern.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

JTG
 

WiddleWatkins

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Thanks Rockford! Been reading these since you've started them and thought I'd just create an account to say that they are appreciated! Sounds like Brian Callahan can really coach the heck out of some oline!
 

rockford

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Thanks Rockford! Been reading these since you've started them and thought I'd just create an account to say that they are appreciated! Sounds like Brian Callahan can really coach the heck out of some oline!
Thanks, WW! And welcome aboard.

Yes, the OL appears to be extremely well coached. There are a handful of instances where it appears Faalele is hesitant because he's not absolutely certain what he should be doing. But those are rare, and practically non-existent when you look at the rest of the line.

I've been really impressed with our work on double-team blocks, and even more so with the way the OL hands off attackers and picks up stunts and blitzes. This sure doesn't look like a group that includes two freshmen and a sophomore.

Natural ability + coachability + coaching = great things. Really looking forward to watching this unit grow.

I've been wondering lately if Olson will be sliding over to center next year. He has the quickness and the motor and the blocking technique, but I haven't heard what the plans are.

JTG
 

50PoundHead

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This will likely be an abbreviated recap, as time is short (and there's Gopher hoops to watch tonight!).

With Donnell Greene back in the lineup at LT, I confined my observations to the three underclassmen starting on the line. It's not that I'm not interested in Greene and fellow senior C Jared Weyler; I simply started this series to see how freshman RT Daniel Faalele was performing, then (with an eye to the future) expanded to include Gs Blaise Andries and Conner Olson.

The OL (and the offense in general) got off to a solid start against Purdue, holding the ball for 12 plays and nearly eight minutes before having to settle for a field goal. Faalele, Andries and Olson were a combined 87% run blocking and 86% pass blocking on the opening drive. That's solid, not great.

Olson had a couple exceptional plays, including a bubble screen where he managed to execute two strong blocks that enabled the receiver to pick up a first down and keep the drive alive. (It wasn't quite enough to rate a "2" on my scale, but it was impressive.)

BTW, RB Mohamed Ibrahim really should be considered an honorary lineman. Dude can block. (At least in the running game; he's struggled a few times in pass protection.) He must enjoy opportunities to hit, rather than be hit, because he ain't shy. He's a 205-lb. missile.

For the first quarter:

Faalele: 83% run, 92% pass
Andries: 83% run, 92% pass
Olson: 83% run, 92% pass

I guess that's nothing if not consistent.

One thing that's become clear watching Faalele for five games -- at this point, he's good, not great. I'm not taking anything away from the kid, because he's doing a notably solid job for a true freshman, and his physical attributes give him a tremendous upside. But at this point in time, all three starting underclassmen on the OL look to be equally effective. If I were drafting a team for the future, I'd take Faalele. If I needed a solid lineman for a single game, Faalele, Andries and Olson are all at about the same level. That's more a compliment to Andries and Olson than it is a knock on Faalele.

If they stay healthy and continue to muscle up, that's an excellent foundation to build on.

More later.

JTG
I really like Ibrahim. Like you point out, kid is not afraid to put the hurt on a defensive player with a block. Next year will be interesting with Smith and Brooks both back. Mason always talks about a "pair and a spare" and we should have that.
 
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