Up Front: The OL vs. Fresno St.

rockford

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I was looking forward to digging into this pile o' tape ... which I'm sure is exactly why I'm being thwarted by the gridiron gods. Hulu, in its infinite wisdom, apparently decided I didn't deserve to see the first five minutes of the game. Not only did I lose contact with earth while trying to watch the game live, but the virtual DVR didn't record that segment either.

So until I find a workaround, this report will be adorned with a great big asterisk, 'cuz I missed all but the last two plays of our opening drive.

I'm going to get right to the Rockford Efficiency Ratings (as they've been dubbed by Oregon Gopher), because there really wasn't a lot of nuance to the first half. No knock on Fresno, but the Gophs were simply the better team ... which would have been more evident if they hadn't had such a difficult time staying out of their own way.

As you might expect, there was a world of difference in RER between SDSU and this game -- but the difference was primarily in the passing game.

First half vs SDSU: 91.6% rush, 85.7% pass
First half vs Fresno: 90.7% rush, 97.5% pass

Run blocking was somewhat effective in both games, but our pass protection went from barely ... er, passable ... to nearly perfect.

For the half (without the first five minutes):
Schlueter: 95.6% rush, 100% pass
Andries: 88.9% rush, 95.8% pass
Olson: 88.9% rush, 100% pass
Dunlap: 82.2% rush, 100% pass
Faalele: 97.8% rush, 91.7% pass

A few notes:

• There are times, primarily on run plays, where it's easy to see why Schlueter cracked the starting lineup again this year. If the assignment is simply to fire off the ball and hit somebody close, Schlueter is your guy. He can be quick, and he's not afraid to hit.

• Andries looked merely human this game. I'm used to seeing him play much better than that.

• What the hell happened to our shotgun snaps? Olson needs to get that ironed out ASAP. And like Andries, he slightly under-performed in the first half (especially in the first quarter), at least on runs.

• Dunlap continues to look inconsistent on runs. But he is a freshman. His pass blocking (and the OL's ability to deal with stunts, which Fresno used sparingly) was considerably better than against SDSU.

• I'm starting to wonder if Faalele will ever take full advantage of his size. Despite his imposing mass, the kid has been more of a technician than a head-banger. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially since he's a pretty damn good technician. But I wish he would just unload on somebody once or twice a game. I know, I'm old school, from back in the day when offensive linemen had to be kept on leashes so they wouldn't eat all the defensive backs. And I acknowledge there's a heck of a lot more nuance to today's game, even for linemen. But is it asking too much for Daniel to clean somebody's clock now and then?

If anyone knows if/when the game is going to be televised again, please let me know so I can scrutinize the first few minutes.

I'm interested in hearing everyone's impression on line play vs FSU. Don't be afraid to pipe up.

JTG
 

Gopher028

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Thank you for the breakdown. Interesting to see. I'm hard on SS but good to see he had a much improved game.
Blaise looked like he struggled, getting beat off the ball a few times.
 

Pompous Elitist

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What happened on the sacks before the half? Your percentages seem a little high.
 

Pompous Elitist

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Specifically on the last drive before the half you’re saying the scheme calls for Schleuter to ignore the end lined up to his immediate left and become solely the responsibility of Ibrahim coming all the way across the formation? Schleuter had no one to block, the backers stayed put, so he ended up tripling up the tackle with Andries and Olson.

Dunlap whiffed on the very next play leading to immediate pressure and a throwaway, and then Faalele the play after that leading to the sack fumble. I’m not sure how Dunlap grades at 100%?
 

hungan1

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Like last season, the OL will take time to gel together. They faced two of the toughest opposing defenses in the first two games. These are wake up calls.

They stay healthy and IMHO they'll be a much better unit come November.

Faalele is a gentle giant. They need to graduate him from Teddy Bear school to Kodiak Bear school of mean.
 

Spoofin

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Like last season, the OL will take time to gel together. <b>They faced two of the toughest opposing defenses in the first two games. </b>These are wake up calls.

They stay healthy and IMHO they'll be a much better unit come November.

Faalele is a gentle giant. They need to graduate him from Teddy Bear school to Kodiak Bear school of mean.
Huh? Are you talking two of the toughest in our NC or of the entire season?


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rockford

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Specifically on the last drive before the half you’re saying the scheme calls for Schleuter to ignore the end lined up to his immediate left and become solely the responsibility of Ibrahim coming all the way across the formation? Schleuter had no one to block, the backers stayed put, so he ended up tripling up the tackle with Andries and Olson.

Dunlap whiffed on the very next play leading to immediate pressure and a throwaway, and then Faalele the play after that leading to the sack fumble. I’m not sure how Dunlap grades at 100%?
Caught me, PE. I missed that last "drive," which started with 36 seconds left.

Yes, it very much appears (on first down) the scheme is for Schlueter to let outside pressure go, and for Mo to pick it up. Before the play, Schlueter appears to turn and motion to Mo, communicating "You got the outside." At the snap, Schlueter pushed the DE to the outside, but is 100% looking to pick up pressure inside. For his part, Mo moved directly to lock up with the DE, and after getting the initial pop failed to stay engaged.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/JPxaquQqGlyahmYaSe" width="480" height="288" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/JPxaquQqGlyahmYaSe">via GIPHY</a></p>

Bringing a RB -- or more often, a TE -- across the formation to block isn't all that unusual for the Gophers. And since Schlueter shows no hesitation, I can only assume he's doing what he's supposed to do. Now, would it have been better on this play if he had looked to help outside instead of inside? Sure. But without inside knowledge of the scheme and assignments, I can't ding him.

Next play, FSU is running a twist a double twist. Our left side handles it well, with Olson alertly picking up the DE. On the right, I think the breakdown is much more Faalele's than Dunlap's. Dunlap makes contact, feel his man sliding outside, sees the DE looping inside, and lets his man go, thinking Faalele will pick him up. Unfortunately, Big Daddy is also watching the end loop inside, and doesn't engage with the DT Dunlap is pushing toward him.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/VF63iv6K57KhkrkPiv" width="480" height="288" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/gopher-football-VF63iv6K57KhkrkPiv">via GIPHY</a></p>

I'm putting this one on Faalele.

Final play is all Faalele's fault. It's a pass, and Big Daddy reaches out but fails to get a good punch on the DE, who quickly steps around him for the sack. Looks like Dunlap was available to help, but didn't get there. Olson also gets dinged a point for locking up with the DT and missing the late-blitzing LB.

Corrected first-half pass-blocking (still without the first 5 minutes)
Schlueter: 100%
Andries: 97%
Olson: 97%
Dunlap: 97%
Faalele: 75.8%

Big Daddy takes a big tumble on the last series.

Thanks @Pompous Elitist for pointing out my oversight. These were three pretty interesting plays.

JTG
 

Section2

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Specifically on the last drive before the half you’re saying the scheme calls for Schleuter to ignore the end lined up to his immediate left and become solely the responsibility of Ibrahim coming all the way across the formation? Schleuter had no one to block, the backers stayed put, so he ended up tripling up the tackle with Andries and Olson.
Look again, it was a quadruple team on the nose as SS abandoned his man for Mo. Mind boggling play. he even points at him pre snap. He was almost illegally downfield too.
Overall tho, he played much better. But let's not get our hopes too high. I read that FSU went 3 DTs up front and benched their DEs. So he can block a slow DT in pass pro. Iowa game is gonna be ugly against Epenesa.
 

Pompous Elitist

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On the first down play wouldn’t it be better to have the tackle pick up the end and the back pick up any blitzing linebacker? Does that call make sense to you guys? Perhaps they were expecting five to rush?

The second down play on that gif looks like a difficult block with the timing of the rush. Still some work to go.
 

tikited

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Like last season, the OL will take time to gel together. They faced two of the toughest opposing defenses in the first two games. These are wake up calls.

They stay healthy and IMHO they'll be a much better unit come November.

Faalele is a gentle giant. They need to graduate him from Teddy Bear school to Kodiak Bear school of mean.
I agree with that.
 

PMWinSTP

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Like last season, the OL will take time to gel together. They faced two of the toughest opposing defenses in the first two games. These are wake up calls.

They stay healthy and IMHO they'll be a much better unit come November.

Faalele is a gentle giant. They need to graduate him from Teddy Bear school to Kodiak Bear school of mean.
Wait, what?
 

MplsGopher

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I disagree that SS shouldn't get dinged for the first sack on the last drive before the half.

It doesn't matter to me if he signaled for Mo to come get the DE. That's the wrong signal/decision to make, in my opinion. The LB was not showing blitz. There was no reason for SS to come inside. There was nothing to block.

Sending the RB, across the formation (he lined up to right of QB, then has to come all the way left), is asking for disaster, as that's the QB's blind side.

DE was actually confused that nobody blocked him initially. Then he sees the RB coming, slaps him out of the way easily, and crushes Morgan on the blind side. That could've been much, much worse. Glad Morgan is a tough kid and nothing bad appears to have come from that other than a sack.
 

WiddleWatkins

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I get that it doesn't look great for SS. But if he executed the protection that was called I'm personally not going to be that upset with him. I don't really want my LT going rogue because he thinks he sees something even if he is right.
 

MplsGopher

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I get that it doesn't look great for SS. But if he executed the protection that was called I'm personally not going to be that upset with him. I don't really want my LT going rogue because he thinks he sees something even if he is right.
I agree with that.

Then that makes me question, was it SS's decision or was it called that the entire line was supposed to slide to the right? We'll probably never know. But with 3 DL, and only one LB lined out to the outside right, it doesn't make sense to me to call for the entire line to slide to the right. If you can spare the OT, you always prefer him blocked the DE instead of the RB blocking.
 

WorkingMyTailOff

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JTG, do you or others remember the play when Big Dan got flagged for holding. He did unleash his nasty streak throwing the DE down and laying on him. I don't think that penalty killed a drive, and I felt bad for the DE on that play.
 

short ornery norwegian

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As a more general statement - for the first two games of the season, the Gophers faced generally smaller, quicker D-Lines that used a fair amount of stunts and twists. And they had some success with those tactics. If you can't go through them, go around them.

You can bet that every team on the Gophers' schedule the rest of the way will be breaking down those films. I would not be surprised if other teams put in some pass-rush packages with multiple DE's on the field - which, BTW, is also what the Gophers are trying to do on 3rd-and-long situations.
 

Pompous Elitist

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So, someone must have an opinion, was it a coach-mandated scheme or was Schleuter lacking HOW on that play? If it’s scheme that seems really unusual to purposefully create disadvantageous mismatches. School me.

Looking around the league in similar down, distance, situation QBs seem to get around 5,6 seconds (yes, I realize this is not the norm) to find someone. Our QB is relying on a RB to block his blindside.




.
 
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GFBfan

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I disagree that SS shouldn't get dinged for the first sack on the last drive before the half.

It doesn't matter to me if he signaled for Mo to come get the DE. That's the wrong signal/decision to make, in my opinion. The LB was not showing blitz. There was no reason for SS to come inside. There was nothing to block.

Sending the RB, across the formation (he lined up to right of QB, then has to come all the way left), is asking for disaster, as that's the QB's blind side.

DE was actually confused that nobody blocked him initially. Then he sees the RB coming, slaps him out of the way easily, and crushes Morgan on the blind side. That could've been much, much worse. Glad Morgan is a tough kid and nothing bad appears to have come from that other than a sack.
The blocking scheme on that play is what should be dinged. That is all on the coaches.
I agree with you that it makes way more sense to have the OT block DE and have the RB step up on a blitzing LB or help where needed.
With only 3 down DL, you have two guards who can help out somewhere. Slide them right or left to help C and OT away from the RB and he can help the other OT.
The helper could also then be responsible for a blitzing LB
 

rockford

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So, someone must have an opinion, was it a coach-mandated scheme or was Schleuter lacking HOW on that play? If it’s scheme that seems really unusual to purposefully create disadvantageous mismatches. School me.

Looking around the league in similar down, distance, situation QBs seem to get around 5,6 seconds (yes, I realize this is not the norm) to find someone. Our QB is relying on a RB to block his blindside.
.
My guess is Olson saw something in the defensive formation/personnel that they had identified as a "tell," and made his call, after which Schlueter turned to make sure Mo had heard.

I don't think the scheme is all that bad. You're giving inside leverage to the back coming across the formation, and in this case that back tends to be a pretty damn effective blocker. I do think it's funny Schlueter never turned to see if Mo needed help. His behavior almost leads me to believe he was told (in this circumstance) "Make damn sure nothing gets through inside you. Period."

It's guesswork. But the video supports it.

JTG
 

rockford

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JTG, do you or others remember the play when Big Dan got flagged for holding. He did unleash his nasty streak throwing the DE down and laying on him. I don't think that penalty killed a drive, and I felt bad for the DE on that play.
I do remember that. My impression watching it live was that it wasn't much of a hold. Seemed like the DE had lost his balance, and Faalele just helped him with a little tug.

I'll post a clip of it if it stands out while I'm re-watching.

JTG
 

GophersInIowa

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I think the most at fault on that play was Morgan. Holding it for 3.5 seconds is too long.
 

Pompous Elitist

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I think the most at fault on that play was Morgan. Holding it for 3.5 seconds is too long.
6 on 3 and the ball needs to be out in 3 seconds. Sure, you’d like it out by 2-3 seconds but one would think he’d get more time with those numbers.
 

Pompous Elitist

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My guess is Olson saw something in the defensive formation/personnel that they had identified as a "tell," and made his call, after which Schlueter turned to make sure Mo had heard.

I don't think the scheme is all that bad. You're giving inside leverage to the back coming across the formation, and in this case that back tends to be a pretty damn effective blocker. I do think it's funny Schlueter never turned to see if Mo needed help. His behavior almost leads me to believe he was told (in this circumstance) "Make damn sure nothing gets through inside you. Period."

It's guesswork. But the video supports it.

JTG
I’ve been less impressed by MI but he is a better speed bump than some RBs.
 

Pompous Elitist

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Having 8 in coverage may have made it more difficult for TM to find an open man. Any guesses on What Olson saw that made him make that call?
 

Pompous Elitist

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I’m no football genius (obviously) and am genuinely trying to learn what’s going on with this scheme - many schemes seem to call for the RB to go out on a route if there isn’t anyone to block. Is it better to have the RB available for a dump off if coverage is good downfield, to help avoid a sack?
 

MGGopher

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So, someone must have an opinion, was it a coach-mandated scheme or was Schleuter lacking HOW on that play? If it’s scheme that seems really unusual to purposefully create disadvantageous mismatches. School me.

Looking around the league in similar down, distance, situation QBs seem to get around 5,6 seconds (yes, I realize this is not the norm) to find someone. Our QB is relying on a RB to block his blindside.




.
Preface this by saying the highest level of FB I've coached is 6A varsity, so hopefully someone else can chime in. I was screaming at Schlueter during the game on that play for the general lack of awareness, but Rockford's explanation makes sense. Responsibilities are almost never pre-assigned in pass pro. Instead, you're responsible for a gap (similar to zone schemes). Normally teams "fan" block, which means you've got outside gap responsibilities and RB's clean up the inside. But if a D is running tons of inside blitzes and stunts (or if their DEs are fairly harmless and unathletic), you might go to a protection where everyone is responsible for their inside gap. Normally in such a scheme a tackle would step back outside if his inside gap isn't immediately threatened, but two reasons he wouldn't are a) the defense runs a lot of delayed blitzes (meaning the T needs to keep eyes inside the entire play and b) the T isn't very athletic and can't recover to the DE anyway, so no sense in trying and risking inside penetration. I can see both those things being the case...but I still think Schlueter needs to be aware enough to at least float back and get a piece of that DE if he's part of an unnecessary triple-team.
 
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