Up Front: The OL vs. Georgia Southern

rockford

Member
After watching Saturday's game, I thought I was as perplexed as anyone regarding the true nature of this Gopher football team. Now, after re-watching the first half (multiple times), I can say with assurance that I truly am as perplexed as anyone.

As I said elsewhere, I'm not sure if this is a team that actually refuses to lose, or a team that can barely hold its own against the second tier.

The same can be said of the OL. There have been times, on occasion, when the OL has shown a glimmer of competence. There have been more occasions when we'd have to rally to look indifferent.

I suspect the top priority of the offense -- and in turn, the OL -- has not necessarily been efficiency. In the opener, we obviously kept things particularly vanilla against SDSU. We've opened the playbook a little more the last two weeks, but I don't get the impression we've really been going for the jugular. I suspect the plan has been to see what works and what doesn't, with the focus on getting the machine running smoothly by the time the B1G season rolls around. I think the OC -- and hopefully, the OL coach -- now have a pretty good idea of where we're at and what we're capable of. I think we'll start seeing more emphasis on efficiency, which will hopefully lead to a slight uptick in productivity, particularly where the run game is concerned.

Although you'll find little evidence to support this in the stats, our run blocking hasn't been atrocious. Un-good at times, certainly. Much of the time, we seem a bit hesitant, as if we're thinking instead of doing. Other times, players inexplicably fail to execute proper techniques, which often leads to unfortunate results. In short, we've looked inexperienced, which to a fairly large extent we are.

Personally, I have about two games worth of patience left.

Not a lot to pick apart in the first half, although I may highlight a couple plays at the end of the thread. Here are the RERs:

First half
Schlueter: 93.8% run, 85.7% pass
Andries: 89.6% run, 92.9% pass
Olson: 87.5% run, 88.1% pass
Dunlap: 85.4% run, 83.3% pass
Faalele: 95.8% run, 92.9% pass

• Schlueter continues to look good on running plays.

• The normally rock-steady Andries and Olson both struggled at times.

• Dunlap is not looking like a starter ... yet.

• The first half was probably Faalele's best of the year, so far.

JTG
 

Panthadad2

Well-known member
Thanks much rockford!

On the strip sack TD return play that left a guy shooting untouched over the right guard's spot, do you think the gaffe was on running back or right guard? If I recall correctly, the RG moved over to help on the DT which left a big gap, then the RB blocked no one.
 

GSUsTALON

Active member
In my opinion GSU did well against the Gophers O & D line. In the 3rd no one scored but in the 4th the Gophers took over. Still in the second half, with no scoring in the 3rd, the Gophers Lines took control! GSU was only allowed 123 rushing for the total game. Not good for an option team. GSUs defense kept the game as close as it was.
 
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RememberMurray

Well-known member
"Although you'll find little evidence to support this in the stats, our run blocking hasn't been atrocious. Un-good at times, certainly. Much of the time, we seem a bit hesitant, as if we're thinking instead of doing. Other times, players inexplicably fail to execute proper techniques, which often leads to unfortunate results. In short, we've looked inexperienced, which to a fairly large extent we are.

Personally, I have about two games worth of patience left."


However inexperienced we are, we were even less experienced last year.

I wonder if the answer to the question could be really simple; maybe SDSU, Fresno State and GSU are just plain better than we all thought they were?
 

Otis

Well-known member
First half
Schlueter: 93.8% run, 85.7% pass
Andries: 89.6% run, 92.9% pass
Olson: 87.5% run, 88.1% pass
Dunlap: 85.4% run, 83.3% pass
Faalele: 95.8% run, 92.9% pass
JTG
How can the numbers be this good and yet the rushing totals are so mediocre. Does only 1 guy screw up on each play and that results in a bad play?
 

CurveballJesus

Well-known member
How can the numbers be this good and yet the rushing totals are so mediocre. Does only 1 guy screw up on each play and that results in a bad play?
Scheme most likely. If they’ve got 8 or 9 in the box, it’s possible for each of the o-lineman to make great blocks and still have guys running free to make the tackle.
 

60's Guy

Well-known member
Thank you Rocky! Why didn’t we gain yards if we blocked that well?
I think good news here...we have confirmation the coaches can evaluate running back performance once the guys are on campus. We do gain yards when Shannon, Rodney or Mo carry the ball. Not nearly as effective with Bryce and Cam.

Confident our offense is the most effective to date versus Purdue!
 

Bordergopher

Well-known member
Scheme most likely. If they’ve got 8 or 9 in the box, it’s possible for each of the o-lineman to make great blocks and still have guys running free to make the tackle.
I have wondered this exact thing. If teams don’t believe we can pass well, are 80% likely to run on a given down, and stack the box with eight defenders, is it even possible for the o-lineman to block everyone?


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Rescooter

Section 243
Thank you Rocky! Why didn’t we gain yards if we blocked that well?
I think good news here...we have confirmation the coaches can evaluate running back performance once the guys are on campus. We do gain yards when Shannon, Rodney or Mo carry the ball. Not nearly as effective with Bryce and Cam.

Confident our offense is the most effective to date versus Purdue!
From what I saw, the push up front was quite good. The problem though is the lateral movement of the line. The DE's are able to easily get around the corner on the Tackles on most plays. If the play is a quick hitter, we do fine. It's the plays that take a few moments to materialize that this is glaringly an issue.

We would do well to go under-center on short yardage situations. We have the push, just not the side to side movement.
 

dpodoll68

Elite Poster
However inexperienced we are, we were even less experienced last year.
Not along the OL. We replaced two senior starters with a junior and freshman, and have new starters at four positions (Faalele being the only holdover). Moreover, at least three of the five had little to no experience at their current position coming into the season.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
How can the numbers be this good and yet the rushing totals are so mediocre. Does only 1 guy screw up on each play and that results in a bad play?
There are 11 defenders on the field, all of which can make a solo tackle at best, or combine to tackle the ball carrier. The OL can only block 5 of those guys (although other defenders can get "caught up in the wash" so to speak)

If the TE or the WR screws up, and his man makes the play for a 1-yard gain, even though the OL blocked it perfectly, that won't show up in rockford's stats.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
I have wondered this exact thing. If teams don’t believe we can pass well, are 80% likely to run on a given down, and stack the box with eight defenders, is it even possible for the o-lineman to block everyone?


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Ryan Burns essentially makes the same argument that you're getting at: we need to become a team that passes the ball to set-up the run.

If we can do that, we'll see more 7-man fronts, which gives us a much better chance to run the ball.


Scheme wise, if we always have a TE, and teams know that this player is really just a 6th OL and is never going to be passed the ball, they can always commit another defender to the front to stop the run.

Something I can't stand about our scheme. Either cut the TE loose ... or just don't use them. Go with two slot receivers, or put a TE sized guy out in the slot. At least it moves the defender out of the box.
 

rockford

Member
Scheme most likely. If they’ve got 8 or 9 in the box, it’s possible for each of the o-lineman to make great blocks and still have guys running free to make the tackle.
BINGO! Or at least, that's my suspicion.

When I watch a game live, I watch mostly as a fan. I'm watching where the ball goes. Picking up all the other stuff is secondary.

When I critique line play, I watch each offensive play 5-10 times, but I'm always focusing solely on offensive linemen, trying to figure out what they're trying to accomplish, and analyzing if they used proper technique in carrying out that assignment.

I rarely look too closely at defenses, unless it's a matter of trying to figure out why a certain defender was unblocked. So you can take this with a large grain of salt: I suspect all three teams we've faced so far were devoted to stopping our run game, and were frequently overloading the box. So as @CurveballJesus said, it's possible for all five OL to be making decent blocks, and there's still nowhere to run.

The stunts SDSU threw at us -- and which we handled poorly -- seem to have taken some of the fire out of this group. As a result, we seem to be reacting more than attacking, and that's making it more difficult to move defenders off the line. That makes for crowded running lanes. Throw in an extra defender and you have a clustercuss.

Just a suspicion. I'm offering no evidence.

JTG
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
RE: reacting more than attacking.

Every play has a different blocking assignment, for each different defensive formation that can come up, and a lot of plays employ different techniques that have to be mastered as well.

All that thinkin' pre-snap can make a guy play slow. Paralysis by analysis.
 

die hard gopher

Well-known member
How can the numbers be this good and yet the rushing totals are so mediocre. Does only 1 guy screw up on each play and that results in a bad play?
This was the first half. Rodney averaged over 5 yards a carry in the first half.

It was the second half where we didn't play well.
 

rockford

Member
RE: reacting more than attacking.

Every play has a different blocking assignment, for each different defensive formation that can come up, and a lot of plays employ different techniques that have to be mastered as well.

All that thinkin' pre-snap can make a guy play slow. Paralysis by analysis.
Yes, I think that's part of the "inexperience" thing.

Listen, we know that Andries, Olson and Faalele can get the job done. They were all above average last year. They'll likely be fine, particularly as Andries and Olson get used to their new positions.

Schlueter has looked like a solid run blocker. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that I sometimes enjoy watching him run block. Dude gets off the ball and hits, and those are two things I love in a lineman. His pass blocking is much rougher ... but you can help him out with a TE or RB, so that doesn't have to be a deal-breaker.

At this point, I'm more concerned with Dunlap. He doesn't display the aggressiveness that Schlueter sometimes does, and he just plain gets caught flat-footed too often. Again, those are the hallmarks of inexperience. But we're gonna need him to pick it up a bit.

JTG
 

GFBfan

Well-known member
RE: reacting more than attacking.

Every play has a different blocking assignment, for each different defensive formation that can come up, and a lot of plays employ different techniques that have to be mastered as well.

All that thinkin' pre-snap can make a guy play slow. Paralysis by analysis.
This is where our no huddle offense might hurt the OL. They are at the line, get a play call, think what their assignment is based on alignment, then wait and when the play gets changed with under 10 seconds on the play clock have to rethink their assignment, which maybe doesn't give them enough time to get comfortable with what they are to actually do.

Had Andries stayed alongside Faalele, I would think right now that side of the line would be considerably better than what we've seen out of anyone so far, since they played so many snaps together last year. Because Olson moved to C and Andries moved to LG and new Starters at LT in Schlueter and RG in Dunlop, it makes for more uncertainty between all of them. As the year goes on the uncertainty will go away and they should be able to have less of the missteps and blown assignments. The competition is going to be better, but I believe they will get things worked out and be more dominant in the run game than they have shown so far and will also improve in their pass blocking as a group.
 

rockford

Member
The third quarter is when we should have simply put this one away. I have no idea what the time of possession was in this quarter, but did GSU manage to run more than 3-4 offensive plays?

I'm going to try to put up some video later, but of course it's not easy. I've been re-watching the BTN 60 version of the game, which is a big time-saver for me. Unfortunately, for some reason it seems to have been recorded in low-res. So I'll have to dig into the full-game film to get watchable video.

In the meantime, here are the numbers:

Third quarter:

Schlueter: 91.7% run, 81% pass
Andries: 86.1% run, 100% pass
Olson: 88.9% run, 85.7% pass
Dunlap: 83.3% run, 76.2% pass
Faalele: 94.4% run, 90.5% pass

Rough quarter for Dunlap. Out of 19 plays, I scored him a "3" on only 9. More on that later.

JTG
 

dpodoll68

Elite Poster
The third quarter is when we should have simply put this one away. I have no idea what the time of possession was in this quarter, but did GSU manage to run more than 3-4 offensive plays?

I'm going to try to put up some video later, but of course it's not easy. I've been re-watching the BTN 60 version of the game, which is a big time-saver for me. Unfortunately, for some reason it seems to have been recorded in low-res. So I'll have to dig into the full-game film to get watchable video.

In the meantime, here are the numbers:

Third quarter:

Schlueter: 91.7% run, 81% pass
Andries: 86.1% run, 100% pass
Olson: 88.9% run, 85.7% pass
Dunlap: 83.3% run, 76.2% pass
Faalele: 94.4% run, 90.5% pass

Rough quarter for Dunlap. Out of 19 plays, I scored him a "3" on only 9. More on that later.

JTG
GSU's time of possession in the 3rd quarter was 3:49. They had one drive of 5 plays for 7 yards.
 

gopherdudepart2

Well-known member
How much are the low snaps from Olson, and missed blocks by the Tight ends an running backs effecting things. To me one if the biggest problems have been all the short arm snaps to the QB near the ground. Throws off timing and have nearly caused turnovers the short snaps. Dunlap at right guard is struggling the most, seems to block down to the tackle a lot sliding over for double instead of picking up ends after someone blocks the Blitzer outside. I don't think the line has been been awful but little mistakes are giving up sacks and stalling drives. The low snaps continue to throw things off. Schleuter playing fine to good, it is right guard Dunlap struggling most, but he is the young like the Right tackle.
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PitinoFan

Well-known member
Dunlap is struggling the most, and it’s not even close. I can’t say whether these are communication issues. He’s just getting beat badly on a regular basis. Schleuter looks like an All-Pro in comparison.


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MplsGopher

Well-known member
I'm taking a wild guess here, but while Dunlap has all the physical potential in the world to be an All-Big Ten OL, I think the game might be moving a little too fast for him right now.

If that's true, I don't know what would be the correct answer, for this season. Do you put Andries or Olson at RG, and bring in JMS? Or do you leave Dunlap in there and coach him up the best you can, and let him keep gaining experience.

That's why the coaches make the big bucks, they get to make these decisions.
 

Panthadad2

Well-known member
The O line needs to get better at reading the "zone" in their scheme and generally working as a unit. No question on that. They could narrow their splits a bit to cut down on whiffs on stunters, but that negatively impacts their inside zone running game.

In the s**tshow that was the 2nd half of the GSU game, it didn't help that Rodney and Mo were out. They both read blocks very well in the running game, can make their own yards, and are at least serviceable in pass blocking scheme. When defenses stack the box against the inside zone run play, it seems to place a ton of responsibility on the ball carrier to pick the correct lane and maybe blast his own hole.

The RB replacements are much lighter, inexperienced, and got burned when pass blocking (see the strip sack). If the top backs get knocked out of the game again, the team might have to go to a pass first mentality to open the running game
 

rockford

Member
I'm taking a wild guess here, but while Dunlap has all the physical potential in the world to be an All-Big Ten OL, I think the game might be moving a little too fast for him right now.

If that's true, I don't know what would be the correct answer, for this season. Do you put Andries or Olson at RG, and bring in JMS? Or do you leave Dunlap in there and coach him up the best you can, and let him keep gaining experience.
I'm coming to the same conclusion. Dunlap hasn't seemed up to the task so far this year. That doesn't mean he can't (or won't) get there. But it does mean there are going to be some growing pains.

Same can be said for Schlueter at LT. Kid has been an impressive run blocker at times. His pass blocking could improve, and hopefully will, with experience.

Dunlap, by comparison, has not yet proven to be an asset in either facet of the game.

If the staff feels compelled to make a move, I suspect we would see Schmitz at center, with Olson going back to LG and Andries going back to RG.

There have been two occasions where one of the starting guards had to come out for a play. In both instances, we saw Schmitz come in at center and Olson slide to G. They obviously think Schmitz can be more of an asset at center than filling in at G.

I'm not advocating for that move, but there's evidence to support its possibility.

In the meantime, I'll trust the coaching staff that works with these guys everyday.

JTG
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
The O line needs to get better at reading the "zone" in their scheme and generally working as a unit. No question on that. They could narrow their splits a bit to cut down on whiffs on stunters, but that negatively impacts their inside zone running game.

In the s**tshow that was the 2nd half of the GSU game, it didn't help that Rodney and Mo were out. They both read blocks very well in the running game, can make their own yards, and are at least serviceable in pass blocking scheme. When defenses stack the box against the inside zone run play, it seems to place a ton of responsibility on the ball carrier to pick the correct lane and maybe blast his own hole.

The RB replacements are much lighter, inexperienced, and got burned when pass blocking (see the strip sack). If the top backs get knocked out of the game again, the team might have to go to a pass first mentality to open the running game
Your last sentence I think is vital.

Kirk C.'s biggest thing is he needs to realize when the running game has stopped working, sooner, and trust Tanner to win the game for us. We have amazing WRs, get them the ball, they will do the rest.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
I'm coming to the same conclusion. Dunlap hasn't seemed up to the task so far this year. That doesn't mean he can't (or won't) get there. But it does mean there are going to be some growing pains.

Same can be said for Schlueter at LT. Kid has been an impressive run blocker at times. His pass blocking could improve, and hopefully will, with experience.

Dunlap, by comparison, has not yet proven to be an asset in either facet of the game.

If the staff feels compelled to make a move, I suspect we would see Schmitz at center, with Olson going back to LG and Andries going back to RG.

There have been two occasions where one of the starting guards had to come out for a play. In both instances, we saw Schmitz come in at center and Olson slide to G. They obviously think Schmitz can be more of an asset at center than filling in at G.

I'm not advocating for that move, but there's evidence to support its possibility.

In the meantime, I'll trust the coaching staff that works with these guys everyday.

JTG
That makes sense to me. Against most defenses we'll see 40 fronts, which usually leaves the center uncovered at the snap. So, at least on paper, the Center has the "easiest" job, physically (but also can be the most difficult job, mentally).

Another potential benefit, is that Olson's shotgun snaps have been suspect at times, which just can't happen in an offense that runs almost all plays out of shotgun. I don't know that JMS's snaps are better, though. Haven't seen him play enough.
 

rockford

Member
GSU's time of possession in the 3rd quarter was 3:49. They had one drive of 5 plays for 7 yards.
Thanks for the data, @dpodoll68. By comparison, we ran 20 plays for 75 yards in the third quarter, which closed with the Gophers about to score and extend their lead to 28-20.

I said earlier we should have taken control in the third quarter. We did. We just gave it back in the fourth.

JTG
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
By the way, what happened to JJ Guedet? I know he's a true freshman, and we'd prefer to redshirt him I'm sure, but I thought he enrolled early and coaches raved about him in spring practice? Maybe I don't recall, was he hurt this fall camp or summer?
 



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