Up Front: The OL vs. Georgia Southern

Pete smith

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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

Lot’s of good ideas. I think, from my coaching experience that forcing the OL to be in their stance for 15 to 20 seconds is troubling. Just not conducive to getting of the ball. Plus when your tight end couldn’t block my mother. It will be difficult to run the ball regardless the ball carrier. The OL coach Callahan has his work cut for him. I think the whole offensive scheme needs some readjustment. Get away from all the ‚‘looks‘‘ towards the bench. Get the play called, snap the ball and knock someone down. Get up under center if the center isn’t 100% on the shotgun snaps. On short yardage, why make the handoff 3/4 yards deep? A 4th and 1, now becomes 4th and 4 or 5.
 

die hard gopher

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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?

He was a little banged up at the start of fall camp but is healthy now and yes, we are trying to redshirt him.
 

MplsGopher

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He was a little banged up at the start of fall camp but is healthy now and yes, we are trying to redshirt him.

Thanks.

We would have preferred to redshirt Faalele too, but we needed him too badly to replace someone ........
 

Oregon Gopher

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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?

With the RER numbers Rocky is quoting for the game there’s only a 60% chance that all 5 linemen do a good job- and that doesn’t even take into consideration the efficiency of our tight end. Only takes one guy missing his assignment that leads to a wasted play.


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Fran's the Man

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, it is right guard Dunlap struggling most, but he is the young like the Right tackle.
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In my one and only conversation with Fran Tarkington (I ran into him in the Atlanta airport one day) while we were talking I asked him about the shotgun formation and he didn't like it at all. He said a QB should always be under center. The secondary reason he didn't like it is that it limits the plays you can run on O so it lets the D better cover what you're doing, and the primary reason is that if a QB is in shotgun, instead of watching the receivers run routes as you're dropping back to pass, the QB has to first watch the snap and adjust to it. As a QB, he felt that first part of the play was critical as that's when the D had to commit to coverage so he'd know where to pass and/or whether to hand off a ball to an RB. He also spent time showing me how a QB should turn their hips when they drop back, versus stepping backwards. Made for kind of an interesting airport scene, people stopping to watch an old guy squat, stand up, turn hips, and run backwards for a few steps.
 
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rockford

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Let's take a look at a play from the third quarter. This is right after QB Morgan scrambled for 17 yards on 3rd-and-15. It is the 11th play of the drive.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/YlScQ41aZklOzFYHNS" width="480" height="270" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/YlScQ41aZklOzFYHNS">via GIPHY</a></p>

Take note of Dunlap (#51). His assignment is to get a chip on the DL to set up Faalele, then attack the LB. He accomplishes the first part, but is too slow in getting to the second level. Guess whose man stops the ballcarrier for a short gain?

Not an easy assignment, to be sure. Faalele struggled when facing the same task last year. But this is an assignment that guards are typically called on to make much more frequently than a tackle. It can't be beyond the scope of a starting guard, and so far Dunlap does not look good in this type of role.

Just for fun, let's look at a few other things, starting at the bottom of the screen. Schlueter (#70) gets a nice jump and pops the DE, who then gets cleaned up and driven inside by TE Paulson (#80). Schlueter slides off and gets a shoulder into the playside LB, steering him out of the hole. Andries takes on a charging LB and drives him down the line. Olson and Faalele handle their men.

A play where just about everything went right. But instead of picking up 5+ yards, we got two.

JTG
 

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Let's take a look at a play from the third quarter. This is right after QB Morgan scrambled for 17 yards on 3rd-and-15. It is the 11th play of the drive.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/YlScQ41aZklOzFYHNS" width="480" height="270" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/YlScQ41aZklOzFYHNS">via GIPHY</a></p>

Take note of Dunlap (#51). His assignment is to get a chip on the DL to set up Faalele, then attack the LB. He accomplishes the first part, but is too slow in getting to the second level. Guess whose man stops the ballcarrier for a short gain?

Not an easy assignment, to be sure. Faalele struggled when facing the same task last year. But this is an assignment that guards are typically called on to make much more frequently than a tackle. It can't be beyond the scope of a starting guard, and so far Dunlap does not look good in this type of role.

Just for fun, let's look at a few other things, starting at the bottom of the screen. Schlueter (#70) gets a nice jump and pops the DE, who then gets cleaned up and driven inside by TE Paulson (#80). Schlueter slides off and gets a shoulder into the playside LB, steering him out of the hole. Andries takes on a charging LB and drives him down the line. Olson and Faalele handle their men.

A play where just about everything went right. But instead of picking up 5+ yards, we got two.

JTG

That's a tough one for Dunlap but he should still make the block after the DE angles outside.

Why in god's name is this not a smoke route to the stacked receivers. The corner isn't in the picture, and the nickel, was 50/50 and the entire game was crashing in on running plays. Not to mention they couldn't tackle Tyler Johnson or Bateman.

This is simple stuff. KC isn't a good offensive coordinator. He doesn't outscheme other coaches, he has a vanilla offense that has some small RPO capabilities that relies on having better players than the other team. Inside zone running plays and slant routes are a bulk of our offense. Those are the first plays installed in every other offense in the country, but we rely on them as a majority of our offense.
 

MplsGopher

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Let's take a look at a play from the third quarter. This is right after QB Morgan scrambled for 17 yards on 3rd-and-15. It is the 11th play of the drive.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/YlScQ41aZklOzFYHNS" width="480" height="270" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/YlScQ41aZklOzFYHNS">via GIPHY</a></p>

Take note of Dunlap (#51). His assignment is to get a chip on the DL to set up Faalele, then attack the LB. He accomplishes the first part, but is too slow in getting to the second level. Guess whose man stops the ballcarrier for a short gain?

Not an easy assignment, to be sure. Faalele struggled when facing the same task last year. But this is an assignment that guards are typically called on to make much more frequently than a tackle. It can't be beyond the scope of a starting guard, and so far Dunlap does not look good in this type of role.

Just for fun, let's look at a few other things, starting at the bottom of the screen. Schlueter (#70) gets a nice jump and pops the DE, who then gets cleaned up and driven inside by TE Paulson (#80). Schlueter slides off and gets a shoulder into the playside LB, steering him out of the hole. Andries takes on a charging LB and drives him down the line. Olson and Faalele handle their men.

A play where just about everything went right. But instead of picking up 5+ yards, we got two.

JTG

And look at that: it was a 6 man front(!) and we had 6 blockers (including TE). Should’ve been at least a 5 yard run. Kirk C. must’ve been slamming his fists into the booth desk.
 

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On the play following the one above, we inexplicably went to the Wildcat formation on second and long ... and gave back the few yards we had gained on first. Andries got dinged up on the play, so Schmitz (#60) came in at center.

And on 3rd-and-10, this happened:

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/dsQeo94OkmIdNvRtnj" width="480" height="270" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/gophers-football-dsQeo94OkmIdNvRtnj">via GIPHY</a></p>

A few things go wrong here, and they all involve new blood on the OL. First, Schlueter gets beaten on an inside move, allowing early pressure. (Andries and Olson do a nice job reacting to limit the damage.) Then the left DE/LB loops all the way around the front, going to the outside of Schlueter and sacking the QB.

Neither Dunlap nor Schmitz blocked anyone on the play. Both saw the looping lineman, but neither were able to get there.

The TV crew tried to portray this is a coverage sack. By my watch, Morgan had 2.7 seconds before he had to pull the ball down and start scrambling. We were obviously trying to get the ball downfield. I'll pin this sack on poor pass protection on a play where we could least afford it.

JTG
 
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GFBfan

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On the play following the one above, we inexplicably went to the Wildcat formation on second and long ... and gave back the few yards we had gained on first. Andries got dinged up on the play, so Schmitz (#60) came in at center.

And on 3rd-and-10, this happened:

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/dsQeo94OkmIdNvRtnj" width="480" height="270" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/gophers-football-dsQeo94OkmIdNvRtnj">via GIPHY</a></p>

A few things go wrong here, and they all involve new blood on the OL. First, Schlueter gets beaten on an inside move, allowing early pressure. (Andries and Olson do a nice job reacting to limit the damage.) Then the left DE/LB loops all the way around the front, going to the outside of Schlueter and sacking the QB.

Neither Dunlap nor Schmitz blocked anyone on the play. Both saw the looping lineman, but neither were able to get there.

The TV crew tried to portray this is a coverage sack. By my watch, Morgan had 2.7 seconds before he had to pull the ball down and start scrambling. We were obviously trying to get the ball downfield. I'll pin this sack on poor pass protection on a play where we could least afford it.

JTG
Morgan didn't help on this by not stepping up into the pocket and instead tried to scramble out to the left where 3 defenders were at.
 

GFBfan

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That's a tough one for Dunlap but he should still make the block after the DE angles outside.

Why in god's name is this not a smoke route to the stacked receivers. The corner isn't in the picture, and the nickel, was 50/50 and the entire game was crashing in on running plays. Not to mention they couldn't tackle Tyler Johnson or Bateman.

This is simple stuff. KC isn't a good offensive coordinator. He doesn't outscheme other coaches, he has a vanilla offense that has some small RPO capabilities that relies on having better players than the other team. Inside zone running plays and slant routes are a bulk of our offense. Those are the first plays installed in every other offense in the country, but we rely on them as a majority of our offense.

Made in tougher by his poor footwork on the play and also by turning his shoulders out to help Big Dan. Had he stayed square to the LOS and one armed the DE to Dan without taking so many steps out with the DE, he would have had a better chance to get that LB.
 

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Here's a play from later in the third quarter, right after a 33-yard completion to Autman Bell.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/RlNJVaIJP2nxtt3p4u" width="480" height="278" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/RlNJVaIJP2nxtt3p4u">via GIPHY</a></p>
e
Look familiar? Only difference between this and the first play highlighted above is the number of men GSU has in the box. Looks pretty crowded to me. I count 7-8 run defenders in an area where we have six blockers. That's probably not gonna work out well even if every OL does their job. And they don't.

Note again that Dunlap is late getting to the LB. Note also that Schlueter, who doesn't get help from the TE this time, drives the DL inside, but is unable to get a piece of the LB, who meets the ballcarrier. (It's probably asking too much for Schlueter to make both blocks in this type of alignment. )

JTG
 

rockford

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Made in tougher by his poor footwork on the play and also by turning his shoulders out to help Big Dan. Had he stayed square to the LOS and one armed the DE to Dan without taking so many steps out with the DE, he would have had a better chance to get that LB.

My thoughts exactly.

He didn't need to dilly dally on the line. Shoot a straight arm into that man and let Big Dan finish him up. It doesn't take more than a jab step and contact before continuing upfield.

JTG
 

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Here's a play from later in the third quarter, right after a 33-yard completion to Autman Bell.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/RlNJVaIJP2nxtt3p4u" width="480" height="278" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/RlNJVaIJP2nxtt3p4u">via GIPHY</a></p>
e
Look familiar? Only difference between this and the first play highlighted above is the number of men GSU has in the box. Looks pretty crowded to me. I count 7-8 run defenders in an area where we have six blockers. That's probably not gonna work out well even if every OL does their job. And they don't.

Note again that Dunlap is late getting to the LB. Note also that Schlueter, who doesn't get help from the TE this time, drives the DL inside, but is unable to get a piece of the LB, who meets the ballcarrier. (It's probably asking too much for Schlueter to make both blocks in this type of alignment. )

JTG

The OL on this play blocks the DL and tries to get the 3 LB's (36, 11 and 47), which are more than likely the D players they are to block and the DB's in the box the RB has to make miss. Neither DB in the box makes the tackle and if a RB can't make a DB miss or can't at least fall forward on DB contact, then we need a new RB.
To me, Andries is the one who misses the LB that makes the tackle. His initial technique is really good in that he keeps his shoulders square and steps towards the DL over Olson, sees that guy go away from him and then should have went up to that LB rather than helping Schlueter out, Sam drove his DE down inside really well and should have just stayed on him. The TE does a nice job of not stepping down too far inside and picks up the OLB. Dunlop does better with his shoulders initially, but still takes too many steps at the DE over Faalele and then turns his shoulders to make contact with the DE, which wasn't really needed and because of that still misses the LB. Had he done more what Blaise did on this play he would have been able to block the LB over him.
 

gopherdudepart2

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That's a tough one for Dunlap but he should still make the block after the DE angles outside.

Why in god's name is this not a smoke route to the stacked receivers. The corner isn't in the picture, and the nickel, was 50/50 and the entire game was crashing in on running plays. Not to mention they couldn't tackle Tyler Johnson or Bateman.

This is simple stuff. KC isn't a good offensive coordinator. He doesn't outscheme other coaches, he has a vanilla offense that has some small RPO capabilities that relies on having better players than the other team. Inside zone running plays and slant routes are a bulk of our offense. Those are the first plays installed in every other offense in the country, but we rely on them as a majority of our offense.
I wouldn't call KC not a good coordonator. On that play Morgan would have had to audible to smoke routeCiarroca gives the players options from the first play call and builds throughout season on what they can execute with personal they have. Keep in mind he is trying to give the players the best chance to succeed, minimize risk of sacks and turnovers. What a lot of people call Vanilla, I call controlling the clock, and trying to produce a lot of offensive plays and limit turnovers. To me we are seeing the Gophers play close games because this is what they need to do right now to win. This program is still building depth, and Morgan isn't the best thrower to his right side, the backside, stretch and boundary routes are tough for him to his right. It's a tell the Gophers have to limit or hide from the defense exploiting the QB's weaker arm.
 
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rockford

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Part of the "problem" is that Schlueter drives his man so far inside he pins Andries inside. (The DE was crashing, and Schlueter just took him where he wanted to go.) Andries ends up falling on his man in the backfield.

JTG
 

rockford

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I wouldn't call KC not a good coordonator. He gives the players options from the first play call. Keep in mind he is trying to give the players the best chance to succeed, minimize risk of sacks and turnovers. What a lot of people call Vanilla I call controlling the clock, and trying to produce a lot of offensive plays and limit turnovers. To me we are seeing the Gophers play close games because this is what they need to do right now to win.

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I have no problem with a ball-control offense. The Gophers did exactly what they wanted to do in the third quarter -- controlled the ball and the clock, and got in position to take an eight-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter. As was pointed out earlier, GSU only ran five plays in the quarter.

It took some stupid penalties, a special teams breakdown, AND a strip-sack and fumble return for a touchdown (all within what, 10 minutes of clock time?) to keep GSU in the game.

I liked what KC did with the offense last year. I like where it's going this year. I hope we get there, and that we stay healthy at QB and OL.

JTG
 

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Here's a play from later in the third quarter, right after a 33-yard completion to Autman Bell.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/RlNJVaIJP2nxtt3p4u" width="480" height="278" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/RlNJVaIJP2nxtt3p4u">via GIPHY</a></p>
e
Look familiar? Only difference between this and the first play highlighted above is the number of men GSU has in the box. Looks pretty crowded to me. I count 7-8 run defenders in an area where we have six blockers. That's probably not gonna work out well even if every OL does their job. And they don't.

Note again that Dunlap is late getting to the LB. Note also that Schlueter, who doesn't get help from the TE this time, drives the DL inside, but is unable to get a piece of the LB, who meets the ballcarrier. (It's probably asking too much for Schlueter to make both blocks in this type of alignment. )

JTG

Any thoughts on why we aren’t throwing at this defense?
 

PitinoFan

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Any thoughts on why we aren’t throwing at this defense?

That’s a great question. Defenses are not respecting the passing game much, because they know the offense is going to run the ball with any kind of a lead. I’m to the point where I think they should just throw the ball up and down the field. In each of the three games, they started off throwing with plenty of success, and went away from it for a long period of time, until they eventually fell behind in these games, and had no choice but to air it out again (with the exception of the SDSU game, where they were able to run successfully to retake the lead), which they were able to do with success. If Morgan has to throw for 4000 yards, 30 TDs and 15 INTs to get the job done, so be it.


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Question for Rockford, on these plays you posted how did you score each OL?
 

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Question for Rockford, on these plays you posted how did you score each OL?

D'oh! You're gonna make me go through my notes?!

:p

First play, I scored it 3's across the board, except for Dunlap, who I gave a 2. I could easily have given him a 1. Must have been feeling generous.

Second play (the sack), I scored it 2's across the board, except for Faalele, who I gave a 3. I didn't grade Schmitz on the play, 'cuz it was his only play, and I couldn't easily decide how culpable he was.

Third play, 3's across the board, except for Dunlap, who got a 2. Again, I could easily have gone with a 1, but probably didn't because the play wasn't going anywhere anyway.

As I said earlier, Dunlap has a tough row to hoe on these two runs. When I score something a 2, that's already a failing grade for the play. You really gotta screw up to get a 1 or a 0.

Out of 399 individual critiques this game, I "awarded" about 20 1's or 0's.

For the game:
Schlueter: 91.2% run, 85.7% pass
Andries: 86.8% run, 93.5% pass
Olson: 89.5% run, 89.7% pass
Dunlap: 85.1% run, 83.3% pass
Faalele: 93.9% run, 91.3% pass

CUMULATIVE OL RER:
Rushing: 89.3%
Passing: 88.7%

I'll have some closing thoughts tomorrow.

JTG
 

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rockford, if you post the data for each game so far, I'd be happy to plot it on a chart showing the progression of the scores over the games, and then post a picture of that on here.
 

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rockford, if you post the data for each game so far, I'd be happy to plot it on a chart showing the progression of the scores over the games, and then post a picture of that on here.

Thanks, MnplsGopher! I'll be putting up a new post in the next day or two that encapsulates the non-conference slate. I'll provide the data there. Anything you can do to help visualize that data would be appreciated.

JTG
 

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This was one wild game, or at least a really weird second half. Consider:

In the entire second half, GSU ran just 12 offensive plays for 14 total yards -- yet managed to go from one point down at the half to a four-point lead with 3:47 left in the game.

Let that sink in.

To a very large extent, we did exactly what we wanted to do: Control the ball and the clock. The defense was lights out in the second half. And yet the game nearly slipped away, due to a special teams gaffe and a strip-sack, both of which led to long touchdowns for GSU.

Did we nearly lose because the offense was ineffective? Hardly. Yeah, the rushing numbers are relatively unimpressive, but that's primarily because GSU was throwing everything into the box. Our air corps made 'em pay for that, just as it's supposed to do. And in terms of getting the job done in pressure situations, you can't fault the offense. On the final game-winning drive we overcame two BS holding calls, a third-and-29 and a first-and-20.

Yes, I was unhappy to be behind late in the fourth quarter. But rather than be enraged or despondent, I'm going to take heart in the fact that the Gophers overcame, well, being the Gophers. For those of us who have followed U of M football for several decades, there's little more "Gopheresque" than losing a game like this, a game you should have won easily.

Yet this team didn't lose. They rallied. And won. Three straight games.

Are there things we need to clean up? Absolutely. Are we lost in the wilderness? Hell no.

Bring on the B1G.

JTG
 

Replacement Gopher

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This was one wild game, or at least a really weird second half. Consider:

In the entire second half, GSU ran just 12 offensive plays for 14 total yards -- yet managed to go from one point down at the half to a four-point lead with 3:47 left in the game.

Let that sink in.

To a very large extent, we did exactly what we wanted to do: Control the ball and the clock. The defense was lights out in the second half. And yet the game nearly slipped away, due to a special teams gaffe and a strip-sack, both of which led to long touchdowns for GSU.

Did we nearly lose because the offense was ineffective? Hardly. Yeah, the rushing numbers are relatively unimpressive, but that's primarily because GSU was throwing everything into the box. Our air corps made 'em pay for that, just as it's supposed to do. And in terms of getting the job done in pressure situations, you can't fault the offense. On the final game-winning drive we overcame two BS holding calls, a third-and-29 and a first-and-20.

Yes, I was unhappy to be behind late in the fourth quarter. But rather than be enraged or despondent, I'm going to take heart in the fact that the Gophers overcame, well, being the Gophers. For those of us who have followed U of M football for several decades, there's little more "Gopheresque" than losing a game like this, a game you should have won easily.

Yet this team didn't lose. They rallied. And won. Three straight games.

Are there things we need to clean up? Absolutely. Are we lost in the wilderness? Hell no.

Bring on the B1G.

JTG

Post of the Day!!!
 

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Let's take a look at a play from the third quarter. This is right after QB Morgan scrambled for 17 yards on 3rd-and-15. It is the 11th play of the drive.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/YlScQ41aZklOzFYHNS" width="480" height="270" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/YlScQ41aZklOzFYHNS">via GIPHY</a></p>

Take note of Dunlap (#51). His assignment is to get a chip on the DL to set up Faalele, then attack the LB. He accomplishes the first part, but is too slow in getting to the second level. Guess whose man stops the ballcarrier for a short gain?

Not an easy assignment, to be sure. Faalele struggled when facing the same task last year. But this is an assignment that guards are typically called on to make much more frequently than a tackle. It can't be beyond the scope of a starting guard, and so far Dunlap does not look good in this type of role.

Just for fun, let's look at a few other things, starting at the bottom of the screen. Schlueter (#70) gets a nice jump and pops the DE, who then gets cleaned up and driven inside by TE Paulson (#80). Schlueter slides off and gets a shoulder into the playside LB, steering him out of the hole. Andries takes on a charging LB and drives him down the line. Olson and Faalele handle their men.

A play where just about everything went right. But instead of picking up 5+ yards, we got two.

JTG

This play illustrates why inside zone is hard to run. Both right guard and left tackle have a gap responsibility to their right they step and turn their shoulders in making contact making it very very difficult to re-route back to their progression. What happens then is they don't cover their gaps correctly the next time alowing penetration by the down lineman slanting into their gap. Offensive lineman become tentative and stand and look. It's a read scheme, not an attacking scheme. Arizona State last year was struggling with their offense and they decided to drop it. Their offensive run game improved quite a bit. If you look at the success that Wisconsin has had with their big offensive lineman it hasn't been with inside zone. Mostly with counters with double teams and angle blocking and pin and pulls with angles. Much more aggressive schemes vs the inside zone scheme.
 

MplsGopher

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This play illustrates why inside zone is hard to run. Both right guard and left tackle have a gap responsibility to their right they step and turn their shoulders in making contact making it very very difficult to re-route back to their progression. What happens then is they don't cover their gaps correctly the next time alowing penetration by the down lineman slanting into their gap. Offensive lineman become tentative and stand and look. It's a read scheme, not an attacking scheme. Arizona State last year was struggling with their offense and they decided to drop it. Their offensive run game improved quite a bit. If you look at the success that Wisconsin has had with their big offensive lineman it hasn't been with inside zone. Mostly with counters with double teams and angle blocking and pin and pulls with angles. Much more aggressive schemes vs the inside zone scheme.

I agree 100%.

You can absolutely have success with zone blocking, many teams have done it in college and pros. But I do think it has downsides (just like everything, sure), and I think you hit it pretty accurately with what has to be at least a component of why we sometimes have struggled to run the ball.
 
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