Up Front: The OL vs. Illinois

rockford

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Whenever I see a team execute at a high level, I feel like I'm watching a sport "performed," rather than merely played. There were times Saturday when our offensive line performed football.

In addition, the OL at times seemed to exhibit more aggressiveness than it has in previous games.

Is this group starting to hit its stride? Let's go see. Lot's of interesting stuff to look at in the first quarter.

Our first play from scrimmage (a 6-yard run by Smith) set the tone. Watch in particular the teamwork of Dunlap (#51), Faalele (#78) and TE Paulson (#80).

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/Ln8te7c1Yi6pq3dYtg" width="480" height="302" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/Ln8te7c1Yi6pq3dYtg">via GIPHY</a></p>

Dunlap gets a hand on the DL, making it easier for Olson (#64) to make his block, before getting out and at least getting a shove on the LB, who is then immediately engaged by Paulson. At the snap, Paulson helped Faalele with his block before sliding out and driving the LB a good five yards upfield. That's a lot of moving parts, and they were all in sync.

In the next play, watch Olson get a solid block on the DL before catching sight of the late-blitzing LB. Olson comes off the lineman and chills the LB. (He and Andries are probably the only linemen we have capable of reacting that quickly.) The freed-up lineman succeeds in getting in on the tackle, but because we got a superior push from the line, we pick up four yards. Speaking of push, check out Schmitz (#60). That's a hell of an accomplishment, snapping the ball and driving a DT three yards off the line.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/jn888pDlN9LvIqb6pR" width="480" height="270" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/jn888pDlN9LvIqb6pR">via GIPHY</a></p>

Of course, even when you (nearly) do everything right, sometimes the other guys do it better. The Illinois pick-six was aided and abetted by superior execution of a stunt, with a DT looping from the right all the way around the left end and directly into QB Morgan's face. But the rest of the defensive lineman did such an excellent job engaging our OL, I don't see how our guys could possibly have picked it up.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/ckSWMVulHmrEYn7yMQ" width="480" height="314" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/ckSWMVulHmrEYn7yMQ">via GIPHY</a></p>

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/ighFfzfgjdGoWVzepr" width="480" height="314" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/ighFfzfgjdGoWVzepr">via GIPHY</a></p>

And, while we're at it, let's focus on Faalele on this pass from our first possession, where he inexplicably lets a pass rusher slide through to his inside and deck Morgan.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/KGHstvGOD0ez5bKU9G" width="480" height="314" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/KGHstvGOD0ez5bKU9G">via GIPHY</a></p>

A completely unforced error, and one of those things that can drive you crazy about Faalele. Few opponents are gonna beat him physically. But he defeats himself far too frequently.

For the quarter:

Rushing

Schlueter (13) 97.4%
Andries (11) 93.9%
Olson (13) 97.4%
Schmitz (2) 83.3%
Dunlap (13) 97.4%
Faalele (13) 94.9%

Passing
Schlueter (7) 90.5%
Andries (6) 100%
Olson (7) 95.2%
Schmitz (1) 100%
Dunlap (7) 100%
Faalele (7) 85.7%

That's some damn nice work.

JTG
 

MplsGopher

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That last GIF you show is one thing I hate about zone/gap schemes. No one really "owns" anyone, you own a gap. It looked at the start like Dunlap had the guy, so I'm guessing Faalele assumed that and then started looking around for someone to block.

Then the guy makes a move to Dunlap's right and Dunlap assumes that Faalele will be there to pick him up (since that's his gap to protect).
 

rockford

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I don't mind a zone pass-blocking scheme. Like most schemes, it's great ... theoretically. But it goes to hell in a hurry if one guy neglects his responsibility. In this case it's Faalele, who seems to be expecting a late rush from the outside, which never transpires.

I think the breakdown on the pick-six is a better illustration of how a zone scheme goes wrong. That DT is coming in from an entirely different zip code, and Faalele and Dunlap are both fully engaged, so they can't open up an inside lane by going after him. Our only chance -- without a TE or RB in pass protection -- is for Andries to realize the threat and cut him off, and that would have taken an extraordinary play. As it went down, Andries first looked to see if Schlueter needed help, and by the time he looked back it was too late.

OTOH, if Morgan merely throws an incompletion, we're probably not even talking about this play. :D

JTG
 

Pete smith

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Very surprised that Schlueter got that high of percentage. Just watch the first play. He commits the cardinal sin of all offensive linemen — never, ever let a defensive man cross your face. This play, he should got a 0% or even a minus. Other plays which were pass plays, he does o.k. I didn’t tape the game, so don’t really have anything to look at. Thanks for your effort.
 

GFBfan

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Very surprised that Schlueter got that high of percentage. Just watch the first play. He commits the cardinal sin of all offensive linemen — never, ever let a defensive man cross your face. This play, he should got a 0% or even a minus. Other plays which were pass plays, he does o.k. I didn’t tape the game, so don’t really have anything to look at. Thanks for your effort.
I don’t believe Schlueter did anything wrong on that first play. The DL was over Andries and he blocks him. No reason for Sam to block him as he would have pushed him towards the play.
On the play Rockford gives Olson props for picking up the LB, I would count that as a negative as the DL he initially blocked got in on the tackle and wouldn’t have had Olson stayed on him. The blitzing LB ran himself out of the play anyway and didn’t need to be blocked. It’s a case of trying to do too much by Olson.


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rockford

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Pete, I know you're on record as being down on Schlueter, but the man he's blocking never gets within seven yards of the ballcarrier.

But it's interesting you point this out, because one of the things I considered while re-watching the first quarter is the value of being perfect vs. being effective. I decided that if the point of blocking is to keep a defender from stopping the ballcarrier, I'm more than happy to live with "effective."

In terms of grading linemen, I don't award style points. I'm much more interested in effectiveness. That was an effective block. We gained six yards, and Schlueter's man wouldn't have had a play until the runner was more than 10 yards downfield. I hardly think that deserves a "0" grade.

If you think about it, what you're saying is really no different than those who claim the wins over SDSU, Fresno St., GSU and even Purdue mean little because we didn't look good while winning. Big-time football is tough, and you can be effective (and valuable) without being perfect.

JTG
 

rockford

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On the play Rockford gives Olson props for picking up the LB, I would count that as a negative as the DL he initially blocked got in on the tackle and wouldn’t have had Olson stayed on him. The blitzing LB ran himself out of the play anyway and didn’t need to be blocked. It’s a case of trying to do too much by Olson.
I wrestled with that one for the exact reason you cited, GFBfan. But I came to the conclusion that Olson didn't have the luxury of seeing what was going on behind him, and that anytime you stop a LB from getting a full run into your backfield is probably a good thing.

And it's hard to say for certain that the LB wouldn't have been able to make a play.

JTG
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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So much room for running!

It was night and day compared to the other games.
 

Johnnyboy18

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It looked like Olson and Dunlap were supposed to be double teaming and poor footwork caused them not to be able to block the DL and LB assigned.
 

Johnnyboy18

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That last GIF you show is one thing I hate about zone/gap schemes. No one really "owns" anyone, you own a gap. It looked at the start like Dunlap had the guy, so I'm guessing Faalele assumed that and then started looking around for someone to block.

Then the guy makes a move to Dunlap's right and Dunlap assumes that Faalele will be there to pick him up (since that's his gap to protect).
Just because it's a zone or gap scheme doesn't mean that the players don't know who they're supposed to block. In my expierenses the center will call a number he is working to and the other lineman will base who they go to off of that.

https://youtu.be/NBZJCXE4Ysw
 

WorkingMyTailOff

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Loved seeing the Oline have a good game and Rodney and Shannon have the type of performance that we have been lucky enough to see before.
Keep it up Rockford and Minnesota Maulers.
 

RememberMurray

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This group of offensive linemen collectively have so much potential.

If they can play at a high level, consistently, this offense will be unstoppable.

And if a few of them go on to the NFL after their college careers, imagine the boost that would give recruiting for the o-line down the road!

It seems as though success breeds more success, especially on the o-line. Once a school gets a reputation as being able to turn out NFL-level guards and tackles, the big high school stars at those positions look to play at that school.
 

Navin

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Any word on Andries's status after getting injured?
 

GopherinPhilly

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OTOH, if Morgan merely throws an incompletion, we're probably not even talking about this play. :D

JTG
To me, this was on Morgan. Felt like he was pressing early to live up to the hype. A sack or an incomplete are not the worst results of a passing play, a pick six is. He needed to eat that one and move on to next play...hopefully a learning experience.
 

Panthadad2

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To me, this was on Morgan. Felt like he was pressing early to live up to the hype. A sack or an incomplete are not the worst results of a passing play, a pick six is. He needed to eat that one and move on to next play...hopefully a learning experience.
Plenty on the QB there - or scheme. Tanner drifts to his right as the O-line blocks to the left which left him wide open to the stunt. I'm guessing Lovie saw that tendency on film then the Illini D executed perfectly.

Or, the ball might have simply slipped out of Tanners hands. The releasing H-back was open.
 
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rockford

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Any word on Andries's status after getting injured?
All I've seen is what others have reported: PJ says it's nothing major. (Whatever that means.)

It didn't look like Faalele was having any trouble moving, which would lead one to believe it's an upper-body issue.

EDIT: I assume you meant Faalele, not Andries.

JTG
 
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Navin

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All I've seen is what others have reported: PJ says it's nothing major. (Whatever that means.)

It didn't look like Faalele was having any trouble moving, which would lead one to believe it's an upper-body issue.

EDIT: I assume you meant Faalele, not Andries.

JTG
I did mean Andries. He went down with some injury (right ankle?) for a few minutes. Did I miss him come back into the game?
 

swingman

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I did mean Andries. He went down with some injury (right ankle?) for a few minutes. Did I miss him come back into the game?
yes, he came back in the game at guard and then went to tackle when Faalele went out.
 
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Very surprised that Schlueter got that high of percentage. Just watch the first play. He commits the cardinal sin of all offensive linemen — never, ever let a defensive man cross your face. This play, he should got a 0% or even a minus. Other plays which were pass plays, he does o.k. I didn’t tape the game, so don’t really have anything to look at. Thanks for your effort.
Sam did not allow anyone to "cross his face" on the first play. He is clearly responsible for the C gap. He keeps inside leverage on #52. The only play 52 could have made is 10 yards down field. Sam could have done a better job of sealing him off so 52 could not have gotten in on any tackle, but it was an adequate job.

If Sam would have allowed #52 to get into the B gap, then he would have "crossed his face."
 

Pete smith

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Sam was either lazy or had his eyes closed, absolutely no, nada, zero, do you ever release anyone in the B gap to block someone in the C gap - unless it is a trap play and the B gap is being trapped. Real simple, block the most dangerous. Sam failed this assignment.
 

Panthadad2

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I noticed the Gophs ran some power schemes with the back side H-back pulling to the opposite off-tackle hole. They used pre-snap motion to move the slot to the H-back position. Rodney's big run came off this scheme as did some other nice runs (Paulson was the H-back and looked very good). This is the first time I've seen that this year. I hope they keep it up. I love that kind of football and the O-line seemed to respond too.
 

GFBfan

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You must really dislike SS,
The play was an outside run away from him. From the DL alignment he absolutely blocked the correct guy. Sam stepped inside and cut the DE off. He didn’t do a great job of running his feet and maintaining contact with him., but he did block the correct guy.
The DT, that you want him to block was lined up over BA, slanted out to the B gap and Blaise ran him out of the play.
 
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Sam was either lazy or had his eyes closed, absolutely no, nada, zero, do you ever release anyone in the B gap to block someone in the C gap - unless it is a trap play and the B gap is being trapped. Real simple, block the most dangerous. Sam failed this assignment.
Nope, you are wrong. Blocking schemes and gap responsibility is a real thing. There is a big difference between knowing oline "rules/sins" and understanding them and when they are applied.
 

swingman

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Interesting comment from PJ on Schlueter at the bottom of the link below. Schlueter has been the "offensive line player of the week" for four straight weeks.

http://www.forums.gopherhole.com/bo...eter-redshirts-NE-backups-Bateman-injury-more


JTG
I mean, he's been the Offensive Line Player of the Week four straight weeks. This is a guy that needed some time off for a while a few years back, was going through some really tough times. It's fun to watch guys like that go through that. That's why you coach.

I say that every week. There's so many stories each week I wish I could share with all of you that say why the staff coaches, why we coach, why I'm a head coach. Sam Schlueter would be one of those. He has to do the work, put in the effort. Nothing is going to be given to you. You have to earn everything.

He's really come along, a good football player, a tremendous teammate and a professional. He comes into practice ready to go every single day. That spreads all across the offensive line.
 

MplsGopher

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I hope rockford is OK and just taking a break ...

Maybe the wife told him to stop making gifs of the OL?
 

rockford

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Anyone know rockford? And can check on him?
I'm just fine, but busy as hell. I appreciate your concern, though!

Would love to be writing more about the Gophers, particularly the OL's performance sans Faalele last week. Maybe again, somdeday.

JTG
 

MplsGopher

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Glad to hear it. No problem if you’re busy that’s just fine.
 
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