Our running game

Tulane’s run defense is ranked 50th in yards per game allowed and has allowed 3.83 yards per carry (including the UH game). Duke had 20 carries for 50 yards. Louisville’s run defense is ranked 6th and allows just 2.81 yards per carry.

If our third and short game plan continues to be lining up 3 wideouts to 1 side and only McCloskey to help block for a single back set, it might be time for Herman to pull a Strong and take over the play calling for our offense.

I’m glad that Wilson is so successful as a defensive back but if there is any game we needed him to play both sides of the ball, it would be Thursday’s game. If our offense looks anything like it did against Tulane, Duke is going to be averaging less than 1 yard per carry and Louisville is going to bring the house every 2nd and 9 and 3rd and 8.

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And our defense will be on the field so much that by the third and fourth quarters they will be exhausted.

I’m REALLY hoping that our struggles the past few weeks have been due to greater-than-normal game planning for Louisville. If we don’t have a very good game plan lined up like we did against OU, it’s going to be a really long (and bad) night. I’m shocked Herman hasn’t burned a redshirt on the OL this year. If Fontana is really our best option at right guard, that’s just depressing. If I were Louisville, I wouldn’t ever send more than 4 guys up front. Our OL can’t block 4 guys and they can just sit back in coverage. With no discernible running game and Greg not posing much of a threat himself, if I’m Louisville, I make him beat me through the air.

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There’s no one to burn a redshirt on when it comes to OL. Only option is Fleming and he’s not ready; coaches knew that when he came in as he needed some work. B. Jones is already starting.

Levine didn’t recruit well for OL and we had the same weakness last year. Doesn’t help that injuries are decimating the line again: Noble, Denley, Rodgers, Fontana, Long have all been hurt or are banged up which means no consistency. Doesn’t help that our starting RB is banged up and our dynamic QB has a bum shoulder and ankle.

Coaches will have to come up with a dynamic game plan to win this one.

That said, what is CTH and co doing about it?

What about Dixie Wooten, Jarrid Williams, Ryan Deshotel, Keenan Murphy? Williams and Deshotel are RS FR, so we wouldn’t even have to burn a redshirt. I know FR OL are normally redshirted, but as many true FR as Herman has used this year, I wouldn’t think he would hesitate to burn an OL redshirt if it would improve the team. It’s just very difficult for me to see Fontana and Long being our best options at guard. If they truly are, Lord have mercy!

Deshotel has converted from tight end so I’m sure he’s still going through the learning process. OL usually take longer to develop both physically and from a technique perspective. They just may not be ready to play and certainly not against a team like Louisville.

None of those guys are even in the mix; just aren’t ready physically to play D1 football with the offense we’re running.

Cupboard was bare when CTH got here.

That makes me want to throw up. Some of these guys better be ready to go by next year or it’s going to be another long year.

Even if they bulk up, I still say the problem is the playcalling. If you are having trouble running the ball, they need to use jumbo formations more often. If you don’t have 6 healthy offensive lineman to use, then put Tyler on the end and use a two back set to have a lead blocker to help push the line forward. Having Tyler line up at the end with two backs blocking also makes a dump pass over the middle a good option when the opponent puts 8 in the box dating us to throw.

Look for JUCO linemen to come in.

I agree in theory, but the problem with our line has been they get blown off the ball into their own backfield. If they can’t get push up front, or at the very worst, stalemate their counterpart defensive lineman at the line of scrimmage, there’s no where for the backs to go. I don’t think stacking more linemen in the box will fix that. If anything, it would clutter up the line of scrimmage even more because we can’t move defenders around.

Last year when Ward had so much success with the QB sweep, it was because our line could get a little push and seal off their guys. McCloskey or Farrow would provide the kick out block on the end giving Ward a place to cut up. In some cases when we couldn’t get that kick out block, Ward would outrun the defenders to the sideline and our WRs stayed on their blocks well. This year, our OL is so porous that the defenders are either in the backfield before Ward can get outside the tackles, or they are able to scrape down the line and run Ward or our backs out of bounds for a loss or maybe 1 yard gain. Read option doesn’t work because one or two defensive lineman are in the backfield wrapping up Catalon or Birden as Ward is making his read.

That’s why I’m advocating abandoning the run game completely in the first half. Let Ward throw quick hitters (slants, smoke screens, bubble screens, dump routes) until it forces UL to unload the box and start dropping guys into coverage. We may even need to take some shots down field to our big receivers via fade routes down the sideline if UL shows man coverage with a single safety. If we can dink and dunk our way into long productive drives, UL will have to loosen up around the line of scrimmage and that will give Ward room to work his magic. Trying to establish a run game between the tackles is just going to be wasted plays and continually force us into 2nd and 3rd and long situations. If Applewhite tries to establish an inside run game, Herman needs to take away his headset and call plays himself.

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You have some valid points, but there is absolutely no way he (Wilson) will play on both sides of the ball. It would either be all offense or all defense, and it won’t be offense. Duke will be fine. Like us, they will be geared to stop the run, but we will run enough to keep them honest and be able to complete some passes.

The other thing to this is you can have four of five linemen do an okay or good job, but if the fifth is completely blown up it ruins the play. I have seen this happen many times this year. You see a play developing. There is a nice wall forming and some defender blows it up because the back never gets a chance to hit the whole because one person was completely beat on their block.

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I keep coming to this. If we know we have OL issues, shouldn’t the staff see it too and adjust playcalling? I just haven’t seen any adjustment or atleast not enough of one.

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I’m with you 2002Coog on your 3rd paragraph. Treat this game like the Penn St one,don’t even try to run early in the game.

My big question, how did the line get so much worse than last year? We only lost one guy (Cooper), right? I know the line wasn’t outstanding last year, but man this has been bad this year.

No, we also lost Carter Wall (graduation), Colton Freeman (retirement due to neck injury) and Ben Dew (graduation). That’s both starting tackles, a starting guard (I believe Freeman was starting at guard) and the original starting center (Dew) before he was injured and Will Noble filled in (admirably, I must say). N’Ty Rodgers has been a nice pickup and Noble has been decent this year, but everyone else has been mediocre or bad. Like everyone else on here is saying, Levine placed no importance on recruiting OL and we’re paying the price now.

Wow, I totally forgot about Wall and Freeman, that was a big loss. Dew missed most of the season though. I just remember all the injuries and how we always pieced together a solid line every week, this year has been a disaster. Seems like guys have regressed that returned too.

I agree. Given how many starting lineups we had last year, they always seemed to gel. Like @Imago13 said though, even one guy not getting his job done can blow up an entire play. That happens to Fontana at right guard nearly every play. Teams know they can blow him up and kill our running game and they do.

I have a feeling that Herman has a lot of say as to what play or type of play is called.

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