Our Offensive Life Issues...?

ESPN commentator, Jesse Palmer mentioned several times our O-line needs to be more physical.
What do you think? Is our Oline too inexperienced? I know we have a lot of young players there and it was hard to establish the running game against UConn.

That is our biggest weakness on offense. Seems to be improving on pass protection but running with the RB’s still not where it could or should be particularly between the tackles.

Yep, that’s going to hurt us at some point. Not good!

Also, against a really good team, our corners are going to get exposed if we stay with this defensive scheme. There were at least 3x where the receiver/QB probably missed out on putting points on the board, and each time it was the R Corner.

These appear to be our two weakest areas

They were picking on Howard Wilson, who is in for Brandon Wilson. Hopefully, we get B-Will back soon. The guards were new. It was Eloph and Oliver. I think they are an improvement over Fontana and Long, but they need to be more physical in the next 4 games. I think Catalon out hurt the run game as well.

Two of the best blitzers on the team in Adams and Bowser were out yesterday, too. I’m sure the UConn QB was just fine with having those two guys on the bench instead of in his face causing bad throws.

Oline a work in progress for sure.
That UConn QB was awful early. Missed a several wide opens shots.

Agree, this is the real flaw on this team. The two areas have to come together fundamentally, there is no other way.

There was a series beginning of the fourth that Jeremy Winchester was also beaten badly in three consecutive pass plays. His body language was awful.
He got pulled after that the series , but he needs some serious help in that position.

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H Wilson is a starter and has been all year.

B Wilson is also a starter , but plays a different position.

I have to admit I have been concerned with our inability to run the ball inside starting with the Lamar game where we were stuffed on several 3rd and short situations.

The question is, how do we match up with Lamar considering our strengths and the weaknesses highlighted here.

O-line: UL’s defense runs a chaos driven 3-4 (similar to UH) that tries to live in the backfield. Both of the UL OLB’s are great players. I think guard play will improve by the time we play them in November. We should be able to run inside, but only to keep them honest. UL has small corners, both around 5-11. I think we do what has worked all year, which is hit the perimeter with screens and let our 6-3 215 lb receivers clear the way. In the downfield passing game our tall receivers should be able to hurt them with jump balls and back shoulder throws.

The success of GW scrambling might depend on how UL attacks. If they blitz then GW will carve them up. If they bring 4 with a spy then GW will keep hitting Bonner in the slot, who has proven to be uncoverable with a 2 way go.

Cornerbacks: I was not impressed with the outside receivers, although they have a nice slot guy in Quick. I think it depends on if the first guy that gets to Lamar Jackson closes the deal and gets him on the ground. If LJ can escape the pocket and make our DBs cover for a long time, then someone will inevitably come open.

Our CBs will probably not have safety help. I think CTO will sell out to stop the run. We need extra guys in the box to stop the QB run and zone read.

The OL issues are kind of mysterious. We had returning guys who improved all year last season despite a ton of injuries that prevented any continuity on the O-line. A year of strength training, more depth, and more continuity pointed to a better OL unit this year. Hasn’t worked out that way and I cant figure out why that would be—especially when the unit has been largely injury free compared to last year.

We are almost at the halfway point in the year—so if history serves as a guide—this is the point where the line should be jelled and really working well. In reality—its been a weak run blocking unit. Too much penetration most of the time is the problem. That’s why the Ward sweeps in the red zone have been largely ineffective. On the up side, they have done fairly well in pass protection. I’ll take what I can get.

Hopefully the staff can squeeze a bit more production out of the unit and hopefully the back end of the season shows some strides being made in unit chemistry. Long term—I suspect we will need some JC help in the off season to get this unit where it needs to be.

I agree with all of this, but will say the OL looked better against UConn. We didn’t get many yards up the middle because we simply didn’t try that much. When we did, it worked out ok. Birden had a couple of 5 yard gains up the middle or off tackle.

Pass pro has been really good the last few games. Ward has plenty of time to throw, but even when he gets some pressure, he’s Greg Ward. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are times when defensive linemen don’t try to get off their blocks and pursue Ward. They stand their ground and try to keep him in the pocket so he doesn’t run. Happened against Cincy and again against UConn. He has been so patient that, if no one can get open, he just waits until a DL can’t help himself and tries to pursue. That opens up a running lane and he’s off to the races. He is such a joy to watch!

Given the difficulty of running inside, I wonder if we would have success with drastically delayed draws? Put a RB in the back field for blitz pick up, but as soon as the pocket forms, hand off inside. Just a thought. Of course, with Ward back there, I guess we don’t really need a RB to run this play.

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I don’t think the O-line came into the season with continuity.

New LT, New RT.

RG Eloph is a true SO who was playing DL last year. Probably needs more time to develop
I don’t know why Mason Denley can’t provide more push.
Fontana might need time to adjust to better competition.

Only spot that you could say was ready to go is the returning FR All-American Center.

I’m honestly surprised Dixie Wooten (6-3 315) hasn’t seen any time. You would think he would be able to move people out of the way. I look for him to take someone’s spot next year.

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I would think very few OL come into college as freshmen strong enough or skilled enough to make an immediate impact. Wooten is huge and, assuming he’s getting stronger and more developed in his skills, it will be nice to have him on that line next year, or at least providing depth. Same with Keenan Murphy.

In fact, I just looked at our roster and we are REALLY young on the OL. The only senior (regardless of playing time) is Mac Long. Marcus Oliver, Na’Ty Rodgers and Josh Thomas are juniors. The rest of the guys are all underclassmen and it looks like we have some really good OL recruits coming in 2017. That bodes really well for the years to come.

Part of its continuity, part of it has been Catalon and Car being hurt, part of it is teams loading the box to try to stop the run or stop Greg Ward.

Ward’s been a better passer, but teams mostly single cover our receivers which is why he’s found open receivers consistently. If they back off, Ward kills them with his legs.

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I don’t think our “Life” is that offensive !

Exactly. It’s the Johnny Manziel factor. So many receivers, but DBs have to keep their eyes in the backfield in case Ward escapes. Hard to keep safeties over the top because you need them to run stop. Ward becoming a better passer makes this offense especially dangerous.

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