Another week, another game, and another Trench Warfare; your weekly insight on the performance of our bulldozers up front. After a slow start and having to punt for our first two possessions, our offense finally found its rhythm and had another 700+ yard performance. A lot of the blame can go to the O-line for that unsteady play, let's see how the starters fared against Kansas saturday night.
I only graded the starting offensive lineman, but I did grade the TE's as a group. I graded on a Pass/Fail system based each how well each lineman played on every down. On run plays I looked for: (1) did the lineman block anybody on the play? (2) did the lineman get a solid contact on the defender and drive them back or seal them from the play? (3) did they sustain their blocks to the end of the play? On pass plays I looked for: (1) did the lineman block someone? (2) did they get solid contact and maintained the pocket? (3) did they sustain their block?
If they passed all three criteria they got a score of "1," if not then they received a "0." Penalty plays were not counted as full plays and instead the lineman who caused the loss of yards was handicapped for the next play. This means that if they were make a good block on the ensuing play the best score they could get was a "0." If they failed to make a block on the next play they would receive a "-1."
PB ERROR=pass block error RB ERROR=run block error
PP=pass play RP=run play
|RUN||0||0||0||0||0||0||GAIN 0||TO ON DOWNS|
In those first two possessions that ended in punts, five of the nine plays had blocking errors. There were two pass block errors in two plays and five run block errors on three run plays. Seven errors in nine plays. One of those blocking errors directly took a potential touchdown away from us:
Huber (playing center), not only snapped the ball high, but got trucked by the right defensive tackle. So not only was Petty's timing off due to the bad snap, but he had to rush his throw to Goodley, who had beaten both the cornerback and the safety. Nine times out of ten Petty drops that in for a touchdown. Instead of the announcers talking about how amazing our offense is they were left gawking that Kansas held us to a three and out.
This is the second game in a row that our opening drive failed to score any points and again it is due to blocking errors that helped stall our drives. Both times our defense bailed us out by holding the opposition scoreless until the second half, but we can't rely on them doing that with our remaining schedule. Without question we're about to face the teeth of our schedule and need to establish ourselves from the start of the game.
To paraphrase David Pollack of ESPN, our team is design to play with a lead. We don't have a defense designed to shutdown opponents and force them away from their game plan. Our defense is built to contain and exploit mistakes. Our offense is what gets teams off of their game plan, forcing them to take chances as they try to play catch-up, and we can't do that when we start slow and leave points on the field.
Overall our guys gave a solid performance grading out at 91% (tied for 3rd best so far this season) as a group. They did not allow a sack, had zero penalties called on them, and didn't have a negative yard play until the 51st play of the game.
As you can see, the line has been fairly consistent throughout the season. The grades against KU were right in line with the season averages with each blocker. Hopefully we won't see a significant drop in production as the competition starts to ramp up.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll try to answer them as best as I can.
Thanks for reading and Sic Em Bears!