clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Trench Warfare: WVU

New, 8 comments

Baylor's blocking grades against West Virginia University.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It took me a while to get this game's Trench Warfare out because I wanted to be as objective as possible.  After the loss to WVU, I was understandably let down and more than a little angry.  I felt that if I had done my game grades too soon after the loss I would grade our guys differently than before.  So now that I've had over a week to accept and digest the loss in Morgantown let's see how our offensive line and tight ends graded out against the Mountaineers.

As a reminder, this is how I score the players:

When run blocking, did the player (1) block someone (2) create solid initial contact and push the defender back and (3) did they sustain their block?  When pass blocking, did the player (1) block someone (2) create solid initial contact and maintain the pocket and (3) sustain their block?  If they did all three then the player was awarded a score of "1".  If they blocked effectively enough to keep the defender away from the play but not well enough to earn a full point, then they were given a half point.  If they missed a block or got beat by the defender, they were given a "0" (zero).

Live ball penalties are assessed against the offending player reducing their initial score by minus one (i.e. an initial score of "1" will be reduced to "0" (zero).  Dead ball penalties were assessed to the offending player on the following play.

Here are the grades:

PLAY DRANGO MUIR FULLER BROXTON BAKER TE GAIN
PASS 0.5 1 1 1 0.5 0.5 7 End of 1st Series (TD)
RUN 0 1 1 1 0.5 3
PASS 1 0.5 1 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 0.5 INC End of 2nd (punt)
RUN 1 0 0.5 1 0 1 1
RUN 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 FALSE START ON FULLER
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 0 5 PENALTY ON WVU
PASS 1 1 1 0.5 0.5 INC
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 0.5 10
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC
RUN 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
PASS 1 1 1 0.5 0.5 INC End of 3rd (FG)
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
RUN 0 1 1 1 0.5 1 -2
RUN 1 1 1 1 0.5 1 5
PASS 1 1 1 0 1 INC FALSE START BROXTON, End of 4th (FG)
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 -3 PETTY FUMBLE
RUN 1 0.5 1 1 1 2
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 4 End of 5th (punt), TO by WVU
RUN 1 1 1 0.5 0.5 6
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC
RUN 1 1 1 0.5 1 0 -3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC End of 6th (TO on Downs)
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 9
RUN 0.5 1 0.5 0 1 1 2
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC PF ON WVU
PASS 1 1 1 1 0.5 1 4
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 -3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 63 End of 7th (TD)
PASS 1 1 1 0.5 0.5 1 10
PASS 1 1 1 1 0 1 -7 SACKED
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 7 End of 8th (punt)
RUN 1 0.5 1 1 1 0.5 2
RUN 1 0.5 0.5 1 0.5 0 0
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC End of 9th (punt)
RUN 0 0 1 1 1 2 PF ON WVU
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 -3 Edwards in at RG
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 4
PASS 0.5 0 0 1 1 -9 SACKED. End of 10th (punt)
RUN 1 1 1 1 0.5 0.5 4
PASS 1 0.5 0 1 1 0 PF ON WVU
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 0 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 0.5 INC End of 11th (punt)
RUN 1 1 1 0 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
PASS 1 1 1 1 0.5 42 COLBERT IN AT RT
RUN 0.5 1 1 1 1 1 8
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 0 5
PASS 1 1 1 0.5 1 1 INC PI on WVU
RUN 1 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0
RUN 0.5 1 1 0.5 1 0.5 2
RUN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 OFFSIDES WVU
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 End of 12th (TD)
RUN 1 0.5 1 0.5 0.5 1 4
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 13
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 0.5 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 0.5 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 0 -7 SACKED, End of 13th (punt)
RUN 1 1 1 0 1 0.5 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 9
RUN 0.5 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0 5
PASS 1 0 1 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 0 0 INC End of 13th (punt)
RUN 1 0.5 0 0.5 0 -3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 5 PF ON WVU
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 9 PI on J LEE
RUN 1 0.5 0.5 1 1 17
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC End of 14th (punt)
RUN 1 1 0.5 1 0.5 25
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 7
RUN 1 0.5 1 1 0.5 5
RUN 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1
PASS 1 0.5 1 0.5 1 INC
PASS 1 0 1 1 1 -9 SACKED
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC End of 15th (TO on Downs)

Here are the results:

VERSUS WVU
DRANGO MUIR FULLER BROXTON EDWARDS BAKER COLBERT TE's TOTAL
Grade 91.0% 84.9% 89.2% 86.6% 83.3% 82.7% 74.2% 77.0% 84.9%
RB Score 81.4% 77.1% 80.0% 82.4% 66.7% 80.0% 66.7% 62.5% 75.6%
PB Score 97.9% 90.6% 95.8% 89.6% 95.8% 84.4% 81.3% 90.4% 91.9%
Run Block Errors 4 4 2 2 2 1 2 6 23
Pass Block Errors 0 3 2 0 0 2 2 1 10
Penalties 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2
RUN BLOCK SCORE
GAME DRANGO MUIR FULLER HILLIARD BAKER TE's BROXTON EDWARDS COLBERT TOTAL
SMU 67.6% 75.7% 66.2% 71.6% 64.9% 60.0% 67.7%
NWSU 86.8% 65.8% 71.1% 65.8% 71.1% 73.5% 72.3%
BUFFALO 82.7% 75.0% 77.1% 83.3% 66.7% 60.5% 74.2%
ISU 91.9% 95.3% 81.3% 88.0% 95.3% 70.5% 87.0%
TEXAS 84.4% 78.1% 79.2% 82.0% 75.0% 78.9% 73.9% 78.8%
TCU 86.4% 78.4% 80.7% 83.3% 78.4% 75.0% 70.0% 78.9%
WVU 81.4% 77.1% 80.0% 80.0% 62.5% 82.4% 66.7% 66.7% 75.6%
TOTAL 83.0% 77.9% 76.5% 79.0% 75.9% 68.7% 75.4% 66.7% 66.7% 76.4%
PASS BLOCK SCORE
GAME DRANGO MUIR FULLER HILLIARD BAKER TE's BROXTON EDWARDS COLBERT TOTAL
SMU 90.2% 85.4% 90.2% 89.0% 91.5% 88.9% 89.2%
NWSU 80.0% 85.0% 90.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 92.5%
BUFFALO 100.0% 100.0% 93.5% 98.4% 98.1% 100.0% 98.4%
ISU 94.3% 95.7% 93.5% 94.7% 93.5% 78.6% 91.7%
TEXAS 90.4% 98.1% 96.2% 100.0% 100.0% 72.2% 100.0% 93.8%
TCU 90.9% 96.6% 93.9% 94.0% 89.4% 91.7% 87.5% 92.0%
WVU 97.9% 90.6% 95.8% 84.4% 90.4% 89.6% 95.8% 81.3% 91.9%
TOTAL 92.0% 93.0% 93.3% 96.0% 93.8% 88.8% 92.4% 95.8% 81.3% 92.8%
GAME TOTALS
GAME DRANGO MUIR FULLER HILLIARD BAKER TE's BROXTON EDWARDS COLBERT TOTAL
SMU 79.5% 80.8% 78.8% 80.8% 78.8% 73.7% 78.7%
NWSU 87.9% 72.4% 77.6% 77.6% 81.0% 82.0% 79.8%
BUFFALO 91.4% 87.9% 84.8% 91.7% 80.8% 81.3% 86.3%
ISU 93.3% 95.5% 88.5% 92.1% 94.2% 74.4% 89.7%
TEXAS 86.5% 85.1% 85.1% 89.8% 83.8% 77.7% 80.0% 84.0%
TCU 89.1% 89.5% 88.6% 89.5% 85.0% 83.8% 80.8% 86.6%
WVU 91.0% 84.9% 89.2% 82.7% 77.0% 86.6% 83.3% 74.2% 84.9%
TOTAL 88.4% 85.2% 84.7% 86.9% 83.8% 78.5% 82.5% 83.3% 74.2% 84.3%

Surprisingly not that bad.  A little better than the Texas game (their worst conference game so far) and not nearly as poor as our first two games.  Spencer Drango had a terrific game leading the team with a 91.0% with Kyle Fuller finishing second with a 89.2%.  This was Fuller's best overall performance of the season despite some bone-headed errors like the drive killing sack surrendered in our 10th series.  Jarell Broxton had a solid day as well improving on both of his pass and run blocking numbers.  The weak spot of the game was tight end and right tackle.

Tre'Von Armstead took 99% of the snaps at TE and deserves a good portion of the blame for blown up run plays.  Used as a lead blocker he can be a play maker or a play breaker.  When he locks on to a defender, there usually isn't much the guy can do to get around Armstead.  One problem is that Armstead leaves his feet too often and launches himself at his block.  An agile defender can dodge this around 50% of the time and get right to the ball carrier while Tre'Von is on the ground causing a roadblock.

The other problem is that he chooses the wrong guy to block more often than I'd like.  Several times throughout the game he had to choose to block one of two defenders and would incorrectly block the wrong one.  For instance, on one play he was lined up at fullback behind left guard Blake Muir.  At the snap he pulled right and was to be the kickout block while the lineman all blocked to their left.  There were two defenders for him to choose from, the left outside linebacker and the safety.  Instead of going for the OLB (the one closest to the runningback) he went for the safety allowing the OLB to make the play.

I understand that he can't block both guys and even if he did block the correct player the other is still unblocked and could make the play but that isn't the point.  You always block the nearest defender because he is the biggest threat to the play.  Blocking the OLB at least gives the RB more time to make a move to get away from the second defender and at best forces the free defender to go around the block and allow the RB to reach open turf.

This brings me to my next problem: right tackle.  Troy Baker and Pat Colbert both had difficulty protecting against the inside slant.  In both phases of the game they were often beat (usually by the defensive end) to the inside.  This disrupted our offense and caused a few promising drives to end prematurely.

There is no good excuse for this because you can't ever let a defender beat you across your face to the inside.  It is the unofficial first rule of blocking. Why? Because it's the shortest path the the ball and the fastest way to blow up a play.

Letting it happen to you shows a deficiency in three critical standards of blocking.  It first means that there was poor footwork involved.  If the first step is too slow or if the wrong foot is used the blocker will not be able to get to the proper position to make an effective block.  For example, if a run play is designed to go the left of the right tackle, his first step should be with his left because it positions his body to best deal with any defender trying to move that way.  It typically allows him inside leverage on the defender which means that the defender is forced to attempt to go through or around and away from the ball carrier.  A slow first step or improper first step is an opportunity for faster defenders to achieve inside leverage for themselves and a better shot at stopping the play.

Even with a bad first step a blocker can usually make up for it with a good initial hit.  This means striking the defender with a strong hand strike to the chest or rib area and slowing their momentum long enough to either get the lineman's hips between the defender and the play or redirect the defender upfield.  Unfortunately I didn't see very much of this despite Baker's years of experience or Colbert purported strength because it's very hard to stop a defender when you're playing with poor pad level.

Baker and Colbert didn't block low enough to let them have a chance at recovering and stop the defender from disrupting the play.  Pad level means leverage.  Leverage is what allows a blocker to move and manipulate an opponent easier.  The player that can get under the other's pads will usually win the battle.  The WVU defenders would consistently get under Baker or Colbert's pad level and force their way through to disrupt plays.  In summation: poor technique and effort from Baker and Colbert against the inside slant and all credit to the Mountaineers for having players fast and strong enough to take advantage.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm bashing on Baker because he did have a solid game grading out at 82.7%.  It sucks that his career at Baylor had to end like this and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Baker was replaced by Colbert after the injury and he, unfortunately, did not have a very good game.  In addition to the aforementioned struggles, he struggled in pass protection like he did last year and failed to make an impact in the run game grading out at 66.7% in that area.  It looks like he's gonna get the start against Kansas on Saturday and I'll be looking for improvement in his footwork while in pass protection and to see if he can sustain his run blocks and pull and locate defenders better as well.

Tyler Edwards came in for Broxton at right guard and played there the entire 2nd half.  I remember reading somewhere that the reason was injury related which must be the case as Broxton was having himself a good game before getting substituted.  I don't believe it was a serious injury as I've heard he's still the starter at RG for homecoming.

Edwards was serviceable playing guard but this was definitely not his best performance of the season.  Guard is not the position he's best suited for, though.  I personally think Edwards should get the start at RT as I think he's a more polished pass blocker and a solid run blocker.  He did have a sub-par run block score against WVU, which is concerning, but from what I've seen from him this season I think he's our best shot at replacing Baker with the least drop-off.

Thanks for reading.

Sic Em Bears! Sic KU!