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Trench Warfare: Oklahoma

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I answer some of your questions about the blocking against OU.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Let's just jump right in with this week's Trench Warfare vs the Sooners of Oklahoma.

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 COLBERT TE GAIN
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
PASS 1 0.5 0.5 0 0.5 1 INC End of 1st Series (punt)
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
RUN 1 0.5 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 9
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC
RUN 0.5 0.5 1 1 1 0.5 3
PASS 0.5 0.5 1 1 1 1 16
PASS 1 1 1 1 0 1 13 False Start Colbert
RUN Broken Play
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 13
RUN 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 1 3
RUN 1 0.5 0.5 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 0 1 1 INC
PASS 0 1 1 0 0 -8 End of 2nd (FG), Sack
RUN 1 0.5 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 1
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 10
RUN 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 5
RUN 1 0 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 -1
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 OPI GOODLEY
PASS 1 1 1 0.5 1 INC End of 3rd (punt)
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC
RUN 0.5 0.5 1 1 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 9
RUN 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 5
PASS 1 1 1 1 0.5 1 3
RUN 1 Bad Camera Angle
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 3 Edwards in for Broxton
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 18
PASS 1 1 1 1 0.5 33 End of 4th (TD)
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 End of 5th (TD)
RUN 1 1 1 1 0 7
RUN 0.5 1 0 0 1 2
PASS 2 Bad Camera Angle
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 INC
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
RUN 1 1 0 1 0.5 1 0
PASS 1 1 1 1 0.5 INC
PASS 1 1 1 0.5 1 6
PASS 1 1 1 0.5 1 10
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 10
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 7
RUN 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0 0.5 -1
RUN 1 1 0 1 1 1 4
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 End of 6th (TD)
PASS 0 1 1 1 0.5 6
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 10
PASS 0.5 1 1 0 1 4
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 11
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 13
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 5
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 7
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 11
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 5 End of 7th (TD)
RUN 0 1 1 1 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 48
RUN 1 0.5 0.5 1 0.5 0.5 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 5
RUN 0.5 1 0.5 1 1 1 7
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 End of 8th (TD)
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 5
RUN 1 1 0.5 1 0 0.5 0
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 41
RUN 1 1 0.5 0.5 0 1 1
PASS 1 1 0.5 0.5 0 0 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 1 INC End of 9th (punt)
PASS 1 1 1 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 0 1 29 False Start Broxton
RUN 0.5 1 0.5 1 1 3
PASS 1 1 1 1 0.5 7
RUN 1 0.5 1 1 0.5 0.5 15
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 0.5 2
RUN 1 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 7
RUN 1 1 0.5 0 1 1 -1 End of 10th (FG)
RUN 1 1 1 1 0.5 4 Edwards in for Broxton
RUN 0.5 1 0.5 0.5 1 4
RUN 1 1 0.5 0.5 1 0
RUN 1 1 1 1 1 5
RUN 0.5 0.5 1 1 1 4
RUN 1 1 0.5 0.5 1 15 End of 11th (TD)

Here are the results:

VERSUS OU
DRANGO MUIR FULLER BROXTON COLBERT TE TOTAL
SCORE 90.2% 90.2% 84.8% 82.6% 81.1% 87.7% 86.1%
RUN SCORE 86.5% 81.1% 71.6% 78.3% 73.0% 84.4% 79.0%
PASS SCORE 93.3% 97.8% 95.6% 85.7% 87.8% 92.9% 92.2%
RB ERRORS 1 1 3 2 4 0 11
PB ERRORS 2 0 1 3 2 1 9
PENALTIES 0 0 0 1 1 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%
KU 86.4% 83.3% 78.8% 78.3% 81.8% 81.8% 81.9%
OU 86.5% 81.1% 71.6% 84.4% 78.3% 73.0% 79.0%
TOTAL 83.8% 78.9% 76.2% 79.0% 75.9% 71.5% 77.3% 66.7% 73.8% 77.3%
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%
KU 93.3% 96.7% 96.7% 96.7% 98.3% 93.3% 95.8%
OU 93.3% 97.8% 95.6% 92.9% 85.7% 87.8% 92.2%
TOTAL 92.3% 94.0% 93.9% 96.0% 93.8% 90.1% 92.2% 95.8% 87.5% 93.0%
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%
KU 89.7% 89.7% 87.3% 85.5% 89.7% 87.3% 88.4%
OU 90.2% 90.2% 84.8% 87.7% 82.6% 81.1% 86.1%
TOTAL 88.7% 86.2% 85.0% 86.9% 83.8% 80.3% 83.9% 83.3% 80.9% 84.9%

I decided to open this edition of Trench Warfare to questions from you, the readers.  My purpose was twofold.  First, I will freely admit that I am running out of material to write about.  When the line is playing as well as they are now, it's much harder to find topics that would be worth discussing.  In essence, it is easier to talk about what went wrong than about what went right.  Secondly, I wanted to gauge what you guys might want to see in future TW's.  I write these because I love these guys and want to see them appreciated for what they do. Also, maybe help explain to those who aren't as familiar with blocking and blocking schemes so that they understand the importance of the guys in the trenches.  Either way, on to the questions!

MaestrOso asked, "Just curious about how OU limited our yards per carry so effectively."

Just as OU sought to contain our pass game by playing off and giving out wide receivers 5-7 yards of cushion, they did the same against our run game.  In their 3-3 alignment, OU was content to rush their three down linemen, let the play develop, and then have their linebackers react and attack the BU ball carriers.  Rarely did they send a run-blitz or stunt in attempt to disrupt the play before it began.

OU's run-defense mindset seemed to be, "we'll give you 3 yards, but that's it."  So while Linwood and Chafin were able to get solid runs throughout the game, Baylor never was able to break off a big run.  In fact we only had two runs that went over 10 yards: two 15 yarders late in the game.

It also helped that OU's Jordan Phillips and Chuka Ndulue gave Kyle Fuller all he could handle at nose guard.  Often fighting Fuller to a stalemate in the center of the line, Phillips and Ndulue helped linebackers Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans stay free to make tackles.  Safety Ahmad Thomas was also active in bottling up our run game.

okiebear asked, "May not be relevant to your analysis but I saw TEs in the backfield quite a bit to block. Maybe I haven’t been keeping up with current events, but it looked like we did it a lot more than normal. And he always stopped any rush from around the end, particularly LBs. And did this change the usual OL scheme?"

Baylor's been using a TE in the backfield to block since at least last season, especially when we started to use Tre'Von Armstead at TE late in 2013.  It plays into our play-action scheme as defenses react more when we put a lead blocker back there.  When you have a 6'6" 280 lbs TE/FB in the backfield, he tends to draw a lot of eyes and cause players to bite on fakes.

In pass protection, Baylor does like to use their TE's to help seal the edge rush.  Right now they have them mostly protecting the right side to help out Pat Colbert, our new right tackle.  This is typical of most teams that utilize TE's in pass pro, even if they line up in the backfield.

Hill Country Bear asked, "I'm curious how the right side compared to games by the original starters."

This is definitely something my grades can help with.  Losing starters sucks no matter where they line up.  Luckily Baylor can now boast the kind of depth that Art Briles has been talking about since he got here.  "Big 12 depth," he'd say is what's most important to compete for conference titles.  Despite losing Desmine Hilliard and Troy Baker at right guard and tackle, respectively, for the season Baylor has the quality of player to plug right in without giving up too much.

Jarell Broxton has proved to be a suitable replacement for Hilliard, who left some big shoes to fill.  Desmine was 2nd only to All-American left tackle Spencer Drango in my grades when he was lost after the TCU game.  Jarell currently has a season average total of 83.9% compared to Hilliard's 86.9%.  His individual run and pass block numbers aren't too off either scoring out at 77.3% (RB) and at 92.2% (PB) while Desmine's was 79.0% and 96.0%.  Broxton has also shown to be the same road-grading, power blocker we needed like Hilliard was for us.

As for Colbert, it's never easy replacing a three year starter who has been one of the better right tackles in the league for some time.  I know I've been harsh on the guy in these past few articles, but he was very good against the Sooners and I'll gladly eat my crow if he can keep it up.  His game grade against OU wasn't team leading nor better than last week's, but he proved that he's not the liability I thought he might be like he was last season.

Like, Broxton, Pat's numbers compared to the season's starter aren't too off.  Baker was averaging scores of 75.9% in the run game, 93.8% in pass pro, and 83.8% in total.  Colbert is averaging 73.9% on run blocks, 87.5% in pass pro, and 80.9% in total.  I would still like to see some improvement in Pat's pass pro technique and would like to see him sustain blocks longer on run plays, but he's definitely improved from last season.

unbearably asked, "Did we avoid the pass rush with Petty's quick release or was there some decent work going on up front?"

Baylor's blockers benefit from our quick strike pass plays, without question.  When you only have to pass block for one to three seconds, there isn't much time for the defense to get pressure before the ball is gone.  This isn't to say that you don't have to be good at pass blocking and schematically sound in this offense, you do.

When Baylor went five wide at WR in the 2nd half in Norman, the OU defense responded with an "amoeba" scheme with all of their front six/seven standing up at the line of scrimmage before the snap.  This is used to disguise the blitz, confuse the o-line, and get a free rusher to the QB.  Early in the drive, OU was able to successfully get a defender through the protection and Petty would have been sacked if not for the open receivers and his quick release.  After a few plays the o-line adjusted their pre-snap assignments, correctly picked up the right guys and kept a clean pocket for Petty.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading!

Sic em Bears! Sic okielite!