Welcome back to Trench Warfare! As you may have already noticed, I am not imahammeru, the original author of this series. But due to popular demand, I will be attempting to take over this enormous task until Hammer is able to find time in his ever so busy schedule to resume his duties! This will be your post-game insight into the performances of your Baylor Offensive Line. If you've followed ODB for the last couple of seasons, you're probably familiar with Hammer's awesome work. As this is my first go-around at this, I tried to adhere to his grading system as much as possible, shown below.
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).
Naturally, there is a level of subjectivity with regards to grading offensive linemen. Unlike wide receivers and running backs, their performances cannot be quantified as easily through individual statistics. Unless you go back and watch each and every single play, it would be almost impossible to determine how well an individual lineman performed. Which is why I went ahead and did it for you guys!
Here are the grades:
|Pass||1||1||1||1||1||0.5||11||End of 1st Series (TD Coleman)|
|Pass||0.5||1||1||1||1||1||3 yd Scramble|
|Pass||1||1||1||0.5||0||1||12||End of 2nd (TD Coleman)|
|Run||0.5||1||1||1||1||1||5||End of 3rd (TD Russell)|
|Pass||1||1||1||1||1||5||End of 4th (FG)|
|Run||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||End of 5th (TD Linwood)|
|Pass||1||1||1||1||1||4 yd Scramble|
|Pass||1||1||1||1||1||1||18||End of 6th (MCGOWAN)|
|Run||1||1||0.5||0.5||0.5||1||5||End of 7th (TD Jefferson)|
|Pass||0.5||1||1||1||0.5||6 yd Sack||End of 8th (Halftime)|
* = These scores/results are not necessarily 100% reflective of that individual's performance. There was a heavy amount of substitution and swapping done in the 2nd quarter, which I cover in the Notes & Observations section. For example, it would be more accurate to think of "Muir's grades/results" as "Left Guard's grades/results". The only starter that played every snap at his respective position was Spencer Drango.
Here are the results:
* = See asterisk from previous section for explanation.
Notes and Observations:
- I really like the pass protection from the interior of the line (Muir, Fuller, Broxton, Hilliard). These guys are extremely physical and do a good job of maintaining and following through with their blocks.
- Pat Colbert needs to work on improving his footwork/lateral movement. He tends to get beat by speed rushers and guys taking wider angles to the QB. Overall, it wasn't much of a problem in this game because the defender would usually run himself out of the play by the time Seth released the ball, or it would open up a huge throwing lane. Pat does have prototypical size and nice athletic ability, and he usually does pretty well when asked to pull to the opposite side on run plays.
- Fuller usually does a nice job getting to the second level, a pretty important skill for Centers to have, in my opinion. On one play in particular during Baylor's 3rd TD drive, he had a nice cut-block down field which freed up Linwood for a 10-yd gain.
- It can't be understated how well our offense disguises running and pass plays. Take a look at the offensive line on this play in particular, and then again here: Same formation, same play. Different option by Seth on the second one to keep it and walk in for an easy TD.
- On the McGowan TD Drive, we see the first substitutions and re-arrangements on the O-Line. Blake Muir replaces Colbert at Left Tackle. Jarell Broxton moves over to Left Guard, and Desmine Hilliard enters the game and replaces him at Right Guard. Blake is very solid in pass protection, and as such, is probably an improvement over Colbert in that regard, but having both Broxton (335 lbs) and Hilliard (340 lbs) manning the OG spots gives us a ton of beef along the interior. It might be something to watch out for in the future when we're looking to close out games with power run after power run.
- Another interesting tidbit was when we went to an unbalanced line look on the drive that ended with a Johnny Jefferson TD. On a couple of plays, we had Drango, Colbert, Broxton to the left of Kyle Fuller, and Hilliard/Penning flanking his other side. Unbalanced lines are a good way to confuse defenses sometimes because the place where the Right Tackle should be is now occupied by a Tight End. Although that TE is now lined up in the position of an O-Linemen, he is still eligible to release downfield and catch passes. It's precisely how we got LaQuan his first career TD:
- Blake Blackmar came in for Kyle Fuller on the last drive before the half that ended in a Seth Russell sack.
- LaQuan has pretty decent lateral quickness for a 410 pound man, although, he could probably do a little better job keeping his hips squared up whenever he's in pass pro.