Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Offensive Line Kool-Aid

Socrates has posted a rosier-than-most view of the offensive line over at Leather Helmet Blog, it's a good read. I don't know much about the philosophies of the various OL coaches, so I found this interesting:

We also have a major philosophical change from former Coach Searles. Coach Searles believed in zone blocking and lateral movement with his lineman. Coach Friend is a believer in the vertical offensive line, designed for holding blocks, creating leverage for advantage, and of course push. All the offensive lineman were recruited by Searles and must learn to fit the philosophical and technical changes with Friend.

He goes on to give a few points in our favor, such as simplified blocking schemes, experienced starters, a favorable schedule, and the fact that no matter what happens, it would be hard for the OL to perform worse than it did last year. And that's a decent point, we really don't have anywhere to go but up. He doesn't specifically allude to it in his post, but the other optimistic point I've seen in a few places is that the last year we had this many questions on the OL was 2007, and we went on to finish #2 in the country that year.

I'm still having a hard time buying into it though, until I see it on the field. The OL in 2007 developed into a pretty good pass protection unit by the end of the year, but still struggled regularly in run blocking, and struggled pretty much everywhere the first 5 or 6 games. That was the year that Moreno dazzled us with some of the most amazing 1 and 2 yard gains you'll ever see ---- he covered for a lot of the deficiencies on the OL because most any other back would have been thrown for loss after loss. Maybe King and/or Crowell will find that same elusiveness, but that is a lot to expect.

I'm really excited about the possibilities of our defense, but I still think that success on offense is going to require a level of creativity out of Bobo that we have all come to not expect. A good defense can keep you in any game though, so I'm not totally pessimistic about this season..........I just still think we're an 8 or 9 win team.

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