Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Position Reports: Offensive Line

I didn't feel qualified after the game Saturday to post a report because, well, between the booze and 3 very well placed mini-skirt clad 18 year old asses (Please God, let them be 18), I didn't see the game very well. However, I finally caught the abbreviated replay last night on the local Fox affiliate and well, I'm still not very qualified. Those abbreviate replays are pretty sweet if you just want to re-live the best parts of the game. But I was interested in the play of our O-line and our defense, as those are the groups with the biggest question marks. Unfortunately, "abbreviated" meant showing only the positive gains on offense and briefly mentioning the fact that Western Michigan had the ball a few times. However, I was able to take a good look at the offensive line.

From what I was able to see, we were pretty solid at center, left guard and right tackle. Mike Dent, center, looked to be filling the big shoes of Dan Mozes relatively well. I didn't see any missed assignments. Additionally, Dent would occasionally pancake the first guy and get down field to lay a second block. That's good to see. I also didn't notice any missed assignments or blocks from the aforementioned left guard and right tackle.

However, I frequently spotted problems at left tackle and right guard. The right guard position looked like it was being played by a committee. Unfortunately, no matter who was there, they were getting blown up off the ball often driven several yards into the backfield. Most of the time, this resulted in pile ups or congestion in the backfield preventing Slaton or White from getting into the open field. Similarly, at the left tackle position, there appeared to be some confusion and missed assignments.

I'm not going to call any guys out by name here, yet, because it was the first game of the season (and I couldn't really see the numbers that well thanks to my GF's 12" black and white television). I will say that most of the blown plays appeared to be by redshirt freshman and underclassman. For a lot of these guys, it was their first start and/or most playing time, so I can understand a little confusion and I certainly expect their level of play to improve over the year.

However, confusion caused by inexperience is no excuse for the right guards getting blown off the ball and driven into the backfield. Apparently, our #1 at right guard, Eric Rodemoyer sat out the game Saturday with an injury and is expected to start this coming Saturday. Hopefully, his return resolves some of these issues.

Anyway, its time to look forward to a 6:00 a.m. game at Marshall. We'll have some previews up tomorrow. If attending the game, please be careful down there. Huntington scares me. Seriously. (The city, not the team.)
(Oh, and I "borrowed" the above pic from this flickr account, to give credit where credit is due.)

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