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Offensive Line

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You can talk about the game plan, the play calling, the weather...and anything else that can be thought of; BUT until the OL gets fixed this is what we will get. Edsall and Pasqualoni pretty much under recruited probably one of the most important positions on the roster. Now it's time to pay the piper for that fault. I watched the entire game last night, and spent every play we had the ball on offense concentrating on the OL. They are beyond horrible!!
 
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Going into last season there were 4 of the 5 starting offensive lineman that were redshirt Sr's. Here were the number of starts they had:
Guards
Steve Greene 32 Starts
Tyler Bullock 14 starts

Tackles
Jimmy Bennett 15 Starts
Kevin Friend 29 Starts

Alex Mateas 4 Starts
Gus Cruz 5 starts

This year the ONLY starting OL that had ANY experience were
Mateas 16 starts
Cruz 5 starts
Samra 1 start
Gifford 6 starts

This lack of experience pretty much explains what one of the biggest issues is for this team!
 
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Going into last season there were 4 of the 5 starting offensive lineman that were redshirt Sr's. Here were the number of starts they had:
Guards
Steve Greene 32 Starts
Tyler Bullock 14 starts

Tackles
Jimmy Bennett 15 Starts
Kevin Friend 29 Starts

Alex Mateas 4 Starts
Gus Cruz 5 starts

This year the ONLY starting OL that had ANY experience were
Mateas 16 starts
Cruz 5 starts
Samra 1 start
Gifford 6 starts

This lack of experience pretty much explains what one of the biggest issues is for this team!
I agree. But on a positive note most of the issues I noticed were missed blocks NOT an offensive lineman getting beat. If you look at all the sacks this line has given up, usually it is someone coming through completely untouched. When our line does block the right people they do a good job mostly. So they can block they just need to communicate better, so they know who is responsible to block which defender. I think they have the ability but just need more experience or coaching to know their assignments.

Also a lot of sacks can blamed on the QBs who need to have the ability anticipate blitzes and make adjustments. If the defense has two people lined up on a tackle. The tackle can't block both, so an adjustment must be made. The QB needs to audible or make some adjustment. Chandler doesn't do a good job with this. He is blissfully unaware when a defender creeps towards the line to blitz. Casey had much more awareness which explains why he was sacked less.

Finally the RBs need this awareness too. They need to anticipate the blitz so they can help. Often our RBs are out of place on a blitz when it was pretty obvious that the blitz was coming from a particular side.

I think the talent and size is there. Hopefully more experience will help things.
 
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I agree. But on a positive note most of the issues I noticed were missed blocks NOT an offensive lineman getting beat. If you look at all the sacks this line has given up, usually it is someone coming through completely untouched. When our line does block the right people they do a good job mostly. So they can block they just need to communicate better, so they know who is responsible to block which defender.
I think that those mistakes are the direct result of lack of starts and game playing experience. Hopefully they get better the more they play.
 

Chin Diesel

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I don't know if the QB or the offense even has the ability to audible at the line.

There are so many times where it's obvious the defense has an advantage over the offense when it comes to the line of scrimmage. But it doesn't look like UConn adjusts once they break the huddle.
 

Dooley

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If I'm not mistaken, I think we went back to some variation of zone blocking. If that's the case, I call upon (actually plead) Coach Foley to scrap this zone blocking once and for all and return to what our OL has always done well: hat on hat physical pounding.
 
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Foley?

We know he can develop OLinemen. He took raw Zach Hurd & Donald Thomas to All League.

Cummings?

Actually had one kid go top draft in the NFL from a non-ranking in HS.

Presumably, this will take time. Until then ... Duck.

Good point
 
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If I'm not mistaken, I think we went back to some variation of zone blocking. If that's the case, I call upon (actually plead) Coach Foley to scrap this zone blocking once and for all and return to what our OL has always done well: hat on hat physical pounding.

Coach Foley does not decide the blocking schemes. The OC does. The blocking schemes are part of the OC's offensive strategy. UConn's offense started to go last year when they dropped zone blocking and went to the spread.
 
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I agree. But on a positive note most of the issues I noticed were missed blocks NOT an offensive lineman getting beat. If you look at all the sacks this line has given up, usually it is someone coming through completely untouched. When our line does block the right people they do a good job mostly. So they can block they just need to communicate better, so they know who is responsible to block which defender. I think they have the ability but just need more experience or coaching to know their assignments.

Also a lot of sacks can blamed on the QBs who need to have the ability anticipate blitzes and make adjustments. If the defense has two people lined up on a tackle. The tackle can't block both, so an adjustment must be made. The QB needs to audible or make some adjustment. Chandler doesn't do a good job with this. He is blissfully unaware when a defender creeps towards the line to blitz. Casey had much more awareness which explains why he was sacked less.

Finally the RBs need this awareness too. They need to anticipate the blitz so they can help. Often our RBs are out of place on a blitz when it was pretty obvious that the blitz was coming from a particular side.

I think the talent and size is there. Hopefully more experience will help things.
Saw last night usf rushed three a d the qb got sacked by a defensive tackle untouched. Hope this gets syraighened out soon. If not just looking for improvement
 
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The O Line is a mess right now. Samra is really struggling, probably the most on the line. Knappe hasn't really shown anything at this point except that he is really tall. The one thing I noticed about Richard Levy other than blowing a couple key pass protections was that his jersey was pristine in the first half. Only player on the field. Mateas is up and down, but he was the only O Lineman I saw that was aggressive. He played to the whistle every down.

I honestly don't know the answers here. If Coach Diaco leaves Samra in to struggle like that, or Levy in after several miscues and shaky blocking, what does that say about the backups?
 

nelsonmuntz

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I think the OLine's problems are primarily schematic, not talent. Switching back and forth between zone blocking is stupid and arrogant of the OC. It is time to drop it for good.
 

nelsonmuntz

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Going into last season there were 4 of the 5 starting offensive lineman that were redshirt Sr's. Here were the number of starts they had:
Guards
Steve Greene 32 Starts
Tyler Bullock 14 starts

Tackles
Jimmy Bennett 15 Starts
Kevin Friend 29 Starts

Alex Mateas 4 Starts
Gus Cruz 5 starts

This year the ONLY starting OL that had ANY experience were
Mateas 16 starts
Cruz 5 starts
Samra 1 start
Gifford 6 starts

This lack of experience pretty much explains what one of the biggest issues is for this team!

I will let you in on a little secret. Since college football players only have 4 years of eligibility, between 1/3 and 2/3's of every starting lineup turns over every year. It is not a problem unique to UConn. Plus, we are not playing FSU and Alabama, we are playing USF and Stony Brook. We need to stop using this as an excuse.
 
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The O Line is a mess right now. Samra is really struggling, probably the most on the line. Knappe hasn't really shown anything at this point except that he is really tall. The one thing I noticed about Richard Levy other than blowing a couple key pass protections was that his jersey was pristine in the first half. Only player on the field. Mateas is up and down, but he was the only O Lineman I saw that was aggressive. He played to the whistle every down.

I honestly don't know the answers here. If Coach Diaco leaves Samra in to struggle like that, or Levy in after several miscues and shaky blocking, what does that say about the backups?

I agree on Samra. Can Gifford slide over to G? Give us our best 5 out there at once?
 
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I will let you in on a little secret. Since college football players only have 4 years of eligibility, between 1/3 and 2/3's of every starting lineup turns over every year. It is not a problem unique to UConn. Plus, we are not playing FSU and Alabama, we are playing USF and Stony Brook. We need to stop using this as an excuse.

We lost 80% of our starting OL from last year. Not to mention having no TE with any type of reasonable talent/experience. That happens to most teams too. :rolleyes:

I often wonder if you even believe what you type.
 
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I agree on Samra. Can Gifford slide over to G? Give us our best 5 out there at once?

I'm pretty sure I saw Hopkins in there at guard toward the end of the game, I think it was on the left side for Cruz.

If the coaches need more athleticism on the line they should consider making Walsh a lineman, he's 6'1 so maybe he could be a center (Petrus was 6'1). They should also consider moving James Atkins to OL.
 
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I also thought I saw Hopkins on the Newsome highlight so checked on the ESPN replay and can find four plays where Hopkins was in at left guard. On Newsome run which as second play of a third quarter possession with about 8:30left, he was in the play before and drove his guy inside to help open a decent size hole for Max on a 4-5 yard pickup, on the Newsome run sealed off and pushed his guy on the 15 yard line. On first possession of fourth quarter after USF pinned us near the goal line, was in on first down and there was a short gain as USF was playing run all the way but he did take his guy for a ride driving him back out at least five yards and out of the camera angle. Last play was run to opposite side, and pulled and got an edge guy but no impact on play as looks like USF beat the right guard and believe it was Max who just dove for a yard.

Thought Hopkins was listed as tackle not guard but maybe coaching staff saw a fit at guard as seemed like he might be able to help, as from limited sample from USF game seems like he has ability to push the pile, something that has been missing so far this season.
 

ctchamps

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I agree. But on a positive note most of the issues I noticed were missed blocks NOT an offensive lineman getting beat. If you look at all the sacks this line has given up, usually it is someone coming through completely untouched. When our line does block the right people they do a good job mostly. So they can block they just need to communicate better, so they know who is responsible to block which defender. I think they have the ability but just need more experience or coaching to know their assignments.

Also a lot of sacks can blamed on the QBs who need to have the ability anticipate blitzes and make adjustments. If the defense has two people lined up on a tackle. The tackle can't block both, so an adjustment must be made. The QB needs to audible or make some adjustment. Chandler doesn't do a good job with this. He is blissfully unaware when a defender creeps towards the line to blitz. Casey had much more awareness which explains why he was sacked less.

Finally the RBs need this awareness too. They need to anticipate the blitz so they can help. Often our RBs are out of place on a blitz when it was pretty obvious that the blitz was coming from a particular side.

I think the talent and size is there. Hopefully more experience will help things.
Finally a thread I am comfortable with. Thanks. Kudos to you and @ FDNY99. For all the Diaco bashing, it is obvious from his offseason comments and the start of the season that his options on offense were severely handicapped. He's assessed things similarly to what people are commenting in this forum. The OL is painfully inadequate at this stage and none of the QBs have the tools to overcome that weakness. Where CC could make adjustments, his throwing was limited relative to Chandler. Combine the best of both players and Diaco would have a complete QB at is disposal to negate some of the weaknesses of the offensive OL.

We can talk about schemes and plays all we want. The weak links will always be exploited in spite of our second guessing the coaching staff. Unlike the prior coaches, this group understands its personnel. The biggest problem they face is that after the prior three years of inadequacy, fans have become impatient. That's understandable but unfortunate because this group of coaches have the ability to move UConn in the right direction imo.
 

FfldCntyFan

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Hopkins played a number of plays Friday at guard (mostly in the second half) and Gifford also played a handful at guard. That this was happening is evidence of the magnitude of the issue. The staff is still trying to figure out what we have and who can contribute. This is similar to if our basketball team was still trying to figure out who, if anyone on the roster could bring the ball up court without turning it over in mid-late January. Questions that good programs want answered before the season begins are still unanswered here one third of the way through the season. More evidence of the magnitude of the issue is that even with the best programs, burning redshirts on true freshman is the exception, not the rule and normally happens when a) a kid is very advanced for his age, both physically and in terms of skill and b) able to at least play quite a bit, if not start. We have two true freshman (quality recruits but each about 20 lbs below where we would want them when they become starters) with burnt redshirts just to have backups at the guard position.

One thing I noticed from the first play of the game was that we appeared to be going back to Foley's run blocking schemes. It seems that Cummings (who is in charge of the offense) prefers more of a finesse style of blocking (there are many philosophies that are successful) and the staff decided to pull the plug on some of what they were attempting earlier. The downside of this is that Foley's schemes did not always lend themselves to pass blocking (which was more glaring than normal Friday). Cummings does warrant a tremendous amount of credit for getting a MAC left tackle picked first in the NFL draft (this was no small feat) and I truly believe that somewhere down the road we will have an experienced offensive line that benefits from the best of what each of the two coaches can teach them but this will be frustrating as hell for the remainder of this season. We (as fans) need to figure out how to handle the frustration our offensive line is going to provide the remainder of the season in advance or we'll end up with ulcers.
 

UCweCONN

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I wonder if the thought of getting knocked into next week each game for the next few seasons due to this offensive line played a part in Cochrane's decision to give up the game? If anything says permanent brain injury, it's our offensive line play.
 

FfldCntyFan

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An edit to my above post is that in redshirting freshman, I was specifically speaking of offensive linemen.

I do believe that there is light at the end of this tunnel and in a reasonable amount of time (my guess is midpoint next season) we will not only be solid on the offensive line but in a position (with reasonable recruiting classes going forward) very good to excellent going forward.

Looking at the numbers we we be in very good shape (and a bit young) in size, depth and time working with both Foley and Balis next year. Granted this is assuming that we don't lose anyone who has eligibility remaining, which may not be a given where someone is behind a guy who is an underclassman, that Hashemi is returned to tackle (the Iowa method for years had been moving TE's to offensive tackle) and that we can move a couple kids around to balance out depth (including finding a third center).

Next year we will go into the season (not counting incoming true freshman) with sixteen offensive linemen (fourteen scholarship, but to fill out depth you always want a couple of walkons filling out the roster). If we bring in four kids this recruiting class, we can legitimately field a four deep, with walkons on the third or four team and all true frosh on the fourth team, minimizing the need to burn any redshirts. A big bonus to these numbers is that we will only have two seniors (Gifford & Nwokeji), quite likely neither being a starter and we will have at least six returning scholarship players projected at tackle.

We could conceivably start a RS freshman (Oak @ center), two true sophs (Crozier & Rutherford @ guard) and two RS juniors (Knappe & Levy @ tackle) next year, returning the entire line for 2016, working Hashemi into LT in the process to become a starter as (hopefully) a RS junior in 2018 while we move Rutherford out to RT at the same time (this is common with many schools, play a kid at guard as an underclassman to gain experience and move him out to tackle as an upperclassman) and move an underclassman to starting guard.

We need to coach these kids up (which takes time), we need to build their bodies (also takes time) and we need to consistently bring in four to five recruits who can be developed into starters but if we do pull this off, thirteen or so months down the road we will be looking at solid offensive line play for the foreseeable future.
 
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I will let you in on a little secret. Since college football players only have 4 years of eligibility, between 1/3 and 2/3's of every starting lineup turns over every year. It is not a problem unique to UConn. Plus, we are not playing FSU and Alabama, we are playing USF and Stony Brook. We need to stop using this as an excuse.
WOW..thanks Nelson...that's something as a long time college football fan I had not thought about....NOT! I know how much eligibility a player has, and that's the MAIN issue with this line, they had a TON of starting experience and it was lost in 1 full swoop. Add to that the kids who were in line to replace them having HORRIBLE coaching the last 2 plus seasons under Deleone and you have the mix for the perfect storm..what we have now! We don't have to stop using this as an excuse...it is our reality..the OL sucks and lacks playing experience. Why do you think there are so many young guys playing?
 
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I also thought I saw Hopkins on the Newsome highlight so checked on the ESPN replay and can find four plays where Hopkins was in at left guard. On Newsome run which as second play of a third quarter possession with about 8:30left, he was in the play before and drove his guy inside to help open a decent size hole for Max on a 4-5 yard pickup, on the Newsome run sealed off and pushed his guy on the 15 yard line. On first possession of fourth quarter after USF pinned us near the goal line, was in on first down and there was a short gain as USF was playing run all the way but he did take his guy for a ride driving him back out at least five yards and out of the camera angle. Last play was run to opposite side, and pulled and got an edge guy but no impact on play as looks like USF beat the right guard and believe it was Max who just dove for a yard.

Thought Hopkins was listed as tackle not guard but maybe coaching staff saw a fit at guard as seemed like he might be able to help, as from limited sample from USF game seems like he has ability to push the pile, something that has been missing so far this season.

Per HCBD from today press conference:

@JohnFSilver: As far as OL, they are going to get Tommy Hopkins at guard. Better fit athletically. No changes coming on line though. Run blocking better.
 
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The offensive line has been exactly that, offensive....to their own QB by allowing so much pressure.
 

nelsonmuntz

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Other than Levy, the linemen got a fair amount of playing time last year and they have had several years under Foley. Its not like Uconn is starting 5 redshirt freshmen. Enough excuses.
 
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