The offensive line hire for the Beavers will be very important as they make the transition to the Gary Andersen regime and a new style of offense. The methodology for blocking a pro style offense versus a read option spread attack, pistol style offenses, air raid passing attacks or whatever the Beavers choose to utilize in their offense.
Much of the blocking done by the Beavers the past decade plus has been a kind of zone blocking scheme with counter, trapping and passing type fakes in order to create running lanes. Their combo blocking scheme that utilized a “whatever is in front of you” method relied on reads, on discipline and on being able to get a lot of push at the point of attack in a unified way so that running backs could get through the holes and lanes without getting drug down from behind them.
In some of the more ‘modern’ styles of offense, blocking takes on a more simplistic style. A single double team by the interior linemen while the rest man up on their assigned defenders is often all that happens on a read option play. It requires an aggressive attitude and the ability to drive a defender into the next line of defense.
Or if it is a passing heavy attack, linemen will need to be able to pass block exceptionally well, but also be able to sustain their blocks should the pocket break down. They will need to be able to keep defender hands down and win one on one battles in order to allow the quick hit pass plays to be effective.
There is a lot of different methods for blocking, different designs and schemes so whoever the offense. you are going to need someone that can adjust and excel to coach them. TJ Woods was the offensive line coach for Wisconsin and his resume is impressive:
- 1st Team All American lineman at Azusa Pacific
- At New Mexico coached two NFL linemen in Erik Cook and Byron Bell.
- At Utah State was Tight Ends and Special Teams coach for his first two years and had the best kick-return team in the conference and one of the top return units in the nation.
- His first year as the USU offensive line coach, “the Aggies’ offense established school records for total offense (5,945 yards), rushing yards (3,675), total points (437) and total touchdowns (60)”
- He also had two all conference offensive linemen, the first time USU had achieved that in 27 years.
- His second year they were one of 19 teams to pass and rush for over 200 yards per game en route to over 6000 yards of offense and 454 points (35 points a game).
- They were also one of four teams in the nation that year to have a 1500 yard rusher each season.
- They again had two first team all conference linemen and one second team.
- His first year at Wisconsin he had two rushers with over 1400 yards and anNCA record of over 3000 yards for a rushing duo (an average of 230 yards per game on the ground).
- As a team they rushed for over 3500 yards and passed for over 2500 en route to being one of four teams in the nation to accomplish this feat.
- They set a school record with 3,680 yards rushing
- They also averaged 6.85 yards per play
- They averaged 6.3 yards per rush
- Three members of his offensive line made the All Big 10 first team, including one sophomore.
- True Freshman center Dan Voltz was named first team All Freshman.
- His second year at Wisconsin the Badgers broke that record with over 4000 yards rushing and getting 6000 yards of total offense for the second straight year.
- Heisman runner up Melvin Gordon had 2300 yards on the ground
- The Wisconsin offensive line only gave up 12 sacks all season
- They averaged 6.9 yards per rush on the season, with Gordon averaging over 7.
- Four of the five Wisconsin linemen received all conference honors (2 first team and 2 second team)
Woods is a dynamic coach that knows what he is doing. The techniques they work on is all about being physical and moving bodies. Watching film of him in practice you get a small taste of what his coaching style is like, but the proof is more in the pudding with him as he gets the most out of the guys he has. Watch this video to see his demeanor and some of what he is looking for. He relates well and is demanding but also rewarding in his practices. I have seen nothing but success and heard nothing but positives about the man as a coach and a recruiter. Oregon State could do far worse than TJ Woods and I for one think he would be a great coach and mentor for our current offensive line. Harlow, Mitchell, Lauina, Andrews, Stanton and a healthy Isaac could see a ton of improvement from Woods not just because of his skill but because of the system they are going to run and how much less it will demand of them.
My next report will show the differences between the systems and the final piece will be an evaluation of how our line really played this year, because I think it will shock some people. Maybe even myself.