Trench Report – Weber State

So this year I am going to try and do a grade for the offensive line.  In most cases, a group of 5 can get dicey.  You can have four guys playing great and then one blows it and makes them all look bad.  So I wanted to use the grading system I know to grade their performance but also to try and give a shout out to the guys that are consistently getting it done.

The grading system is simple:

1 – The block led to a touchdown or huge game changing play.
2 – The block was exceptional and showed domination over their opponent.
3 – The block was the bare minimum to make the play work.  You did your job, but not in a way that dominated the opponent. An average to poor block.
4 – This play was a negative game changer.  A hold or other penalty, giving up a bad sack, whiffing on a player that makes a huge play.  No bueno.

An average of 2.5 is the goal.  You want to be dominant over your opponent and have all plays work.  An average of above 3 means you did ok, and didn’t necessarily hurt the team, but didn’t help a ton either.  An average of 3.5 means you got worked most of the game and probably leads to a loss.

A team average of below 3 means you most likely won the game.  A team average of below 2.5 and you definitely won and won big. A team average of above 3 means you may have won, but there is a lot of work to do.

WEEK 1.  Weber State
Top Grade Average: 2.95, Isaac Seumalo
Team Grade Average: 3.03

Overview: For the most part, the line did ok.  Lots of mistakes, and not a lot of push. There were plays that looked worse than they were, and plays that looked better than they should have been.

The one that sticks out to me the most is the 4th and inches in the first quarter.  The blocking actually wasn’t bad. It was an unbalanced front, with two tackles on the top of the screen.  From the inside tackle away from the play, everyone was supposed to block down.  The pulling guard was supposed to pull and lead up the hole, while the outside tackle play side blocked down and the full back blocked out.  There was a lane to the outside, but the tackle missed his guy, so the pulling guard had to get him.  That left the player the guard was supposed to get free to blow up the play.  The running back also should have aimed outside a bit more, but cut it right off the butt of the inside tackle.

It looked bad, but it was actually well blocked except for the most important part, the seal by the outside tackle.

So in that case, I gave him a four, and everyone else got 3’s except the pulling guard who got a 2.5 for getting to the hole, cutting up and blocking someone.

What the Heck?
As a former offensive lineman, sometimes I see scheme things that leave me scratching my rapidly balding head.  In this case, the play is the fly sweep.  Someone may know this, but why in the world would you pull the backside guard on a fly/Jet Sweep?  I assume it must be setting something else up, but that player is literally never going to make a meaningful block because the ball carrier is going full speed. If Fred Lauina is catching the ball carrier, then we need to find new ball carriers.  No offense to Fred, but the play is meant to have one player on the field going full speed to the play side. This messes up angles by the defense and allows for easier blocking at the edge.  Especially if you are running a ‘red light’ sweep.

Anyway, that one had me shaking my head, but if someone wants to comment on why you would do it, I would love to hear it!

6 thoughts on “Trench Report – Weber State

    1. Peter Riley Osborne Post author

      Yeah, something else off of it was the only thing I can think of. And actually, it probably makes sense, considering the back side guard or tackle are literally not going to make an impact on that play unless the runner cuts back for some reason. It was just weird seeing the path he was taking. To be honest, I would have blocked that play differently at the edge too… and ran it differently, but that is just me and I am thankfully not a coach.

      1. Ben

        It will be interesting to see the variations of that play throughout the season to see if they are still blocking it the same way or if it gets modified/tweaked some.

    2. Peter Riley Osborne Post author

      I am not sure the schemes are the problems. I think there is a certain amount of mesh practice and game experience you need to succeed. They did a good job driving guys down and using their momentum against them. That is something you are going to see a lot more of. We don’t need to blow them off the ball if we can ride them in a predictable direction and ball carriers can cut off that. It is all about leveraging what they present and looking for creases. As the backs get a bit more patient and trusting of their line, I think we will see some more big running plays. There were a lot of yards left on the field because of small, minute details. Shore those up and the game will get a lot easier for the Beavers.

  1. Kenneth

    Hi peter
    Riding defenders in a particular direction is more a wide receiver technique . If your online is riding defenders ? You are getting your arse handed to you on a regular basis . See: Stanford !!! Smash mouth football is the name of the game . Unfortunately our online is very poor and that is being kind . I don’t see anybody on our online that that knows what nasty is let alone play with a mean streak . Sad sad sad . Until the online changes we are not going anywhere . At least not forward

    1. Peter Riley Osborne Post author

      I actually totally disagree. In most of the spread attacks, you are creating seams. If you watch our double teams, for the most part we are driving their defenders three and four yards back. In fact, #90 for Stanford spent most of the game 3 yards from the line of scrimmage. Playing nasty and driving guys out is all well and good, but not practical. We also block differently from time to time to confuse the defense. We will block like we are running a read option when we are passing and we will block like we are passing when we are running the ball.

      I think the comment about Stanford is interesting too. They rarely fire out and blow people up. In fact, on their close yardage plays, they didn’t fare well against our defensive line. Of the rushing plays on their first drive, only twice did they drive one of our defensive linemen off the ball, and that was only one or two yards. Usually they just rode them in one direction, got to the second level and let the backs pick their way. Stanford, like many teams, plays smart with their line and doesn’t try and move out guys that are hard to move. They just take them the way they want to go. Which is why Houston and Peko were able to toss so many of their guys around when they did try and just push them out.

      Until our team can use its whole playbook and until we are on the same page in terms of blocking and running, we are going to struggle. But I totally disagree that our line is the issue. I think overall they are playing better than some of our opponents have.


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