We are going to get absolutely killed on the offensive line this year. There is one SEC starting-level caliber player (Froholdt) on the whole line. Most of the rest of our starters would be second or third-teamers on the better SEC teams. There won’t even be any backups for what we do have.
There’s been a lot of years where I was more concerned after watching the team play a few games, when it became obvious that the OL could not pass protect, or could not run block, or both.
Right now all we know is that the OL wasn’t good last year, has several inexperienced guys who are being asked to play significant roles, and we’ve had some injuries. Until we see: 1) this group work a few games in the new system; and 2) who ends up where after injured players return/coaches grade out early game performance, I think you have to withhold judgment.
I also think that you have to try to avoid snap judgments in the first few games. Mistakes are going to be made by young players, and everyone is going to need to get used to playing games in the new system. Likewise, if the QB does not get his uniform dirty against EIU or a particular lineman pancakes a DL for North Texas that does not mean the better SEC defenses won’t go through the OL like poop through a goose.
So about the second week in October I think you can get a better handle on “are they any good?” and “are they getting any better?” For me, right now is more anxiety about the unknowns than the sense of doom I’ve had some years after a few games of bad OL play.
Im concerned enough to say we may never know how good of a career our QBs or RBs might have had if they had played behind a average Sec O-line. Injuries and undeveloped potential have plaqued us of late and totally wiped out any thought of having depth. This will take awhile to overcome and coaching guys up and stellar recruiting is the only way out of this issue, However I do like what I hear about the dedication and work ethic of the players and the coaches and that’s where the change has to begin. WPS!!
Buzzard nailed it for me. I’m thankful we have 3 non conference games before we play AU. We may have to forget Jalen Merrick, hope that Capps turns it on quicker than Froholdt and that Colton Jackson returns ahead of schedule.
Not much different than two years ago, but this system is much easier for young linemen. The RPO is a game changer up front. It’s all run blocking. Colton Jackson will return at left tackle and I think Austin Capps is making a lot of headway at left guard. I know Jackson is ahead of schedule.
I would re-emphasize that we have 3 NON SEC games to start the season because I know it makes me feel better LOL.
-Capps has time to adjust and learn against 3 lesser teams than AU
-The reserves that are now at LT and LG have time to gain experience and snaps against 3 lesser teams than AU
-Colton Jackson should be back before AU but his back ups have had 3 games against NON SEC talent that should help develop confidence.
-Capps will have a solid backup in Adcock with a few games under his belt and probably some confidence.
-Truthfully, Wallace needs these 3 games too
I am pretty sure that Austin Capps would not have been moved to left guard after being in the rotation the last two years at DT just to be a backup. As he learns the plays and becomes comfortable, I figured all along he would start. You don’t move a guy who has played as much as he has to sit him on the bench. He’s going to play.
How much does coaching play into this? It sure seemed the last two years that coaching was less than stellar in the Oline.
I was listening to Mark Schlereth on our local sports radio station in Denver and he was talking about Alex Gibbs (old Oline coach/consultant) and what a difference his coaching was compared to some of the coaching he has seen in Denver over the past 5 years. Although he likes current oline coach Kugler (former UTEP head coach). He said great coaching and scheming to your oline talents/deficiencies verse making them fit exactly what you’ve coached is vital in todays game where lineman aren’t all developed in same systems in high school and college. Went further in calling out a few great coaches who have never had a bad offensive line (rated) and said it’s the difference in schemes. Compared teams in the past 10 years that tried to do what cowboys lines have done during certain successful times without having those large players with great athletically ability.
Anyway, made me think of Razorback situation and what we could possibly achieve if we can get some of the guys back and have better coaching/schemes to optimize talents and nullify deficiencies. And yes I think you need the talent upfront to win championships, but can some of the coaching points above apply to us this year and help us beat the teams we all feel we should beat out of conference and a few in conference? That’s all I’m hoping for.
When Sam Pittman followed Jim Chaney to Georgia, I wondered how the O-Line would fare. Would the upperclassmen hold onto the technique they had been taught? Would the new staff revamp their technique to fit their view of the world? Of course, all Chaney and Pittman did was help Kirby Smart get to the National Championship game. I still think that Chaney’s departure may have been one of the worst decisions of Bielema’s time at Arkansas. I don’t know the full details and other than those two, I’m not sure who really does, but we have not done as well since in my opinion.