Observations from former O-lineman

We’ve had some really insightful posts on the football board lately that are going to get buried pretty quickly so I’m going to start posting some of them here. Here’s one from sbeNDfan about the play of the offensive line.

I played o-line through highschool and then college. Div III isn’t the same thing, but at the same time, I know at least a bit about line play. First, I must say, there is a HUGE difference between college and h.s. and their is a learning curve for new college players. In highschool you can get by on talent and strength, in college, you better have technique as well. Especially in the passing game.

My observations are as follows:
**These guys just aren’t getting it done. It is such a catastrophic failure, I honestly don’t know where they should start addressing the issues. I think personel changes are a must to be honest.

Pass blocking:

  1. 1. Cut blocking is for the weak. We are trying to rely on this too much. This is a coaching problem.

    A cut block in my mind is used in only a couple of situations. A backside tackle, or even a guard on a wide run play, might use a cut block to stop backside pursuit. It can work in creating a pile up, and essentially taking a couple of people out of a play. The other time it is used is to slow an aggressive defender on the corner, or an overly aggressive LB blitz. If you keep getting beat by a guy coming in just to hard and fast, you cut him. Not every play, just a couple of times so he thinks twice before just blasting in. When defenders have to think, half the battle is won.

    The technique on the cut blocks are bad too. You just don’t fire off the ball to the ground. You have to see where the guy is going. We are missing guys on cut blocks, and that is no good. If you cut to much, and they expect it coming, they hesitate, let you fall, and they are free to go. Which is why you don’t do it too often.

    CUT BLOCKING IS NOT FOR SHORT PASSES! People think this too often. Cut them, get their hands down, blah blah blah. That is BS! Want their hands down on a three step drop. Hit the SOB. Just hit him. Drive him! Act like its a run! If your face is burried in their chest driving them, their hands aren’t coming up. If they do, your putting them on their back.

  2. 2. Blitz pick up – There are obviously back problems here. When an o-lineman is looking stepping watching left, that usually means his assignment is to cover blitz from that side of the field. Lineman have reads and checkdowns like everyone else. uncovered centers especially. Seeing how guys are caught looking somewhere else, makes me think people don’t know the plays or their assignments, this is bad coaching.

    Whatever your responsibility is, no one ever crosses your face. One play, in GT, I saw Sully watch a LB come through right in front of him. He saw him coming, but still slid to his left, and let the guy through. Inexcusable.

Run Blocking:
This is more simple. Friggin hit someone. They aren’t doing it. Nuff said. No pop, no drive, no nothing. They look lost. My guess is they don’t know the blocking schemes well enough. They are second guessing themselves, and are unprepared. Again, bad coaching.

Bottom line: You don’t have an O-line be this awful, without bad coaching. Either simplify the schemes, and make them man up, and figure out a way to teach them what they are doing so they step with confidence. Line play is all about step one. If you are affraid because you don’t think you know what you are doing, you will get beat, and beat bad. Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation causes your worst fears to come true. These guys are playing affraid and hesitant. That is poor coaching. Period.

Thanks go to sbeNDfan for the insights.

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  1. In what original post did I say it was bad coaching? I happen to still be a fan of Latina and don’t place the blame all on him although when a line plays this badly, the coaches obviously deserve some of the blame.

    I agree in principle about the line needing to play with more aggression, but I still don’t think the Thomas play is a good example of that. There’s playing with more aggression and then there’s making dumb penalties like the one Thomas made.

  2. i wasnt talking about sbendfan’s post, i was talking about your orginal post. at the end of almost every paragraph you said it was bad coaching and at least thomas got pissed and maybe we could move the ball if our linemen got pissed. if im not mistaken, werent our linemen a reason for us getting penalties last week. let me guess it was bad coaching for our linemen not being able to follow the snap count, right frankie V?

  3. kmondfan,

    Did you read the post? sbeNDfan placed plenty of blame on OL for not hitting anyone.

    As for wanting to see the OL hit people like Thomas did… that’s just ridiculous. If Thomas’ penalty was indeed as bad as it looked, he should have been ejected. There’s playing tough and then there’s that. There’s no place in football for what appeared to be beating up on a player who is on the ground without a helmet on 50 yards from the play. Thomas’ penalty wasn’t playing tough, it was playing dumb. Ridiculously dumb.

    Call me a fool, but I don’t ever like to see personal foul penalties, but if you like losing 15 yards on an offense that can’t move the ball I guess there’s no reasoning with your judgment.

  4. you pretty much blamed everything on bad coaching and i think that is bs. you kept saying the players dont know the schemes and that they need to be dumbed down, that some more bull shit. these kids go to notre dame and all of the linemen seeing the field this is at least their second year in this scheme. i was a split end for my h.s. team and i still knew what the linemen were supposed to do on every play so im going to let the linemen use excuse that the scheme is too difficult. these p****** just need to man up and pop the guy across from them in the jaw. they need to get pissed off like travis thomas did last week. i would love to see an o-linemen get a penalty for just beating the s*** out of a d-linemen.

  5. in reply to champ: If you can drive your defender far enough of the line (5 yards) to be called for illegal man downfield on a 3 step drop quick pass, you are the best O-lineman ever. Your guy would be pancaked if you drove him this well, and you would be busy laying on top of him a couple or yards from scrimmage. Lastly, in the rare instance this actually happened, it would be rare for a ref to call. An O-lineman pushing a d-lineman back this way, just isn’t going to draw the flag.

  6. All aformentioned poinst are valid! Latina was instructed to have all O Lineman learn two positions this year…..this obviously has caused them to be less aggressive and lose focus of their primary job which is KICK THE *@@! out of the guy acrossed from you when driving out! And if the QB and the Receivers timing is as is should be there is no chance of the O Lineman being offsides if firing out on a 3 step drop…..It should be Boom, Boom and 5+ yards a pop!

  7. frank,

    1. excellent comments on the nd olinne disaster. this is one of the many problems that charlie inherited from the poor recruting under holtz, during his last years at nd because of his wife’s illnes, the bob davie( why should i get out on the recruiting trail?) years and the tyrone years with the exception of that class of 2003, which was the product of notre dame’s name and that nd player driven 2002 season, not tyrone’s being the type of recruiting workhorse

    2. charlie and his staff have brought nd recruiting back to life, however, there was bound to be a year like this when the new oline would need to gel.

    3. charlie has brought in the oline talent and depth. however, they are true sophomores and freshmen

    4. you really have to wonder about coach latina.

    5. with charlie now personnaly involved with the oline, we expect the nd offensise to come together sooner, rather than later this seasonand latina to be replaced with someone from the nfl.

    6. the probem is certainly not a lack of talent or depth or hard work. it is chemistry that can be learned only in real games.

    7. we are looking foward to the toilet bowl at the bighouse on abc, after all, on saturday.

    8. sure, sully and young have made some mistakes that they would not normally make. however, they were trying to help out too many o players with talent, but no real college experience.

    9. with the entire world bashing nd and the oline, we do not need anyone else to point out the problems. how about some solutions?

    10. replacing latina with some oline coach from the nfl might do the trick, not that i dislike coach latina at all, but his results this season, so far, do not look good.

    11. in the meantime, charlie and other staff members are stepping into the breach.

    thanks for the fine work,

    bob gilleran

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