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How Can the Coaches Fix the OLine?


Franco
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...between now and the semis

 

Out of all the positions, the OLine is a really huge concern. After losing two Top 10 picks, we all knew we would see a drop off, but the drop off to be this big

 

Like I said in another thread. It's feast or famine with this line. We either rush for no gain, or Williams breaks a big one. But I think that more has to do with the play design and Williams' incredible burst, than the OLine. Which was the opposite of last year where the OLine opened up huge gaping holes for Adams, who was typically slow to get going. Basically, we can never get that consistent 5-6 yard run that would take some pressure off of Book

 

I honestly don't understand why the OLine can't get any push. It can't be the conditioning can it? I thought Balis has done a great job.

 

Like the title asks, what can the coaches do to remedy this? Can this even be remedied in a month? Will it take more squats? Is it a scheme thing? Is it the teams loading the box? (I have seen that quite a bit)

 

And honestly, am I making something out of nothing?

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It's a very strange dynamic.

 

ND's OL is 115th in opportunity rate at 41.8%, which is the percent of runs that get 4 yards. But they are 23rd in Power Success rate at 78.3%, which is runs on 3rd and 4th down and 2 or fewer yards to go (which surprised me a bit). So they do get good push when needed, just not consistently.

 

Is that scheme? Defenses loading the box? I don't know.

 

Then they are 12th on passing down sack rate. So when they need to pass block, they are very good at it.

 

Just an odd dichotomy. They are really good at pass blocking, pretty good at short yardage and terrible on standard downs creating push. I have no idea why that would be.

 

When you look at a bad line like FSU, they are bad at everything. A great line like Alabama is good at everything. ND is good at some and bad at others.

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It's a very strange dynamic.

 

ND's OL is 115th in opportunity rate at 41.8%, which is the percent of runs that get 4 yards. But they are 23rd in Power Success rate at 78.3%, which is runs on 3rd and 4th down and 2 or fewer yards to go (which surprised me a bit). So they do get good push when needed, just not consistently.

 

Is that scheme? Defenses loading the box? I don't know.

 

Then they are 12th on passing down sack rate. So when they need to pass block, they are very good at it.

 

Just an odd dichotomy. They are really good at pass blocking, pretty good at short yardage and terrible on standard downs creating push. I have no idea why that would be.

 

When you look at a bad line like FSU, they are bad at everything. A great line like Alabama is good at everything. ND is good at some and bad at others.

 

Now that you point those out, it does jog my memory

 

Yea, it's really the first and second down runs that put us in 3rd and longs that's really the crux of my complaint. Does Book no favors and it only speaks to how clutch he is as we're currently ranked 27th in 3rd down conversion

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Those are strange situational numbers. Certainly, some of this has to do with with us starting two sophomores, one senior and two juniors who are not rising to the occasion as emphatically as past lineman have. But, those strange numbers would suggest some of it has to do with scheme as well.

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Could the numbers also be skewed by us having Wimbush at the beginning of the year (I'd assume his scrambling rushing is included?) and Book who also helps us gain some rushing yards?

 

Also, I suspect our strong numbers on the passing side have more to do with mobile QBs and the scheme we have of getting the ball out relatively quickly.

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Well, I noticed during the U$C game that they also stacked the box against us on 1st and 2nd down. There were at least 7 defenders in the with a safety lurking close by. Kelly also mentioned it during the half time. I think teams are focusing on stopping the run and forcing Book to throw it over their heads. This line is not as good as past lines when it comes to run blocking, but I also think it is scheme issue as it relates to the opposing DC strategy.

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I sometimes wonder if BK and staff are playing pretty vanilla on offense all season and holding some things back? Pulling out a few awesome plays when we need them.

 

I guess I am just hoping this year with some new coaches we will have some new schemes ready for some upcoming opponents to keep them off balance and also make necessary adjustments.

 

Fingers crossed all. Let's GO IRISH

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On Mike Frank's power hour podcast, he mentioned that he thought the oline had a chance to get a lot better this next month just based on practice compared to other teams. His argument centered around the fact that this spring/fall so much time was spent trying to get Wimbush to be a better passer, that the Oline just didn't have enough practice time dedicated to run blocking. He said that the team rarely practiced running the ball, or anything half line/full line running situations. Now that they know what they have in Book, he hopes/thinks that they will be able to dedicate more time to run blocking which will pay dividends.

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I think just to play better. If you want me too I can go X and O's like crazy but it takes a 5 as 1 one mentality and we are not there yet.

Let me know if you want me to screenshot some stuff but unless I was in there position meeting room I would not know there exact assignments.

 

But my guess is execution and communication by repitition

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If we look at the SC and Syracuse games, they were calling a lot of run blitzes on early downs. ND tried running a lot outside which is tough sledding against speed teams. In the second half against SC, I think the line and backs did an exceptional job picking up pass blitzes. It seemed SC sent more people a lot in the second half.

 

The run thing is tricky to figure out - some of it is play calling, some situational and some skill set. I know the Lions have invested for 2 years in personnel to try to get a running game. I think a lot of college and pro teams struggle to figure it out.

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I sometimes wonder if BK and staff are playing pretty vanilla on offense all season and holding some things back? Pulling out a few awesome plays when we need them.

 

I guess I am just hoping this year with some new coaches we will have some new schemes ready for some upcoming opponents to keep them off balance and also make necessary adjustments.

 

Fingers crossed all. Let's GO IRISH

 

I was honestly thinking the same thing, especially the last three games.

 

The offense has had success when running out of a two back set, though it has been rarely used. Jafar and Dexter on the field together seems like an advantage Chip Long would want to exploit.

 

I wonder if Armstrong not being completely healthy kept him off the field. I guess Chip Long could be saving the two back look for the CFP, although that seems kind of ridiculous when the name of the game is to win.

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I think a lot of it is the amount of RPOs we run, especially on 1st and 2nd down. Guys like Banks and Liam are power blockers -- they want to drive the guy off the line, but in the RPO scheme you can't as you have to stay within 3 yards of the LOS. When we got straight power, we're pretty good. But the RPO scheme requires a bit more of a finesse technique. It's definitely something we can get better at, but I would also like to see a bit more hat on hat drive their d*cks in dirt blocking.

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I think the OLine has improved and will continue to improve....we have a 70% plus passer, obviously SOMEBODY is protecting him pretty damn well....we have a Running back that is ripping long runs game in and game out, SOMEBODY has been opening up those lanes.

 

Sure we are not the DOMINANT LINE that imposes its will some might hope for, but these are a far cry from a bunch of place holders.....they have improved and will improve as time goes on.....

 

 

aloha

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I am hoping for improvement by the semis. We have to run effectively against Clemson in order to keep our passing game relevant. Clemson has enough horses up front to stop our running game without stacking the box like most of the teams we faced this year. They can then drop back into normal coverage in the pass defense and make it very difficult for us. We have to be able to get yards on the ground on first and second down.

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On Mike Frank's power hour podcast, he mentioned that he thought the oline had a chance to get a lot better this next month just based on practice compared to other teams. His argument centered around the fact that this spring/fall so much time was spent trying to get Wimbush to be a better passer, that the Oline just didn't have enough practice time dedicated to run blocking. He said that the team rarely practiced running the ball, or anything half line/full line running situations. Now that they know what they have in Book, he hopes/thinks that they will be able to dedicate more time to run blocking which will pay dividends.

 

Additionally how much time have the new guys had together? They came into the season with different positions and personnel, throughout the season they've had different grouping etc due to injuries or effectiveness. So the entire season the OL has been in flux from game to game, sometimes series to series. That's not unheard of, but it does impact performance for sure.

 

I'm generally not a fan of the scheme we employ for run blocking, even when HH was the OL coach, but that is a problem with the type of offense we run in general. Slow developing run plays which have been a staple of this offense are detrimental to an OL trying to run block IMO. Overall our pass blocking is at least adequate, though I haven't seen how many sacks we've given up this year. Book getting the ball out quick on those short and intermediate route makes a difference and the OL doesn't have to pass pro as long.

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Agree with Hawaii’s assessment. Also, look at football across the board. I’ve watch some Bama and Clemson games and they aren’t ripping off long run after long run. It’s more of a wear out game with them.

 

One other thing, I’ve truly felt this for awhile, but it takes a special kind of back to run in this system. When you have a guy like Dexter, more times than not, he’s going to make the right read and slither through for some nice runs.

 

We get some more backs like Dex and our line will continue looking good. Remember, when was the last time we’ve had an elite back sign with us-not convert into one.

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I haven't studied this in detail, but one thing I mentioned in another thread that drives me crazy is when I see the OL standing around after finishing their blocks early and the RB is being wrapped up fighting for extra yardage. I know you have to be careful with late hits, but I'd try showing them the tape of the USC OL in the first half. They were flying downfield to hit people and playing possessed. The games I noticed our OL doing that were the Wake and FSU games.

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https://www.18stripes.com/notre-dame-film-room-18-stripes-northwestern-review-dexter-williams-ian-book/

 

click above: Good Read

 

points out:

 

1. Adequate but not outstanding run blocking

2. Dexter Less willing to change direction as the starter

3. Cites a lack of variety in run calls

4. Defenses choosing to stop the run. Long exploiting that choice with the pass.

 

We still average 190 Rushing yards a game, so that's pretty respectable. The Zach Martin line of 2012 was only about 5 to 10 yards better.

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I was watching them discuss Alabama and Clemson last night. Basically it will be a huge problem as nobody can run against the Bama front 7 and they are interested to see what Georgia can do against them because they run well. Irish will not run against either of those teams and third and long will happen often. I too feel like that is where ND has their problem and will be exposed as one dimensional against those two teams. I am not concerned about OSU or Oklahoma front 7 but those long runs Dexter hits late in games probably will not occur against Bama or Clemson. Other than the long burst Dexter gets we do not do well on the ground especially short yardage. I think a dose of Wimbush will happen in the playoff to open the run game.

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I haven't studied this in detail, but one thing I mentioned in another thread that drives me crazy is when I see the OL standing around after finishing their blocks early and the RB is being wrapped up fighting for extra yardage. I know you have to be careful with late hits, but I'd try showing them the tape of the USC OL in the first half. They were flying downfield to hit people and playing possessed. The games I noticed our OL doing that were the Wake and FSU games.

 

Not sure if this is a contributing factor or not but with RPOs being run. OL needs to make sure that they do not go more than 3 yards downfield since they have no idea if pass or run will happen during RPO.

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