Re: I have not bought into our O-line hype yet
There are a couple of issues in OL criticism that usually get overlooked. The "dominate" expectation just doesn't hold up in the SEC. These guys face DT's and DE's who are among the best in the country. Holding them off a high percentage of the time is rarely done by anybody. Secondly, teams like Clemson last year regularly stack the box against good running teams. That makes pass protection and running very difficult with run/pass pressure and stunting. The coaches, QB, and run/pass crew have to make them pay by exploiting what they are given. When our QB prior to Shaw was here, they pressured him with run-blitz and a stacked box often, because he had such accuracy problems. Shaw often made them pay with QB runs and middle screens. If the QB is off, playcalling is bad, or linemen are worn down, the blame is often cast at the OL. It takes a whole team effort (plus coaches) to offset a defense aimed at stopping a team's best offensive weapon. That's why UNC, ECU, etc. used their speed/wide game against our DL that was too much for their OL without stunting or linebacker pressure. I contend that the dominating OL in SEC play is more perception than reality. Anything can be schemed against if it isn't countered.