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Old 01-15-2013, 01:18 PM   #21
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

I've repeated myself from time to time about our OL issues in recent years, because I think it's played such an integral role in our offense struggling the way that it has under Spurrier. The truth simply IS that with all the "Offensive Genius" talk and references to Spurrier being a great QB coach, the greatest success we have had during all his time in Columbia has come as a result of our DEFENSES being high-quality, not our offenses. Spurrier's side of the ball has hindered the team's good fortunes far more than the defense has. The biggest obstacle has come from the offensive line's development....

But to simply say one year that we expect tremendous improvement at the OL the very next is to somewhat fail to fully appreciate just how badly the OL position was allowed to slide in the early years under Spurrier:

Only 7 players to form a 2-deep - without turning to true freshmen or walk-ons - is simply something one doesn't see in the SEC for OLs. Only 2 back-ups to provide support for 5 starters? And yet that's what we had to rely on when the program won it's only SEC division. Even still, Ronald Patrick lost an entire year of eligibility for the sake of 2-3 snaps....

And the next year only having ONE player returning with ANY playing experience - not starting, just playing - at OT, and then losing that one player for the majority of the season. Again this results in another player (Mike Matulis) losing his red-shirt, but at least he was forced to actually start games and play extensively, so his true freshman year wasn't totally wasted...

The OL is the position that is heavily dependent on physical development and maturation more than ANY other position: the closer you get to the line of scrimmage, the more you deal with physical contact and brute force, and the OL IS the line of scrimmage.

For ANY Division 1 program, relying on OL who are true and red-shirt freshmen to make up a major part of your starting 5 is generally considered a bad break.....it's something OL coaches hope to only resort to when there's been substantial injury at the position, and even in those occasions they hope it's only at ONE spot on the line. For an SEC program where seasons are made and broken on interior line play, having to rely on a predominantly young and inexperienced OL typically means that program is in a REBUILDING phase.....

We need to get the program to the point where we send out a starting unit of 5th-yr seniors and 4th-yr. juniors , being backed up by 4th-yr juniors and 3rd-yr sophomores. If we ever have a 3rd-yr. soph. starting for us regularly, it had better be because he is a STUD. The true freshman are red-shirted every year without fail, and the red-shirt freshmen are at best playing special teams and mop-up duty, and still learning for the future.

And we need to CONTINUE this practice year after year.....not 2-3 years, but for 8-9-10 years and counting. Whether it's manned by Coach Elliott, or his successor, or HIS successor. Doesn't matter. That's how the top programs in college football do it, how the Bamas and LSUs and UGAs and Tennessees do it every season.

In 2013 we will have ONE SINGLE senior on the OL roster, and he will be a 4th-yr senior not 5th, in Patrick. We will have 3 4th-yr juniors in Robinson, Cann, and Gibson, all red-shirted from the 2010 class. We'll have 1 3rd-yr, true junior in Matulis.

Barely enough for a starting five. The rest are all 3rd-yr. sophomores or younger. Typically in the best-case scenario, these would all be fighting for a spot on the two-deep, not for a starting spot. Brandon Shell is expected not only to start in 2013, but he's already had a full season as a starter as a RS-freshman, but he's supposed to be one of those "studs". But even a "stud" is not typically expected to be a starter as a freshman of ANY kind, unless there's been substantial turmoil on the depth chart. Not for the better programs...

At least the rest have all been red-shirted (not counting Parks of course). Since the 2010 class starting with Wolford and continued by Elliott, we are now bringing in solid OL classes with every class, mostly full of high 3* and 4* prep talent. We red-shirted every true freshman this past season, and should be able to red-shirt our entire class for next season.

But it takes FOUR (4) years to get a prospect to 5th-year senior, not 1 or 2. The staff had to first put ANYBODY into the OL roster in order to have a starting unit take the field: now they can start building up the depth the right way.

I hope we will see improvement in 2013 due to those youngsters gaining experience: last season T.J. Johnson had 80% of the total unit career starts, and he's now gone. But his 53 career starts are being replaced with 52 more starts the others got last season. However, IMO 2013 won't be the best-case scenario for our OL, and the year that we ultimately should judge Coach Elliott by. Once he gets a starting unit of jrs. and srs., THEN we'll see what he can do in the SEC...
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:42 PM   #22
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

Quote:
Originally Posted by cockybusiness2 View Post
You make some very valid points. But I wonder if this is because of Talent or coaching. It takes time to build a great oline. I really think this year and next will tell us what we need to know.

Otherwise, we hire a new oline coach and start over. Then we are 4 to 5 years away from a good oline
Usually (and in this case) the "It Takes Time" excuse is used to cover for
a coach who everyone likes, but is not doing a really good or even average
job after a few years. .... All I know is that when you bring in a coach to
a team that is in decline like Tennessee, and a new O/Line coach with
much less talent, size and depth than the O/Line we have right now at
USC, and that second year coach just did a number on you head to head
when you have one of the Best Def./Lines in the SEC, Then I have to
start questioning the "It Takes Time" excuse. ... If another team with
less talent and depth can do it, then a coach with better talent and
depth should be able to show some improvement in three years time.
It's not just at UT either. There are several coaches around the leauge
that can bring in new coaches on the O/Line and show some upgrade
in at least two years. Some show noticable changes in their first year,
and I'm pointing fingers straight at Vanderbilt and coach Franklin's O/line coach
so even giving the bennifiet of the doubt, I think three full years is a
sufficient amount of time to see some improvement in the play of the line.
I don't think you'd see an increase in Motion Penalties, whiffed blocks,
not staying on blocks or at times just real unorganized focus from that
unit. ... It is what we've seen this season Again.
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:05 PM   #23
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

I agree with both of the above posts by Spurt and Conway. We are young but we need to start seeing improvement in our play. On paper our talent level is improving and our experience is finally improving. The bad plays need to start to go away so we don't kill drives ourselves. I am cautiously optimistic that we will improve this year. We also have upperclassman as our QBs so this should help us to make quicker decisions.
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:32 PM   #24
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

I think, hope and pray we will be better this year (OLINE). Only time will tell
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:31 PM   #25
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurticus View Post
Usually (and in this case) the "It Takes Time" excuse is used to cover for
a coach who everyone likes, but is not doing a really good or even average
job after a few years. .... All I know is that when you bring in a coach to
a team that is in decline like Tennessee, and a new O/Line coach with
much less talent, size and depth than the O/Line we have right now at
USC, and that second year coach just did a number on you head to head
when you have one of the Best Def./Lines in the SEC, Then I have to
start questioning the "It Takes Time" excuse. ... If another team with
less talent and depth can do it, then a coach with better talent and
depth should be able to show some improvement in three years time.
It's not just at UT either. There are several coaches around the leauge
that can bring in new coaches on the O/Line and show some upgrade
in at least two years. Some show noticable changes in their first year,
and I'm pointing fingers straight at Vanderbilt and coach Franklin's O/line coach
so even giving the bennifiet of the doubt, I think three full years is a
sufficient amount of time to see some improvement in the play of the line.
I don't think you'd see an increase in Motion Penalties, whiffed blocks,
not staying on blocks or at times just real unorganized focus from that
unit. ... It is what we've seen this season Again.
The Vols had a pretty dominant offense this past season. They had a prototypical pocket-passing QB in Bray and a slew of NFL-caliber WRs in Hunter, Patterson, and Rogers. Had a great career-receiving TE in Rivera.

They were average at best on offense in 2011 due to losing Hunter and Bray to injuries for much of the season: 50th in FBS in passing offense, 116th in rushing, 106th in scoring offense and 104th in total offense. In 2010 they were a bit better once Bray replaced Simms, but still middle of the FBS pack.

IMO the low QB sacks allowed by the UT OL the past 2 years were the result of the type of pocket-passing QBs and Bray in particular. They were 115th in sacks allowed in 2010, and jumped to 40th in '11 allowing 18 sacks. They started '11 with Bray getting sacked 3 times in the opener versus Montana, and allowed 10 sacks through the first 5 games. They improved in the 2nd half of the season allowing a sack per game, and improved on that this past season.

UT had a starting OL of a 5th-yr. Senior, 3 true juniors and a true sophomore. They had serious depth issues at OL back in '09 and '10 and had to play a LOT of true freshmen. But their records and overall offensive numbers haven't been much better or different than ours have been under Spurrier who has had to deal with similar OL depth issues....actually it's been worse as they have now had 3 consecutive losing seasons and 4 of their last 5. But their OL came into 2012 with 82 career starts (we had 62, with 40 of them belonging to Johnson), and now will have 105 career starts returning for 2013 (we'll have 74).

UT's starting OL in 2012 consisted of a 5.6 3*, a 5.7 3*, a 5.8 4*, and two 5.9 4*s per Rivals.com. I know recruiting site ratings are dubious at best, but just going by Rivals, UT had a more talented starting 5 for last season, and they had more experience than our line, and they blocked for a true pocket-passer who released the ball quickly as opposed to a dual threat QB who has to add to the mix of reading defenses and making progressions for passing the other responsibility of looking for open space to often tuck the ball and run...
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:38 PM   #26
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurticus View Post
Usually (and in this case) the "It Takes Time" excuse is used to cover for
a coach who everyone likes, but is not doing a really good or even average
job after a few years. .... All I know is that when you bring in a coach to
a team that is in decline like Tennessee, and a new O/Line coach with
much less talent, size and depth than the O/Line we have right now at
USC, and that second year coach just did a number on you head to head
when you have one of the Best Def./Lines in the SEC, Then I have to
start questioning the "It Takes Time" excuse. ... If another team with
less talent and depth can do it, then a coach with better talent and
depth should be able to show some improvement in three years time.
It's not just at UT either. There are several coaches around the leauge
that can bring in new coaches on the O/Line and show some upgrade
in at least two years. Some show noticable changes in their first year,
and I'm pointing fingers straight at Vanderbilt and coach Franklin's O/line coach
so even giving the bennifiet of the doubt, I think three full years is a
sufficient amount of time to see some improvement in the play of the line.
I don't think you'd see an increase in Motion Penalties, whiffed blocks,
not staying on blocks or at times just real unorganized focus from that
unit. ... It is what we've seen this season Again.
Agreed. Michigan's line looked pretty good too, especially since they're converting from rich rod's system. I also thought it was pretty obvious we had a good coach in Wolfie from about the time he stepped on campus.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:53 PM   #27
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurticus View Post
You could use those stats and our record for the last three seasons to
heap praise on a lot of individuals connected with this team. Sorry for
taking the "Con" part of this debate, but IMO, our defense for the most
part is the unit responsible for the majority of that record / success. No
realistic Gamecock fan can look at our team the past three years and say that our offense has been so dominant that it get's the major praise in our recent run of success. And no realistic Gamecock fan can look at our team over the last three years and say there is not MAJOR issues withour O/Line that needs to be investigated. I'm not as big a Shawn Elliott Homer as some people are, but I do think that he can / will improve the line over the next season or two. If not, then I think it's time to start considering that Elliott may be in over his head at this level of football.

I don't look at 31-9 and say "WOW" when I think of the offense. Especially
the O/Line. I would tend to look at the individual losses (Especially the
LSU loss this year, the Arkansas Loss last year, and the Auburn loss
last year) and say "had we had a better O/Line we might now be at
34-6 over the last three years with a couple more trips to Atlanta to
play for the SEC Title.
Couldn't agree more. I'm not bashing Spurrier bc as the head coach he is ultimately responsible for the rise or fall of the program. However, I haven't understood the pass he seems to get simply bc of his last name when it comes to our offensive production or lack thereof. If not for our elite defenses during these succesful years, our record wouldn't be nearly what it has been. I often ask my fellow gamecocks, "How many times have you left the stadium or turned the channel and said,"Whew! Our offense sure pulled us through that one!"" I'm not saying that our offense has NEVER won us a game, but its very few and far between. There is NO DOUBT that our recent success has been bc of the defense.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:19 PM   #28
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

Quote:
Originally Posted by MillerTime843 View Post
Our defense has won us ballgames, take the Arkansas game this year and the Tennessee game.

You mean the Tennessee game where we couldn't stop the downfield pass and needed to force a fumble in the 4th quarter to win?
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:41 PM   #29
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConwayGamecock View Post
The Vols had a pretty dominant offense this past season. They had a prototypical pocket-passing QB in Bray and a slew of NFL-caliber WRs in Hunter, Patterson, and Rogers. Had a great career-receiving TE in Rivera.

They were average at best on offense in 2011 due to losing Hunter and Bray to injuries for much of the season: 50th in FBS in passing offense, 116th in rushing, 106th in scoring offense and 104th in total offense. In 2010 they were a bit better once Bray replaced Simms, but still middle of the FBS pack.

IMO the low QB sacks allowed by the UT OL the past 2 years were the result of the type of pocket-passing QBs and Bray in particular. They were 115th in sacks allowed in 2010, and jumped to 40th in '11 allowing 18 sacks. They started '11 with Bray getting sacked 3 times in the opener versus Montana, and allowed 10 sacks through the first 5 games. They improved in the 2nd half of the season allowing a sack per game, and improved on that this past season.

UT had a starting OL of a 5th-yr. Senior, 3 true juniors and a true sophomore. They had serious depth issues at OL back in '09 and '10 and had to play a LOT of true freshmen. But their records and overall offensive numbers haven't been much better or different than ours have been under Spurrier who has had to deal with similar OL depth issues....actually it's been worse as they have now had 3 consecutive losing seasons and 4 of their last 5. But their OL came into 2012 with 82 career starts (we had 62, with 40 of them belonging to Johnson), and now will have 105 career starts returning for 2013 (we'll have 74).

UT's starting OL in 2012 consisted of a 5.6 3*, a 5.7 3*, a 5.8 4*, and two 5.9 4*s per Rivals.com. I know recruiting site ratings are dubious at best, but just going by Rivals, UT had a more talented starting 5 for last season, and they had more experience than our line, and they blocked for a true pocket-passer who released the ball quickly as opposed to a dual threat QB who has to add to the mix of reading defenses and making progressions for passing the other responsibility of looking for open space to often tuck the ball and run...
Wasn't Shell 5*? I see him stepping up big time next season. Standik is a 5* and I am anxious to see him play. Cody Waldrop was a highly rated 3 if I remember correctly. Elliott should have those guys ready to go next season and finally we should have some depth. If next year is not successful Spurrier will have to consider if the Oline coach is doing his job. I am not well informed about the offensive line but they seemed to do fairly well in pass protection, but not the run.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:44 PM   #30
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garnet girl View Post
Wasn't Shell 5*? I see him stepping up big time next season. Standik is a 5* and I am anxious to see him play. Cody Waldrop was a highly rated 3 if I remember correctly. Elliott should have those guys ready to go next season and finally we should have some depth. If next year is not successful Spurrier will have to consider if the Oline coach is doing his job. I am not well informed about the offensive line but they seemed to do fairly well in pass protection, but not the run.
Shell was a 5* per Scout only, a 4* per everyone else. Stadnick was never a 5*, 4* only. Waldrop was a 4* for much of his senior year in HS - at least per Rivals - then was bumped down to a high 3* towards the end (or should I say, the explanation was that others passed him after further evaluation). Cann of course was also a 4* OL...

The incoming class for 2013 involves 4 OL (with a possible 5th if NaT'y Rodgers chooses us) that are rated 4* by at least one of the major recruiting sources (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 24/7 Sports). That's the first OL class going back to 2002 that the entire position had 4* rated prospects. Next year we are also in great shape with several OL prospects already rated 4* as juniors, so the future looks great. We've been transitioning from having thin depth but great experience, to now having great (or improving) depth but thin experience. The day when we have BOTH great depth AND experience will be coming in the next 2-3 years....
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:02 PM   #31
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

Yeah, I have to agree with Conway but we should be progressing every year. It has seemed pretty static. Next year, if the talent and experience meet the expectations, we should have the best OL since Spurrier has been here and we should have an even better one the year after that. I think these next two years will be a good place to judge how great of a coach Elliot is.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:49 PM   #32
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

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Originally Posted by ConwayGamecock View Post
IMO the low QB sacks allowed by the UT OL the past 2 years were the result of the type of pocket-passing QBs and Bray in particular.
Bray would throw it away at the first sign of pressure...this is how Vandy stomped them....they blitzed & stunted...we didn't.

UTen's OL was tweaked for pass blocking and they had some good OL...but not much on run blocking.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:37 PM   #33
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

Thanks Conway for defending the line. Dead on about our OL recruiting. Until now its been a mess. I think what most comments reflect is the massive hit we took in losing three senior starters last year, Kyle, Terrance and Rok. How could we not notice? Our sacks last year went from 30 to 38, a 27% increase. with yards lost jumping from 175 to 258, up 47%. And then Marcus was returning from his injury and just getting his form back when disaster struck. We started Brandon Shell who played all of 4 OL plays in 2010 and Corey Robinson who saw zero action in 2010.

Sorry, but IMHO I think we should be praising our OL and their coach for last year's performance not hammering them. What most excites me is seeing highly regarded DJ Park already enrolled, obviously believing that he can earn a starting position by fall. He'd have to be awfully good and I can't see him pulling it off but you have to love his drive and desire.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:46 PM   #34
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Default Re: 31 Wins and 9 Losses

I do think it's harder to put a good OL together than any other group. So I think Elliott should be given 5 years and then judge him on the OL performance at that time. Anything less than that isn't being fair to him. I do think he has missed on a couple of guys and that certainly hasn't helped. So if he can't get it done by the 2014 season, time to make a change.
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