Jon Runyan ruminates about the offensive line

Submitted by Hail Harbo on October 31st, 2018 at 7:47 AM

Runyan was much maligned early in the season, with more than a few of the MGoIntelligensia opining that he'd be doing woodwork on the sidelines by this point in the season.  Runyan acknowledges some tough times, that how players are graded in the room isn't always exactly how they are graded by others, and he let leak that Michigan won't run power plays against an odd number front.  I admit I'm not savy enough about such things to understand why that may be, I just enjoy player interviews, especially when they're riding on a carpet of success.




October 31st, 2018 at 8:29 AM ^

What a wonderful young man. So proud of what he has accomplished. Looking forward to his improvement this week and pounding the PSU. Bright future ahead of him. Thank God for our OL coach. 


October 31st, 2018 at 8:31 AM ^

The "no power plays into an odd man front" might be part of what Warriner has referenced in some interviews.  Basically most teams are either inside/outside zone or power/inside zone teams, very few teams run all three (especially in college, limited practice times and whatnot).  Warriner has stated that he sees no issue with running all of these, the "catch" being that they won't try to run all three against all types of defenses.  So if upcoming opponent tends to have defensive setup/philosophy "A", the gameplan will probably drop one of the 3 or will only run one of the 3 against a certain look.


October 31st, 2018 at 9:53 AM ^

I'm not trying to oversimplify it here, but it's because the dumb ones don't play offensive line. If you're big and dumb, you either won't make it or you'll play on the DL.

On the offensive side of the ball, we don't let dumb linemen play. Why? Because if they miss a block, slide the wrong way, don't understand the protections, etc., they cause turnovers and/or injuries to your most valuable players (QB, RB). So the big guys who aren't smart end up playing on defense, where their mistakes might cost yardage and points but won't cause injuries.

Right now we have about 4 linemen in our program who are defense-only.


October 31st, 2018 at 10:14 AM ^

Well look whose back!   Busy over at TTB, coaching or life in general?

FWIW even though for years I was convinced one of your hobbies was busting my balls here I do appreciate your intelligent input and recruiting/player development updates.

Der Alte

October 31st, 2018 at 11:00 AM ^

This is why I've always had kind of a mild objection to referencing WRs, QBs, and so on as "skill" players or positions, implying that offensive linemen are simply big dumb jocks who only grunt and block.

As Magnus points out, mentally challenged O-linemen not only have trouble with complicated offensive schemes, they can get someone (a QB, for example) maimed. And lack of good coaching can achieve the same result, regardless of intelligence. Just ask Brandon Peters. The inability to recognize or pick up a stunting/blitzing linebacker in Madison WI last year almost cost Brandon his brain, and could be the reason why he's running behind Dylan today. 


October 31st, 2018 at 9:11 AM ^

I wouldn't call him above average; he's average.  But "average" can mean different things.  There's high-variance (inconsistent with both good and bad) and low-variance (never spectacular but consistent).  I know which I'd prefer for an offensive lineman.

He's rounding out into a Magnuson type, can't really move the pile like JBB or stay in front of above-average DEs like Lewan, but consistently steps in front of his man.  (Side note:  His game against MSU was excellent but also probably an outlier.  The field conditions were bad and he fared better than most on them; I've suspected that he has mule feet because that's the way a guy with his frame survives at tackle.  His Wisconsin UFR was racking up +0.5s and +1s with no minuses, Magnuson style.)  I think that's why Harbaugh has been calling run plays in his direction even though he's clearly not as strong as JBB.

Runyan is getting boring, but as Brian would say, boring is good.  He shouldn't be all-B1G but you can go places with a boring LT.  From where he started, the transformation to low-variance is miraculous.


October 31st, 2018 at 10:15 AM ^

His last two games have been flat out "good". Now, you might not say that his entire season has been above average, but his trend line is would have the greatest slope of any of our OL right now. If he keeps it up, there's a very good chance he gets honorable mention All-Big Ten and easily holds on to his starting job next year.


October 31st, 2018 at 8:53 AM ^

I was super critical of him after the ND game but he has greatly improved. Looking back it was a tall task for the oline to be as good as it is now in the first game of the season on the road.

Prince Lover

October 31st, 2018 at 9:15 AM ^

Good watch, thanks for posting.

I’m curious who that guy is in the left of Runyan. I’ve seen him 3-4 times on these short interview videos, but he’s never asked a single question. 

Go Blue!! 


October 31st, 2018 at 12:13 PM ^

Agreed - usually there is an intern, assistant, communications specialist, etc., someone at media interviews that is there with the player or a coach. Obviously when a coach it tends to be a higher-ranking person. Sometimes they are closer to the camera than others. They effectively operate as the "handler" for media sessions like this.

I'm sure if you googled the names from UM's athletics directory you could find the person's picture and match it up.


October 31st, 2018 at 9:34 AM ^

I thought he was going to be a disaster but he really has done a fantastic job. This is a testament to his hard work, the hard work of the team, and let's of course acknowledge Warriner for being an outstanding O-Line coach.

Durham Blue

October 31st, 2018 at 11:41 AM ^

I think Runyan has this all planned perfectly for Penn State.  He SAYS we're not gonna run power into an odd man front.  But then we smack em with POWER right into their odd man fronts!  RPS those bitches.


October 31st, 2018 at 2:01 PM ^

To me, the most encouraging thing about watching the team is the consistent growth and improvement that is being made by the team, and in particular the offensive line has shown this.

The only piece that would be great would be to open up the reigns on the passing game a bit more to maximize the DPJ, Collins, Gentry etc.