Our O Line + A Power Running Game

Submitted by Blazefire on January 15th, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Does anyone else thing that the strength, speed, and overall awesomeness of our O-line may actually be well suited to a more conventional power run game with guys like Stephen Hopkins in the backfield? I see a little Hart in that guy.



January 15th, 2011 at 7:44 PM ^

I kind of think our O-line will be good regardless of the system.  They aren't small, they're really well conditioned, and they're strong.  It's just a question of how they adapt to a new blocking style.


January 15th, 2011 at 8:10 PM ^

Hoke NOT duplicate RR's predcitable 1st down inside handoff to V. Smith that was always good for 1-2 yds.  Man I hated that call.

I'm thinking Fitz Toussaint is a likely preseason favorite to start - if he can get heathy that is...and stay that way.  He has the size, speed, and agility, to be the next big time traditional runningback at Michigan.


January 15th, 2011 at 7:47 PM ^

I'm not concerned about the o-line's ability to transition. They're big, strong and agile.

My biggest concern with the offence next season is whether or not we can make effective use of all the weapons that we have. Specifically, will the system be able to use Denard's running and throwing threats to their maximum potential.


January 15th, 2011 at 7:51 PM ^

The advantage to moving to a new system is that in the spread, a running QB has to be contained because he's such a threat to hit the home run. In a pro set or west coast, everything stays in front of him, so he's not a threat for the home run, but he's also rarely contained so heavily. So we might not see many 70 yard TD runs out of Denard, but I have a feeling that those plays where an average QB in a west coast takes off for two or three on the sideline will net us 8 or 9.


January 15th, 2011 at 11:03 PM ^

Denard wil be BETTER in the West Coast offense that Hoke is going to run.  If you look back over the season, Denard had his best runs not on option reads or designed runs - he had his best runs on plays where the blocking broke down or when receivers could not get open and he took off running - i.e. on plays where he dropped back initially. 

Look at Vick this past year - he maintained the pocket more than ever, but when the pressure got through the O-line, he turned potentialsacks into 7-15 yard gains.  Similarly, when he dropped back and the throw was not there, he took off for regular gains.  This was Vick's first real season as a throw-first QB, and it was by far his best.

I see Denard being more of a pass first QB but one where defenses will have to be very careful bringing pressure for fear of getting burned by his legs.  To me, this will make Denard a BETTER, less predictable, and less injury-prone QB.  Add to the mix that Hoke will likely run Hopkins or Cox more often as a thumping back, which, when combined with Denard's speed, may prove very difficult to stop.  I see our offensive produciton being better, and more consistent, next year.

A side benefit - if Denard can succeed in this set, his NFL odds would go way up. 


January 15th, 2011 at 11:31 PM ^

If I remember correctly Denard didn't scramble much and his best runs came on draw/power/option plays. You are right when you say he's a pass first qb. There were many times when he should have tucked, it but chose to throw. He could be better in the West Coast, but only if Hoke adapts it to him. 


January 15th, 2011 at 7:50 PM ^

I don't see how our offense can't be significantly improved next year since we only lose Schilling and we have replacements for him.  Denard was awfully good in his first year as a starter, and he's a hard worker.  He should be significantly better next year.

Only risk on offense is growing pains from learning a new system.  Sounds like Hoke intends to minimize this by maintaining some of the spread.


January 15th, 2011 at 8:03 PM ^

The idea of a beef machine offensive line/RB that makes defenses put 8 in the box (and in the middle) is enticing. Hello, play action bootlegs.

magnus_caerulus (not verified)

January 15th, 2011 at 8:06 PM ^

Not only can we derive that from his negotiatiion for the HC position, but telling Denard to get stuffed is about as insane as running a read option with Threet and Sheridan. 

I just have a feeling that we will see a ton of formation and a multitude of looks from Borges.  I sort of hoped we would hear him going and hanging out with Malzahn this off-season.  It would be nice if he could incorporate come fo those power/read plays Auburn has utlized over the last two seasons. 


January 15th, 2011 at 8:06 PM ^

If Brady Hoke installs a physical mindset with the offensive line then i would be scared of Taylor Lewan and Omameh.. The spread mentality of getting to the 2nd level took some of the physical mindest out of the Oline.. they did good at what they were asked to do .. but im excited to see them when they are unleashed and allowed to really show their mean streak...something i know Molk and Lewan cant wait to do and i cant wait to see it brought out in Patrick Omameh.


January 15th, 2011 at 9:22 PM ^

I think the point is that now our O-line won't be trying to read and react to what guys on the second level are doing. I would think it's harder to get  a block on an agile linebacker than one of the big fellas up front. Now our guys can simply put a lid on the guy right in front of him and drive him in to the ground. No more running around looking for people to block, just get off the snap and pop the guy across from you in the mouth.

Maize and Blue…

January 16th, 2011 at 7:30 AM ^

We did so well when we lined up in the I on short yardage situations last year that we scrapped it.  I love Molk, but he has never been that effective at moving a big guy man up.  RR used the same blocking scheme LC did- zone blocking.  Jake Long was primarily in a zone blocking scheme and Michigan has been for quite a while now.

Can you b*tch anymore about what RR did.  Maybe we should remove all the guys who came here because of the spread.  Denard would have never considered Michigan if it wasn't for RR.  He's gone leave it alone already.

King Douche Ornery

January 16th, 2011 at 9:13 AM ^

It's totally relevant to compare the line under RR and what he thinks it might be under Hoke. No need to rake the guy. I'm SURE he's over RR--maybe YOu need to get over RR.

I like the point about more physical play at the LOS. Nothing wrong there at all. Maybe the thing was a bit technical, especially for the younger guys on the line.

This line, outside of Molk, is made up of Big Guys who can put on some weight and move some  dudes on the other side of the LOS out of the way. Getting Denard and the RB's into the so called second level and making them miss sounds better than asking a lineman to hit someone at the LOS THEN get into the second level and block another guy. Don't like it.

This so called second level is almost as mysterious as that pace known as In Space. We haven't seen any of either too much lately. A simpler blocking scheme might open up both.

I HIGHLY doubt, BTW, that RR's blocking was very much like Lloyd's even though the term "zone blocking" is used in both approaches.


January 16th, 2011 at 2:28 PM ^

A) I wasn't bitching about what RR did. For what it's worth, I loved his offense and thought he should have gotten another year. I'm not really interested in rehashing the past though, so I'm trying to look for positives in the future. I would suggest you do the same.


2) Michigan's zone blocking scheme under Carr and what Rodriguez did were totally different. The crux of the zone read is leaving certain guys unblocked and getting certain O lineman to the linebackers to take them out of the play. Under Carr every lineman took a guy on the defensive front and rode him 5 yards like a donkey in a certain direction. That's what Jake Long was so good at. He would ride the defensive end in to the secondary, knock him on his ass, and then pop any other defensive player within reach.


January 15th, 2011 at 10:34 PM ^

I absolutely hate this "Hoke will instill a physical mindest" notion more than almost anything.  Personally, I think its extremely insulting to our current players.  I mean honestly, what the fuck do you think they were doing out there last season?  Loafing it?  Just half-assing their blocks because "dude Denard is like totally awesome at running, so we like don't even have to try hard."  DO you really think Hoke is going to say, "hey, you guys should have a physical mindset out there" and then everybody will be like "oh man, I never thought about playing football with a physical mindset.  Thanks coach Hoke!!!"


Please let this notion die.  I mean, Christ, people were calling for Lewan to be LESS physical out there this season.  If he were any more physical, he might break a record for O-Line penalties.


January 15th, 2011 at 11:39 PM ^

I never said they did not play with it this year..i simply think that with bigger sets and running from the I instead of the shotgun it gives the Oline more of a downhill power mentallity .. The RR offense IMO is a finesse offense..its not a grind and wear you down offense..I felt the last 3 yrs we have tried to set defenses up to open up big plays .. i never felt we were wearing a team down and making them quit...

Hoke likes bigger sets..FB sometimes 2 TES ... so IMO yes that brings a more physical mindset .. Our OLine was looking to get off blocks and get to 2nd level more than looking to drive their man into the turf ... I feel the line did good at what they were asked to do .. but i dont think they were as physical as they will be in a I formation with a FB .. if that is in deed what Hoke will do with the O .. Thats my opinion


January 15th, 2011 at 8:14 PM ^

I think that our o line is one of our strengths if not our strongest part of team! Group really works hard and has tons of talent! I would to agree with most of these posts in have Stephen Hopkins being the lead back! with others being change of pace backs! Would be a great combo!


January 15th, 2011 at 9:11 PM ^

think our o-line will be alright,im worried about who's going to play fullback.Stephen Hopkins reminds me of Anthony Thomas.GO BLUE!!!


January 15th, 2011 at 9:20 PM ^

but I don't have enough points to start a new thread.  I'm really curious how long it is going to take to hire the DC.  It's essential for recruiting to get that going. 

Are they waiting for playoffs this weekend because they are interested in some of those coaches?

Would Vance even be interested?

I am all over this site and I am just not seeing much buzz over who the DC will be or when.  I also would love to have a recruiting update.


January 15th, 2011 at 10:52 PM ^

I don't think I've missed a thread on this site in weeks.  It just seemed information was coming fast and now things have really slowed down. 

I'm just hungry for some info.  I know guys are on visits elsewhere this weekend so hopefully TomVH hooks it up tomorrow.  The DC situation is making me wonder on why it is taking so long.  Hoping we hear soon.