Reasons to be optimistic about OL

Submitted by massblue on April 14th, 2014 at 8:45 PM

We can all agree that the OL did not look good during the spring practice.  I may be grasping at straws, but a recent interview with Funk (done by Sam Webb) makes me more optimistic about the OL.

First, it appears that Funk himself had to learn a lot of new stuff (he watched tapes from Alabama).  Second, a lot of time was spent on learning the new techniques and terminologies. Both of these are quite disruptive and will take time for the new system to synch in. Third, a lot of time was lost during the year and then spring to injuries. It seems that the entire OL has not really practiced together this spring.  Putting all together, I have this guarded optimism that by the start of the BIG, the OL will be holding its own.




Lou MacAdoo

April 14th, 2014 at 11:47 PM ^

So what you're saying is that you're optimistic despite the fact that the OL coach lacks experience in the system, the players have to learn the new system from said OL coach, and some of those key players have dealt with injuries during this crucial learning period which has prevented them from practicing together, not to mention they were brutal last year and lost their two best players. I sure hope they improve by the big ten season, but how good can they really be this year? One thing I've learned from many years of being overly optimistic is that you can't put too much faith in young inexperienced players based on their potential. I don't want to sound pessimistic, but it's what I've become in regards to this team.


April 15th, 2014 at 12:19 AM ^

The O.P. got close to constructing a coherent argument but couldn't finish.

His anecdotes are certainly not evidence that the OL will be good...but they bring further good reason to believe it is too soon to judge the badness we've seen. And that it is *certainly* too soon to say data from 2013 and the spring game conspire to predict with certainty a poor 2014. Which is just another way of saying "maybe." Which is fair.

And nothing.

So yes: This is what it's come to: Cop outs, technicalities, and "optimism" that--depending on your shade of glasses--is painted in such broad strokes as to be concurrently pessimistic.


April 15th, 2014 at 12:47 AM ^

It has been proven many times that star ratings do, indeed, mean a great deal. Therefore, we know we are playing with very talented linemen going from year one to year two. We also know that the greatest improvement in any sport is normally year one to year two.  Funk, who to date has not proven he is at the level of Fry did express what most predicted:  We would keep things far simpler, making sure these kids were drilled over and over for a undetermined, but definitely smaller number of plays until they had proven they were as good as possible at this unspecified number until they were asked to move on to not necessarily more advanced technniques but to learning assignments to our complimentary package.  This is a proven method to success and has been used by all great rushing teams throughout the nation. Barry did his thing at WI, removing them from cellar dwellers and Ferentz was able to simply replace injured RBs, all with the same results, simply by drilling the hell out of their OL and keeping the playbook very small until their level of athletes increased.  It is no different than how Bo returned MI to the elite of cfb and is certainly the reason for AL's string of 1,000 yard rushers. Only Bama, among those listed above, has recruited better than UM on the OL since Hoke's arrival.  I stated year one to year two generally produces the greatest amount of improvement, but that doesn't mean they learned nothing during their RS years.                       ^As I stated Nuss will keep it simple, and evidence does exist that then ball can be moved efficiently in this manner. In fact, when the OL does actually execute a play to perfection our highly touted RBs will, of course, have their chances to make them look even better.  They will also be led by a qb who will be playing in his fifth season in the league, albeit w/extremely limited PT in his first  season.  Inasmuch as he's perhaps the most intelligent qb in the league will give Nuss another weapon when it comes to check downs, etc.  These are all reasons to be optimistic, and I won't chicken out by saying they could lay on the ground and look better.  I will temper the optimism though with reiteration of subject line. We must be realistic, and if we're not actually pancaking those DLs that we should be, then someone is not doing their job and it might not be the players. Of course we won't be knocking over those squads with talent equal or greater than ours because of experience. However, we should be able to  extend our T.O.P. against this type of team merely by keeping the playbook as small as is comfortable by displaying our "newfound" ability, even if rush avg is 3.5 yds a play. This, of course, is not great but is about 3 times greater than last season and although it certainly contains a level of optimism, it is guarded-we won't be leading the league, let alone the nation in rushing- but we won't have to either.  This small improvement is predicated not only on increased experience, but also adding to this expected incremental improvement should be a much more polished qb, a much quicker TB-any OL needs this- and a coach with a far better understanding of how to bring your OL together. He has done it year after year at Bama, admittedly with players who were able to gain far more experience because their NFL type OL had the game won by half-time, but history says he has done it.


April 15th, 2014 at 2:50 AM ^

our only sliver of optimism may come as a result the OL can not be worse than last year. Though, what if they're worse. At least our two senior tackles gave DG a bit of time to throw. Now he may have no time to throw and we may not lose as many yards per play but if we only gain 6 yards in 3 downs, the team will be punting a lot.

I'm optimistic when I say this team may go 8-4. I'm very worried that the team may finish 6-6 or 7-5. The truth be told I'm so worried I dread the start of the season. This has never happened. Even in '09, I knew we would finish higher then 3-8 so it was somewhat exciting with a new coach for the '09 team. Now every season we have gotten worse. I hope Hoke can turn things around. I need to see improvement in the team this season. There must be player development this season!


April 15th, 2014 at 1:37 PM ^

A new, simple system...a young coach who has lots of energy and a proven track record...

Holy balls, people, you're not looking hard enough if you can't find reasons for optimism. Yes, the OL is still young...yes, they will struggle. But y'all are acting like nothing changes, ever. Same thing will happen always and forever. And I get why our fan brains might think that way, but use your real brains once in awhile.


April 15th, 2014 at 9:02 AM ^

We will be better this year than last year because the coaches didn't know what they were coaching in the spring? I'm going to put that over with "GRIII is going pro b/c he doesn't want to come off the bench."


April 15th, 2014 at 12:25 PM ^

That's not entirely fair.  If the O-line was trying to do the same things as last year and were equally bad, then that would be cause for greater concern.  The fact that they struggled in their attempts to do brand new things means that the upside may be greater, even if it takes a little time to get there.


April 15th, 2014 at 12:25 PM ^

"Putting all together, I have this guarded optimism that by the start of the BIG, the OL will be holding its own."

I would hope that by the start of the Big Ten season our OL would at least be holding the opposing team, if they're holding members of our own team we're doomed.

Rick Grimes

April 15th, 2014 at 1:53 PM ^

I will expect the worst from the o-line and hope for the best. They need to at least be better than they were last season. If they can manage that, while also being decent at all other positions, then the team will have a chance to be good this coming season


April 15th, 2014 at 3:52 PM ^

Watching Gardner get sacked a thousand times last year destroyed my a soul a little bit.

I could say the bright side is it couldn't get any worse. But I ended up saying that about the defense after RichRod's second season. So I'm not going to make that mistake again.

I'm just going to stick to praying for the best but not expecting any miracles. It's easier on the heart.