By: Thomas Frank Carr
The Nittany Lions take on the University of Washington in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl on Saturday December 30th, as most Penn State fans have not seen Washington this year, reporter Thomas Frank Carr has studied the film to find out more about the 10-2 Huskies.
This week we are looking at the offensive line.
Overall Position Grade: B+
The offensive line for Washington is much more than the sum of their parts. Together they are an exceptionally good starting five. However individually none of them are exceptional, nor do they really stand out on tape. Starting left tackle Trey Adams is done for the year with a torn ACL and was the tone setter up front. Otherwise the Huskies have been durable in their front five. Nobody is interested in getting a player by player breakdown of the offensive line so we’ll simply grade them as a group.
Starter Average: 6’4”, 305lbs
Stats to Know: 2,540 yards rushing/team (262 lost), 5.1 ypc, 6.4 per play, 16 sacks allowed
Firstly, Washington’s line is very athletic. Each player individually can move well in space and has the ability to reach the 2nd level and attack linebackers with effectiveness. They employ a zone blocking scheme to take advantage of this and like to get defensive linemen moving side-to-side in order to open up holes for tailbacks Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman. They also take advantage of their linemen’s speed by running a fair number of power plays as well. This is where you pull a lineman from the backside of a run to the front side to overpower a defense with numbers at the point of attack. The other thing that the Huskies accell at as an offensive line is their technique. It’s impressive to watch them all fire off the ball and step in the same direction in unison. They block under control and use their hands well as a group. Despite all of this, they aren’t particularly strong or dominant at the point of attack. There are no ‘road graders’ in the group who can dominate the line of scrimmage and maul defenders. It’s a good match up for the Nittany Lions front seven who is built in a similar way with speed and technique. It’s one that bodes well for the Nittany Lions if they play up to the level we’ve seen this year.
Completely Arbitrary Individual Positional Skills:
- Speed: B+
- Strength B-
- Agility A-
- Acceleration B+
- Pass Blocking A-
- Run Blocking A
- Block in Space A+