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I am very much encouraged by what I have heard and I know that we have a ton of returning players with experience, but doesn't it seem like we should actually see them dominate an opponent before we anoint them a dominating force?
Last year: lots of talent, low on experience
This year: same talent, more experience
They should be substantially better, but it is a little early to call them a dominating force. They should be one of the top 5 in the conference.
We're fans, we're allowed to be cocky...especially about a position we have a lot of real game and program experience.
Nice to see one of us isn't drinkin the koolaide. On the other hand I thought we were being optimistic because we were returning alot. Shouldn't they improve? I guess we shall see where this o-line is from the 1st game. Run blocking will be the most important task for them. Followed close by protecting Maxwell.
Nobody has anointed them a dominant force. That's hyperbole that hasn't been used by anyone. We return proven players who really improved as the year went on and we supplement that with depth not seen here since Duffy. Dominant? I dont think so. Pretty damn good? IMO yes. Give me 220 per game in the air and 175+ rushing and I'll be content. I don't think either of those numbers are overly optimistic but that's just my "extreme trolling" opinion.
"losing Caleb Benenoch is a blow that Dantonio will never recover from. Izzo has lost it as well. Hoke and Beilein own the state."
How dare you bring logic to a message board?
But in all seriousness I don't think most expect domination just not a drop off from last year which may or may not be possible. At this time every under Dantonio we feel invincible.
Dienhart ranked them the #1 O-Line in the B1G this year.
I just feel like I keep reading how Bell will be dominant and how we are going to lean on our powerful offensive line all year while Maxwell acclimates himself. That is great and I really want that to be true, but I just think that we need to actually see this take place in a game first. Does everyone remember what our run blocking was like last year?
This type of stuff is exactly what i'm talking about.
Line allowed 16 sacks last year, #2 in the Big 10 and among the top 20 nationally. 4 starters return, including both OTs, who are primarily responsible for protecting the passer.
Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.
MSU's line is going to be very good, one way or the other. Some preseason predictions might be a little optimistic, but if you look at the talent on the depth chart you can see that the sky is the limit with this group of players. I can't remember the last time I felt that way about the offensive line.
I'd say the potential is there for them to be a great group. Obviously nothing's proven till they actually do it on the field, but I look at the following factors:
1) 4 returning starters, plus 2 other players (Burkland and Treadwell) who were opening day starters in 2011. The OL, more than any other unit, has to work together on the field, and returning just about the whole OL means they've been building chemistry since the CMU game forwards. Last year at this time, the OL didn't know who the opening day starters were; this time they're pretty much set as of the end of Spring.
2) Overall health. Knocking on wood here, but if you recall, in the spring of '11, David Barrent, Nate Klatt and Zach Hueter were competing for the starting LT, C and RT spots. All 3 ended up injured; Barrent and Hueter ended their football careers. What's worse, those injuries happened at different times during the spring and early summer putting the OL in a state of flux. This season, all the returning starters, plus their back-ups, made it out of spring ball with 0 health issues.
3) Overall Age/experience. It's not just that MSU returns 4 starters, it's that the starting OL features 1 RS Soph, 2 RS JRs, a true SR (Fonoti) and a RS SR (McDonald). OL need time to develop their bodies physically and last year's group featured a RS FR, a RS Soph, a true JR (Fonoti) a RS JR (McDonald) and 1 RS SR. The overall age of the unit has increased, and it should mean that the players are more physically developed. What's more, is that the 2-deep is similarly mature: 2 RS SR (Ruhland/Deyo), 1 RS JR (Conway), 1 RS Soph (Burkland) and 1 RS FR (Allen). That means there's 1 player in the top 10 who's younger than a 3rd year player.
4) Last year's OL was at the bottom of the learning curve. After the injuries to Burkland and Treadwell, MSU's starting OL featured a converted DT (France), a RS FR (Jackson) and a JUCO in his first year on campus (Fonoti). I have a hard time accepting that those 3 fellows performed up to their full capabilities last year, given that all 3 were playing OL at a D-1 level for the first time in their careers. I don't know how high their ceiling is, but I guarantee it wasn't what we saw last season. McDonald should improve slightly in his 3rd year starting and you'd expect an improvement at LT, C and RT. Even if Treadwell is a step back from Foreman, you're looking at improved play at 4/5 OL spots. That sounds good to me.
5) Depth. I pointed it out in #3, but the 2-deep looks pretty good, and doesn't include players like Donovan Clark, Nate Klatt or Michael Dennis.
It boils down really to 2 things: 1) Players improve from one year to the next and 2) Players play better in their 2nd year at a new position than their first. I don't know HOW good they'll be, but I think they'll be better than last year.
I also assume that "a better OL" really means better run-blocking, because the pass-blocking was great last season.
You never disappoint, dude. I will agree that we will be better, I just fear the jinx based on some things that I have read here and the Tigers current season in relation to some of the spring training talk. Nothing is more fun than watching your team dominate it's opponents on the ground. Please let that happen this year.
Overall the OL has some potential. The positives are depth with a solid 2 deep. Also there are 7 players who have some starting experience. This should give the line some flexibility in case of injury for moving players around. Last years line improved in the pass blocking area as the season went along but some of that was aided by a 3 yr starting QB who saw where the pressure was coming from and got rid of the ball. We used a lot of 3 step drop last year especially after the ND game. Now for the worrisome issues. The line did improve in the run blocking area last year but even at the end of the year they were not anywhere near the Wisc category. The OL is average in size for B1G lines and that will not change until bigger OL are recruited. I think the OLmen brought in the last couple of classes will end up bigger than what we have now. Wisc is going to have a line this year averaging 325 a man. We will probably be around 290-300. So the ceiling for run blocking for this OL may be middle of the pack in the B1G which is not terrible but not what some may want. After finishing 11th last year in rushing I would take 5th or 6th with solid pass protection. With Maxwell and the new recieving corp pass protection is going to be very important. With our defense we might have to accept that our offense this year is going to be more of the dont lose the game type and ball possesion/field position type of offense,. The defense is going to have to carry the team especially in the first half of the season.
The biggest factor "against" them being good is that they were not a good run-blocking OL last year. Even that's hard to get behind, given that, in addition to those 3 spring injuries, both Treadwell and Burkland went down against ND. MSU was basically breaking in a new OL starting with CMU onwards. They looked pretty good down the stretch, rushing for 190 in the CCG. UGA did a great job vs. MSU on the ground, but they were a top 5 D for a reason, and MSU's OL definitely hadn't improved THAT much.
I feel that the OL is often greater than (or less than) the sum of its parts. It wasn't enough last year to have 2 established OGs in Foreman and McDonald (and don't get me started on Foreman being beat up last year). I'd probably rate all the OL between a 4 and a 7 on a scale of 1-10 last year. If they improve to be in the 5 or 6 to 8 range, the overall ground game is going to look much better. Getting to your spot a quarter of a second faster is the difference between your RB being tackles for a 1 yard loss, or gaining 5 yards on the play. That's especially true for the speed backs, like Tompkins and Hill.
BTW, 82msuspartan, the beefiest OL aren't always the best at run-blocking. UGA's OL last year was the biggest single OL in the college OR pros, yet they only averaged around 170 YPG on the ground. Iowa routinely produces great OL in the 290-305 pound range. FWIW, MSU's starting OL goes 316, 299, 285, 299, 300. That's not small, especially since those are the spring #s and these guys are likely to put on 5-15 pounds over the summer months. Size is far from everything on the OL, and MSU's starters have more than adequate size.
I think if you are running a power running game the OL size helps alot. Wisc likes to get the line push and pound their big physical back. With Bell this would be the ideal type of OL to run behind. OLs with quicker scat backs and dual threat QBs are sometimes smaller and need to pull more or get downfield. If we are going to pound Bell 25 times a game and use Caper as the change up it would help to get that extra 10 to 15 a man in the summer and maybe a OL that averages 310.. If we are going to limit Bell to 15-18 carries and use Hill and Tompkins alot and allow Maxwell to do some running then our size is probably pretty good as it is in the 295 range.
This post was edited by 82msuspartan 22 months ago
I would be very surprised if Tompkins is not redshirted this year. With Hill, Caper and Bell, we really have our bases covered.
If you're worried because of a "jinx" then you are a moran.
The positive is that thy improved as the year went on last season. I think the expactation of them continuing to improve in the offseason, and through next season, coupled with the unit staying neay intact, is promising. It's impossible to know how anything is going to go, most preseason predictions end up being crap anyway. I'm worried about our Interior dline more than the oline personally.
Once you get above 290 or so, size isn't that big of a deal. The problem is that you're equating size with strength, and also technique.
State played WMU in 2010 and they featured an OL that averaged 316 pounds. They rushed 32 times for 85 yards (2.7 YPC), 39 of which came from their QB running for his life.
Again, UGA's OL was bigger than Wisconsin's last year, and they featured a stable of RBs with recruiting rankings that would make Tanfan crap his Depends in a heartbeat. UGA finished 49th in the country in rushing, at 164 YPG.
You see, it's about technique; can the guy get out of his stance quickly? Can he use his hands to fight off opposing DTs/DEs? Can he move laterally to keep a speed rusher in front of him on the edges, or get out on a pulling play to eliminate an LB coming round the outside? Size is ancillary to all of this. If you're talking about just drive-blocking, then sure, size matters. More often than not, the blocking schemes feature zone-blocking, pass-blocking and other techniques.
I'm cautiously optimistic. That unit has been bitten by the injury bug before, but they seem to have all the tools to help Maxwell make a smooth transition to the starting role. I think they'll open up some good holes for Bell, and give Maxwell the time to find his targets.
tRCMB - Visit at your own risk of being disgusted.
Or you could look at it as a player that's never received 200 carries in a season (bell) a guy that's been injured most of the last 2 years (Caper) and an undersized return specialist (Hill). I think Tompkins is going to be given a chance to compete for PT this fall.
I have no idea on how he will ultimately turn out, but I was reading the Spring Game program on the MSU athletic site and this blurb under his bio stands out:
"In his first year on the offensive line, started 13 games at left tackle."
Think about that. Thats amazing. First year on the line and he started every game at arguably the most difficult positon. He will only be a junior this year. Lots of room for improvment here...
serviceable...all i ask for is serviceable.
Your average UofM fan and I have something in common, neither of us went to UofM. Though we do share One major difference, I got Accepted.
Under Coach and this staff, the history has been that the "unit" everyone is freaking out about (the secondary 3 years ago, the LBs two years ago, the kicking game when Swensen had left) all turn out to be suprisingly good..
..And the units that are expected to perform just go out and perform..
Color me cautiously optimistic too!
There is romance in all of us
I think the verdict is still out on the O-line and I'm not going to assume its even going to be good this year until I see it. There is no doubt all the injuries and career retirements due to injury (I think 6 total) hurt the line last year coming out of the gate as the staff had to patch together a make shift unit with RS freshmen and converted DLs utilized as starters when they would have otherwise never seen the field. That mess hurt State bad in the ND game. However, once the starting unit was settled there was no turnover for the rest of the season and the OL really did not perform well in producing a good running game; only 73 total yards against Georgia, couldn't crack 200 yards against Indiana or Minnesota, the latter even held State under their abysmal worse average in the league in rushing yards allowed.
So dominating? I 'll believe it when I see it. Right now I see 4 returning starters from a unit that was pretty poor in run blocking last year.
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