A tale of two offensive lines
Despite the penalties on Saturday night, BC’s rebuilt offensive line deserves credit. They took on the most aggressive front seven in the ACC and held their own. Watching the BC line improve each week and absorbing all of the problems the Notre Dame Oline is having, I thought I would use the two units as an example of how inexact recruiting rankings can be and how important coaching (and position coaching) can be.
For those BC fans who are unfamiliar with the recent Irish struggles, you can get a good overview at Blue-Gray Sky. In summary, their line is porous, seemingly lacking in basic fundamentals and the main reason the Irish cannot move the ball.
I am shocked on two fronts: one the Irish line is stocked with kids who snubbed BC and two, I grew up watching the Parcells’ Giants and actually like Charlie Weis. How can he let this happen?
Weis apologists are blaming Willingham and saying the Oline is very green, very young and not that talented. I don’t buy it. Look at Notre Dame’s Oline starters and then compare it to BC’s Oline. (note: I used “year” because BC and ND classify redshirts differently.)
|Recruited by BC||Rivals Recruiting Stars||Career Starts||Year|
|Rivals Recruiting Stars||Career Starts||Year|
For non-BC fans who might read this, let me give you a little background. Cherilus has been a very good four year starter. Poles started last year, but was yo-yoed in and out of the games and has been very inconsistent prior to this year. His early play has been one of the bright spots of the season and new staff. Tennant, Ramsey, and Castonzo were all Midwest kids with MAC and/or lower BCS offers.
The Notre Dame line has had the same position and head coach for three seasons. The BC line has learned a new scheme, gone through two position coaches and a new head coach all in the last nine months.
Notre Dame’s green line has a combined 61 starts (through Saturday) and averages three years in their program. BC’s line, which handled the same Georgia Tech team that walloped ND’s line, has 65 starts and averages 3.6 years in the program.
I will grant the ND fans that Matt Ryan can make everyone around him look better, while ND has rotated QBs all season. In the end, this proves that recruiting rankings are only part of the equation. You also have to coach kids up and give them schemes in which they can succeed. Hats off to Jags and their most recent position coach Jack Bicknell for bringing this unit together and making the transition relatively seamless despite all the hurdles.
For those of you who like OLine play, here are few shots from Saturday courtesy of TokenMom.