Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Getting ahead of the Offensive Line Narrative

Most BC fans agree that Oline U hasn't been itself for two years. We've been inconsistent and worst of all, the guys didn't always play well as a group. BC had talent, but the parts were greater than the sum. Who was to blame? There was plenty of finger pointing. Some say it was scheme. Others blamed coaching. Maybe BC's coaching turnover and talent attrition just came home to roost.

BC enters the season with a new offensive coordinator and three new starters on the Oline, so the excuse making is starting already. But we fans shouldn't accept this narrative just yet. Look at the talking points and then the reality.

1. BC lost three starters on the offensive line.
Although it is technically true, the impact and importance of those starters is subjective. Castonzo started all 13 games and is a loss. Claiborne was in and out of the lineup last year and only started eight games. Lapham was inconsistent prior to his injury and the line play actually improved once Cleary stepped in for him. Lapham only started 8 games. Now the good news:
-- Cleary started 10 games
-- Richman started 10 games
-- Spinney started 11 games
-- White started 3 games
-- Davis earned 1 start
Plus BC has some promising depth on the roster. But look at that list of 2010 starters again. Spaz could open the season with an offensive line with an experienced starter at every position. That's a nice problem to have, especially since the media won't notice.

2. The offensive line has dealt with numerous coaching changes.
The four oline coaches in four years was a nice tidbit excuse the media could trot out when covering BC the last few years. Now we've had a bit of stability. The current OL guys on the roster have only had two position coaches: Jack Bicknell Jr and Sean Devine. Most only know Devine. While they are learning another system, conceptually it is still "pro style" and shouldn't be a huge adjustment.

3. They were recruited for a different system.
The zone blocking body type is overrated. Most good players on the Oline can do both. And if the oline and its coach are not capable of teaching and adapting then Spaz has a big problem on his staff.

I actually think the Oline will be good next year. If we get the right guys in the right positions things should be much much better.


Rob said...


Great post.

Methinks the continual "woe is us" narrative from Spaz last year got a little under your skin. Glad to see you out in front on this, the ship had sailed on the "poor recruiting doomed us" meme last year by the time you got on it, hopefully this has some effect on the narrative.

mod34b said...

Is Devine still the OL coach?

With the level of talent he had -- 1st round NFL pick, and 2 other seniors that are at least being discussed as NFL draft prospects and 2/3 very good underclassman --it really is shocking that Devine could not do a better job.

Sure, the play calling was THE major problem last year (hard to run, when you can't pass and the D knows it), but still, if your massive and highly talented OL can't blow out really bad defenses at Weber State, Duke, UVA, Wake, and others, something is wrong. And something was wrong. But what?

So is Devine really worthy of the job? Let's hope Rogers gives Devine some close scrutiny and instruction.

Big Jack Krack said...

This would be a big year for Coach Devine. We'll find out a great deal and he will be judged to be a good coach, or he will be exposed.

On another note, Clemson represented the ACC well today - NOT.

The ACC was way off this year and seems to be trending down. Let's go BC - help to pick it up!

mod34b said...

BJK -- "This would be a big year for Coach Devine. We'll find out a great deal and he will be judged to be a good coach, or he will be exposed"

I think last year was his big shot and he whiffed pretty bad. at least 2 strikes on him now AS A FOOTBALL COACH, not recruiter

Erik said...

Bryson Johnson killed us in Conte. I hope he can do it to Sueconn now.

NYCeagle said...

What kind of O-Line blocking scheme is BC using now? Is it zone or what we used to have?