Dirty Work Wednesday: Two Plays in and You're In for a Long Night

Our weekly love letter to the big uglies and their cohorts is back for another week. We’ve got some great trench warfare. Enjoy.

Two Plays In and You’re In for a Long Night

Mike Tyson is credited with the great line, “everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.” It’s so true. Reality comes at you fast and if you aren’t ready for it, it’s a long night. Reality hit Rice in the mouth in the form of Kevin Strong Jr.

On the first two plays of the Rice’s first offensive series, Kevin Strong set a precedent for the Owls. Here used two very different skills and beat two players to do it. Here they are…

On the first play, lined up to the right of the offensive line, Strong beats the tackle off the ball, gets his shoulder through and muscles him into the backfield. He redirects the back into the waiting arms of Jerrod Carter-McLin. Rice gains a yard. 2nd and long.

On second down, Strong flips to the boundary side. On the snap, Strong bursts through the “B” gap (between the guard and tackle) and hits Emmanuel Esukpa for a two-yard loss. 3rd and Longer.

Worse than the down and distance, that pretty scripted play sheet Rice worked up all week, Strong done blow’d it all up.

Right in the Face

In the interest of full disclosure, here’s Myles Adams ruining a UTSA third down pass.

Quarterbacks, every damn one of them, hate pressure into their face. We’ve written about UTSA’s line problems, here’s a great example, or a horrible precedent if you’re a UTSA fan. UTSA’s guard and center open the blinds as we say, they don’t keep their shoulders square to the line of scrimmage, have bad discipline, and let Myles Adams through.

When you turn your shoulders away from the line of scrimmage, like opening the blinds light can get through, in this case, a 300-pound defensive tackle. Adams gets his shoulder through and sacks Cordale Grundy.

Doubling Down

For the first time in recent memory, Texas manhandled OU up front. Oklahoma’s defensive front looked ill-equipped to stop the Texas rushing game.

Here’s a great example. Texas doubles the defensive tackle with the guard and center, the tackle kicks out and the defensive end to open a cavern on the right side of the defensive line.

When you’re facing a double team, a couple of techniques are taught, neither are implemented here. The first is to make yourself small then split the double team to penetrate. The second is to create a pile by bringing the offensive linemen to the ground. This allows for other defenders to attack after the back redirects.

Here Texas smothers the interior player and puts him on skates; the exterior player moves upfield to block himself. The inside linebacker gets caught inside, and the back breaks out.

Great Wall

Not every great line play results in a big gain or a tackle for loss. Here’s SMU offensive line, absolutely stoning a four-man rush by UCF.

Notice how the SMU front works as a unit. They all use good pass sets, the keep eye discipline, they lock on and they give Ben Hicks ton of time. A ton is a relative term, here Hicks gets 3.3 seconds, nailed to his platform to make a throw, longer than the average in the NFL, let alone college football. The play ends as an incompletion in the stat book, but that’s not the line’s fault.

Dirty Work Wednesday…