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Soluna

Gameplan Monday #8

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Have you experimented with rotating offensive line players? What have you found works best gameplan wise? Where do you like putting your biggest tackle? How about your guard? Do you think about the passing game when you plan your O-Line or the running game?

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I don't usually rotate my line much. I've tried switching the sides of my guards, but a lot of times it's hard to see where a lot of the problems lie if you have them with your offensive line.

 

I always try to put my best tackle as my left tackle. Usually you want a pass blocker there, so I always try to recruit my best OT to be a pass blocker. If there's a better one who is a run blocker, it becomes situational. Then I try to balance out how good both sides of the line are so I'll put my worse OG next to him without really worrying about whether he's a pass blocker or run blocker.

 

It'd be kinda cool to be able to set a primary side of where you'd like to run, actually. That might lead to strategies of stacking one side of the OL and running that way. But generally I try to aim for balance, both with passing and rushing.

bingo415 and Vxmonarkxv like this

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This question poses another question:

 

Does moving your linemen around affect your chemistry?  I have not moved them around for fear of a chemistry hit.

 

 

I have always selected my linemen based on their skill and size.  Skill being equal, I will put the smaller of my OTs on the right side, assuming both have the same Run or Pass Blocking scheme fit.

 

So for me, determining the starting LT it goes:

1) Skill (Best OT goes on the left)

2) Scheme Fit (Passing favored over Running for LT)

3) Size (Bigger favored for LT over RT)

 

LG is where the better OG goes - same tiebreakers as above

 

C: Skill, Experience, Size if I have multiple centers to pick from

 

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I want to pass first, so i consider that when i build the line for both nfl and cfb. I like putting my best overall tackle at left. If the overall grades are close, i look at size and weight, and typically put my larger left, and the smaller right. I approach guards the same way. For NFL i have rotated players a little, moving tackles to guards for injuries, but haven't done too much because im unsure how game mechanics would handle a player moving around too much.

I will say that i hesitate to move the line around too much because there is no real way to see where your issues are. So when they are working well enough, i don't wanna move them.

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when coaching Arizona, I was always worried about O-Line chemistry too much to shift them around much or play guys out of position.  Ideally, I wanted a Pass Blocking Left Tackle and run blocking interior linemen since I was running a pro-style offense with a pocket QB and a power running back.  however, in reality, I just went with skill rather than style and it worked out pretty well.  My best LT was actually a run blocker.  I always felt like my line got better as the season went along and it was always pretty good, so it seemed like the right decision for me.

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I've generally played my best tackle at LT and my best guard at RG for balance's sake. If the difference between OT1 and OT2 is close enough, I'll take into account designation and size, but skill rules over all for me. I played James Johnson (run block) at LT in 2014 and he made All-Big 12. Ben Goode is 6-6/312 to Walt McHugh's 6-2/291, but I play Goode at LT and McHugh at RT. And I've made year-to-year consistency a priority with my offensive line, so I don't rotate them around at all if I can help it. Ben Goode's started 41 straight games at left tackle, Walt McHugh's at 28 straight at right tackle, and Judah Murphy's at 28 straight at right guard. They will finish with 52-56 games, 39-43 games, and 39-43 games at those same positions if I can help it, while Cameron Schreiber finishes at 25-29 games in a row at left guard. The 2018 season served as a reminder to me that consistency matters, and I can't think of any position group for which that's more true than the offensive line.

 

So to summarize, when I recruit a new offensive lineman whom I expect will be a starter, I think about their long-term fit based on (in order of importance):

  1. Their skill and potential
  2. Also their skill and potential
  3. Their designation
  4. Where the upcoming holes on my depth chart will be
  5. Their size
  6. Yet again their skill and potential

 

And then ideally I can either recruit around them or recruit simultaneous to them, so that I don't have to make them learn a new position while they're in school. 

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I played a C at OG last year at CMU, it didn't go terribly. He was too good to not have on the field over my other backup guards who probably wouldn't even start in FCS. 

 

When I recruit I try to go for bigger OL, avoiding guys who weigh less than 265ish. When drafting OL id like to think of going with the same principle idea, but certain OL (we had decently high grades on Lucas Hopkins, and particularly Russell Benson-Gifford, by the time the draft rolled around, and they are listed at 261 & 260 respectively) can get away with it if I view them as having a better collegiate background or pedigree. I like to play skill over size really, but I view bigger tackles (Arthur Taylor is like 6'8") as right tackles, especially if they are run specialists 

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Best tackle=LT

Best guard=RT

(unless there is like no difference in rating/skill/potential, then pass block is LT/G and run block is RT/G)

 

I don't like to change O Line around much for chemistry reasons, especially at the guard and center spots. I did once put my #1 tackle and #1 guard at RT/G for a few games in 2018 by accident.

 

In terms of playing guys out of position, I had to do it once in Houston since we lost John Chance for the year in 2018, and were down to 2 rookie guards so I started a 70 something C at RG once or twice, and it worked okay.

rabidsnowman likes this

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I want to have a run blocker at LT and a pass blocker at RT.  Unless there's a significant difference in skill, I'll put players in positions where they're supposed to fit.  That said, of course I want a behemoth LT to block for my ever worsening run game (seriously, I feel like I used to be pretty good at the run game, that's all gone to shit the last few years)

There have been other things I've wanted to try (OT at TE in Smashmouth, for example) but I just haven't had the personnel and/or balls to try.   I don't like getting too creative with the O-line because we can't see how it affects the overall game that well, and I can change other positions (and gameplan settings) around and get a much better idea of their impact, but to do so I have to leave a lot of things constant from game to game.  

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Have you experimented with rotating offensive line players?

Not really. Offensive Line is one of those things I set at the beginning of the season and mostly forget about, barring injuries (NFLHC) or a massive scheme change (CFBHC).

 

What have you found works best gameplan wise?

In NFLHC, due to my philosophy about the game, I pretty much only want to have a line with 2 Pass Blockers and 2 Run Blockers (the fifth player can be either). I generally want this in CFBHC too, but if I were committed to a very specific style of offense then I would be more comfortable overloading the line with 4 players of one type. I almost want a Pass Blocking Left Tackle, and a Run Blocking Right Tackle; for example 2019 BC had a 3.5 Pass Blocking LT to pair with Dylan Hastings on the Right, a 5.0 Run Blocker. From there, unless there is a major skill gap (like 2019 BC), I generally want to place a Pass Blocking OG on the Right and a Run Blocking OG on the Left. If I can't have this split with Guards, I hope that my Center is the opposite type from the two Guards I pick, unless there is a major skill gap or if I am committed to a very specific offensive style.

 

Where do you like putting your biggest tackle? How about your guard?

Size is not a consideration for me when placing players - only their type.

 

Do you think about the passing game when you plan your O-Line or the running game?

I think about my offensive gameplan as a whole, and do not focus on one aspect of it, when determining linemen.

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