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I got into a debate while watch the bowl game with someone who insisted that our current OL was "much better" than our 2011 version and that it was pretty good this year.
I tried to explain that it did indeed suck this year also and only looked good by comparing it to 2011.
We actually dropped from 74th nationally in rushing (@ 140 ypg) in 2011 to 92nd (@ 133 ypg) this year.
We did better in 'sacks allowed' of course because we literally couldn't drop any lower than our 2011 rock bottom finish of 64 sacks @ 4.92 per game. However, even in 'playing better' we still ended up 102nd nationally with 2.92 per game.
This was what we had to work with this year and IMO next year isn't going to be much better, if at all. This is the key element of success for us in 2013 I believe. If the staff can't figure out how to get better production from our OL we will be looking at .500 at best next season.
I don't see any real upgrades in OL personnel next year - we'll Have Bisnowaty play but we'll lose both Turnley, huge IMO, and Jacobson. Other than that I don't see anyone whose really going to be better next year than we had this year.
Hollins is a big question mark; King and Rotheram are average at best and who knows who we'll get at C.
Doakes, Johnson and Rowell should be backups if possible and we can but hope either Gabe Roberts or John Guy play well enough to add some depth along the line.
Not real happy about our prospects here.
Dorian Johnson and Roberts could help some compared to the alternatives
I hear the staff loves Gabe so he may be able to help next year. Also, he may be played at guard. Doakes will probably be gone.
Both Turnley and Jake gave us experience but not much else. Both VERY average and basically disappointing. Can't see anyone taking their place being much worse IMO. It will take us another couple of years to have the talent and experience to really have a top flight OL, which, with Heuber we will have.
A QB can help a mediocre OL look better and vise versa. And it's not just by running.
To answer your question, I think the line was better last year.
Losing Turnley will hurt b/c he may have been the best center Pitt has had since...I don't even remember. Lumpy was decent, but he is replaceable.
The bowl game definitely taught us that Matt Rotheram is a RT. He was not quick enough to pull. I think Rotheram is pretty decent for an RT. Moving King back to guard could be a big help for this team. With Doakes out next year (suspended or gone altogether), Biz is almost a lock to start at LT IMO. You have to really hope Schleiper picks up center. DoJo is a redshirt I hope.
2 Deep OL
Man, we are really thin. Having 3 scholly OL over 2 classes is just a killer for depth. DoJo may actually need to play next year. Wow.
Do you not have any faith in our strength and conditioning program or the ability of our OL coach? Losing Turnley hurts, but was he an All-American or future draft pick? If Schlieper is healthy, Hollins returns, you add a very talented player in Clemmings, if Dorian Johnson adds some weight. I see no reason why this line cannot be better if just 1 of these things pan out. FSU started 3 True Fr. OL a few years ago. Why couldn't we start D. Johnson, or a R. Fr. in Biz, or a R. Fr. in Roberts? Running the same system and working as a unit will help these guys.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Diehard Panther 18 months ago
Is Doakes officially out for next year?
I hate to say this, but from what I saw this season, Jacobson will not be a big loss. He was very disappointing this season.
That being said, it's clear that the OL will be razor thin again next year. Hopefully, Clemmings can make a Spencer-like transition.
Agree with the OP that the OL this season was really a problem. I still don't know how they got thru the season with King playing out of position at OT. The kid somehow hung in there- I thought ends or linebackers would just be running around him on every pass play.
I agree with others that Lumpy seemed to struggle. I did like the play of Turnley and Schlieper. I expect Schlieper to move to center, since he seems like a clone of Turnley.
I guess my take would be that we can't be any worse than last season - the left side of the line just wasn't very athletic. Bis sounds like an immediate upgrade. Will be interesting to see how long it takes for Clemmings to get up to speed - with the limited competition he has - I expect to see him playing. Playing tackle is not rocket science - as long as you can move your feet and have long arms...
Can Gabe Roberts play center?
What did you consider this year's lineup if you think next year will be razor thin? I am not a rocket scientist, but we lose 2 guys that played consistently and add Hollins, Clemmings, Biz, Roberts, D. Johnson, Guy, Officer, Reese, Baker, and possibly another to list of potential candidates.
I have to think the staff playing Zenel in the bowl game over players coming back like Johnson and Rowell, perhaps spoke volumes as to what they think of those guys.
Let's get another receiver to "Foster the People" like AB!
Johnson - I agree
Rowell - He is a Center and there is no way you do not play Turnley there.
Agree...but with all the practice time available, Rowell should have been able to play guard for the game, IMO, - if they wanted him to.
Rotheram is too tall and can't get low enough to be a good guard. It's right tackle or bust for him, IMO.
Spare me the 'Clemmings is very talented stuff' - what has he shown at all to warrant that label? He's on the verge of being a bust 5* recruit. The staff didn't move him over because anyone thought he'd be a great OL - we moved him because he stunk the joint out as a defender and they desperately need bodies on the OL depth chart.
I give a rat's ass about who gets drafted. Turnley was a rock and very intelligent at the C position.
Johnson won't start next season. He needs both weight and experience. I did mention Bisnowaty and Roberts and also Guy. All untested and unproven. I believe you are referring to the 2009 FSU season when they started those true FR and then went 6-6 in the regular season.
If we start three true FR on our OL we won't sniff 6-6.
BTW - Doakes may or may not be back. If it is a failed drug test as some seem to think then it was a PITT ordered one and not an NCAA mandated test which is an automatic loss of one year of eligibility. That is most probably what happened with Hollins. So with Doakes it is up to the HC to determine how long the suspension is. What PITT will do is spring unannounced tests on him and if he fails one he'll be suspended longer.
Also - if the poster above thinks Sunseri has "feet of stone" then you'll shoot yourself in the forehead watching Tom Savage play QB. The advantage Savage will have to avoid sacks is his decision making and release - those will be his positives but mobility will not be.
Fans tend to forget that Sunseri actually moved the football forward 506 yards with his legs in Todd Graham's offense in 2011. He lost a lot of statistical yardage on those 64 sacks but when a play was either designed for a QB rush or he tucked and ran he had a 5,65 ypc average that year - best on the team actually and that was with 90 true carries. He wasn't nearly as immobile as people think.
What did happen was that he froze with the ball under pressure - but that was mental not physical.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by rkohberger 18 months ago
Count me in as one who does not understand all the immobile comments on boards about Sunseri.
Was he a great running QB or scrambler? No, but he was far from immobile. I thought the staff did a disservice to him and the offense this year by not having a lot more roll outs and waggles for him to pass the ball.
With him under siege yet again this past Saturday, I was again disappointed about the lack of an attempt to move our pocket to try to give him another second or two at times, not to mention conceding the game in the third quarter with mixing in way too many inside runs when we were still theoretically in the game.
I sure as heck hope he is. I thought he was outstanding this year and was a very pleasant surprise.
i expect us to be much better because we basically did not have a single OT that played this year and next year,
we will have Bis and hollins (who has starting experience.) experience is key to a o-line.
we had to shuffle alot of guys this year, but the experience that king, rotheram, doakes, and schelieper, got will really pay off.
plus this will be year two in this offense and under the o-line coaches teachings and technique and that is huge in my opinion.
As far as next year goes, how good the OL will or not be is a function of a number of different variables that collectively will impact the play of the OL. How all those variables will play out is anyones guess. But its worth at least listing all of the things that will have an impact.
1. First and foremost, is the continued development of the players we have. PLayers dont stay static in their performance over the years. One might argue that the position where you see the most continuous improvement is OL Look back at how many players Pitt fans threw under the bus earlier in their careers who ended up being decent payers. King, Rotheram, Shelieper etc can all improve.
2. Position Changes. With King and Rotheram, both guys will most likely be playing in positions where they are more comfortable and hopefully effective (Guard). We'll have some competition at OT with DJ, Clemmngs, Biz, the Quippa Kid etc who are closer to true tackles
3. Having continuity in coaching could help with guys being more comfortable with the scheme.
4. As Gibby pointed out, a QB can either make an bad OL look OK or a good OL look awful Making quick reads and getting rid of the ball quickly, being able to side step the rush, being a runnng threat, and being able to throw all passes and not being limited to one area of the field because of arm strength issues or field vision issues and have a significant impact on oL performance. Much easier to block for Peyton Manning than Ben Rothlesberger.
5. Play calling can help a lot. Not running on first and second downs all the time will take pressure off of the OL on third down. Making opposing defenses respect the pass of first down keeps defenses from stacking the line to stop the run.
Im sure I omitted some stuff but I think all 5 variables will come into play next year. Will they result in better OL play? Again hard to predict.
A "Real PITT MAN"............get off my porch!
I think Turley was a good center, but I think he was far from great in my opinion. He does a good job of helping backside but I rarely seeing him just maul DT's. I think if someone learns the actual technique we could have an upgrade there by mid-season. But, the key is identifying that person early in spring ball and getting him oodles of reps.
I know he short as hell but I thought KK was a much better OL prospect than a DL coming out of HS. I know he won't get moved but w/ his leverage he could play center at 5'10-5'11 in all honesty. Terry Long anyone? AQ was 5'11-6' and he was outstanding. Both have similar builds..
I'd say that Sunseri's slow mental process had more to do with those types of plays than did his 'feet'.
If Savage's experience with his modest success at RU can allow him to make quick reads and decisions then that will go a long way to helping both his own passing game and the OL's protection ability. I mean how many times did we see Sunseri drop back and we were screaming "Throw the Ball!" for 2-3 seconds?
When I watched Savage in practice I wasn't real impressed with his release meaning that I didn't think it was quick from decision to execution. That is important. Voytik was pretty good at that I thought though.
Regardless, I'm obviously not real high on how I think the OL will be like next year. If it is as sub-par as I think it might be then I'd lean toward Voytik and incorporated those rollouts and waggles that 80 mentions above.
Plus, Voytik gives Chryst that ability to actually call the QB's number to run with the ball - something we won't see from Savage.
You are "the poster above' all other posters Walts... I thought you already understood that.
80 - your take on 1st and 2nd downs is key.
This is something that worries me about Shell in a way. If he progresses to the type of back who makes positive yardage on almost every play - much like Dion Lewis was - then running the ball on those downs, especially 1st down, will be OK.
However, Shell got stopped at the LOS a lot this season. Given our tenuous QB situation that could spell trouble. If we start Tom Savage and he can't better his career 52% completion rate we are screwed if we have to pass on those downs, or if we are continually faced with 3rd and long situations.
A 52% completion rate scares the crap out of me and PITT hasn't had a QB with a rate that low in ten years:
Sunseri - 65% career
Stull - 61% career
Palko - 60% career
Those are big differences from 52%. Of course with good coaching Savage could be better next season and if he starts let's really hope that happens. One bright spot is that even with that low rate Savage has a 14+ ypc average which is very good. His ypa is just average so let's hope that he completes more passes than he has in the past.
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