16.Mar.2011 2011 Offensive Line

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Guys, I am nervous. I don't know what I was hoping to see, but I know it wasn't Remmers, Andrews, Johnson, Ellis, and Phillipp. That much I know.

Defenders are going to be salivating at the A gap (i.e. between center and right guard). Johnson next to Ellis? At least last year the walk-ons were spaced apart with NFL talent Alex Linnenkohl manning the middle.

The proposed line is absolutely ridiculous. And it comes after months of Riley and Cavanaugh's off-season "soul searching". Um, guys, how about doing some recruit searching?

I'm trying to figure out the best group, but it is difficult. I know it involves removing Johnson and Ellis. Beyond that, I am not sure. Geoff Garner has the body of a road grading guard at 307lbs, so why is he listed as a tackle? Grant Enger has the body and agility of a tackle, so why is he listed at guard? Could this simply be an typo? Please tell me it is so.

Offensive line 101: you want road grading guards and quick, agile tackles. Unless of course your team runs a lot of sweeps and traps, then you need quick, agile guards as well. But, is Ryan McCants really going to be running sweeps? Ha. Once again Riley has failed to adjust to his personnel and has instead chosen experience.

So what would comprise the best offensive line?

Good question.

The overall depth is so poor that it's hard to come up with an acceptable configuration. The best I can surmise (and it, too, sucks for different reasons) would be something like Remmers, Garner, Andrews, Phillipp, and Enger. Speaking of whom, Grant was the #3 player in Washington and had offers from Stanford and the Huskies. In other words, he has serious talent and is no dummy. At a quick, agile 279lbs it is mind-boggling that he's been moved to guard. But, such is the byproduct of our coaching staff's off-season soul searching. Think tanks around the world tremble and quake.

The good news is that it is only spring and things can change.

The bad news is that Mike Riley is our head coach, so it will take a hell of a lot for change to actually occur.

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  • Alex says:
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    Scary. Silver lining is like you said though- Riley never introduces major shakeups in these pre-season lists. If there is any major shuffling to be done, we won’t see it till during/after fall camp.

  • JackBeav says:
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    Philipp isn’t quite good enough to be a LT, but he was our best lineman last year. So he had to play there out of necessity, and he wants to play OT. The coaches now see one Darryl Jackson as being able to come in and take the LT spot. Instead of watching him supplant Philipp, why not move Philipp over to the RT and get him started on that position? Philipp gets to s tay an OT, and he doesn’t get replaced at any time–and the coaches don’t have to try to make excuses like, “He hasn’t practiced there enough to play there yet” like they did with Collins last year at LB.

    That leaves Remmers to beat out Jackson at LT. Philipp took that position when there were much better personnel on the line. So it’s not unreasonable to think that the coaches might do the same with Jackson. Let’s hope Jackson takes the spot easily, because Remmers couldn’t protect Katz’ front side last year. Why the coaches think he can do better against the best d-linemen on the field is beyond me.

    Andrews anywhere on the interior is fine with me. I think he and Beaton are in the same mold as the half dozen or so good to great linemen we’ve had over the last several years.

    Johnson better hope that C being a natural position makes him suddenly an o-lineman. I didn’t see much in the way of improvement over last season, and he really needs improvement. Getting shoved into Jordan Jenkins one carry last year was ridiculous. Watching him stand around while Philipp was left blocking two men was ridiculous. Stalling drives with penalties was ridiculous. Andrews would easily take the position if he stayed there, but Roman Sapolu was recruited to be the future there. With Andrews moved to LG, it’s down to Johnson and Sapolu. Sapolu was playing fundamental C his first year at the position in HS. And it was a ton better than anything I’ve ever seen from Johnson. Size may be the only thing keeping Sapolu from taking the spot.

    I’m not as down on Ellis as I was at the beginning of last year. He was inconsistent, but when he was good he was really good. His really good was better than his mental lapses were bad–except that he could have punched Matthews in the hole on the first play of the CW just to slow him down. But even that wasn’t really his fault alone. It seemed like all of Quizz’ best runs last year came behind Ellis. Sure, Remmers and Johnson were shucked like corn on most plays, and Quizz was pinched in the backfield… a lot. But on the occasions they stood their men up Ellis would drive his block to the side with ease, and Quizz would blow through the hole. There wasn’t enough of any of it, and that’s why we have this angst. But Ellis is one player I think can actually hold his position through spring camp.

    I can see Enger as an interior lineman. Coming out of HS, he reminded me a lot of Max Unger when he was in Hawai’i. If he has finally put on the weight he can be a force at OG. Like Unger, I think he could be thrown in at OT. And I think he would succeed. But I think size held him back last year.

    When the fall rolls around, I would expect the depth chart to have changed quite a bit. At least I hope it does. Here’s how I see it in the fall:
    LT – Jackson, Remmers
    LG – Andrews, Beaton
    C – Sapolu, Johnson
    RG – Ellis, Enger
    RT – Philipp, Garner

    Then again, it could be last year’s line mixed around to make the coaches feel like they did something. It won’t save our RB’s or QB’s. But at least they did something.

    • ean says:
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      I think moving Remmers to the LT spot was simply because he is quicker out of his stance and a better pass blocker. I don’t think we will see Jackson beat out Remmers. Sure Remmers was a walk on but the kid has some serious weight and strength now.

      • JackBeav says:
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        Jackson can stand there and be a better run blocker than Remmers. Hell, it’s what Remmers did most of the time–that and wandering around. And I don’t remember any stellar pass blocking from anyone in the second half of any games last year. I don’t recall Remmers doing much besides being shoved into the QB on pass plays either. Unless he’s taking on a bull rush and being pushed backward, his hands are so bad that he can’t be relied upon to take on anyone with half a move. I just went and watched highlights from last year, and I don’t see what you’re talking about. In fact, our alignment gave us away quite a bit due to Remmers’ weakness as a blocker on the right side. If Halahuni was not lined up on that side, then the only time the play would go there was on a misdirection swing pass to Quizz. If Halahuni was on that side, then Joe was the one trusted to seal the outside while Remmers found himself wandering out of the play somewhere. Linnenkohl was only ever pulled to that side for the same reason.

        I saw the same play from Johnson except on one block in OT against UW. That’s pretty thin pickings. Most of the time Philipp would move the entire line (defense and offense) to the inside and Halahuni would seal the outside, or vice versa with Philipp leading through the hole. There were pass plays where Philipp would be left with his man and Johnson’s man, one on either arm. He would hold off his own man with his left while he punched Johnson’s man with his right only enough to slow him. But who in their right mind would think he can make that play more than once when he’s fresh? It was quite often a question of the lesser of two evils on his side in pass blocking. So I don’t buy that his drop step away from Johnson was slow because of his ability.

        Perhaps he should have let Johnson’s man go and just concentrated on his assignment. That way the coaches would have to pull Johnson and play someone who could actually play. But what competitor allows their QB to get hurt just to prove a point?

    • angry angry says:
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      That would be a pretty good line. I forgot many feel Jackson can play right away. I’d even argue if Jackson plays, Phillipp can supplant Ellis, and Remmers can take the other tackle position. That might be the best lineup. I am very high on Enger, though, and think he deserves a shot at tackle. At 280lbs he finally has enough weight for the position (and then they move him to guard…just bizarre)

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    All I know is that I got a sick feeling in my stomach when I read the article in the Oregonian. To me, it boils down to whether these guys can perform better in 2011. I am kind of skeptical that a light bulb will go off for a whole offensive line (especially if they are miscast), but I have to hope!

    • angry angry says:
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      They weren’t just bad in 2010, they were incompetent. Quizz made them appear below average, when in realize they were all zeros (on a scale of ten). I am talking about the run game. In pass protection, they were just a tick below average. Ryan McCants is not shifty and will not make his own holes. That is the scary part. And why we need meat/road graders, especially at the guard positions. It’s why I want to see Garner and Phillipp inside (or Sapolu at C and replace Garner with Andrews). It’s about molding the line to this specific running back/personnel’s talent and ability. I know for a fact the weak links from last year will be exposed even more with McCants in the backfield.

  • ean says:
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    I still think the move we need to make is to move Phillip inside. He is too slow out of his stance to play outside and moving him inside would allow him to react to the ball more quickly. His natural position is OG so moving him inside now will help his draft stock and help the team. It seems like such an obvious move to me. With guys like Jackson, Garner, and Enger at OT we could probably find an equal or upgrade at RT and with Phillips strength inside the line would look a lot better.

    • angry angry says:
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      I agree 100%.
      Enger needs to be moved back to tackle–I will say it for the third time (and probably not the last).

  • Timber! says:
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    You’ll be happier if you don’t care…like me.

  • OS_Beaver says:
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    I asked Riley about Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” a couple days before the first game last year. Even though Mike Parker liked the question and pointed out to Mike Riley that it was the VERY SUCCESSFUL Pat Riley’s FAVORITE book in the world, Riley acted like he never really heard of it and had no real interest. I had a bit of a bad feeling about that seeing how I think a book like that should really excite a passionate coach and want him to mold his player’s into the best they can be while also focusing on strategy for “Winning.Duh!” You might even think he would find it interesting that Pat Riley who shares his name is such a devotee of the work. With Riley, it seemed over his head, so no way no how was there any worth in mentioning Musashi’s “Book of 5 Rings”.

    The problem with all this is it makes the BEAVERS way too predictable. How do you feel about Riley this year and what do you expect from him? Pretty much the Riley we about always get. However, a key aspect of Sun Tzu’s strategy was surprising or tricking the opponent into a fight that neutralized their advantages and enhanced yours. Very little about Riley conveys any of Sun Tzu’s methods though. Chip Kelly on the other hand seems like he uses alot of Sun Tzu elements to “seal victory” against his opponents. He like Pat Riley seem to exist on a higher plane with these ideas while Mike Riley hasn’t even opened the book despite earning millions and having plenty of time during the winter months. It seems Riley will pretty much go with the same stuff every year. Hard to ever outdo a 8-4 season with this approach. I don’t think you beat Oregon that way either unfortunately. Riley needs to start taking advantage of the full opportunity of a season and getting off to a fast start is CRUCIAL in college football and for the morale of the players to play the whole season at a HIGH level. We did not come back on anyone last year and showed poor fight for too much of the season. Riley should call Pat Riley and ask him his favorite parts of Art of War that he tries to utilize for his teams and during games and seasons. Maybe then we could expect to be surprised by Riley a few times during a season and catch some teams offguard and win some cruical close contests that are a part of every season, which can make you or break you. It is Riley’s job to do the little things that can make a big difference and get us as a team that is Holiday Bowl and higher much more often. I think he needs to instill more pride into the players and really go for special seasons early. Then us fans could start getting excited early too and it can feed off itself. You can’t always make up for slow starts and it is very hard to be in the polls with them. We want to be a team that is always in the pollls. Riley needs to get us there and start doing the work and get the whole organization on point and working as one to achieve the higher goal of BCS appearances that we want every few years…not once every 10-15 years. We have to want it and be focused on each step and every game.

    • angry angry says:
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      Interesting, I just downloaded The Art of War from Libravox a few weeks back. Looking forward to listening to it.

      • OS_Beaver says:
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        One lesson for the Beavers. It doesn’t matter who you beat by 3 touchdowns. That is why Chip Kelly says the main priority is to win by atleast 1 point. Fun to watch but what really matters is making sure you get the W’s and avoid the L’s. If you really want to be a succesful team and go to good bowls you have to find a way to win the days you are not at your very best. With wins over WSU and UCLA last year it would have been a good bowl for the Beavs even with a hurt James. Have the focus to “Win the Day” as the rival Ducks say. We can call it “Winning!” in Corvallis as a nod to pop culture if we want. It is a smart motto because in the end that is what you have to do week in and week out to get to a BCS bowl.

  • ObjCritic says:
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    The article was very disappointing to read. It reeked of panic to me. Riley and Cavanaugh do not need to be “soul searching,” they need to be examining the o-line roster for athletes, and then opening up competition for starting spots. The most athletic, hard working players who know the plays and their roles start. Second stringers get some meaningful game reps for development. Instead, its the same old attempt to reaffirm their previous decisions. Remmers was underwhelming and inconsistent last year, now he gets a blindside assignment?!? That’s crazy. Even Cav said ealry last year that Remmers was underachieving.

    One of the problems I see with this approach is it hampers player development. Phillips will be on his third o-line position in three years! His junior and senior years should be very productive, all-pac years at guard. I think this kind of coaching is going to dissuade the o-line recruits OSU so desperately needs (***+) from committing. Again, I suggest Cav is overrated – we hear about his foul language and bear crawls, not pancake blocks or 200-yard rushing games. Even the pass blocking was weak last year.

    I agree with Angry that the players with the best agility/lower weight need to be outside at tackle. That seems obvious to everyone but the staff. The pocket will be collapsing next year – think of the CW, with the Ducks getting a push, getting a hand up, and knocking down 8-9 passes. Larger lines will eat up the new propose lineup.

    Angry, I don’t think McCants will be getting the bulk of the carries. I think Stevenson will be the main back, and he’ll be used heavily.

    Given the (apparent) lack of o-line depth, here’s what I think needs to happen:

    Enger, Remmers, and Jackson all ought to be told the tackle jobs are open. The best two men by mid-fall camp win. The rest of fall camp is for getting the line to jell.

    Riley needs to go to a multi-back system – Stevenson, Ward, Woods, and Marable all need to get reps. No, they’re not likely to be great at blocking early, but if the plan is for Katz in shotgun a lot, and adding read-option, two to three of these need to be used in a manner that decreases predictability.

    Katz will need to roll out on pass plays more often. It will reduce the likelihood of him sitting in a collapsing pocket and having his passes batted down. It may reduce his throwing options, but I suggest with his arm strength he’d still have the occasional backside/cross field option.

    I think I may watch a few games next year just out of morbid curiosity. I think it will be like the post-Steven Jackson season, with Dwight Wright, Anderson, and Hass, but without Anderson or Hass….

  • BeaverBill BeaverBill says:
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    So, just to be clear here, we need new coaching right. 🙂

  • Beavocalypse says:
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    My approach to football is officially the same as it became with basketball. Until the current coach(es) leave the program, we’re going to suck. Period. Actually, exclamation point. Riley has long outgrown his usefulness. I’m going to watch every game of football next year, out of the sheer retarded spectacle of it all. The lack of creativity and common sense from this coaching staff is just hilarious, and we’re on our way towards losing seasons again.

    At least Duck fans give a shit when they’re losing. OSU fans just say “rah rah” even as the ship is sinking.

  • OS_Beaver says:
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    We never end up being impressed with a bold decision by DeCarolis either. I was checking out duckingbeaver website and this site as also voiced the general fanbase opinion that we should just slightly modify the Giant Killer Pro Kombat unis from last year, also come up with a road and most likely an orange top for a few combos and then get the look we want NOW. Instead Beaver Nation is always asked to wait 5 years at a time or when they do act they come up with the “sports bra.”

    I can basically 98% guarantee it won’t happen though because all our leaders ae stubborn as mules and afraid to make a mistake, even when there is overwhelming support they still refuse to budge. Even if 7-5 was a likely result to realistically hope for next year, we could sell out Reser with a well timed and well executed uniform change. The Angry Beaver has served its purpose and now is the natural time to take the next step if we don’t always want to be the “charming school from the NW that tries.” That Giant Killer look could give us more national fans and take our fanbase here to the next level. Put a big “OS” in the middle of the football field and basketball court. Keep it uncluttered and let the cool unis provide our main image..it is a good one. We will lessen the white stripes a little to the side of the main orange ones and make the block font on the jersey just a little smaller. The font used now at the end of the basketball courts or on the basketball unis can stay and won’t hurt. This will mostly just be about retiring the angry beaver and having a classic yet “Steeler tough” look for our football image which is our main product by far to make money from.
    The OS is not that bad if you don’t complicate it with everything else. We don’t want it on helmets though just in the middle of the field. I guarantee you that look could fill a 55K stadium as long as we were a consistent 8-4 team or better and only rarely were maybe 7-5 at worse. I know it is a look the players would rally behind and would probably get them more into the image they are playing their hearts out for. The Steelers have alot of success because the community has rallied behind the image. Ours will also include some nods to Iowa, Auburn and maybe Alabama. Strong looks where you know tough football is played. Why doesn’t Decarolis conduct a poll and find out if support is 80% or so? Because he is completely stuck in his ways and doesn’t listen to the fans enough..just does whatever his idea of the university is even if it could soon mire the program in years of mediocre at best results. These kind of leaders that are so resistant to any ideas or change are pretty scary when the fanbase knows what they want but just can’t get it delivered to them.

    • helmsley says:
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      “charming school from the NW that tries.” That’s terrific – and from now on when anyone asks why it is that I’m an Oregon State fan, I’ll use that to explain. Not that I think it’s all that charming, but what else can one say? BTW, I don’t understand the delay in selecting a rb coach. There are too many good choices or none at all?

    • osbeavs says:
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      I don’t think a new “look” will increase attendance by 10,000 fans. Winning will increase fans. Ducks wear puke yellow and they still get fans, its because they win. Not a bad suggestion, btw Hatfield’s father is the one who coined the “Steeler tough” phrase in regards to OSU. He is our lead designer of gear, he has said that Bobby D consistently resists him because he is afraid Nike will run away with the program. I honestly don’t know if that would be the worst thing in the world, if we appease them, we will get more money.

  • angry angry says:
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    Riley fired someone from the current staff. There are two open positions now…RB and whoever the fired coach is.

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