Random Thoughts: It all starts....

Nobody knew a thing, but now the word has come out that 3 of the 5 starting Offensive Linemen for the Northwestern Wildcats were nursing injuries. Coach Roy wonders what might have been...

nbsp;br>
It all starts on the Offensive Line...
during the PSU Game Chat, two big questions were how Penn State could so effectively shut down the NU running game and why didn't we throw long?

The answer may have come out Sunday morning with the news that three O-Line starters, Zach Strief, Dylan Thiry and Austin Matthews, had all missed some practice during the previous week due to injuries.

Strief had shoulder problems, and a contusion on his ribs, Thiry has a shoulder injury and Austin Matthews, the center, had back spasms all week.

You don't want to make excuses but you can't have two tackles playing with shoulder problems, a first year center who is still learning, and not have problems containing a very good defense. Strief and Thiry are usually backed up by the often injured Vince Clarke.

Penn State took advantage of that slight fall off in the level of play to keep Brett Basanez off balance, and to effectively shut down Tyrell Sutton on several key Red Zone rushes.

Lets face it, NU is not knee deep in linemen, and its now pretty obvious that even a small fall off in performance can put the NU offense off its game.

Those who blamed the NU coaches for not throwing long should now stop and remember just how much time Baz had back there as the Penn State front 7 swarmed around. It seemed to this observer that too often, Baz was running to avoid a sack when he could have thrown long.

In any case, the Cats have a true 2 deep on the O-Line for the first time in modern memory. The time the backups got in playing Saturday can only help us build for the future, but I have to wonder how many more scores we'd have put up with the barely injured O-Line that started the first game of the season.
-- da Coach

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