Timothy J. Gonzalez

Trench Report: Idaho State

The Trench Report gives an overview of the offensive line play during the most recent game.  The top performer gets the Golden Sled, a fictitious award that I give with impunity. This award goes to the lineman who scores the best on my grading system.

Because I have no idea what they are taught or what the goals of each play are, I grade based on what they did and the result. Each player can get a between a 1-4 grade

1 - Huge play block.  

This block led to a score directly or a game-changing play for the good guys. Scores of 1 are rare, but if they are not rare, then you are winning championships.

2 - Mission accomplished.

This block was solid, the block-ee was not part of the play, and the technique looked solid. This is a winning-level score. If a lineman averages close to, or better than 2, then they dominated.

3 - Mission Barely Accomplished.  

The play was OK, but the block didn’t help, or in some cases, may have hurt the play — or not even been a block. The closer to 3 that a line averages, the less likely it was to have a good day.

4 - Fail.

This led to a terrible turn of events, killed a drive, led to points, or ended in a penalty. Averages around 4 will most likely lead to losses.


Players should be aiming for below a 2.25 grade. That is a consistently high grade that tends to avoid terrible plays (4s). Because I don’t give individual grades for technique, start, and finish, this is just a general feel of each play. If I knew what play was called and what the goal of each position was, I would do the more accurate 3-part grade.

Team Goals:

2 > : A

2.01 - 2.25: B

2.26 - 2.5: C

2.51 - 3.0: D

3.01 < : F

Season Totals

Minnesota: 2.72 (D)

Idaho State: 2.73 (D)

Idaho State Bengals

Week 2 - Saturday, September 17, 2016

Final: 37-7 (W)

Total Line Grade: 2.72 (D)

Golden Sled Award Winner:

Dustin Stanton: 2.63

Dustin was easily the winner this week among players who participated in more than 10 plays.  He only had one 3.5, was the only player without a 4, and really was steady all game. He had a 2 on a really good block on a touchdown in the fifth drive. The negatives to Dustin’s game were that he still gave up a lot of ground on pass protection and got beat a few times on inside moves. In the run game, he definitely excelled and is one of our better run blockers.  

Best Play Award Winner:


During the fourth drive of the game, there was a play that really showed championship-level blocking. Every player got a 2 on it. It was an 11-yard run by Ryan Nall, but the push by Yanni and Fred really blew the guy off the ball five or six yards deep, and Gavin, Dustin, and Blake all had great paths, driving their guys back and in Gavin’s case, getting a key block in the second level. It was a solid team effort and kind of what I expected all game. They had it in them, they just couldn’t consistently get it together.


I have no real insight that wasn’t obvious. The line didn’t do well. It wasn’t universal, but rather bits and pieces. There were lots of plays where one guy blocked no one in space while the player they should have blocked made the play. There also was a very high number of blocks where they didn’t finish, and the defender got in on the tackle. What made this especially tough for me, was that the backs did a good job (with the exception of the direct stamps to Collins) of making the right reads and going where the hole should have been.

One play in particular stood out to me as the epitome for the line this season. On the fifth play of the first drive, we had a 2nd-and-goal. Yanni, Fred, and Dustin all get huge blocks and drove their guys. Unfortunately, Gavin missed his and the guy filled the hole. Nall had to cut off of him and Brandel’s guy made the play. Gavin got a 4 on that play because had he made the block it was a TD for the Beavers. Brandel got a 3 because while he had a solid start to his block, he lost his guy, and the guy made a play. We had to settle for a field goal on that drive, when the play was blocked well enough by four of the five guys to get a TD. I am not trying to get on Gavin’s case because he had some pancakes this game and did decent, but it was a case of one guy failing that ruined a good effort by the other four.

When we talk about consistency and gelling as a line, this is what it is. Guys will make mistakes, it happens. But when you are in the redz one and need to get points, you need to be able to make the plays. This was Idaho State. We will not play a defensive front seven we physically overmatch this much again.  This should have been a 2.25 - 2.5 team effort.  We should have had some 1s and a whole mess of 2s. Instead, we had plays that were close,but one or two mistakes ruined the whole thing. We need a lot more work heading into BSU.  And I am not sure if you saw what Colorado’s defense did to Michigan, but they were able to get a lot of penetration on them, It doesn’t get easier, and I honestly expected more. The win is nice, but this unit needed some style points and I don’t think they got those.

Side Note: if Ricky Ortiz had been part of the line, their grade would have improved to about a 2.5.  He had probably three 1s in my mind on blocks, and a whole mess of 2s. While Villamin’s block on Bolden’s fly sweep looked like the key block, Ortiz blew up a linebacker coming off the edge that might have slowed the play down or made the play. He was a HUGE asset in blocking. Someone should buy him dinner.

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