Trench Report: Washington

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 that scores the best on my grading system.

Washington Huskies

Week 7 - Saturday, October 22, 2016

Final: 41 - 17 (L)

Total Line Grade: (D)

Golden Sled Award Winner:

Gavin Andrews: 2.64

Even without the scores I could tell you that Gavin had the best game. He had a huge task being covered almost all night long and had to deal with a very talented defensive front.  Gavin did a pretty good job working double teams and getting to the second level at times.  His best play was a huge pancake block on one of Tim Cook’s runs in the second half.  He drove the defender, giving Tim a great seam to run up and then finished his block by putting the Husky on his back.

Best Play Award Winner:

Whole Line

The best play was easy, and it was the one alluded to in Gavin’s Golden Sled Award paragraph.  On the fourth play of the seventh drive, not only did Gavin blow up his guy, but Harlow did a great job on his combo block, getting to the linebacker and staying on him.  Stanton also worked his way to the second level and really got a complete block on his defender.  

It was exactly how you draw it up and Cook ended up getting his second of three straight first down runs.


Another week, another D.  Washington had their second and third string in most of the second half and the Beavers took advantage of it.  The reality is that Washington is the best defense we will play all year. They are also very well coached. Much of the misdirection of our offense was ineffective against them. We would have players block out to try and draw them away from the real goal of the play only to see their defenders abandon the ruse and crash down on the ball carrier. There were very few one on one battles to win, and often even our double teams were unable to move their tackles.  In the first half, the tandem of Lavaka/Lauina and Harlow really had a lot of difficulty with future first rounder Greg Gains.  

Right now, OSU is really trying to build, and the line is playing their guts out.  The problem is they are playing in a game stacked against them. OSU is being outscored 90 - 23 in the first half of their Pac-12 season.  The last two games they have scored 0 first half points.  That is something that has to change and in my mind it starts with play calling and our offensive line. Our scheme cannot be all about misdirection because any time you fail, you become more obvious and then it is talent on talent.  

There was one play where UW rushed 4, and OSU had 5 linemen and one running back defending.  The line call or protection scheme ended up with 2 double teams, a one on one by the offside tackle and our running back going one on one with the defensive end. Our running back got blown up and the play was over before it could start. There is no reason, when you are facing a four man rush, that you should be leaving a player to the running back.  That is a mismatch we will lose most downs.

We have a long way to go, but that doesn’t discount the good they did or the effort. It is just not easy to consistently move the ball when you are giving up so much in the talent department.  Especially when your talented foe is also very well coached.

This week we have a better match up against WSU and I expect our grade to improve, but our line is putting the work in and giving their all and fortunately, not every team is a UW.  The road will get easier from here on out and some of these teams are going to be dealing with a talent deficit with semi truck sized heart. Those games will look a lot different.

(Here is the breakdown of grade): Because I have no idea what they are taught or what the goals of each play are, I base my grades on what they did and the result.  Each player can get between a 1 - 4 grade:

1 - Huge play block.  
This block led directly to a score or a game-changing play. With that in mind, 1s are rare, but if they weren’t rare, then you would be winning championships, year in and out.

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

3. Mission Barely Accomplished.  
This play was OK, but this block didn’t help, or in some cases, may have hurt the play — or not even been a block.  The closer to 3 a line averages, the less likely they had good game.

4. Fail.
This play led to a terrible turn of events: killed a drive, led to opponent points, or resulted 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 or start and finish, this is just a general feeling about each play. If I knew what play was called and what the goal of each position was, I would do a more accurate three-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 -)

Boise State: Coming Soon

Colorado: 2.69 (D +)

California: 2.46 (C )

Utah: 2.67 (D+ )

Washington: 2.77 (D-)

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