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Rice Breakdown: Offensive Line

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Let's get right into it, as everyone's wondering what in the hell happened with all those penalties on Saturday night.

Offensive Line I haven't had time to review the tape as much as I'd like, but I'm not terribly worried about the mass of penalties against Rice. Why? Because sometimes it's good to have inevitable "mistake games" against crappy opponents. I just looked up crappy in the dictionary, and, yes, Rice is right there next to the WB Television Network.

It was a painful performance to watch, yes, but better now than in a game where it could kill us. No doubt the offensive line is getting worked over damn hard this week in practice. Between all the holds and false starts, it saved Rice about 20 points of further embarrassment.

Aside from that, the line dominated the Owls at the line of scrimmage. EOB isn't convinced that this line can get tough yards when the defense knows what's coming. Well, maybe, but I'd submit that Rice knew exactly what was coming all game long. They watched the same defeat to Ohio State that we did; I'm quite certain that they knew a heavy dose of rushing the football was on the way.

The key, though, is development from McCoy on the zone-read, as that's what really allows the line to be effective. If the defense can key in on the handoff, the line's reads are meaningless. As McCoy keeps more - and he started to - you'll see even better rushing across the board.

It was interesting to see all the backup linemen trot out there in the second half, to mixed results. We even saw J'Marcus Webb out there - all 6-7, 285 pounds of him. He's gonna be fun to watch develop.


J'Marcus Webb: The biggest man I've met in person.

All told, the line had such a huge advantage that we can't really give them too much love for doing what they were supposed to do. And we do have to ding them for holding and flinching all night long. Rice's defensive line did a good job yelling and sliding around before the snap, but that's not much of an excuse. Fortunately, it is an excuse to get focused and improve this week. For Saturday, the unit gets a B-.

--PB--