Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Schofield: liability (Notre Dame edition)

After the Alabama game, there was panic everywhere--mostly here--about Michael Schofield at right tackle. After two games against mediocre-to-terrible competition, it seemed like the offensive line was starting to gel a little more, but Schofield still seemed like a liability. Against Notre Dame, that was confirmed.

It's early in the first quarter on third and goal from the 15 yard line. Notre Dame has three down linemen shaded to the strongside of the field and are in a nickel package.

As the ball is snapped, Notre Dame rushes the four players on the line of scrimmage.

A moment later, the offensive line engages the rushers. It is a little hard to see here, but Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt gets his hands inside of Schofield (highlighted).

Now that Tuitt has leverage on Schofield, he will bull rush him and deposit him in Denard's lap...


... and Schofield can't even take a penalty to stop Tuitt from getting the sack, though he tries his best.

Down goes Denard with Schofield running behind his assignment.


The Takeaway
I'm already tired of watching Schofield staring down at Denard after a sack. You can make excuses for the level of competition--Tuitt already has six sacks this season--but Schofield's inability to hold up against top-level competition is a huge problem. On this play, he was matched up one-on-one with a defensive end who simply ran through him. If he doesn't possess the speed to pass protect against speed rushers and gets blown off the line against bull rushes, teams will continue to attack him throughout the season. This is going to be a major point of concern all year.


Asgardian said...

Great post. In the Borges vs Denard blamefest meltdown over at mgoblog, the O Line is not getting nearly enough attention for the pressure they gave up. Denard started out taking two sacks that knocked us back into Gibbons missed field goal range. Right or wrong, I can understand his reluctance to keep taking sacks the rest of the game and to try to make plays under pressure. Unfortunately those turned into INTs.

Chris Gaerig said...

The picks are still primarily a Denard problem, but yes, he isn't getting much time in the pocket. I've got a post queued up for tomorrow on the rollout that Denard threw a pick on. Schofield gets beaten once again. He'll be a huge liability all year.

lj point said...

Don't forget Barnum here. His guy blew him out too. He's the other weak link right now. If Schofield could move back to LG and we had anybody out there for RT, we'd be a vastly better OL. Our tackle recruiting has been weak until recently. Here's hoping that two (or three) of the Magnuson, Braden, Bars, Bosch, LTT or even Kalis crew can become OTs in the next 12 months. We were one injury away from an iffy OL this year (and Bryant went down) and two from disaster. I can't wait for us to have enough depth for an inury buffer

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