A Long Day for the Offensive Line

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This happened far too many times on Saturday.
This happened far too many times on Saturday.

I was hoping I’d be writing about how the Hokies defense squared away their “spill” and “hammer” calls to beat Pitt’s jumbo sets en route to winning the game.

No dice.

Instead, I’m writing about the worst bit of pass protection we’ve seen since Sean Glennon spent a few years here as a tackling dummy. There’s no “one way” to teach pass blocking technique and run the schemes. I don’t know the details of how Stacy Searels teaches his guys, but there are some universal truths to the role and plenty we can infer. Most of the problems came when the Hokies attempted to create a pocket for Motley by blocking man-to-man. This type of blocking is often called “big-on-big” because it tasks the offensive line with blocking the defensive linemen, and the running backs with picking up blitzers coming from the second level. Giving Motley a pocket should let him have more time for finding deep routes to hit and gaps to run through if he sees an opportunity. Unfortunately, his line didn’t have the physical skills or the mental focus needed to protect him.

Jonathan McLaughlin spent much of the game having his physical deficits exposed. This isn’t his fault, to a degree – he isn’t an ideal blind-side tackle, and is probably better suited for the right side. He doesn’t have the nimble feet needed to keep up with hell-bent defensive ends. An ideal blind-side OT should be able to

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