March 16, 2008

2007 Unit Ranking #2: OL

Duck Sports Authority continues its Spring Camp preparation with a final evaluation and ranking of the 2007 position units. Coming in at #2 in the unit rankings is Offensive Line.

Season Unit Analysis: Offensive Line Line appeared to be the most stable of the offensive positions heading into the 2007 season. Three starters returned plus five other players with substantial game experience. As far as the public was concerned, this was a healthy group though behind closed doors the unit was nursing wounds all year just to suit up for practice.

Summary Opinion: B+ The offensive line lived up to its expectations and probably then some. The unit proved to be deep and flexible and consistently provided good run blocking and competent pass protection. The group would have gotten a grade in the 'A' range had their performances against Houston and UCLA been stronger.

Key Players:

Max Unger JR - 13 2007 starts, 38 career starts, 38 career games played. Not a lot to say other than this guy could have started at any of the five positions.

Geoff Schwartz SR - 13 2007 starts, 36 career starts, 41 career games played. Locked down the right side all year long. Schwartz was the second leading rusher amongst offensive linemen with three yards on one carry.

Josh Tschirgi - SR - 10 2007 starts, 32 career starts, 35 career games played. Lots of great play by Tschirgi over the years.

Mark Lewis - JR - 13 2007 starts, 13 career starts, 22 career games played. Stayed healthy and played strong at guard.

Fenuki Tupou - JR - 12 2007 starts, 12 career starts, 13 career games played. Very solid in his first year of eligibility.

Pat So'oalo - SR - 3 2007 starts, 3 career starts, 22 career games played. Closed out his career adding nicely to the depth of the unit, plus averaged over 0.5 yards per game rushing.

Jacob Hucko - JR- 1 2007 start, 2 career starts, 21 career games played. Can be a better player than shown last year.

Jon Teague- JR - 2 career starts, 20 career games played. Had the experience to help with unit depth.

Jordan Holmes - RFR - 8 2007 games played. Enormous upside for Holmes along with his classmates Kaiser and Thran.

Jeff Kendall - JR - 8 2007 games played, 16 career games played. Has had a tough time getting snaps between injuries and playing behind Unger.

Key Statistics: These are interesting numbers relevant to the offensive line. One thing that skews them for 2007 was that a high proportion of the tfl/against came in the final three regular season games.

2007 sacks/play allowed: 0.022
2007 tfl/play allowed: 0.086
2007 yards per carry: 5.3
2006 sacks/play allowed: 0.017
2006 tfl/play allowed: 0.062
2006 yards per carry: 5.0
2005 sacks/play allowed: 0.023
2005 tfl/play allowed: 0.079
2005 yards per carry: 3.8

Season Improvement Rating: Steady (+0.00) As mentioned above, this unit had two sub-par performance and eleven good ones, including seven games in the 'A' range and four in the 'B'. Though the opener was one of their poorer games, they otherwise played throughout the season at a steady and high level as would be hoped for out of a veteran group.

Best 2007 Game: Washington The offensive line was an absolute wrecking crew in the Ducks' 55-34 win at Montlake. The Oregon offense was able to average 7.5 ypc on the afternoon, and the big uglies gave up only one sack for the game. For pretty much all four quarters, the Huskies didn't even touch the Oregon ball carriers until three yards past the line of scrimmage. This was one of the most dominating offensive line performances in years.

Unit MVP: Geoff Schwartz Two players were finalists with Max Unger being the other. Schwartz gets the nod because of two things: Seniority and the fact he played through serious back pain the entire season. You wouldn't know Schwartz was injured by watching him last season and his showing in front of NFL scouts illustrates he is either healed or simply able to play with pain. Schwartz is one of the 2007 Ducks who will find a spot on an NFL roster because he has the frame, athletic ability and smarts to play at the next level.

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