The offensive line is a work in progress
Heading into 2017, the offensive line had to replace both tackles, but the rest of the unit had played and played several meaningful snaps. Coming back you had Erik McCoy, Colton Prater, Keaton Sutherland and Koda Martin.
On paper, the staff listed Martin or Prater at left tackle, McCoy at left guard, Prater or Ryan McCollum at center, Connor Lanfear at right guard and Sutherland at right tackle. What stood out to me is Prater was listed at the two most critical positions on the line. How in the world can you prepare to be the left tackle and center at the same time? I’ve been around football for a long time and that’s just a bit odd.
All the changes through the spring, fall camp and now into seven games is probably the main reason the offensive line has struggled so much. I get working the guys out at different positions, but at some point someone has to make a decision. Is he a tackle? Oh wait, maybe he can play center. Come on! Either we have an evaluation problem during recruiting or Jim Turner gets too much credit for being a great line coach.
During the bye week something needs to change because the line play has not progressed in a positive way so far. The holes in the run game are not there and the pass protection has been just okay. If this team wants to get to nine or 10 wins they will need the line to play better. Having a quarterback that can use his legs has helped, but when we need to win a game throwing the ball, will the boys up front be able to hold up? Only time will tell. Let’s hope Sumlin, Mazzone and Turner get this figured out.