Simplification Helps WVU Offensive Line In Late Season Surge

Simplification Helps WVU Offensive Line In Late Season Surge


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s offensive line play has improved by several steps over the last three games, at at least some of that may be attributable to some simplification in assignments.

“I think we went back to the basics of things with our points with Matt (Jones),” offesnive coordinator JAke Spavital said of West Virginia’s primary center. “Be confident, make one point and we’ll play off the rest where Will (Grier) has a pretty good understanding of his hot reads. I think that has helped us from a protection standpoint.”

West Virginia offensive lineman Matt Jones (79) and Josh Sills (right) share pre-snap information

Details of those changes weren’t revealed, but the hows and whys aren’t the most important point. What matters is that WVU hasn’t had the breakdowns in protection that it suffered earlier in the year, and along with that has come an improvement in run blocking.

“There are times where Matt had to think to get us in the right blocking scheme or going the right way. Now it’s simplified so that he just has to make a call and we all go,” said guard Josh Sills, who went through his own adjustment period a year ago. “I think it has slowed down for him. When you have to think, it slows you down because you have to get to the right person, get to the right spot, block the right guy.”

WVU has seen success with the modifications against Baylor, Texas and TCU, but now comes another step up the challenge ladder. Oklahoma State brings as many, or more, twists, stunts and games as anyone in the league, all designed to confuse blocking assignments and give defenders free runs at the quarterback. In some ways, it’s a battle of the base vs. the exotic, and it will show just how far the Mountaineer offensive line has come.

“We’re going up against a very good Oklahoma State team that will catch you off guard with some blitzes. They’ll do some things that are uncharacteristic that you don’t see very often, and they’ll get you,” Spavital cautioned. “That’s why they’re one of the top teams in the country in sacks right now. So, we do have a tough challenge with that moving forward, but I think with the success of protecting how they have over the past couple weeks has been simplifying it up front, and Will’s been doing a really good job with understanding his hot reads.”

Sills emphasizes the importance of not having too much to analyze and think about.

“When it’s simplified you don’t have to think you get there faster. From a mental standpoint you know that’s taken off of you and you can play faster. I would say we have more confidence, but if you quit working you get complacent, and you see what happens when you get complacent.”

There are still in-game, and in-play, adjustments that need to be made. WVU, or any team, can’t be so simplified in its blocking schemes that it doesn’t have to account for rushers coming from different levels or angles. Communication remains important.

“They’ll try to confuse you and bring blitzes and move people around,” Sills concluded. “We all believe in Coach Spav and Coach (Joe) Wickline that they will get us in the right plays and right protections for us to be successful.”

Home forums Simplification Helps WVU Offensive Line In Late Season Surge

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  • #74609
    Kevin Kinder
    Kevin Kinder
    Muskets: 8,975

    Simplification Helps WVU Offensive Line In Late Season Surge MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s offensive line play has improved by several steps ov
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    #74798
    Txeer80
    Txeer80
    Muskets: 21,300
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    Maybe they should simplify how to block the opponents defensive line…..

    #74817
    Butlereer
    Butlereer
    Muskets: 101,825
    Rank: Heisman Winner

    OL blocking has improved. Somehow these guys have seemed to pull it together. Maybe a little bit because the game plan has changed. Quicker pass plays and some quick hitters over the middle with the use of the new found TE’s. Could have used a little more of this on Sat.

    What we need more of is a different D scheme. Whatever Gibby is doing isn’t working with some of the better teams in the league. Strongest and Deepest DL that we’ve had in 20 years and we just don’t seem to be able to get it done up front. Thinnest LB corp that we’ve had in 20 years and we still depend on these guys to plug the gaps. Moving CB’s to S’s. S’s to LB’s and our size in the secondary is very small. You would think that we would use our strength to an advantage…….. but we don’t.

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