Unclear after spring if Arkansas’ offensive line is actually going to be better in 2018
Question of the Day: Wednesday, April 11, 2018
No question about football personnel is harder to answer than a question related to the offensive line. Even analysts, guys who have played football, if they didn’t play on the offensive line, they don’t have a complete understanding of it. Some of it is our tendency as viewers to watch the ball when a play is in action. A bit of it is our complete lack of familiarity of it.
Think about it. How many of us played offensive line? Quarterback we get. Running back. Wide reciever. Linebacker. Secondary. Even defensive line. Offensive line is a strange blend of technique and physicality most of us never lived through, not even at recess in middle school.
The proof, for the most part, is in the pudding. A large part of an offensive line’s success, to novices, comes from the success of others. For example, if the running game racked up 200 yards on the ground, it was probably a good run-blocking day. If the quarterback was only hit twice in 30 drop backs, it was probably pretty decent pass-blocking day.
The problem with answering that question right now is none of those statistical figures hold water. Quarterbacks are in black or green jerseys, signaling they can’t be hit. Sacks can’t be tallied. Not even hurries can, thanks to the coaches’ desire to whistle the play dead and avoid injury to the most important position on a football roster. It’s all understandable.
Things like that are the reason positional analysis of any unit in the spring is hard to come by to the untrained eye. A couple years ago everyone thought the Arkansas defensive line was going to be beastly. It wasn’t. Some thought the Arkansas offensive line was going to be one of the better in the SEC. It wasn’t. Friendly competition provides just that, friendly competition. Coaches can glean more from spring practices and spring games than the casual viewers can.
Still, it’s hard to imagine Arkansas’ offensive line in 2018 being any worse. So that’s something. Even with the loss of Frank Ragnow, an All-American at center, the unit should be improved.
If they’re 109th in the nation in sacks allowed again, the first year of the Chad Morris era will be termed as a disappointment.