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It All Starts Up Front

Before I get to the meat of the post, let me take a brief moment to introduce myself.  I am a new writer here at FTRS, but I've been reading this site for quite some time, and I've been a Tech fan since birth, like my father before me.  I also cover the ACC for Sparty and Friends, and some of you may already follow me on twitter.  I'm a big fan of what Winfield and Bird have going on here, and I look forward to contributing whatever I can, whenever I can.  Now, with introductions out of the way, on to the football, after the jump.

I'm a huge believer in the philosophy that being successful on both offense and defense starts with solid play along the line.  For some concrete examples of this on offense, look no further than last year's game against Virginia Tech, and contrast that with the Orange Bowl effort against Iowa.  It doesn't matter what your offensive scheme is if you get whipped up front.  There are no holes through which to run, or no time in which to throw.  For a (painful) defensive example, you need look no further than the final game of the 2009 regular season.  If you get whipped up front on defense, you're not going to stop anyone from doing anything.

What does this have to do with this week's game against Kansas?  I'm glad you asked.  As I'm sure you're aware, Kansas didn't fare so well last week against North Dakota State.  The feeble offensive output of three points has been blamed on everyone from the Kansas QBs, to RB Angus Quigley (15 yards on 7 carries), to TEs and WRs.  Where the blame should start is the play of the offensive line.  Three starters from last year's Jayhawk OL started last week, and Jeremiah Hatch is slated to return this week.  Offensive line was expected to be a strength for Kansas this year, but last week's result (96 yds rushing, 197 passing, 3 points) tells another story.

Why am I talking about the Kansas OL so much?  Well, last week, the Jackets and the new 3-4 scheme gave up 178 rushing yards to South Carolina State.  Is this a problem?  Not necessarily, given that the SC State OL isn't your typical I-AA OL, and size up front for the Jackets could be an issue for a year or so.  This could (and should) be the week that Al Groh's defense gets a chance to flex its muscle, and showcase some of the perimeter speed we've all been hearing about since spring camp.  Of course, for that to happen, Logan Walls and Ben Anderson need to do their job and eat up two offensive linemen, which allows Robert Hall, Jason Peters, and the LB corps to run free and wreak havoc in the backfield.  My money's on the Jackets defense having a better outing this week, but I don't think we're going to learn a heck of a lot from this trip to Lawrence.  Next week though, we're all gonna find out just what these 2010 Jackets are made of.