StorrsCentral - Breaking Down the Offensive Line: Week 6 - Cincinnati
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Breaking Down the Offensive Line: Week 6 - Cincinnati

The UConn Huskies came out victorious against the Cincinnati Bearcats this week to bring themselves back to an even 3-3 (1-2 AAC) following a solid team performance.

The offensive line had its most complete and consistent performance of the season so far, which helped the Huskies dominate the ground game and create plenty of offense.

Here's a closer look at the offensive line's performance Saturday.


Pass Protection:

The offensive line's performance in the passing game was great against Cincinnati. Shirreffs had the most time in the pocket that he has had all season and it showed in the production of the offense. Shirreffs was not only able to put together some longer throws and throw with a bit more accuracy, but he was also able to scramble more effectively as he had enough time to make that decision instead of being forced to take off.

Across the board, the linemen held their blocks and also showed a significant improvement with picking up twists and pressures by the Bearcat defense.

While there was great improvement this week by the Husky offensive line, there are still things to clean up.

Not all of the scrambles by Shirreffs were his choice, as he was occasionally flushed out earlier than they would have liked on a few plays. All in all, though, this was the offensive line's best showing in the pass game this season with a much more consistent level of protection. Hopefully, this game will turn into the new baseline for the Huskies protection standards as the season progresses.


Run Blocking:

While the Huskies performed great in the passing game up front, they also had a strong showing in the ground game against the Bearcats. It did not really get started until the second quarter, partially due to a first quarter suspension of Arkeel Newsome, but it finished strong.

We saw plenty of success coming from inside zone schemes as well as the gap power run plays. The Huskies were able to blow open some solid holes when pulling a blocker around to lead through the point of attack. This led to Arkeel Newsome breaking a long 67-yard run for the Huskies' longest play from scrimmage this season.

The Huskies had a great day moving the ball on the ground for the entire game, barring the last drive where Cincinnati was keying on the run as UConn was attempting to burn some time off the clock. This newfound success is in part due to the spreading out of the offense, which allows the O-line to deal with a much lighter and more manageable box in turn. This lighter box really allowed the lineman to show how well they can perform in their individual matchups. If this offense continues to spread it out, I can see the offensive line opening up plenty of running room for UConn's backs to maneuver.


***

Overall this game was a great team win by the Huskies with huge plays being made by both the offense and defense. This was the highest level of consistency and execution we have seen by the offensive line and, not coincidentally, the offense in general. Hopefully, this game will become the benchmark for performance by this Huskies team and we see further improvement across the season.