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Mid-Season Grades: Offensive Line

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This may be Iowa State’s biggest improvement yet.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State’s offensive line was talked about all summer long. How would they be able to block? Would the be able to spring David Montgomery? Will they be better than last year? Well, things didn’t start out so great, but now they are finally starting to turn the corner and this group is getting better with each game played.

What The Offensive Line Does Well

If there is one thing this offensive line has proved to be, it’s resilient. The offensive line played absolutely horrible against Iowa in their first game, never able to overcome the flaws the offensive line showed that day. They just simply looked lost. Since then, the offensive line continues to mesh into a strong group. Week by week, they’ve taken steps forward, gradually improving in both run and pass blocking. As Matt Campbell says often, in adversity comes hand-in-hand with playing college football, and how you respond to that adversity reveals what type of character you have on your football. So far, the offensive line has answered the call, and responded to the adversity with continued improvement and resilience.

Secondly, I think the offensive line has done a good job of protecting the pocket. As a team, Iowa State has only allowed 12 sacks, which may not be top-50 nationally, but considering what they weren’t able to do early on, this has to be chalked up as a win.

What The Offensive Line Needs To Improve

The primary area the line will still need to continue to improve in is run blocking. We saw important strides taken Saturday night against West Virginia, when the offensive line basically manhandled the Mountaineer front all night long. However, we shouldn’t forget that just a few weeks ago, Iowa State couldn’t produce a running lane large enough to get a Hot Wheels car through. The most important thing for the offensive line to focus on going forward is to continue to build with consistency and stick to their techniques, an area they’ve struggled in the past two seasons. Now, I think they finally have a lineup that works, and the emergence of Brock Purdy will help the line going forward, as he will be able to clean up a lot of mistakes that we still may see from this group.

Grade: B-

If you were to grade the overall season of the offensive line, a “B-” may be a bit strong, but I am going to base my grade on improvement and where I see them heading. The improvements are evident, and the potential is certainly there. With the addition of Collin Olson at guard and Julian Good-Jones back into a more natural fit at left tackle, this new arrangement allows them to play at their peak this season. The good news is that Iowa State will return all their starters currently at offensive line for 2019. This will allow them to build consistency and momentum for the next season and a half. If the offensive line continues with the steady improvement, they should finish the season no lower than a “B”