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Player (Unit?) to Watch: The Offensive Line

The line has been up and down all year, they need to step up Saturday.

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

The offensive came into the season as the biggest question mark, after the first game it was a concern. Iowa State got dominated up front on pass blocking and run blocking by Iowa. If the offense was going to compete in the Big 12, the line needed to step up and allow things to happen.

After the Iowa game, they did. They haven’t been perfect by any means, but they have been good enough. After looking confused in the first game, they have learned how to play as a unit. That was until last week.

Against Texas, everything the line had done well was not there. There were missed assignments, bad penalties, and no push up front. This was the main reason that offense couldn’t move the ball at all against Texas. Brock Purdy had almost no time to do his thing. Receivers couldn’t get down field before Purdy was under pressure. Running backs had no holes to run through.

It was a problem that is hopefully fixable. The unit has had several good games, like against West Virginia and Oklahoma State. So, the upside is certainly there. Hopefully the horrific performance against Texas was just a fluke, I’m sure that Matt Campbell and Jeff Myers are trying their best in practice to make sure that’s true.

I am not an expert on the offensive line, so I don’t know what they specifically have to do to improve their effort. But like all sports, a huge component to a unit is playing like a unit. That includes a lot of communication, and it starts with Brock Purdy. If Purdy can improve in pre-snap, that will only help give the line an advantage they need.

David Montgomery being David Montgomery also helps. When he can break a lot of tackles in the backfield, the defense has to respect him a whole lot more. Once their is more focus on Montgomery, it gives Purdy more freedom to do Purdy-like things. When Purdy and Montgomery are complimenting each other at a high level, it keeps the defense on their heels. The defense being on their heels and not always being ready is a big advantage for the whole line which is exactly what they need.

I’m not sure if everything I stated before will happen on Saturday. But, I am certain of one thing: the line will compete the entire game. Matt Campbell doesn’t get too high or too low on a game-by-game basis and that reflects his team. They won’t let a bad performance shape the rest of their season.

If they can perform well on Saturday against K-State, Iowa State should be able to move the ball at ease against a defense that has struggled a little bit this season, even if K-State has come on strong as of late. Looking at stats alone, K-State looks like a really good defense, but they haven’t looked anything like we are used to in the Snyder era. They have struggled against some of the top offenses in the conference, and when Iowa State is clicking on all cylinders, they are one of the top offenses in the conference.

Prediction: There isn’t really any stat that can judge an offensive line’s performance, but I think that they will look a lot better than last Saturday and the score will reflect that.