Shorter Rotation Key To Success Of Bearcats Offensive Line

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

For most of the first five games of the season the Bearcats played at least 8 offensive linemen, and sometimes more. Against Temple that rotation was shortened early in the game and the offense was better for it.

On the Bearcats opening series of the game they went 79 yards in 10 plays, with Tion Green covering the final 24 on the Bearcats longest rush since the Northwestern State game. That was easily the Bearcats best opening drive to date, and the TD was the first in the first quarter to come against an FBS team since last November. The drive was a sign of things to come as the Bearcats put TD's on the board in four of their next six possessions to take back control of the game for good.

Two things stood out to me, and probably to most of you guys as well. One was the play of Tion Green who looks primed to have a monster second half of the season. He picked up 91 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns, all career highs. Tion has always been the future of the position, it was just a matter of when the future arrived. It might have last night.

As good as Tion was he had the benefit of running behind an offensive line that looked as sharp and cohesive early on as it has at any point this season. Deyshawn Bond rebounded after a rough couple of games,including the USF game that saw him be replaced by Sam Longo, and played his best football to date. But it wasn't just Bond who played better, it was the entire line.

One possible explanation is that the rotation was noticeably shortened last night. Instead of the usual eight or even nine man rotation the Bearcats played (by my count) six during the first half. Eric Lefeld, Austen Bujnoch, Bond, Longo/ Andre Cureton, and Parker Ehringer. It can be difficult to find consistency up front with such a big rotation, and shortening it proved beneficial.

Another theory is that the Bearcats were in one back sets more compared to the first four and a half games. Eddie Gran went to a lot of ace sets against USF to get the Cats back into the game, and he continued that trend against Temple. I will have to take a look at the the data to see if there is anything in it. To the naked eye it seems that UC struggles to run out of two back sets and is more effective in Ace.

While the Bearcats weren't perfect last night. They showed more consistency than they had against Miami and South Florida. There is work to do, but the Bearcats seem more capable of finding consistency and an identity on the offensive side of the ball than they did in either the Miami or South Florida games.

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