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Friday, September 17, 2021

Football

UH football 2020 season grades: Offensive Line


UH football center Braylon Jones gets ready to snap the ball in the Cougars' matchup against BYU. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH football center Braylon Jones gets ready to snap the ball in the Cougars’ matchup against BYU. | Courtesy of UH athletics

It is time to look back at the Houston offensive line’s 2020 season to wrap up the offensive portion of UH football’s position grades.

Here is a closer look into how the big men up front performed for the Cougars in 2020:

Shuffling bodies

The UH offensive line struggled to stay healthy in 2020, resulting in 13 different offensive lineman playing in at least one game on the season.

One of the biggest blows the Cougars suffered was losing starting left tackle Patrick Paul, a redshirt freshman who head coach Dana Holgorsen is high on, only two games into the season.

Senior Kennan Murphy and sophomore Max Banes were the only two Cougars linemen to play in each of UH’s eight games.

Senior Braylon Jones and sophomore Reuben Unije both played in seven games while seniors Dennis Bardwell and Gio Pancotii, along with sophomore Jack Freeman, each appeared in six games on the season.

Trouble with the pass rush

In a shortened season in which UH played only eight games, the Cougars offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Clayton Tune, giving up 27 sacks for a total loss of 182 yards.

This caused a lot of problems for a UH offense that never really found a rhythm all season due to having to shuffle in new faces at multiple positions for a wide variety of reasons week after week.

The limited protection Tune had when dropping back to pass resulted in the Cougars having a low 39.13 percent third down conversion rate.

Success with run blocking

While the offensive line often lost the battle in the trenches when the Cougars passed the ball, they did a solid job with run blocking.

On the season, UH rushed for 12 touchdowns and averaged 152.3 total rushing yards per game and 4.2 yards per rushing attempt.

Too many penalties

UH struggled with penalties all season, averaging over seven penalties per game that led to 70.13 penalties yards per game.

A large amount of these penalties were on the offensive line, whether it be a false start or holding. As a result, many of the UH football offense’s drives stalled due to these mistakes upfront.

Performance grade

The offensive line had many problems in 2020, from struggling to give Tune enough time to throw the ball to making costly mistakes that moved the Cougars in the wrong direction.

While it was a rough year up front, the offensive line did show some promise with run blocking and should be something UH can build on for 2021.

Overall, this was a year to forget in terms of the offensive line’s performance, but then again the Cougars o-line had to deal with a boatload of injuries and never did have a consistent five take the field each week.

Overall Grade: C-

For more of The Cougar’s 2020 UH football offseason grades, click here

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