The Kentucky offensive line has been criticized by many fans, but not by their position coach. John Schlarman lamented UK’s failed operation on the offensive line at Southern Miss. This week he believes they took steps forward.
“In the run game that definitely got accomplished,” Schlarman said. “We didn’t have guys going the wrong way. We didn’t have four guys doing one thing, and one guy doing another. In the run game we were much more together as a unit, all five guys working the same direction. I do feel like that was a good step in the right direction coming off last week.”
As injuries forced the line to rotate excessively, they failed to maintain any type of continuity a week ago. Today that improved, but it took some time.
“I think that we’re a cohesive unit all together,” center Nick Haynes said. “We just need to find those five guys to start the game off and get things rolling because I think that we’re struggling a little bit at how we start.”
Even if you don’t believe them, the proof is in the numbers. Kentucky improved from just 78 rushing yards a week ago, to 207 today. Where they did take a step back was in pass protection. They surrendered three sacks, two of which fall directly on their shoulders.
“They got us with some twists, especially on third downs,” Schlarman said. “We gotta clean that up.”
Still, at the end of the day Schlarman sees progress from a unit that’s still trying to find the right recipe for success.
“I thought they played better. Did they make the amount of gain and improvement that you want? That probably is not the case, but I do feel like they played better. I know they battled. I had guys that were battling through some pain and that were able to go back in there and win the game at the end in the fourth quarter.”