(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Let's all be honest here, who here thinks the offensive line played at a respectable level last season? Raise your hands. You back there, you're lying. Now that we got out of the way, let's look at the facts. University of Tennessee transfer QB Nick Lamaison started 9 games last season for the Miners and threw for a little less than 2,000 yards to go along with 12 TDs and 10 INTs. That stat line is certainly mediocre, especially in lowly Conference USA, but the eye test would tell you that Lamaison was constantly running for his life. Now when a QB is doing that, the stat lines are going to look awfully ugly. Now let's dig deeper as to why that happened.
Click further, please.
Lamaison had a 58 percent completion percentage. Respectable. QB rating? 131.2. Respectable. Sacked 19 times in 9 games (8, really, since he only threw 2 passes against East Carolina before being knocked out of the game). Respectable? No. Sorry. He was sacked 11 times in the 2nd half compared to 8 in the 1st half. He was sacked 9 times on 1st down alone, how in the world do you expect to put a good drive together when you've dug yourself in a hole on your first play? You can't win like that. Especially the Miners.
Truth is, in order for Lamaison to reach his full potential as a QB, and he has a ton of potential in that 6'1, 210 pound frame, the offensive line desperately needs to keep him standing and in the pocket for him to find the open receivers down the field.
Former offensive line coach Bob Connelly left after this season to do the same job at Arizona State, Mike Price hired former Miner great Brian Natkin to coach the line. So whatever Connelly couldn't do to get the o-line going, hopefully Natkin can.
Brander Craighead, James Nelson, Eloy Atkinson, Mike Amdall, James Martin, i'm looking at you, probably in disgust, keep your QB standing and give him the time to make plays. He's good, really good. Let him shine. And that starts with you giving him the time he needs.