Inside the Gameplan: Looking at grad transfers and the OL

Derek Kerstetter (Will Gallagher/IT)

Derek Kerstetter (Will Gallagher/IT)

There’s probably no unit causing greater consternation amongst Texas fans for the 2018 season than the offensive line. The unit was absolutely dreadful in 2017 while relying regularly on a true freshman RT in Derek Kerstetter, a grievously undersized senior in Terell Cuney at RG or C depending on the week, and then a rotation of heavy-footed senior tackle Tristan Nickelson and underdeveloped sophomore Denzel Okafor at LT. Texas regularly had below average players (on a B12 scale) at multiple spots up front which made for a difficult time both in protecting a pair of underclassmen QBs and avoiding negative plays in the run game.

My statistical surveys into the season have regularly found that when Texas wasn’t executing simple inside zone plays that made it easy to get a playside double team and hat on hat elsewhere, they were a boom or bust OL with more busts than booms. The down blocking schemes such as power and counter ruined drives due to missed assignments as often as they brought success while every pass protection scheme was invariably asking an overmatched OL to hold up in isolation.

The 2018 Texas OL was bound to be better, if only because the depth is more promising with injured players like Elijah Rodriguez returning and because every player factoring into the rotation is a B12 caliber athlete for the position. But then Tom Herman and his staff determined to guarantee a better outcome by chasing down grad transfer OL Casey Tucker from Stanford and Calvin Anderson from Rice. Both of these guys are multi-year starters at their respective programs, both at tackle, which opens up a wide world of possibilities for new OL coach Herb Hand in getting the best five on the field. Here’s what Texas stands to gain from adding them to the fold.

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