With all eight players who made starts along the offensive line last season returning, there were legitimate expectations that the front five would be among the best units on the team.
So far, those expectations have not been met. At all.
The Sun Devil offense boasts enough playmakers at the skill positions that it should have no problem scoring 30 or more points on a weekly basis. However, that is entirely contingent upon the offensive line doing its job.
The first sign of weakness was the pass protection against Illinois. Brock Osweiler was under fire all game long. He was sacked six times and pressured countless more times, and it was the fumble off a fourth-quarter sack that ultimately led to the game-winning score for the Illini.
In their other loss against Oregon, Osweiler went down another four times, and the constant pressure was a major factor, as the offense lost its momentum in the second half.
As shaky as the pass protection has been, the run blocking has been worse. Much worse.
On the season, the team is only averaging 3.8 yards per carry, and it bottomed out with an embarrassing 1.9-yard average on the road against Utah. In four of their six games against FBS competition, the Sun Devils have failed to register a per-carry average of over 3.5, which is just plain bad.
The ASU running backs are talented, but there simply hasn't been a lot of room to run.
Yes, there have been injuries that have effected the continuity, but with their experienced depth, the lack of success is inexcusable.
As the conference competition heats up and the weather turns bad, the Devils will need to lean heavily on their line to allow their playmakers to actually make plays.
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