Wait . . . What Have the Oakland Raiders Got to do With it?

There is a lot of speculation being bandied about in the newspapers, on the internets, and all over the PSU fan base. What receivers will step up in this pass heavy offense? Who will be our Gronk and Hernandez? Who will play in the slot? Will we throw even on 3rd and 2?

Well, I think there was a very interesting wrinkle in the Patriots offense last season that has gone ignored. The perception is that the offense is and has been pass happy. And to open the season that perception was reality. In the first three games the Patriots dropped back to pass primarily, only running on 31%, 36%, and 37% of all offensive plays.

But something happened on April 28, 2011 that had given them a new option. As a result of a prior trade with the Oakland Raiders, the New England Patriots had the 17th pick in the first round on that date. In a rare move, they used the pick on OT Nate Solder from Colorado. Solder would have time to develop with Light and Vollmer on the roster, right? He wouldn't have to play at all in at least his first season barring injury, right?

Wrong. The Patriots said thank you to the Raiders by shoving it down their throat, running it on 50% of downs for over 6 yards per carry. Many of those running plays happened with three tackles on the field, Light, Vollmer, and Solder. The third tackle reported and they lined up and ran right at the surprised Raiders. They saw something on film and knew they could win with the run game. They continued to trot out the three tackle offense here and there until injuries along the line took the option away from them.

Right about now you are asking what all this has to do with the 2012 Penn State football team. It must be related since it's here on BSD. Enter the Ohio game week depth chart. It contains the following important provision:

78 Mike Farrell (6-6, 306, Sr/Sr)* OR
58 Adam Gress (6-6, 311, Sr/Jr)

This supports the comments of Coach O'Brien, OC for the three tackle Patriots last season. One particular comment really seems interesting in this light:

O'Brien said he got a better look at Farrell while he was filling in for Donovan Smith, the freshman left tackle who battled a hamstring injury during the first few weeks of camp. Farrell has been working at both tackle spots ever since.

Farrell has experience as a bookend on both sides of the line. Sounds like a great third tackle in the shove-it-down-your-throat offense to me.

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