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The Cardinal Countdown: 73 Days Until Kickoff

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NCAA Football: Louisville at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

#73 Mekhi Becton

Class: Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-7-369

Position: Offensive Line

Hometown: Highland Springs, VA

Twitter: @BigTicket73

Thoughts: When Becton walked on campus his size alone made him a topic of discussion, but his play that first season cemented the fact that baring some crazy injury or unforeseen circumstance this young man was going to play this game professionally. Ranked as one of the top freshman performers in the country back in 2016 many, myself included, expected Becton to be an anchor on a line that had been steadily improving under Mike Summers the last two years. Then, well- the entire offense imploded. The passing game was struggling but the offensive line wasn’t doing the backs many favors either. How a line that performed well enough to lead a Top 3 offense nationally in 2016 reverted to this could only be attributed to one thing. Lamar. He helped them out of so many situations that he altered all offensive statistical categories. Instead of a 5 yard loss or a sack in the book, Jackson turned it into a 10 yard gain. The numbers, as painful as it is for me to admit, often lied. What that doesn’t mean though is that the line is void of talent. In fact, I think the top of this group may be one of the most talented across the board with 3-4 guys who have a shot at playing at the next level. Becton will once again be looked at as a leader, but this season his responsibilities will be even more important in an offense that looks to gain most of its yardage on the ground. I spoke on it before but the importance of Becton’s size comes into play two fold. He can absolutely create a hole and move some bodies around, we’ve seen that. But, can he be relied on when asked to get downfield or run 10 yards on a pull? The skeptic may say “why have him do that”, but the entire offense cannot hing on one player and their potential limitations. What are they going to ask of him? Let’s take a peek.

When I talk about movement and athleticism on the line I wanted to show a few examples of how App State did that in seasons past. There may be better illustrations but I want to keep this on a high level for now. You want detailed O-line play analysis then listen to our buddy Eric Wood on the ACC Network, coming to a television near you this season, brought to you by Bojangles (send me my check ACC).

In the first clip below you have a run play to the right with 6 players on the LOS. While the guard and the tackle on the left dive the other four lineman/TE hussle off the line and push downfield. By the time the ball carrier gets to the LOS (32) he has a good sized hole and four guys in front of him blocking, including a lineman who is now over 5 yards downfield sealing off a linebacker. He slides through the gap and is 10+ yards downfield before contact.

The second play once again puts them in a bunch formation, using an H-back and a tight end on the right side. The entire offensive line is used as a decoy on this play, but watch their push to the right even though the ball is on the opposite side. The play starts on the left hash and by the time the QB gets back to the LOS the majority of the line is on or past the right hash (10+ yards of travel)

If you caught the video back on Day 85 there are some more solid examples of what Satterfield likes to do up front. It’s going to be weird for Cards fans to see a big focus on the running back for the first time in...well....nearly half a decade. Not since 2014 has a placer with “RB” next to his name lead the team in rushing yardage for the season. All that changes this year. Bold prediction of the summer: I think Ledford turns Becton into a first round talent before he leaves.

Sweet Tweet:

Hey, it’s early mid June we’re all still working on our summer shapes, Mekhi. I read an article that ‘Dad Bods’ are now considered the most attractive body type on all males. Maybe I’m the one that wrote said article, or maybe I’m not, doesn’t make my statement any less true though.