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Eli Drinkwitz’s offensive line has a history of keeping the quarterback clean

Drinkwitz is known as a heck of an offensive mind, so his offenses having a history of success avoiding sacks shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Missouri v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Keeping the quarterback upright. It’s important. You know this. I know this. Everyone watching the games on Saturday knows this.

But it’s easier said than done.

Missouri fans have seen both sides of the coin in recent years. The Tigers finished 11th in the SEC in sacks allowed per game back in 2015. You may remember that as the season that, well, left something to be desired offensively.

The Tigers hired Josh Heupel in 2016 and the offense suddenly opened up and the pass blocking success improved immediately. The Tigers finished with the fewest sacks allowed per game in the SEC in 2016 and 2017 under Heupel. They sustained that success in 2018 when Derek Dooley took over the offense.

Things took a nosedive last season, when the Tigers allowed twice as many sacks as they did the year prior. The ball wasn’t coming out as quickly, the pressure got to the quarterback and the offense suffered as a result.

Eli Drinkwitz is here to fix those offensive line woes.

Drink is known as quite the offensive mastermind. He self-describes the offense as “pro-tempo” style. That means there will be pro-style elements, but the base offense will be out of the no-huddle (aka running tempo).

That tempo will remind some fans of what the Tigers ran under Josh Heupel. The “pro-style” concepts will be something quite different.

The results speak for themselves.

Eli Drinkwitz Offensive Line Stats

Year - School Line Yards (FBS Ranking) Sack Rate (FBS Rating) Sacks Allowed/Gm (Conf. Ranking)
Year - School Line Yards (FBS Ranking) Sack Rate (FBS Rating) Sacks Allowed/Gm (Conf. Ranking)
2019 - Appalachian State 2.63 (51st) 4.6% (32nd) 1.29 (2nd)
2018 - NC State 2.05 (126th) 2.2% (4th) 0.85 (1st)
2017 - NC State 2.77 (87th) 2.5% (9th) 1.00 (1st)
2016 - NC State 2.86 (88th) 3.6% (36th) 1.31 (3rd)
2015 - Boise State 2.74 (90th) 5.7% (83rd) 2.39 (8th)

The table you see above breaks down Drinkwitz’s statistical success as an offensive play-caller dating back to his first year as the offensive coordinator at Boise State. The advanced statistics for his offensive line in the running game does leave a bit to be desired, but some of that is due to the competition he faced in the ACC while at NC State.

The pass-blocking numbers are miraculous.

Drinkwitz has finished with a top 40 sack rate every year since 2016. His offense has finished among the top three in his respective conference in sacks allowed in each of his last four seasons as a play-caller.

Some of that is talent. Some of it is play-calling. Some of it is driven by the quarterback.

A lot of it is scheme.

Drinkwitz is known for his ability to scheme up a heck of an offense. Fans at NC State will tell you all about how he was able to incorporate some unique talents into the offense. But let’s not overlook his ability to scheme up an offense that puts his quarterback in a position to succeed.

That starts with keeping the quarterback upright. Drinkwitz has done a heck of a job of doing exactly that in recent years.