Lorig Lacking “Running Back Eyes”

September 27th, 2012

Greg Schiano talked about failures and evolution on the Bucs offensive line contributing to this season’s running game struggles.

But what about Erik Lorigs’ role in that?

Well, former Bucs defensive end Steve White (1996-2001), who breaks down Bucs games like no other, is confident Lorig isn’t a plus for the Bucs offense. In an in-depth coaches-film look at the Bucs offense against Dallas, (you must click through and check it out) White isolates a mistake of Lorig’s and goes deep into it, among similar studies of Doug Martin, Carl Nicks, Josh Freeman and more.

Now most people know that I have said plenty of times in the past that Bucs need to get a real fullback if they want to get better at running the ball. Nothing against Lorig, and he tries his best, but he just doesn’t have “running back eyes”. What I mean by that is the best fullbacks in the NFL run through the line as if they have the ball in their hands. They pick the route they would go to get the most amount of yardage and then they find a linebacker to tee off on.

Lorig hasn’t shown the ability to do that. Instead he just tries to block the way the play is drawn up on a black board. Thing is the tailback is taught to follow his fullback to daylight so if Lorig takes a bad track that likely means whomever is running the ball will too.

Case in point.

This is a still shot from the endzone of a running play where Lorig is leading up through the hole and Doug Martin is following him. I have two arrows extending from Lorig’s picture because I stopped the film at the point where he had to make the decision of which way to go. If he runs to the left everyone is blocked up and Clark is ready to block the defensive back inside out. If he goes right there is an unblocked Cowboy’s linebacker just waiting for him and an outside linebacker coming down the line to blow up the play.

Now which track do you think Lorig picked?

Again, Joe advises you to score yourself a huge sandwich and a cold beverage and study White’s breakdowns.

An interesting stat as it relates to fullback play, LeGarrette Blount’s four 100+ yard efforts in 2010 were all when Earnest Graham was playing fullback. Blount did not run for 100 yards during any of the six games Graham missed.

Sure, Joe knows Blount ran plenty of times from a single-back set, but the numbers don’t lie.

26 Responses to “Lorig Lacking “Running Back Eyes””

  1. raphael Says:

    wkould it be too much to ask to get a real fullback….Lorig was a DE for god sake ! we need a Lo Jack style of full back.. great post Joe !

  2. Jarret Says:

    Joe, im lovin the game film pics on this article. Gives the site a little Ron Jaworski feel to it. Would love to see more articles breaking down game film like this. Some on the defensive side for the bucs would be great too. Just my opinion.

  3. Big Picture Guy Says:

    THIS is a fantastic article, and really exposes an issue not really focused on by the pen and mic club so far. Lorig to me feels more like an H-back who has been playing FB duty. He can catch at an adequate rate, and shows to be adequate at pass blocking in my opinion.

    I feel the bucs just went with him at a young age a couple years ago, and threw Insurance Grahm in there to ease the transition, but it is clear that this DL turned FB experiment isn’t working well enough.

  4. SteveK Says:

    We do need a FB, badly.

    I would’ve loved signing Votae Leach a few seasons ago.

    Hopefully we can snatch somebody up.

    I am all for the second coming of Lorenzo Neal. What a beast.

  5. Zack Says:

    Stephen White, when he has made radio appearances, has consistently packed more insight into the Bucs in his 20 minute segments than one would be likely to hear from anyone else on the radio or tv in a month. Someone needs to give this guy a show.

  6. Jamaal Says:


  7. Jamaal Says:


  8. Vic Says:

    Steve White is phenomenal and I enjoyed Jeff Carlson’s piece the other day. But Joe you’re still the man.

  9. bucobruce Says:

    Joe,is the game is blacked out this sunday.Do you know how close we are to selling out.

  10. 1976Buc Says:

    Has anyone picked up Graham? He would be an awesome Graduate Assistant type that on occasion could say let me show you how this is done. I bet he still has a few plays left in him.

  11. Justin Says:

    Steve White is da truth

  12. Yar Says:

    This is a miss direction play to get D moving to their r , notice the handoff is on freemans left, nicks and zutta are blocking r to l and lb moves to his right and lorig is there to block r to l, martin is already past the DE(should have been picked up by the TE). The breakdown is RG lets the DT get off his block and is probably the one to make the tackle. If lorig goes left nicks and zutta block their man right into the hole that was there in the first pict. but isn’t in the second pict.

  13. skp Says:

    Truly effective FBs seem about as common as barefoot kickers these days. if he’s still unemployed, no harm in seeing what sort of shape earnest graham is in, i suppose…didn’t we cut a Rutgers FB at the end of preseason? scary that even if all 5 OL and a TE execute perfectly, trusting the lead blocker can completely kill an opporutnity

  14. JBUC24 Says:


    Nice read and love the still shots breaking down the film. I would also love to see more film breakdown on your site as Jarret stated. Most of us have been bangin the drum for a 2 back set, but a new FB is something worth looking at too. Something many of us didn’t think of!

  15. guns4roses Says:

    I can say that the first time I read Steve White’s blog, I was shocked at how interesting and insightful he is in his explanations of the mechanics of the game of football. This is the first week I’ve seen him do long sections on our offense and it’s just as interesting as his front-seven work that I’ve enjoyed over the years.

    Joe, I hope we will see Steve’s work featured regularly on your site.

  16. Oahubuc Says:

    I had high hopes for Cody Johnson. He could really hook ’em in college. Is he on a squad now?

  17. Jessup Says:

    How about we just run out of the singleback set and only use a fullback in short yardage situations? What a freaking novel idea!

  18. gracelivin Says:

    Yar is the only one really seeing the Photos for what they point out, Lorig ran to the right hole and did get on the LB,if Martin hits the hole and heads north and south he picks up at least 8, cause all that is left to beat is the safety. Look close at the 2nd pic. In the Carolina game Lorig ate up Kuechy, against the Giants he missed a few but that happens sometimes the RB has to break some tackles, which I don’t see Martin do much of when he runs inside, now as he moves out a little he seems to have more shake, the same holds true for Blount, both are way more effective a little wider.

  19. SteveK Says:

    One could argue the Bucs also need “Quarterback eyes” out there on the field.

    Josh Freeman this means you.

  20. Teddy Says:

    After reading that entire breakdown by Steve White, I can honestly say that I’m even more depressed about our offense after last week’s debacle. And I didn’t think that was possible.

  21. Peking Buc Says:

    We would get destroyed in a single back set. We don’t pass well enough for that to work. NE does it well because they pass well and are unpredictable.

    S White is right on the money. We need a nasty true full back. NSO’s my way or the highway is holding the team back. Who on offense can do what GMac did and go upstairs and ask for change?

  22. Brain Says:

    It doesn’t make sense for Lorig to lead through a hole with no one to block when there’s a LB sitting on the other side. Lorig has every right to take on that LB and it’s Martin’s job to see the hole and run to daylight as opposed to blindly following the FB. I don’t see how this is Lorig’s fault…FBs are supposed to block. There’s a reason they’re not a RBs, and I don’t want a FB that thinks like a RB.

  23. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    There would be a defender there if Martin and Lorig ran that way. However, there were 2 defenders going right. Lorig struggle enough blocking 1 guy, 2 guys would be even harder. And I know this is going to sound rude, but I really don’t mean for it to be, but I am going to take the word of Steve White over yours. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you didn’t play in the NFL, nor do you break down film like an NFL player. If White says one thing and you say another, I’m going to lean towards believing White.

  24. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    And even in pop warner (which is the only football I ever played), you always follow your fullback. That’s not even a question. Otherwise, why have a fullback? That’s their one and only purpose, to lead block for the tailback.

  25. Piratic Says:

    “Zack Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 12:57 pm
    Stephen White, when he has made radio appearances, has consistently packed more insight into the Bucs in his 20 minute segments than one would be likely to hear from anyone else on the radio or tv in a month. Someone needs to give this guy a show.”

    Hard to disagree with you, Zack, but reading his articles is like reading the work of a 9th grader. He has long shown that he is unable to write articles that are up to a professional standard. His work simply needs the services of a Copy Editor. He truly does have great insight, but his method of communicating that insight is definitely sub-par. That being said, I’d rather read his stuff all day long than be subjected to the useless garbage that is offered up by Rick Stroud, Martin Fennelly, et al.

  26. paul Says:

    I really don’t think that players are “allowed” to pick a different hole on plays that are called on our team.