August 7, 2008

Kemo-EAT-u, The Road Grader...

"It's a unit thing, and I think, no doubt, that Chris' presence was a difference for us today. We pulled him. It is what he does, he's a road-grader, he's a violent run-blocker and we ran behind him.

- Mike Tomlin
We've talked about this before, unofficially in the comments. But with perennial all pro Alan Faneca gone to the Jets, it's now going to be the Chris Kemoeatu show at left guard.

So let's get down to what all us fans really want to know - what do we get from Kemoeatu that we didn't get from Faneca?

Now, let me just start by saying I don't know shit about playing left guard. I'm a 6'2", 175(?) pound waste of space whose hockey playing days were the closest he ever got to being an offensive lineman. But what I lack in knowledge, I make up for in logical thinking and/or uninformed speculation.

With that said, let's compare the vitals...

Height ~ 6'5"
Weight ~ 307
Age ~ 31

Height ~ 6'3"
Weight ~ 344
Age ~ 25

The most glaring difference is the 37 pounds Faneca gives up to Kemoeatu. As a more "robust," but shorter offensive lineman, Kemoeatu has a lower center of gravity with more weight behind him to leverage against defenders. While it wouldn't seem like being shorter would be an advantage, at least from what I can tell, it actually makes him harder to move. Plus, with all that power (assuming weight = power) coming at a defender, it'd definitely be more difficult than overpowering a taller, "thinner" blocker like Faneca.

So it would seem that Kemoeatu has the potential to be an even better run blocker than Faneca, whose run blocking abilities were/are certainly top notch. Couple this with the addition of Wreckingball Mendenhall and the (logical) corresponding re-emphasis on the running game and you've got a hell of a concept.

Of course, in terms of pass blocking, I'm clueless. Not having read any kind of scouting report on Kemoeatu, I can't be sure how savvy he is when it comes to standing up oncoming rushers. But I'm sure some of the same principles apply.

Anyone have any insight on this? Could Kemoeatu be ample replacement for Faneca? Is he potentially BETTER than Faneca?

PS - little known fact ~ Kemoeatu's real first name is "Uikelotu," Christopher is his middle name. Any guesses on how to pronounce that one? You-kehl-ah-too? Uh-ee-kah-lah-too? Ukulele?

[Nickname credit #1 - Domski, #2 - Tomlin]

Video: Kemoeatu Stars on Goal Line [Trib]
Steelers Notebook: Kemoeatu Makes Hit [Post-Gazette]

1 comment:

domski43 said...

All I've heard about Kemo-EAT-u is his ability to pancake opposing defensive linemen/linebackers over past few pre-seasons. I'm not expecting him to be Faneca, but I don't expect him to be a liability on the offensive line.

An offensive line is not about individuals, its about an entire group playing together. If the offensive line coach can make this happen the Steelers will be fine.

I feel that Larry Zierlein, the offensive line coach, should be under the microscope this year. Who is to say that the offensive line issues last year cannot be attributed to him? Or the loss of Russ Grimm? Just saying