Maryland football film breakdown: OG Corey Bullock

It is clear that through the early stages of camp, the most ambiguous position for the Terrapins is the offensive line. With four of the five starters from last season moving on to either the NFL or the transfer portal, head coach Mike Locksley had to fill a lot of key roles to keep his team competitive in the Big Ten. With younger unknown players as the options, Locksley knew he had to dip into the transfer portal. Rather than looking for players from proven power five programs, Locksley went on the road less traveled and signed some of the best linemen that the FCS has to offer. One of these was Frostburg State tackle, Gottlieb Ayedze while the next came from  NC Central lineman, Corey Bullock.

Bullock was originally committed to Cincinnati before Locksley convinced him to follow through on an official visit to Maryland, leading to an eventual flip on the final day of his official visit back in the winter. Originally a Gwynn Park (MD) product, Bullock was named to the All-MEAC second team as a sophomore where he allowed just one sack in 11 games. Last season he was named to the All-MEAC first team where he started all 12 games on his way to an HBCU championship. Bullock has versatility, playing both guard and tackle in his NC Central days. He figures to be an opening-day starter at one of the guard positions so let’s look at what the 6-foot-4, 331-pound HBCU product brings to the table.

The first thing I noticed was a deficiency in his pass protection. Bullock isn’t the quickest and his kick steps in pass protection need work, while he has issues with getting wide enough to stop edge rushers when he is playing tackle. Fortunately, Maryland plans to use him as a guard where he does not have to be as athletic in pass protection. Still, I am a bit worried that his lugging around will allow Big Ten interior pass rushers such as Jer’Zhan Newton at Illinois. Bullock does have a huge body and stature that allows him to hold his opponents for making any more progress. If he gets a piece of his opponent, then he is good at keeping his hands inside and keeping the pocket clean. The footwork leaves room for improvement, however.

For reference, he is lined up at left tackle and is #51. In this first clip, you can see what I am talking about in terms of getting in a good spot to make the block on the edge. He uses his size to keep the defender neutralized. So a little bit of both things I previously mentioned.

This next clip shows Bullock’s lugging nature in his kick steps. However, he is able to get in a spot where his large frame and strength are enough to keep the pocket clean.

While Bullock may not be the most athletic player in pass protection, he has good technique at the point of contact. As seen in this next clip. Bullock stays square to the defender and has good hand placement.

Here, Bullock shows that he can really keep a clean pocket for an extended period of time if he gets in front of the defender.

With the pass protection, he is not suited to be a left tackle at the next level. The edge rushers are going to be too talented for Bullock’s pass-block skillset. Maryland plans to play him at guard where I think he could excel and fills a key need upfront. He is clearly very strong with how he just stops defenders dead in their tracks and has good hand placement. A big frame like Bullock’s could help Tagovaiola’s pocket stay clean, while his speed in pass blocking is where he’ll be tested most.

In the run game, there are a few things to point out. First, when it comes to getting out to the second level for a block, Bullock needs to be quicker with getting to his assignment. I will insert a few clips below on where he is slow to get to his assignment at the next level and is not showing a ton of effort. Usually, Maryland utilizes their tackles to get out in open space on outside runs and screen passes. Bullock playing guard most likely won’t be asked to get to the second level often. I mentioned in a previous article that Gottlieb Ayedze showed his athleticism on tape and will likely be getting out into open space on screen plays and plays of that sort. Look for Bullock to stay close to home and use his big frame to create holes for Maryland’s backs.

Another thing to note from his run blocking was his bad habit of having bad pad level. Often, I saw Bullock lean too far forward on a run block. This made it difficult for him to keep his feet churning and to get proper leverage over the defender. This makes it easy for the defender to shed your block and get in an area to make a tackle. Here he is lined up at left tackle and leans too far forward on the block which allows the defender to slowly slide by as Bullock loses leverage.

Bullock is inconsistent at run blocking. Sometimes he uses his large frame to box out defenders with ease. There were countless times where he created big plays and you could see why he was one of the best players in the MEAC. When breaking down film I try to look at it from a Big Ten perspective. Bullock sometimes doesn’t show the effort to be great at the next level. He has some bad habits such as not churning his feet to power through blocks. That is the number 1 trait I look for in pass blocking. Sometimes, such as the clip below, he does not move his feet and get the most out of the play.

Overall, Corey Bullock is a good not great player. I pointed out a lot of weaknesses in his game since I thought it showed up on tape more. Bullock’s combo of size and strength at NC Central helped win the battles as to make the block. He has a large frame and that was apparent on film, however, I think that may not be as much of an advantage for him in the Big Ten as it was in MEAC. The Big Ten has some of the pass rushers in the country on both the interior and exterior.

Maryland is still ironing out which five will transition into the starting five with Bullock a very likely candidate to fill a vacancy at guard, and now, he’ll have a chance to exceed expectations to help the Terps look to win the trenches this fall.

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