OSU v. Wisconsin: Offensive Breakdown

By Ross Fulton on November 20, 2012 at 3:00p

The Wisconsin defense employed a game plan that should by now be familiar to Ohio State. The Badgers applied safety and alley defenders against the Buckeye run game to re-establish the defense's numeric advantage. Wisconsin's safety edge support confused Braxton Miller's run reads and prevented him from bouncing outside, flummoxing the Buckeye quarterback as the game progressed.

The Buckeye offense did had success in fits and starts. But the coaching staff kept moving away from systematic opportunities provided by the Wisconsin approach, causing the offense to stall. The Buckeye offense was able to produce when needed in overtime, however, demonstrating what could have been and ideally providing learning opportunities for both the staff and Miller in preparation for Michigan. 

A Broken Record

In some ways the Badger game plan was exceedingly simple. Wisconsin came out to do one thing and did not waver. The Badgers played a 4-2-5 over cover 4. Wisconsin's Will linebacker would sit somewhere between the slot receiver and tackle box, depending upon down and distance.

Wisconsin's critical adaptation was at the snap. The safety towards the halfback side would immediately come downhill on run action to account for Miller on the zone read. The backside linebacker would sit, waiting for Miller. The other safety would then come down hard in run support as soon as action flowed to his side, such as when OSU ran inverted veer. The corners would compensate by playing loose cover-4 'meg' (man) coverage. Wisconsin's purpose was to confuse Miller reads and prevent him attacking the edge.

In passing situations, Wisconsin played essentially the same defense but looser. Wisconsin would 'shuffle rush' their front four, meaning they were not trying to attack but merely contain Miller in the pocket. The back seven would play a loose cover 4, attempting to take away the medium range pass routes that constitute OSU's base pass offense.   

We Got 'Em Right Where We Wanted

The Buckeyes' game plan was to utilize Miller on designed quarterback runs early. For instance, OSU unveiled what looked like inverted veer, but was really a designed fake veer, lead sweep.

OSU also repeatedly sought to establish their QB counter-trey. But this went right into the teeth of Wisconsin's game plan. Wisconsin sought to maintain outside contain and not let Miller bounce outside. OSU's pulling blockers had difficulty accounting for the edge defenders. The Buckeye lead blockers could have logged both defenders to let Miller bounce outside, but seemed 'caught' in between.

Miller also seemed confused in his reads. Miller would keep, only to find an oncoming safety waiting. For instance, here he does so on a speed sweep.

Punching in the Dark

While Wisconsin's philosophy slowed OSU down, it did not completely stop the Buckeye offense. That is because Wisconsin was so concerned with containing Miller on the edge that it necessarily left holes for exploitation. For instance OSU had success running 'belly,' by which I mean inside zone to the halfback side from the deeper halfback position. The play hit quickly and away from the oncoming safety. 

OSU's first offensive touchdown was similarly scored on a power play that hit the halfback side. The Buckeye offensive line largely controlled the interior against Wisconsin and consistently re-established the line of scrimmage. Carlos Hyde was also afforded running room and ran with good vision. But OSU did not fully take advantage because they continued to attack the edge, right where Wisconsin had them outflanked.

OSU also left opportunities on the board in the pass game. Wisconsin was playing cover 4. They were aggressively using their linebackers and safeties in run support. The corners were playing soft man to defend against getting beat vertically. This left the underneath flats open throughout the game. And OSU did occasionally take advantage. Note that the play below is actually a run/pass read off a belly run. The entire team executes belly but Miller pulls and throws the hitch. 

OSU also successfully ran flash screens;

and multiple fake veer boot quick outs to Corey Brown.

That Scratching Sound You Hear

So long as Miller pulled the trigger Wisconsin could not account for these plays within their game plan. Brown made multiple catches on those quick outs. OSU did string together several drives with such plays, particularly in the first half. Indeed, the Buckeyes had several drives advance into Wisconsin territory that ended in punts—something OSU has avoided this season. OSU was also hindered by poor second-half field position.

But losing the field position battle was also a product of OSU's poor second-half offensive output. Part of that fails from consistently attacking in the ways outlined above--a problem that only became more pronounced in the second half. OSU never fully forced Wisconsin to adjust to account for the underneath flat. Instead whenever it seemed the Buckeyes would use these plays to move the chains they would eventually revert to their default, which was designed or read runs by Miller, and then vertical downfield option routes on third down. In particular, the Buckeyes continued to try to used designed runs for Miller on third down, but Wisconsin was primarily concerned with taking this away. Nor was the Wisconsin secondary going to allow Buckeye receivers to get behind them. And when OSU receivers did come open Miller was indecisive in fitting those throws in between zone defenders and instead held the football. OSU could have instead thrown these five-yard bootleg outs to Brown and taken their chances with Brown making a play. The play action would have drawn up the Wisconsin linebackers and not allowed them to sit in zones. It also would have gotten Miller outside the pocket, where he is more decisive.

This gets to a related problem, which is that the Buckeyes are not punishing defenses that cheat off their wide receivers to play the run. Yes, they use wide receiver screens and the like, but they are not using them consistently enough to force defenses to adjust. Below is one egregious example.

Yes, it is third and seven, but OSU could take their chances with Corey Brown catching the football in that situation and would have a pretty good chance at a first down. As Homer Smith and others have stated, spreading the field loses its advantage if the defense need not account for the receiver. Then an offense is facing the same number of defenders with less blockers. Oddly, Tom Herman led Iowa State to an upset of Oklahoma State last year by throwing numerous flash screens.

It may be that Urban Meyer & Co. believe that OSU does not have the personnel to repeatedly execute such plays or that it would pull OSU from what they have done successfully. It also may be that wide receiver screens are often built in automatic reads and Miller either does not have the freedom to make the decision, or does but is simply not doing so. Perhaps a defense would say fine, we would rather OSU put the ball in Smith or Brown's hands in the flat than Miller running on the edge.

But it need not be bubble screens. As noted, the play-action boot fits well within the Buckeye offense and puts Miller in run-pass decision-making mode where he can make edge plays. OSU has to force defenses to at least make the conscious determination that we will let OSU beat us by attacking the flat. Against Wisconsin, OSU instead did a bit of banging their head against the brick wall. 


Miller's in-game decision-making exacerbated matters. Miller clearly became frustrated by his relative lack of rushing success. As he has in the past, it appeared he began pre-determining that he was going to keep on read plays in an attempt to make a play. While it is ultimately a positive that Miller wants to put things on his shoulders, he continued to keep when it was playing into Wisconsin's hands, even when the inverted veer sweep to Hyde was open. Wisconsin also always kept outside leverage on Miller. Miller had multiple situations where he could have gone directly up field and gotten four yards. But he instead tried to give ground to bounce outside, which was what the Badgers were playing him to do.

Miller's refusal to scramble once he did not pull the trigger on his open receiver read also prevented OSU from moving the football. The Badgers showed a 'psycho' blitz front but inevitably dropped out into a zone. They were content to shuffle rush Miller and keep him in the pocket. Miller assisted Wisconsin in doing so, sitting in the pocket for far too long. As noted, he often chose not to fit a throw to an open option route into a tight window. But once he makes that decision, he needs to get out of the pocket and be decisive. For example, below, no Badger defender other than their front four is in the picture. But Miller bounces in the pocket, eventually falling into the rush.

In the Nick of Time

Yet as they have at other times this fall, Miller & Co stepped up to make plays when needed, this time in overtime. Two plays allowed OSU to gain the necessary yardage for their game-winning touchdown. The first was an inverted veer read where Miller finally gave to Hyde. Interestingly here, OSU did not pull the backside guard as they generally do. 

The second was a called pass play where Miller did what he refused to do all game—he made an immediate decision to aggressively scramble when his initial reads on the follow route were not there. Miller also attacked downfield with this run.

As I have stated, Miller's ability to make plays when needed is not a quality to be underestimated. 

Wait...Who's Next?

It is a bit hypocritical for me to criticize the coaching staff for not moving away from running Miller early and sticking with their base offense when I have urged this course throughout the season. Nonetheless, I do think there is a distinction between going with your game plan to start and not using what is working as the game progresses, even if you stumble upon it. By not doing so, OSU allowed the Wisconsin defense to dictate the terms of the match-up. It would have been interesting to see how the Badgers reacted if OSU continued to mix the inside run game with attacking the underneath flat as they did at times in the first half. But OSU and Miller need to accept that they should establish Miller early and see how the defense reacts. If the opposing defense shows that its primary goal is to take away Miller, the staff needs to embrace that Miller's mere presence opens other opportunities.

But this analysis is also consistent with what I have hopefully demonstrated this year. The OSU offense has most consistently stalled when the Buckeyes become reliant upon the dropback passing game. While in theory it is a good response against an aggressive defense, Miller is frankly too inconsistent a passer for the Buckeyes to move the football in this manner. Yet this is all too often the default approach. OSU's offense executes well when it runs the football inside and then uses the bootleg and sprint out pass game.     

Last week I previewed the Michigan defensive philosophy and how OSU may respond. Michigan is generally a cover 1 or 4 team on first down. Greg Mattison will obviously watch this film and I expect Michigan to use both coverages to get their safeties and alley players involved against the run game on first and second down. Like other teams, look for Michigan to try to use these 'overhang' players to account for Miller, while using their interior 6 against the inside zone. Then on third down look for them to use their psycho packages to zone blitz and try to confuse Miller and force him to hold the football in the pocket.

This film should also be a learning experience for both the coaching staff and Miller, however. Meyer and Herman need to be prepared to quickly adjust to defenses overplaying Miller in the run game. Miller also needs to accept that he at times will be a decoy and open things up for Hyde by his presence. OSU needs to stick with the inside zone read and be prepared to mix the underneath movement passing off play-action, attacking the areas vacated by edge defenders primarily concerned with containing Miller. If they do so, even on third down, they will be able to gain opportunities against a Michigan defense primarily concerned with taking away Miller's run lanes.


Comments Show All Comments

Alhan's picture

The "Wisky Cover 4 left bubble open" video makes me cringe at the wasted opportunity.  I hope the offense gets tuned up and takes advantage of stuff like that this week.  If they do, things will turn ugly quickly for *ichigan.

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

Poe McKnoe's picture

Agreed.  The outside receivers couldn't even get to the Wisconsin defender to block them.  Herman went full Bollman on several calls.

IBleedSandG's picture

My dad and I were screaming at the TV. "Snap the damn ball and throw it to Philly."


toad1204's picture

It pains me to say but but by reading between the lines it sounds like Dave might have been a decent play for last Saturday.  Please let me know if I'm wrong....

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

Ross Fulton's picture

Dave is in fact the same thing as power, which is what Hyde scored his 18 yd TD run on...

toad1204's picture

Thanks Ross...  My HS didnt have football until I graduated so I'm educated by your weekly posts.  I've come far.  Thanks.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

gwalther's picture

Way to pwn on UNite.

Class of 2008

BUCKfutter's picture

just think...we did all this derping on offense and STILL WON IN CAMP RANDALL. looking forward to saturday.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

rickyu22's picture

Great read. I didnt get to watch the game last weekend. But it is clear that Miller is still young and learning. But he has great coaches around him to help him grow. I think last weekends game shows like you said that Miller is what teams base their defense around and the other players have to be trusted to make plays to make the defense stay accountable. 

javalen's picture

Oh god. There isn't anyone within 15 yds of Philly on that play D:

Doc's picture

Thanks Ross, great job as always.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

brglr14's picture

i think after the first 3 poss they put the ball away and played not to lose.

I dont know karate but i do know crazy and i'm not afraid to use it.


AltaBuck's picture

Hey Ross...why did they not pull the Guard on Hyde's OT run? Were Wisky's safeties keying the Guard for their run reads?
When I watch the replay of Hyde's run, I don't see the safeties diving to the edge like previous run plays when the offside guard pulls.

I am Groot - Groot

Ross Fulton's picture

Great question--impossible to know the exact answer without asking the coaching staff. I think one of two possiblities are likely. Either:

A) Their blocking rules for IV dictated that the guard not pull based upon Wisky's pre-snap alignment;


B) They made a sideline adjustment based upon what Wisky was doing to false-key Wisconsin's safeties, as you suggest.

OSUBias's picture

Knowing how much Herman loves the bubble screen, and seeing how much they utilized the short passing game at Fla during Urbs years with quick WR's, they have to be lacking faith in our personnel, right? I'm having a hard time believing they could fail to notice those openings, which means one of two things: they noticed them but didn't want to exploit them (the famous trick up the sleeve argument for why we look bad in any given game) or they didn't think they could exploit them with our players. Seeing how close the Wisky game was, I have to think it's the second one. Either not enough faith in Miller throwing a good ball or not enough faith in the WR's to make a guy miss and get up the field.
Really hope they hit the film room hard and get Miller prepared for more of the same this week. We got away with it against a horrible UW offense, but I'm not sure we will if we play they same way against TTUN this week. Their offense is starting to gain a little steam once they moved Denard to RB (or anywhere that isn't QB) and put Gardner back there. Borges looks more comfortable calling plays out of his normal offense without having to mix in the spread stuff Denard is good at, and the result is the offense starting to move the ball a bit more. Need a better offensive effort this week, cuz even with another good defensive showing, i think TTUN scores more than 7 points in the first 59 minutes.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

Ross Fulton's picture

I tend to be with you re the WR screens. As I implied I think its two-fold. They do not see any of the WRs as adapt at running with the football and accordingly, doing so would move away from what they do well as a team, which is run the football.

BuckGuy003's picture

I think since we played somewhat poorly this week that on Saturday we will show up at home in our custom unis and play some smash mouth football

Earle's picture

I think we can expect more of the same from Michigan:  Loading up the alleys to keep Braxton hemmed in.  Can we please punish Michigan inside with belly and power like we were able to do against Wisconsin at times but just didn't exploit to the fullest? Seemed like we were in 2nd and 3rd and long all game because we just wouldn't take the yards the defense was giving us on inside runs.  This allowed them to play soft on passing downs and take away the intermediate throws.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

JasonBuck's picture

Ross, we were talking about "special" plays that we'd love to see ran against the Michigan D (ie trick plays).  How would a flee flicker look against the D that Wisconsin used and scUM will likely use this weekend.  Fake power, Hyde tosses back to Braxton who hits a wide open Devin Smith in the area vacated by the safety attacking down hill?  Likely, no, but would it work against the D you described?

BUCKI4LIFE's picture

Thanks for the write-up I was looking forward to seeing your thoughts on how they shut Braxton down.  Hopefully this week we learned a lesson & send *ichigan home very unhappy!
Go Bucks!

Maestro's picture

I keep telling myself that Miller will get better at reading defenses, but he really hasn't shown that yet.  I sure hope a Spring and another Pre-season can really increase his fluency in this offense.  If he makes good reads, with this current group of players, the offense will be pretty unstoppable.

vacuuming sucks

timdogdad's picture

and i bet the wisc d staff watched the film and said, "wow, they ran what we hoped they would. we left the flats open and braxton didn't take off at all"   so lets make those adaptations on saturday.   the coaches should tell braxton-this is the last game, on a pass play, count to two, if no one is open, run.   stay with the quick hitter passes, keep hyde involved.  one call i didn't like was the shot down field when it was 14-7. we were moving the ball pretty well. should have stuck with that because then it was 2nd and 10 and then 3rd and 7 or 8.  we couldn't afford a homerun gamble. we just keep running it and get to the endzone, its 21-7 and we're in good shape. save the home run shot for  when it's 21-7 and go for the 28-7 kill shot.      

Ross Fulton's picture

I agree with you re that deep shot.


I know that Urban's M.O. is to take a shot once they get past the 50. But again, Wisconsin was simply not going to let OSU beat them deep. They would prefer for Braxton to have to execute in the passing game underneath to move the football down the field. Braxton is generally more efficient doing so when you move him and give him discrete options.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

In 2004, soph Troy Smith had a rough outing the week prior to The Game against Purdue. Smith threw three INTs, the Buckeyes got only 11 first downs, and lost 17-24.
The next game against TTUN, Smith had his legendary coming out party, over 380 total yards offense and 3 TDs, and the Buckeyes schooled TTUN 37-21.

Maestro's picture

Brax had a pretty legit performance last year against scUM.  They won't be able to stop him.  He can stop himself and the offense with poor reads though.  Praying for Good Braxton.

vacuuming sucks

dbit's picture

I think I read in one of Kye's articles earlier today that Urban reminds Braxton everyday that he wants him to be a "QB that can run".  Maybe they need to just say "Braxton, win us the game and run!" for this one game.  

Ross Fulton's picture

Completely agree. Gotta play the game and not worry about proving that you are a real "Quarterback" under some platonic notion of what a Quarterback is. Purpose of the game is to score points, period.

BuckeyeMark's picture

great breakdown.  so helpful to understand what is going on out there.  thanks!

NH-IO's picture

I have faith that the Wiscy game plan was Tressel inspired and that, as Tressel did against ttun and in bowl games, we'll see the offense really open up this week.

Ross Fulton's picture

I think we do have to remember that we played on the road in a tough environment. That is always tougher on the O. Urban himself admitted that he buttoned it up. So always good to come out of there with a W.

MediBuck's picture

Again, a phenomenal writeup, Ross. And congrats on the ESPNU beatdown--you're my hero (not saying that you weren't before).
Quick question: Why did we not see more of Rod Smith? Last week, it looked like we were starting to use him (quite effectively) as a pitch man and on the wheel route. This week, I rarely heard his name called and he may only have carried once for a loss of yards.

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

Ross Fulton's picture

Good question. They used him early in the split back to lead on that fake veer play I showed. Other than that he played sparingly. Of course Hyde didn't get that many carries either (we only had I think 58 plays in regulation). The plan was clearly to ride Braxton, especially when they started 'tightening down.'

BeijingBucks's picture

Thanks for the weekly IQ boost Ross.

I think you hit on a key question I've been wondering, is Brax just not making the screen reads or are they handcuffing him with slim options?

At least we know this week there is nothing to hold back for. If they have it in the playbook it's in play.

Question. As urban knows his D intimately. Advantage Mattison or UFM?

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

Ross Fulton's picture

I personally think Urban has an advantage simply because Michigan's defense has seem to have more issues with 'spread' looks this year, particularly on the edge...

Oyster's picture

Just think what they could have been if Countess hadn't gone down in the first game.  They took a big hit with that one.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

buckeyepastor's picture

Everyone will talk about Miller as OSU's important player, but I think Saturday will be decided more by whether or not our receivers make plays, work to get open, make the skunkbears take them seriously and account for them.   
Yes, Braxton needs to make good reads, turn to Hyde and Smith to share the load, and recognize when the play just isn't there and get what he can get.  But if our receivers don't play well and our passing game doesn't click, that won't help much.   There were several plays I saw on replay of the Wisconsin game where a receiver ran his route and then, while Miller scrambled looking to find a target, just sort of stood there.   That cannot happen.   Yes, Miller is not as accurate as he could and will be, but he's more than good enough when our receivers get some separation.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Ross Fulton's picture

You are right. I put far more of the burden on the QB, because a QB can make average WR look good but not vice versa. That being said, OSU has about 1.5 receivers I trust. Really other than Philly, no one gets consistently open. And I agree, they gave up on their routes. Now, it is somewhat difficult when you run your route, and your QB just sits there, because you can't go into scramble drill mode, since he is not moving.

baddogmaine's picture

This seems a fairly serious indictment of the Buckeye offensive coaching staff. Any team can underperform for various reasons; even good coaches can face something unexpected. But there is no excuse for coaches as experienced as those patrolling the OSU sidelines and viewing the game from above to have been as unprepared for the both simple and obvious that WIS threw at us. There is no excuse for not adjusting to it at halftime. Perhaps Miller was panicing - if he is teachable, and he is, it is the coaches' responsibility to calm him down and give him guidance and call plays better designed to succeed.
AACC's run defense has not ben as strong as Whiskey's. But their overall defense has been; and if they do not need to think about anything else they will do what PUR and WIS did. We have one week to do what we apparrently have not done in twelve - counter a defense's obsession with zone-read runs with a package designed to exploit the gaps this obsession creates.
Meyer may have good reason for little confidence in our receivers - I have seen little from anyone that makes me think we have draftable bodies to work with. But the problem is only partly lack of brilliance on the field - the bigger problem is that our coaches either do not know how to develop a passing game or have just given up. Over the year we have faced very few really good receivers or QBs and yet opposing teams have consistently managed to put receivers in places where they could catch the ball. From the little I could see on TV our receivers wre not running routes against WIS that offered much of a chance for moving the chains, even five yards at a time. They were clustered together, they wre jogging, they were looking not for holes in the defense but mindlessly running into coverage. We don't necessarily need a vertical game but we do need plays that maximize what abilities our receivers and QB have, and 12 games in we are still not getting that from our coaches. A dropback game is not our strength but that does not mean our receivers can do nothing to help us.
Ross was confident on ESPN but I don't know what that is based on. I'm a pessamist, I admit it, but I also watch games and study stats and OSU is as unimpressive, as stubborn an unbeaten team on offense as I've seen in a while. An unimpressive team can win a champinship, but until that last win is secured those who cheer for the scarlet and grey have good reason for anxiety.

Ross Fulton's picture

Here is what I would say. There is theory and there is practice. I often talk in theory. Coaches do not have that luxury...


I know this will come off more harsly than I mean but I will say it nonetheless.  I do not think the coaching has a whole lot of confidence in Miller as a passer when things are tight. He is just too inconsistent. Then you put that together with the fact we have such a good run game, anyone's natural tendency is going to be to run the football.


Against Wisky they simply went to the well one too many times. I also think there are still some issues with meshing Herman and Meyer. By that I mean they have different natural instincts when the chips are down. Bad games, happen, even for coaches. They still got a W in a tough environment, and you live and you learn. In these columns Im simply trying to self-evaluate like the coaches would do when they watch film...

Earle's picture

I would go one step further and say that the coaching staff may rely too much on Braxton making a play in the running game even when the defense is geared to stop him.  Sure, he often makes good defensive schemes look bad, but you can't count on that against better defenses.  I know Miller made some bad reads and kept the ball when he should have given it away, but there seemed to be an awful lot of called runs for him when the defense was clearly prepared for it.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

baddogmaine's picture

I don't think Ross' assessment of Miller (or your assessmemt of the coaches' assessment of Miller) is harsh at all, I think it is accurate. But that should not mean that there is only one well to go to. By the end of Pryor's sophomore year his passing had been so unreliable the passing game was almost completely shut down for the last few games. But for the Rose Bowl JT and Bollman unleashed a package of short safe passes that beat an Oregon team that was totally unprepared for it. Miller is at a similar point in his development as TP had been. Miller could have beeen given that kind of package. We are in the ironic spot of wondering if Meyer is more conservative, less willing to deviate from his own version of Tressel ball than the Tresselmeister himself.
The question now is whether Meyer is ready to let the offense dip into a different well; if he is ready to insist if necessary that Miller look for a different well, or if we are going to try the same thing that didn't work last week only now try it against the very team that has been preparing itself to defend Miller all year by practicing against Robinson every day. I have seen too little that tells me that Meyer has a Plan B up his sleeve. Which means from an offensive standpoint we either will win with a ground game AACC is ready for but can't stop, or look bad losing.

OldColumbusTown's picture

Irony is at the forefront of my mind when thinking about this week's Game and the differences between Urban and Tressel.
For all of Tressel and his strategic faults, he always, always, always had an ace up his sleeve, and we always saw it during The Game (save for the few years where it was completely and utterly unnecessary).  Even last year under Bollman - Ohio State came out with an offense that looked fresh, relevant, and dangerous.  We always had a "where did that come from?" moment at some point.  It will be interesting to see how Urban measures up in that regard. 
Tressel was at his best during TTUN week.  My confidence never wavered that he'd have OSU prepared for TTUN, and that he'd break out something they were not prepared for.  I hope this is one thing Urban has taken away from studying Tressel's tenure at tOSU and the rivalry.

OldColumbusTown's picture

I will say I was very disappointed in the offensive gameplan initially when I watched the game... and after Ross's breakdown I am even more so.
Much of what we have all come to "love" about this offense compared to the previous regime, is the idea of constraint plays.  I truly believed this coaching staff would be one that would counteract a defense's willingness to sell out to stop one particular segment of the offense.  And don't get me wrong, we have seen it some, both with the run game and some in the passing game. 
However, again, I am disappointed that there are very blatantly obvious times when, even from the television, we can tell a constraint play could have or should have been used, but it is not.  The bubble screen opportunity on 3rd and 7 was the worst example.  Hyde's overall success in the run game, and the lack of willingness to consistently give him the ball was another.
The optimist in me, though, heard Urban say "we need to open this thing up," and I expect to see it on Saturday.  I'm not saying throw caution to the wind, but there are many, many opportunities to be had in this OSU offense, and I hope the staff allows the Buckeyes to use them.

bassplayer7770's picture

I'm with you.  Against Wisky, it would have been no more dangerous to run Hyde more often, and those short passes didn't seem very dangerous either when we were getting them consistently in the first half.  That was definitely a frustrating game to watch Offensively.

Ross Fulton's picture

So I went back and looked at the first two series of the third quarter. Upon further review, I think the coaches' play calling had a lot to do with Miller playing really poorly. He was not making good decisions and he would not throw the football unless a player was wide open. Here was the first series of the third quarter:

1st Series-Wisky 15
• 1st-10. Trips right to boundary. QB lead draw. 4 yds.
• 2d-5: 11. Trey left. Fake Belly quick hitch. 12 yd
• 1st-10: Trips right to boundary. IZ read. Miller keeps when shouldn’t. -2.
• 2d-12: 10. Doubles left. Fake IZ quick out. Brown open Miller doesn’t pull trigger. Runs out of bounds for 4 yd loss.
• 3d-16: Empty. Trips left, Hyde as h-back right. Inside screen to Hyde. Miller doesn’t pull trigger. Sacked


It is very difficult as a play-caller when you can't get your QB to execute.

osubuckeye4life's picture

Good write up Ross!
I can't wait to see how we attack TTUN on Saturday.
Are you going to have preview on how you think Meyer and Herman might attack TTUN this week?

Ross Fulton's picture

I would also add that OSU barely had the football in the second half. Their second drive stalled at the Wisconin 40 after they ran the all-vertical play on first down. They punted with 10:36 to go in the third Q. OSU did not get the ball back until the 4th quarter at 14:56 after a 15 play Wisconsin drive. 

OSU gained a first down but then got stuck way behind the chains because of Marcus Hall's holding penalty on second down and Michael Thomas' dumb late hit penalty. They get the ball back at the 9 minute mark. They go three and out (sketchy play calling on that drive: QB counter trey, OZ to the boundary to Brown, Miller sack on H-T option). They then did not get the ball back until Shazier forced the fumble with about 2:45 left.