Initial reports out of camp have the quarterback battle pairing down to the elder statesman and the young buck. This is not surprising as one is long on experience and the other long on simmering potential. That leaves Ohio State’s offensive minds two options to explore as far as ‘how’ to attack defenses with the quarterbacks in tow. The first, and obvious, is a run heavy, play action attack with Joe “the Buckeyes are going 7-5’ Bauserman. The second, and sexier, alternative is a no huddle spread attack with Braxton Miller.
If Bauserman waddles out there it has to be a run heavy attack because any defensive coordinator worth his paycheck will overload the box and dare Bauserman to win the game with his arm. Please no. If Miller comes out of the gate the opposing defensive coordinator has to acknowledge the running variable of the youngster.
The first offensive option the Buckeyes can utilize is obvious; pro I formation with Boren lead blocking for the stable of backs. This would allow clock management, field position and a tough defense to coalesce to overcome Bauserman’s lack of actual skill. This tactical theory would allow him a shot with effective play action buying him time to find Stoneburner or Hall.
The no huddle spread attack in either Trips (three WR to one side) or Aces (two WR to each side) is the other option Ohio State could explore. The fast-paced style of attack could play to the offense’s favor while turning an apparent weakness, inexperience, into a strength by forcing a talented athlete to just play.
Look at the quandary from the defensive coordinator’s perspective. If I see #14, I am walking the strong safety down over top of Stoneburner and run blitzing with the linebackers while reminding the defensive ends to sniff out screens on first and second down. On third down Bauserman is going to get blitzed because he has zero mobility and to ensure discomfort.
On the other hand, #5 has the ability to escape the rush and slash the defense. In other words, he is a threat to the defense. Imagine Miller in the gun with Berry flanking him and Hall, Stoneburner, and Brown off to one side. Picture Reed isolated on the other, I am taking the SAM backer out and asking an undersized nickel to cover Stoneburner or a slower linebacker to tackle Hall in space. Or, I am blitzing the young qb and risking his athletic ability buying him time to find the open man.
Todd Boeckman was replaced by Terrelle Pryor because USC blitzed Boeckman and Tressel realized that every team on out would follow that same successful theory (even with a healthy Beanie our beloved squad would have met the same demise). Bauserman is Boeckman’s shorter clone, both are/were bad.
The biggest reason for not embracing the no huddle is that it removes the fullback from the field of play which is less than optimal because Boren is one hell of a player. However, that is only temporary as the no huddle attack can set up the ground and pound clock-draining attack of the I formation which can be utilized, not as the offensive strategy of choice, but rather as one of the bullets in the offense’s overall assault package.