This guest post was written by Ross Fulton, formerly of Buckeye Football Analysis and now with Scout and new Buckeye blog Along the Olentangy. Grab a pen and paper because he brings the football science, looking at the Buckeye 3-4 that you'll likely be seeing more of this season.
It is no secret that spread offenses -- those that employ 3 or 4 Wide Receivers and often line up in the shotgun with the threat of the quarterback as a runner--have proliferated in college football. What has received less attention is the innovative steps that defenses have recently taken to slow the spread down. Ohio State fans need look no further than the Ohio State defense to see a perfect example. Ohio State has adapted a 3-4 'half eagle; half under' look that works seamlessly with both Ohio State's nickel and traditional 4-3 under fronts to create a spectrum of potential fronts to combat the wide variety of offenses Ohio State will see. Ohio State's defense is leading the way in combating the spread offense that now proliferate in the college game, reflecting why it is annually one of the nation's best defenses.
A Quick Note on Techniques... To fully understand what Ohio State's defense is doing, it is helpful to have an understanding of defensive gaps and defensive techniques. To the right is a basic look at gaps and techniques (via MGoBlog). The letters correspond to the gaps the defense is responsible for. Ohio State is a '1' gap defense, meaning that each defensive player will be responsible for a single gap. The numbers then correspond to the techniques that a defensive linemen plays. Even numbers mean the defensive linemen is head up on the corresponding offensive linemen. So a '0' technique is a nose guard that is straight up on the center. An odd technique is then shaded over into the gap. A '1' technique is a nose guard that is in the gap between the center and guard. A '4i" technique, as you might expect, is in between the two. There, the defensive linemen essentially lines up on the offensive tackle's inside leg, splitting the defensive linemen's body with that leg. That is why it is said he lines up on the offensive tackle's 'eye.' Now, lets turn to how techniques fit into defensive schemes.