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Member since 13 January 2014 | Blog

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Comment 23 May 2016

One of the most effective ways for an offense to stress an opponent's defense is, as the author suggests, to first take advantage of the defense's tendencies and preferential alignments.  This is done both in pregame preparation, and most especially, through in-game adjustments, as in last year's later-season games against TTUN and Notre Dame, from a dedicated offensive coordinator who is in the booth.

In order to make a defense uncomfortable, attack its vulnerabilities early, disrupt its continuity, and then, once the defense is taken out of its "comfort zone," it becomes easier to call offensive plays based on your strengths, however, continuing to vary play calling to "keep the defense honest."  If a defense overloads against the run, call some early, high-percentage passes, make the defense adjust, and then run at them, continuing to vary the play calling in order to adjust to what the defense is doing.

The key is in-game adjustments in real time to directly attack to what the defense is doing.  An offense that is "stubborn," and, regardless of how the defense aligns to begin the game, tries, from the beginning of the game, to force the play as it wants to play, is an offense that is likely to be less successful.

The priority should be to first disrupt the defense, then call plays to the offense's strengths.

Comment 19 May 2016

I'm also optimistic about 2016.  One of the biggest challenges in 2016 is the team staying healthy . . . if it does, the talent will show through even more as the year progresses.  While players being physically and mentally ready to execute is always necessary, 2016 will be a bigger challenge for the coaching staff . . . to guide a talented but inexperienced team.  We have, I believe, that coaching staff.

If the game-day offensive coordination runs as it did late last year against TTUN and Notre Dame, primarily through Coach Warinner focused on the OC responsibilities from the booth, then that aspect of in-game coaching will be better than last year.  And on the defensive side of the ball, Coach Ash will be missed, but Coach Schiano is a more than capable replacement.

Go Buckeyes!

Comment 09 May 2016

It may be a cliche, but cliches sometimes hold a kernel of the truth:  The offense has to take what the defense gives them.

An offense that stubbornly refuses to adapt in-game, and directly attack the vulnerabilities of any particular defensive alignment or approach, is an offense that will likely under perform.  Sometimes an offense can overwhelm a defense, no matter how they align.  But often an offense must adapt, in-game, to what the defense gives them.  When the Buckeyes have offensively under performed in the recent past, especially against Sparty, this has often been the case.  When they have succeeded against MSU, as when they put up 49 points in 2014 in East Lansing, they have attacked the defense in just this way.  This attack-the-defense approach to the offense has to become the norm.  Pass when they expect you to run . . . run when they expect you to pass.

From the booth, the offensive coordinator can see specifically what the defense is doing, and adapt the game plan to that reality.  Cheat the DBs forward at little bit to stop the run. Fine, here's a 15 yard pass down the middle to the TE.  It worked against Notre Dame.

Comment 25 Apr 2016

BGSU  W 45-17  Shaky first quarter . . . solid second half

TULSA  W 42-21  2nd game letdown early, pull away late

@ Oklahoma  W 28-21  Late Buckeye comeback off TO(s)

RUTGERS  W 52-17  Too much offensive talent for Scarlet Knights to handle

INDIANA  W 56-21  Indiana pesky early, as usual

@Wisconsin  W 28-17  Game closer than score indicates

@Penn State W 35-14  Too much in second half for PSU

NORTHWESTERN W 49-10  Wildcats not on this week, Bucks are

NEBRASKA W 35-21  Cornhuskers will give the Buckeyes a game

@Maryland W 52-14  Again, too much offensive talent for Terrapins to handle

@Michigan State W 45-17  Revenge in EL is sweet.  Points off late MSU TOs cap impressive win.

TTUN W 38-24  Bucks pull away late.  Mike Weber scores 4 touchdowns, last one on a 62 yard run.

B1G Championship game:  Nebraska W 42-17  Too much this time for Nebraska

CFP first game:  Florida State W 38-21

CFP championship: Alabama W 28-24

Comment 24 Apr 2016

I hear you, and initially thought that way too.  After a couple of seasons with it, I like the new format.  Each division winner is rewarded for regular season performance by playing one the two wild cards, with the division winner with the most points playing the lowest seeded wild card, similar to the "old" format.

But, with the new format, the divisional rivalries are now highlighted in the first round.  Makes for some unusual match-ups based on the regular season, but enhances the divisional aspect of play in the playoffs.  One improvement that could be made:  in the second round go back to a seeding arrangement, so that the best remaining team in a conference doesn't play the second best team remaining in the conference, as with Washington and Pittsburgh this year.  I like the early round divisional matchups, but understand why others might not.

Comment 24 Apr 2016

KBonay, recently, either in 2013 or 2014, the NHL went to a "divisional" format in the playoffs, seeking to match-up divisional rivals more frequently in the playoffs, rather than the traditional 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7 and so on.  This made it more likely that divisional opponents would meet in the playoffs, especially in the early rounds, and was envisioned to be of more interest to most fans.  So, match-ups like Penguins/Rangers, Blackhawks/Blues, Red Wings/Lightning and Kings/Sharks are going to occur in the first round as the 2nd and 3rd place teams in each division automatically meet in the first round of the playoffs.

In the first round, the number 1 seed in each conference, the division winner with the most points,  plays the lower seeded of two conference wild card teams, the other division winner, regardless of points, plays the other wild card team in the conference.  The division winners have "earned" the right to play the lower seeds.  But since the top 3 teams in each division are guaranteed a playoff spot, it was thought that divisional teams, #2 and #3 in each division, should match up in the first round.  This is also more likely in the 2nd round, as with Washington, the top team in the East, playing Pittsburgh, with the second most regular season points in the East.  The new format is really highlighting divisional rivalries in the playoffs.

Comment 05 Apr 2016

Tony Gwynn.  Best pure hitter I ever saw.

Lifetime batting average of .338 over 20 seasons, winning eight batting titles.  From 1994 to 1997 he hit, 0.394, 0.368, 0.353 and 0.372.  He played in every All-Star game from 1984 to 1999, except in 1988, when he hit "only" 0.313, which, by the way, won the NL batting title that year.  His post-season batting average was 0.306, hitting 0.371 in two World Series.

In 2,440 career games, he only had 34 multi-strikeout games, with 434 career strikeouts in 10,232 career plate appearances.  Over his career, the odds were better that he would get 4 hits in a game than he would strikeout twice.

Comment 19 Mar 2016

Middle of the fourth quarter, after the seventh touchdown, Buckeyes go for two against Michigan State to make it an even 50-0 . . . windmill on that Sparty.  Everything else is gravy.

Comment 19 Mar 2016

"That said, it's a safe expectation that you need the run to set up the pass."

That has been the traditional approach, and for good reason.  It's generally worked.  And worked quite well. 

But there is something to be said for passing more on first down -- sometimes downfield, sometimes on shorter, higher-percentage-completion routes -- and for the pass to sometimes set up the run.

Throw a 6 yard completion on first down.  Get the defense thinking about the pass.  Then run right at them.  This is an effective way to diversify the offense.  Don't be too predictable. Keep the defense honest.  Mix it up. Sometimes employ a fast-tempo offense.  Even -- throw to the tight end -- ha.  But don't be too predictable.  Being predictable takes pressure off their defense.

Ohio State has had great success with a run-centered offense.  Ohio State has traditionally prided itself on a brute force running game.  But I have to believe that a more diversified offense, a better balance between running and throwing, will help to permanently place Ohio State in more national championship games, especially given the more consistent performance that we are seeing from the defensive side of the ball.  I am really looking forward to the 2016 season and a better balance between running the ball and throwing the ball.  And I suspect that the OL will be very good, very quickly, making all this more easy to accomplish.

Comment 13 Feb 2016

Joey Bosa was quite honest in his comments, I think shortly after the MSU game, about those expectations being "a struggle for us."

As for next year, while there will be much less of a "burden" of expectation, there will be much less "margin for error" with respect to the coaching staff, but here there is much reason for optimism as Coach Meyer recognized that changes needed to be made after the MSU game, especially in the approach toward offensive coordination, and effective changes were made, resulting in noticeable improvements against TTUN and Notre Dame.  Those improvements should carry over into next year, as well as the additions that have been made to the coaching staff, on both sides of the ball.

If the offensive coordination is handled more effectively, and the defense adjusts post-Chris Ash, which I think are both quite likely, next year will be a very good year for Buckeye football.  I'll say it again . . . the talent is there, it needs, now more than ever, to be coached.

Comment 13 Feb 2016

The talent and depth at virtually every position is there . . . but it needs to be coached.  I'm optimistic about 2016, even the Oklahoma game.  Almost no one expects this team to win in Norman.

Unlike last year, there will be virtually no "burden" of expectation.  If the player talent that is present on this team is coached, and if sound pre-game preparations and in-game adjustments are made on a game-by-game basis, the talent will show and many wins will ensue.  It will be a challenge, for each of the players to physically and mentally prepare themselves and for the coaches to further develop that talent, especially early in the year, but, if there is a team in the country that can do it, it is this year's Buckeyes.

I anticipate that 2016 will be a very good year.

Comment 06 Feb 2016

I also think part of the change in the secondary is in the current offensive approach to the game and the skill-sets of many of today's offensive players.  While the health (injury) situation at safety may have something to do with the interchangeability of cornerbacks and safeties for next year's team, there has also been a trend, as a response to the increasing complexity of offenses in football, to change up the approaches and looks in the secondary, to give the opposing offense something different to look at.  It is a little harder for the offense to attack a specific position in the secondary, such as exploiting a faster receiver against a safety in man coverage in a three/four wide receiver set, if the DBs, whether there are 4 or 5 of them, are employed in a more interchangeable manner.  Just as offenses are blurring the traditional distinctions about positions, becoming more flexible, so have defenses begun to respond.

As today's football players, especially at the offensive "skill" positions, have become more athletic and versatile, the traditional distinctions concerning defensive positions have been adjusted to respond.

Comment 04 Feb 2016

You're right.  One thing I would add, without having specific numbers to back it up, is that we lose very few of the top Ohio players to schools out of the region.  Our principle recruiting competition, certainly for the top in-state talent, has primarily been Notre Dame, Michigan (but not so much lately) and Michigan State and, quite frankly, we haven't lost large numbers of Ohio players that we really wanted.  Some, but not many.

In 2016, the only top Ohio player to leave the region was Prince Sammons to Auburn, which I don't think anyone had predicted much in advance, and he is going there to play on the offensive line, not the defensive line.  And we had decided, for some reason(s), to stop pursuing Sammons.

The coaching staff has done a very good job, with a few exceptions like Kraemer and Eichenberg in 2016, to get most of the in-state talent that "fits."  The coaching staff deserves much credit for this.  For the immediate future, with so few highly-ranked DTs in the Midwest, we need to develop a strategy to get a few DTs from other regions of the country, especially the south.  I'm confident that the coaching staff will do just that.

Comment 04 Feb 2016

Great point.  Looks like 2017 will, overall, be a good class from Ohio.  As for DTs, here is 247Sports breakdown of the top 2017 DT national recruits. 

Jerron Cage comes in at #14 nationally, with none above him from the Midwest, with Fred Hansard and Corey Bolds from New Jersey and Eric Crosby, Breyon Gaddy and Darnell Ewell from Virginia in the top 15 nationally for 2017 DT recruits.  Oddly, Nevada has 2 and Utah has 1 in the top 15.

There are 22 total 4-star or higher DT recruits in the 2017 class . . . let's go get 1 or 2 more. 

Comment 04 Feb 2016

According to 247 Sports, Ohio State already has verbal commits from 6 of the top 12 2017 recruits from Ohio, and 4 of the top 5 in the state, all of them 4 or 5-star recruits, with a few others also targeted.  It is a matter of in-state talent balancing team need, coupled with players available at key positions from other states.  But, as the OP says, with a smaller likely class in 2017, some talented players will chose, as some always do, to play elsewhere.  Realistically, the top young football players from Ohio, who "fit" with the team, should be most actively pursued.

Comment 04 Feb 2016

According to 247 Sports, the 2016 Ohio Class had 2 5-star recruits (Tommy Kraemer and Jonathon Cooper) and 10 4-stars.  Ohio State got "only" 5 of the 12 4/5-stars from Ohio:  J. Cooper, D. McCall, J. Hausmann, T. Gerald and L. Farrell.  For contrast, Lousiana had 3 5-star and 11 4-star recruits, 14 total 4/5-stars, 11 of whom chose to attend LSU.

Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg chose Notre Dame, Brendan Ferns chose West Virginia, George Hill chose Pitt, Justin Layne and Messiah deWeaver chose Michigan State and Prince Sammons chose Auburn (where, reportedly, he will be playing on the offensive line).

I assume we would have liked Kraemer, Eichenberg, Ferns and Layne in this class, where Hill, deWeaver and Sammons, for various reasons, didn't "fit,"  although Keandre Jones may have been preferred to Brendan Ferns and, with both Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor, Layne may not have preferred (?).