Saturday Observations: Will Screen Plays Beat Us?

jdagrava.1's picture
December 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

I'm very happy to walk into work today with my head held high.  Not only did my Buckeyes win The Game, but the mighty Tide fell, giving us an opportunity to play for the crystal football.  With that said, I'd like to share some observations from Saturday that caught my attention.
Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde are absolute beasts.  This is not news, but their efforts must be recognized.  We've played That Team Up North for over a century with multiple Heisman winners lining up in Scarlet and Grey and Saturday was the FIRST time that we've had two 100-yard rushers in The Game.  Bravo, boys.
The offensive line has a more than capable back-up in Pat Elflein.  He may have a strange name and TTUN may have been playing a "spy" defense, but he quickly made me forget the ejection of Marcus Hall.  Well done.
There is no need to throw 50+ yard passes on 3rd and 10-20 but we did it at least three times on Saturday with the intention to do it at least twice more.  Yes, one of these plays turned into a beautiful pitch and catch to Devin Smith for a score.  But the others did not work out with Braxton having to scramble or get sacked or the throws falling incomplete.  I know that TTUN has a suspect secondary, but we can't expect a homerun on every pass play!  Were these bombs a product of the play calling or Braxton's decision-making, I cannot say for sure.  But would it kill us to run a few 15 yard routes on 3rd and 9 instead of 4 "Go" routes?
TTUN should have NEVER torn us up the way they did.  It was embarrassing.  And even worse than the number of yards was the lack of adjustments made by the coaching staff.  The 2nd best team in the country should not be allowing a 14 point lead to slip away in the fourth quarter to one of the worst (statistically) offenses in the FBS - I don't care if it is on the road or a rivalry game.  Fickell/Withers needed to do better.
Is the screen pass the key to beating Ohio State?  Because it sure looked to be on Saturday.  I lost count how many times I saw a majority of TTUN's offensive line pull out in front of some sort of screen play.  I'm not a football coach or professional football analyst, but the last I checked the typical screen play is set up to counter an aggressive, blitzing defense.  Get the defenders to chase the ball long enough to set up blockers in front of a RB/TE/WR and get the ball into the playmakers' hands just before the blitz gets to the QB.  This is all fine and good.... except for the fact that Ohio State WASN'T RUNNING AN AGGRESSIVE DEFENSIVE SCHEME!!!  We played our typical zone defense for a majority of the game (as usual) and somehow were burned time and time again by the screen plays.  And it could have been even worse if the double pass would have worked - Did you see the green grass and 3-man convoy that Gardener had in front of him when the pass sailed over his head?  It was 6 for sure.
The Buckeye's blitz, when they used it, was ineffective at best.  The Silver Bullets recorded 3 sacks against an offense that is in the bottom five in the country in allowing tackles for loss.  Did Taylor Lewan share his roids with the rest of the O-line that morning?  I don't know, but they made our blitzing packages look very weak.
Anyway, I'm just wanted to share this with you guys (and gals) to see if anyone else shares my opinion... or if I was just so sauced by the end of the game that I just created these little fantasies in my head.
Go Bucks!

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