Film Study: How Ohio State Revived A Struggling Red Zone Offense in the Final Month of the 2018 Season

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Hovenaut's picture

Not overlooking who Ohio State is offensively in this day and age (spread sets, multiple receivers, dual-threat QB), but man I'd love to see the Buckeyes call on a jumbo set and run some smash-mouth in short yardage/goal-line situations when needed.

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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RunEddieRun1983's picture

I was literally going to comment something similar in that when you line up every down in the shotgun and you try and run inside the five yard line, your RB is already at a disadvantage because he gets the ball with no head of steam and probably is already trying to look past the LOS to find a gap.

In those situations, line up in pro form single set with an extra tight end, or an offset-I or hell, throw in the jump and get your guy in the endzone.

It's not something I'd want to base an entire offense around, but in situations it is super effective. 

Urban Meyer left an incredible legacy. 12/4/18 Ryan Day begins his.

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BuckeyeBen7.7's picture

It's not something I'd want to base an entire offense around, but in situations it is super effective. 

Not having the numbers in front of me, I would assume that Wisconsin is super effective in short yardage and goal line situations.

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Kyle Jones's picture

Here are the full red zone stats from last season: http://www.cfbstats.com/2018/leader/national/team/offense/split01/catego...

Wisconsin was solid, ranking 23rd in TD rate inside the 20. However, the best team in this regard was UCF (whose offense is nearly identical to OSU's) while Washington State (4th) and Clemson (6th) show that bigtime spread teams can still get it done close to the goal-line. Navy and Air Force are also extremely efficient inside the red zone, and while most people think of their style as physical because of all the running, the flexbone is really the ultimate finesse system. Pure smashmouth football doesn't seem to be the key to success down in short yardage, but rather showing multiple threats and executing.

BuckeyeBen7.7's picture

Thanks for pulling that up Kyle. 

If UCF, WSU, and Clemson can get it done, there’s no reason the local team shouldn’t be top 25 either. 

No surprise about Air Force and Navy either. Having played in a triple option offense during for 7 years through middle and high school, we always preached three yards on every play, stay on schedule. Since teams often stack the box, not much changes for them in the red zone. And because of the way the blocking schemes create little creases everywhere and the multiple options, as a defense you have to completely shut down all three options to get a no gain. Stopping a triple offense from getting three yards is hard, stopping them from getting 1-2 yards on four plays near the goal line is damn near impossible if they don’t mess up.

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Extramedium's picture

That only gets you 9 yards though 

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BuckeyeBen7.7's picture

Ryan Day really is just an offensive genius.

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HideandZeke's picture

With Coach Day’s explosive offense, a mobile QB, receiving group that’s getting way better and a back field that can carry the load, I have no doubt, OSU will be in the top 10 for red zone by the end of regular season. 

After every snap you hit'em and you hit'em and you hit'em if you feel you didn’t hit'em enough hit'em some more

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HARDDRIVE's picture

That last example was a pretty good snapshot of what kind of big time throws Haskins can make.

After reading all the draft scouts hammer Dwayne for his lack of accuracy on down field throws, I've decided that they only watched early season film and made up their minds too quick. He was pretty much lights out the last 4-5 games and had tightened up his game so much from the beginning of the year. Stepping up into the pocket, delivering a strike over the backer and before the safety can get over is a professional throw.

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Extramedium's picture

He is more of a runner after all

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allinosu's picture

I think a lot of the reason for the lack of success was penalties. How many times did we see the line do something that drew flags once we entered the red zone. It got so bad that every time we entered the red zone I was preaching at the line through the TV not to jump or hold. Just cleaning that up is huge. 

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booj's picture

Red zone scoring % is one of those metrics that just grates, every damn time. Did you kick a field goal or score a touchdown? doesn't matter, counts the same to this silly metric. Did you go for it on 4th down and pin your opponent on the goal line? kind of different than missing a field goal attempt or throwing a pick. What about hitting a skinny post from the 21? doesn't count. If the metric demands an arbitrary line, the 20 is a bad arbitrary line to choose. If the metric demands binary descriptors to nonbinary outcomes, it's a bad metric.

At very LEAST use something like points per scoring opportunity (trip inside the 40). 

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buckeye phi's picture

Great piece, as usual, Kyle.  In my opinion, yours are still the best articles of their kind on this site - or on any other, for that matter. 

As Harddrive mentioned above, Haskins' accuracy was remarkable on some of the plays highlighted.  I'm just hoping Fields accuracy proves to be even close to that.  If so, Coach Day won't have to rely on his running ability so much - even though he obviously could if he decided to. 

I would like to see Fields run only enough to force defenses to honor the threat.  Depth (or at least proven depth) at QB is an issue for us this season.  I like the idea of running Fields as little as possible - under those conditions. 

If we can get defensive players to hesitate for even just an instant because of their renewed concern for the QB keeper, he should be able to get the ball in to the hands of his talented receivers (and RBs) even more effectively.  They should be able to get yet another step or so on the coverage. 

I'm going to be very surprised if this year's offense isn't about as explosive as it was last year.  A little different perhaps - but about as explosive.  Including red-zone scoring -

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. - Will Rogers

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Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

That option play where Weber scored in The Game should work very well with the threat Fields brings with his legs.

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ibuck's picture

I would like to see Fields run only enough to force defenses to honor the threat.  Depth (or at least proven depth) at QB is an issue for us this season.  I like the idea of running Fields as little as possible - under those conditions. 

If we can get defensive players to hesitate for even just an instant because of their renewed concern for the QB keeper, he should be able to get the ball in to the hands of his talented receivers (and RBs) even more effectively.  They should be able to get yet another step or so on the coverage. 

Hear, Hear. Throw it here! Speed & an extra second are key.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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BuckeyeinFlorida's picture

Is the UCF O line coach looking for work ? Hopefully Mr. Studrawa has the most successful year of his entire career this season. There is certainly room for improvement. The talent is there.

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Nutinpa's picture

Penalties aside.....and I admit they were a glaring issue for this O line, it is also safe to say that Coach Stud's O line play improved as soon as the Offense found an identity.  When the schemes confused the O Line, the play suffered.  When Meyer, Day, and Wilson simplified things and finally got on the same page, the Offense as a whole, including the Line, flourished.  

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nickel beer's picture

Just a note on Haskins > wow.  And replacing him down in there may be the challenge this year

half machine

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ibuck's picture

Haskins > wow.  And replacing him down in there may be the challenge

Yep. Dwyane's accuracy paired with good hands by receivers brought success on those plays. 

If Field's accuracy (or defense reading) or receivers snag-ability falls off a bit on such plays, more field goal attempts may result. Of course, OSU could run different plays though superior blocking or route running.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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nickel beer's picture

The wheel route--if that was intended from the start, that Haskins was to look away, then turn maybe more than 90deg just for that route, it was like jedi sense.  Dwayne did have his occasional lapses, but not so often--in fact, infrequent.  But, you're right Day will not get stuck in any play-calling rut and he'll know what works with what he's got.  I think those first several weeks last year taught him a lot.

half machine

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Trebor40's picture

This film study article brings me back to two separate message board conversations 

One - Our offense late in the year was deadly enough that I did not care about playing Alabama or Clemson, they would score somewhere between 30-45 we would score somewhere between 30-45 it would have been a hell of a game! 

Two - for all the warranted complaints about our defense, Purdue had two huge factors that derailed our team. A player freaking TUMBLED into a punter giving them a fresh set and tremendous field position and our offense was pathetic on the opponents 40 yard line and in! I am not going to jump through cosmic hoops just simply this line of reasoning 

No penalty on that fourth and all things being equal they score 42 pts

I our offense scores three touchdowns out of 5 possessions and SUBTRACTED both those field goals we lose 42-35 and go to the playoffs to face likely Bama and by the end of the year as you all watch this series of highlights who knows! 

I would rather be on hand with 10 men then elsewhere with 10,000 - Timur Lenk

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TURD_BUCKET's picture

The Bucks still ranked #2 in overall scoring last year, IIRC  Imagine what could've been with more consistency near the goal line.  Hopefully, no more "Yeah, we got to get that fixed" this year.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

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dfrease's picture

Man Haskins was accurate.....

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Ghbuck23's picture

That I can’t run my QB so I have no redzone offense was an 100% Urban Meyer thing . They would QB run 95% of the time & didn’t know what to do when they couldn’t run their QB.

Heck it’s crazy how it was the same thing with Cardale & How they would evolve or overhaul the whole system with Haskins until we lost to Purdue.

Clemson, Bama and NFL teams & 99% of college football teams were scoring TDs in the redzone with less mobile QBs and the faulty logic of always trying to use your QB to run.

The QB run should be a wrinkle not the main staple it was with JT and Braxton under center.

We wouldn’t even QB sneak from center under Urban , that’s how stubborn the offensive philosophy was .

Win Baby , Win

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nickel beer's picture

Thing especially troublesome last year was that as the field got short the O couldn't run anybody effectively (Add the penalties in, and lose even more hair.)  That outputt really didn't improve until blocking modifications were implemented, and even improved before Haskins started running effectively--which is some of your point, right.  On a separate note, I think Day was really impressed with his work with W&S.  Add in the new receivers coach, we really have an O-staff package better than ... well, for a long long long time. 

half machine

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BUInvent's picture

A lot of people forget how much our red zone offense cost us last year. We took 4 trips to the red zone against Purdue and scored 0 touchdowns.

Go Bucks

HS