Why the Running Game is Working This Year So Well

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popeurban's picture

Urban and the announcers pointed out how much easier it is for JK with the threat of a qb who can run (Fields) with the zone read.  

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Beantown_Buckeye's picture

Yeah, to me this has always been the bigger help for RBs. The passing game was lethal last year but the run game was predictable with no zone read.

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bucks4nuts's picture

Shouldn’t be the case .. running qb threat or not .. should be able to run the ball out of gun 

"To The House"

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linepilot15's picture

Maybe so but it sure doesn't hurt that they can't just key on the RB and not worrying about the QB

linepilot

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Kangarooman's picture

The running QB is Meyers andwer for everything. Teams have run the ball without a dual threat QB

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JohnnyKozmo's picture

Exactly...Wisky RBs seem to do ok every year with statues at QB.  

You're too stupid to have a good time. -Dalton

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Stellar's picture

Exactly. Wisconsin has done "ok". But their results would be unacceptable to Ohio State. They've lost less than 3 games once this decade. They went 8-5 last year. Buckeye fans would be screaming for everyone to be fired with results like that. Yes they have generally had solid running games but their offense isn't nearly good enough for what Ohio State expects

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gobucks1966's picture

Teams like Whiskey are set up to run from day one that's their style. Last year we changed lineman around for pass protection first run second. One was better than the other by a eye lash but I felt both backs last year didn't excel and blame pass protection more than run blocking the reason. RB's play with a rythum if you get stuffed time after time it takes a toll mentally and looking for who will hit you over finding a hole to run through a couple old time rb's told me that?

Denny

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awlinBrutus's picture

It’s more about the vertical passing game imo. If Fields can’t consistently move the ball throwing teams will gradually shrink the box on him. Indiana defended the short crossing pretty good. But that route accounts for 2 defenders, Someone is open. So far our offense is making defenses defend the entire field,harder to do without a mobile QB.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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Extramedium's picture

Our vertical passing game was fine last season.

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logamaniac's picture

I’m happy it’s working right now but let’s be careful with all the gladclapping until we play a defense with a pulse. 

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The Rill Dill's picture

Considering Indiana and Cincinnati level teams have given us plenty of problems in the past, I’m going to say we are progressing. They have a pulse.

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logamaniac's picture

Cinci is 41 and Indiana is 52.  Flatline. 

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bd2999's picture

I mean OSU beat them by those numbers, I think IU was 51. But we do not know that there defense was garbage either. If OSU went out and hung 51 on Wisconsin one could argue that they had a bad defense because OSU scored that much on them. Just have to watch things like that. 

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Buckeyeneer's picture

Over the years on this site, I have found Rill Dill to be one of the most honest of OSU fans when it comes to how good (or bad) we are. If he thinks we're progressing well . . . welp that's good enough for me.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

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The Rill Dill's picture

Thank you. Signed, The RILL DILL

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OSU725's picture

Couple of things I believe. First of all as mentioned having Fields who is as dangerous of a runner as you can get in the backfield helps. I think the fact they have jumped out to large leads has allowed them to attack defenses in a balanced fashion. The competition I believe has been a factor as well. I also think the offensive line is much better. I think Michael Jordan was playing out of position and the guys they have are just better run blockers than the guys from last year. 

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buckeye phi's picture

It's not just a more natural fit at center (although, I do agree with that assessment).  It's better, more aggressive play across the line, in my opinion. 

Munford is more experienced, finally healthy - and thus, even better than last year.  Jackson is extremely experienced and a tough dude.  Myers is obviously smart enough to play center and he's probably the strongest guy on the team (with the exception of Togiai).  Davis may be the toughest of the bunch and quite talented.  And Bowen is picking up right where he left off as one of our better linemen. 

Even more importantly, Coach Stud has them playing very well as a unit.  And that's extraordinary, considering how long they've been playing together.  

Plus - as others have mentioned - having a legit running threat at QB is important. 

However, I'm not going to go overboard on praising anyone on the team until I see it against better competition.  But so far - so good -

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

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jeroe's picture

There are 2 reasons.  This line is much better run blocking and as also mentioned the read option is not effective if there is no threat of the QB pulling and running the ball.  The D has to stay honest or it will get burnt!  If we use Dobbins and Teague together we are going  beat teams up.  The only thing missing is the speed at the H-Back.  If someone steps up to make that sweep a threat look out!  If This running game continues to progress, Fields and Young stays healthy the Bucks will be very dangerous!
 

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Spartan13's picture

*whispers* Josh Myers is playing out of position and will move to guard next year before having a long NFL career at guard

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hairlessnutts's picture

When jackson graduates myers will slide over to gaurd miller at center and NPF at right tackle starting essentially 4 5* offensive lineman ..... OSU problems

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BuckTD's picture

Seriously, we’ve always moved guys around on the interior to get the best combination on the field because the abilities required are basically the same. This year is no different because with 3 stud guards we moved Myers to center to field the best oline we can.

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stxbuck's picture

Donald Duck could average 5 ypc behind this line with the way it has played this year. The whole “natural C” thing is a bunch of hooey. Michael Jordan played well last year, despite not liking the position. Josh Myers never played C until he got to tOSU. Billy Price and Pat Elflein were both AAs at C despite switching to the position mid-tOSU career.

Jackson and Davis are nastier and more powerful than their predecessors on the interior, and Myers has  gotten comfortable enough to live up to his press clippings. The OL is collectively talented, and, with the exception of Munford-hungry to start/get extended PT for the first time at tOSU.

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macdaddybuckeyesupreme's picture

Micheal Jordan kept snapping the ball into the ground last year...

Successful people do what they have to, whether they feel like it or not

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allinosu's picture

Every game on multiple occasions. It cracked me up against UM when it was so bad Haskins had to step forward and UM though it was a sneak and rushed the middle while Haskins pitched it out for an easy TD.

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JimmyVanP's picture

He was in the discussion for Rimington... which would have been our 3rd straight award winner at that position despite all 3 being former Guards.

"I feel ready for whatever awaits me on the other side. I don’t fear adversity. I don’t fear the spotlight. I don’t fear success. And I don’t fear failure." - Braxton Miller

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Independence Village 22's picture

Dobbins actually broke some tackles and played with a mean streak. I dont think Donald Duck is going to truck stick his way through 6 Indiana defenders. Couple of those runs were Heisman highlight worthy.

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Rocket Man's picture

I agree Dobbins is better, but living with that speech impediment all those years has made Donald one angry Duck.  Don't underestimate that guy.

 Success - it's what you do with what you've got.  - Woody Hayes

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ANOTHERMICHIGANLOSS's picture

Plus he doesn't wear pants.  Never sleep on a guy with no pants.

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BuckeyeCrusdader's picture

When I’m a guy with no pants I hope a hot girl sleeps on me

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BuckeyeGoneNuts's picture

I don't really buy the whole "play at their natural position" stuff.  If anything, we've shown over the past decade that (versatile) guys like Price, Elflein, Jordan etc etc can move around and excel wherever they play.

I also don't buy this "you have to have a running QB threat to have a running game" stuff.  Teams have had great running games since forever without having a QB that can run.  Last I checked Wisconsin doesn't really use much of a running QB.  It's more overall scheme and O-line play that dictates the success of the running game (along with the skill of the RB of course).

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Independence Village 22's picture

Power running is Wisconsins identity. You dont have to have a dual threat QB to run but it's the difference between 4.5 ypc or 7.2 ypc. It helps lol
Wisky sacrifices some other areas to get a higher ypc.

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Stellar's picture

https://youtu.be/B3D5MDpiKEY

If you haven't seen this yet it's a great explanation from Coach Meyer about how the power spread offense works and why having a QB who is at least a threat to run the ball is so helpful.

The long and the short of it is that a QB that is capable of running occupies an extra defender that would otherwise be focused on the RB. Involving the QB in the run game evens up the numbers for the offense and prevents the RB from getting hit by an unblocked defender. If you take your QB out of the run game then if essentially becomes 10 vs 11 but if you keep him involved the defense is forced to cover him and that evens up the numbers.

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Stellar's picture

"There is a reason why in the NFL coaches don't just try to plug an offensive linemen into a position they shouldn't be playing."

This isn't true. Of course NFL coaches don't Want to do this, but they do. NFL rosters are very short any they often don't have a fullly qualified two deep across the offensive line. You can only play with the players you have. Injuries and attrition often force guys to play out of their natural position. Coaches would usually rather put their 5 best available linemen on the field than only play guys at their "natural" position. And even if they don't want to they often have no choice. That's basically what happened with OSU last year as Meyers wasn't ready and Taylor was a bust so they put their best and most experience interior linemen (Jordan) at the most important spot on the OL. An NFL coach would have done the same thing in that situation

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seyekcuB's picture

It's nice to see them not be in shotgun every snap. The backs can actually get a little a couple steps to the hole before contact.

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RunEddieRun1983's picture

IMO Zone read and a QB that can threaten the defense with his legs is a bigger factor.

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

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Iwannagobacktoohiostate's picture

I am pleasantly pleased to see the QB under center. If you can do it at the 45, then it will make 4th and 1 or goal line offense even better.  (Sorry for breaching a new subject). 

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Mean Mr Mustard's picture

Meyer was playing some 10 vs 11 run game there at the end especially w/ Cardale and Haskins.  If you are going to run 10 vs 11, do it right and run it out of pro formations like Day is doing.  They still run some read option out of the spread and it looks like a real read.  

One of the weaknesses of the 11 vs 11 run game is that it is hard to feed your tailbacks and the quarterback could wind up getting most of the carries.  I think Day just decided to stop playing around and run some more pro sets.  

Dobbins 60 carries

Teague 29 carries

Fields 25 carries 

That is really a nice balance and a really nice sweet spot

https://www.foxsports.com/college-football/ohio-state-buckeyes-team-stat...

JT was carrying the ball more the the 2nd RB and almost as much as the starting RB

https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/ohio-state/2017.html

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Geubux's picture

The line.  As everyone has said, Jordan was not a "natural center"....he was very slow coming out of his stance.  Pridgeon was a tackle playing at guard.  When he pulled, it was slower than molasses in January.  He was so slow getting to his block that two or three backside D-lineman would run our back down.  Thus, couldn't go between the tackles except for quick hitters.  Backs feeling the pressure, tried to run more around end....again, took too long, fewer blockers, minimal gain.

Watch Davis pull: he's quick

Geubux1

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Mean Mr Mustard's picture

They had five tackles last year which is why they weren't so good at run blocking but those long arms were good at pass blocking.  

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Buckeye06's picture

Not arguing with what you are saying, but shouldn't tackles be quicker and more athletic?  Shouldn't a tackle be able to pull faster than a guard?

Also, Jordan is starting in the NFL as a rookie guard after being recruited as a tackle out of high school.  If it's good enough for NFL, it can be good enough for us

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stxbuck's picture

Tackles are more about wingspan, balance, and getting a tough initial punch, to set the edge in the run game or to protect the QB. Gs have to actually run/pull-more than OTs, so relative speed/quickness is more important at the interior OL positions. They also operate in more cramped quarters so wingspan isn’t a huge issue for Gs like it is for OTs. There is a general correlation between wingspan and height, and tall guys can’t bend/explode out of their stance as well, so that’s why you see shorter guys in the interior OL. This is all relative, of course-Jackson, Myers, and Davis are all listed at 6’5.

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avail31678's picture

Unpopular thought here.  I don't think Fields being a good runner has affected the run game much.  Although he is a great runner, he almost never keeps it on reads (and, as a 11W staffer pointed out to me, a lot of "read" plays aren't really reads, they just look like reads and the ball was 100 percent going to Dobbins all along).  Also, reducing the number of hits on Fields has been a very consistent and public topic.  If I'm an opposing D coordinator, I'm honestly focusing on Dobbins more and not as worried about Fields.

I think other things are going on that are helping the run game - like possibly O-line play and Dobbins just clearly playing with a lot of fire right now. 

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bd2999's picture

I think it matters a fair bit in red zone offense. The defense has to account for the RB smashing it or the QB taking off with it. Does not hurt to have a mobile QB at the very least.

The OL playing better has more to do with it IMO. Having a mobile QB or one with the ability to make consistent throws also does not hurt.

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BuckIDave's picture

The running game is better because all those involved are better.

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Run_Fido_Run's picture

It’s also natural that the coaches would tend to have a 1,000,000 times better understanding than fans do of which players should play at which positions. 

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Big 'Ole Buck's picture

Amazing how the players can adapt to such a wide variety of offensive schemes in such a short time.  If Wisconsin decided to be a pass-first offense next season they would look like fish out of water for the first 6 weeks.  It says a lot to the football acumen of tOSU coaching staff and players that such changes are made virtually overnight.

It's definitely fun to watch, and while I love watching the ball fly down the field, I do appreciate the toughness and grit with which JK and Master are running the ball.

Go Bucks!

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Knarcisi's picture

I’ll stand by the 3 reasons I gave before the season:

1) OL is better, particularly at run blocking 

2) Fields opens up a QB run option 

3) JK is in a “contract year” and took the offseason seriously

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gobucks1966's picture

Does anyone truly think Wisconsin can run against us with out a moble qb? You saw what happened a couple years ago. You can pull that against weaker teams.

Denny

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OSUBias's picture

It’s because we fired Bill Davis, probably. He was that bad. 

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CraigKressel's picture

2 reasons.

1. Justin Fields is a much better runner than Haskins so the defense has to account for him.

2. They are running under center some which is better when you are running with the RB just straight up.

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Oricus's picture

Under Urban our base was the inside zone read. The major constraint of the offense was the QB-run. The reason the running production suffered last year was strictly the fact that Haskins was not being respected on the Zone-read Keep. I don't believe Day had the leeway last year to move the offense in different directions to compensate for that.

This year with Fields the zone-read keep has to be respected. Day has also incorporated some other concepts which allow a lot more versatility. Like running under-center where the main constraint is the play-action. 

While I think we have some more dawgs on the offensive line this year, I think schematically is the primary reason for the better run production.

HS