After a much needed respite, we're back on the lacrosse content docket. And wow, is it quite the time to try and jump back into the swing of things. Women's lacrosse just pushed all recruiting for 2022s back a whole year, the professional field leagues are having controversy all over the place, and Ohio State's programs have seen 3 out of 4 assistant coaches turn over since 2020 abruptly ended.
Oh, and the entire nature of facing off on the men's side has completely changed, making nearly every FOGO obsolete literally overnight.
Did I mention that a 2-time national champion coach was let go and then replaced with a staff that looks set to win multiple titles? And it's only July.
Moving back to the task at hand, I decided to take a look at what might be in store from the Ohio State offense in 2021 based on new OC Rick Lewis' only year in charge at Lambert in 2018. And, based on (limited) film review, it looks like the Mitchells and Johnny Wiseman will have a bit of a field day in this offense.
Assuming, of course, that Lewis was really in charge of the offense at Lambert during that time, and that Lewis will do much of what he did then at Ohio State.
The essence of what that 2018 Lambert team did in half-field offense was dodge to initiate a dunk or time-and-room shot. What does that mean?
The dunk is basically like it sounds, a shot that is within 6 yards of the net, usually the quick stick variety, off of ball movement initiated from the dodge.
Time-and-room is pretty self-explanatory, but generally means a shot with ample space to shoot with a complete motion, and freedom from interference by a defender. Every motion, pick, and offensive movement is designed to get either of these shot selections.
And watching the film, the play was almost invariably successful. The execution of passing, catching, and shooting, not so much. But HS Georgia lacrosse isn't ripe with D1-level talent at all positions, so that's understandable.
Schematically, Lambert's 2018 offense was very North-South. Offense was initiated from a dodge near midfield or from X (behind the net). Very little in the way of wing dodges took place, which probably won't fly in 2021 D1 ball (if there is a season).
That said, the style of offense played by Lambert under Rick Lewis Jr. is very suited to long run-ups that Grant Mitchell made a living on in HS with Calvert Hall.
His brother, Connor, scored plenty of goals off-ball from dodges by his brother and Cole Herbert, either on a fade or through a quick spin of the ball through X. That would suit their talents perfectly, and Connor especially showed how much of a lefty cannon he has with set feet.
For Johnny Wiseman, consistent inverted dodging would be a return to normal. He thrived at Columbus' Olentangy Liberty HS doing exactly that, scoring bushels of goals for the Patriots.
Wiseman really would excel in that position at the D1 level, since I think his passing has come along well enough to take advantage of quick adjacent or crease slides.
Especially adjacent, the flamethrowers Ohio State has on O will have a field day if Wiseman consistently draws a slide. He has a pretty good box skillset, so taking shorties behind (or using big-littles to manipulate the D) should be right in Wiseman's wheelhouse.
It would definitely be exciting to see some new wrinkles that depart from the alley dodges only of the past few years. As much as the O improved last year, it still needs to come into the modern era. At least a little.
Overall, the biggest challenge for 2021 is going to be getting the middies to carry more of the load for offense. Good defenses already know the attack unit is top 5 in the country.
They will scheme to make the middies win the game, and to this point Ohio State hasn't had the players to do it. The Mitchells and Wiseman have great potential, and Griffin Hughes proved he could score last year. They just need to put it all together and really grind opponents into dust.
That's a tall order when there are potentially 15 four- or five- middies vying for time at Maryland, Hopkins, and various non-conference opponents. Coach Lewis certainly has his work cut out for him!