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Wisconsin - Defensive Play-by-Play Analysis

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saltybuck61's picture
September 30, 2022 at 2:17pm

As I said in the offensive play-by-play analysis, I didn’t get to watch this game until mid-way through the week, so I didn’t have the time to write a big write up. I will just provide the charts with minor commentary.

Here is the defensive play-by-play:

Defensive Play-by-Play vs. Wisconsin
Time Yard Line Down Distance O Formation D Package Front High Type Rush Play Player Yards Notes
First Quarter                          
12:13 W25 1 10 Ace 3x1 4-2-5 4-3 Boundary 4 Run   Inside Zone Harrison 3 Harrison (+1) fights through the double-team to make the tackle. The whole line holds up here, for the most part.
11:41 W28 2 7 Wildcat Wing TE 3x1 4-2-5 Over 2 Read Option   Arc Read Chambers 6 Harrison is read. Chambers (-1)  reads this well, but misses a tackle. Tackling -1. JK Johnson with the tackle.
11:01 W34 3 1 Goal Line 4-2-5 Goal Line 0 Run   Power O Eichenberg 2 Everyone does their job here,  and Eichenberg meets the running back in the hole. The running backs momentum gets the first down. 
10:32 W36 1 10 Ace 3x1 RB Flex 4-2-5 4-3 Boundary 1 Run   RB Jet Sweep Eichenberg 0 Sawyer (+0.5) gets good push. Styles ( -1) does a nice job of getting upfield but is a little too aggressive and misses the tackle. Eichenberg (+1) makes a difficult tackle in open space. Tackling +1, -1. 
9:50 W36 2 10 Gun 4-2-5 3-3-5 Leo B 1 Pass 4 Omaha McCallister -20 McCallister (+2) is in the right spot at the right time and makes the interception with a nice return. 
8:54 W25 1 10 I-Formation 21 Weak 4-2-5 Over 2 Run   Counter Eichenberg -5 Vincent (+2) gets into the backfield immediately, forcing the running back outside. Sawyer (+1) gets held on the edge but is not called. Eichenberg (+1) is able to avoid a blocker to make the tackle deep in the backfield. 
8:39 W20 2 15 Ace 4-2-5 Field 3 Run   Power Hickman 8 Chambers does a decent job of getting across the field, but I think Hickman has to attack the gap a little harder, as it looks like he is a part of the run fit. Maybe Chambers is supposed to follow the puller? Still, if Hickman is responsible as I think, the decent gain is fine on 2nd and 15. I don't mind yielding this gain if it means more likely to get 3rd and long.
7:52 W28 3 7 Gun Wing TE 4-2-5 Tight Tackles 1 Pass 5   Harrison 0 Harrison (+1) gets through with Chambers (+1) applying pressure after seeing the running back block. Receiver is bracketed by Johnson (+0.5) and Proctor (+0.5). The receiver might have had a step, but it was solid coverage. Pressure +2. Coverage +1. 
3:55 W35 1 10 Ace Pair Field 3x1 4-2-5 3-3-5 Leo B 1 Run   Power Vincent 2 Vincent (+1) and Tuimoloau (+1) stonewall the center of the line, which leads to no room. Prcotor finishes it up.
3:21 W37 2 8 Ace 4-2-5 Field 2 Pass 3 Spacing Sawyer -2 Sawyer (+1.5) spies the QB perfectly as Hall (+1) gets some pressure around the edge to flush the QB.
2:32 W35 3 10 Gun Wing TE 3x1 4-2-5 Show Blitz 2 Pass 4 Scramble Hitch Harrison 8 Harrison (+1.5) gets a hand on the QB but can't get the sack. McCallister is there to stop the receiver from getting a first down. Punt.
Second Quarter                          
13:26 W28 1 10 Ace 4-2-5 ABC 3 Run   Power Chambers 1 Harrison (+2) recognizes the puller and collapses his side of the line, taking care of two gaps. Chambers (+1) squeezes down to make the tackle. 
13:03 W29 2 9 Gun 4-2-5 Over 1 Pass 5 Smash Brown 8 This was the bad defensive pass interference call. Would be fine if they called defensive holding. Good time to rush 5, as Eichenberg (+1) comes free. Play-calling +1. Pressure +2.
12:40 W37 1 10 Ace 3x1 4-2-5 4-3 Boundary 3 Pass 5 Rollout Flood Brown 9 Brown (-0.5) can have tighter coverage here, but he did have inside leverage. Play-calling -0.5.
12:19 W46 2 1 Ace Heavy 4-3 Over 0 Run   Power Chambers 2 Vincent (+1) stands up to a double team in the middle, so Wisconsin gets no push. Chambers (-0.5) fills the right gap, but he gets caught up on a blocker. Looks like he gets held, but this isn't called between the tackles much. Eichenberg helps clean up.
11:46 W48 1 10 I-Formation 21 Strong 4-2-5 Over 2 Pass 5 Scramble Eichenberg 10 Hard to tell without the All-22, but I think Eichenberg (-1) gets caught inside allowing Mertz to scramble. Still, he had to defend the backside as Chambers was the front-side guy. Play-calling -1. 
11:23 O41 1 10 Wildcat Wing TE 3x1 4-2-5 Under 2 Read Option   Arc Read Tuimoloau 1 Tuimolau (+2) or Cage (+1) is two-gapping here, but I think it might be JT. Either that, or he leaves his responsibility in order to make the tackle. He has done that a couple of times this year. Still, very impressive work. 
10:48 O40 2 9 Gun 4-2-5 Wide 5 Pass 4 Curl Proctor 0 Proctor (+2) with great coverage on the tight-end. Comes out of nowhere. Coverage +1.
10:25 O40 3 9 Ace 3x1 4-2-5 Wide 4 Pass 4 2-man Flood McCallister 26 Hard to tell who was responsible here. If it was quarters,  it would have been Johnson (-1), if it was Cover-2, it would have been McCallister (-2). Might have also been a miscommunication too. Proctor gets over to make sure he gets out of bounds, but this was a bust. Coverage -3. Play-calling +1 as Wisconsin had 2-routes for 7 men in coverage.
10:04 O14 1 10 Ace Pair Boundary 4-2-5 Over 2 Run   HB Draw Williams 8 Williams (-2) runs himself out of the play, though this was a genuinely good call by Wisconsin to recognize how the defensive line would change their approach when they read pass. Play-calling -1.
9:13 O6 2 2 Wildcat 3x1 4-2-5 5-2 Over 0 Run   QB Power Styles 5 Considering that they usually play to spill, I think Styles (-2) not only misses a gap, but kind of runs himself out of the play. This forces a hole in the middle, which a linebacker has to fill unexpectedly. I think Chambers was at least supposed to be spilling. Eichenberg (-1) also gets pancaked. 
8:43 O14 1 1 Goal Line Goal Line Goal Line 0 Run   QB Sneak NA 1 Just gets in. It happens. Touchdown.
2:14 W42 1 10 Gun 4-2-5 Over 3 Pass 4 Mesh McCallister 0 Ran Mesh against zone. Play-calling +1. McCallister (+1) with good coverage here. Coverage +1.
2:09 W42 2 10 Gun Y Flex 4-2-5 Show Blitz 0 Pass 4 Checkdown Tuimoloau 1 Tuimoloau (+2) with a nasty spin move to force a quick checkdown throw.  Chambers (+1) is right there to clean it up. Tackling +1. Pressure +2.
1:41 W43 3 9 Gun Wing TE 3x1 4-2-5 Wide 4 Pass 4 Shallow Cross Brown 0 Brown (+2) has excellent coverage on the receiver, and Wisconsin is forced to punt. Got there a little early but it was a bang-bang play; that won't get called always. Coverage +2. Punt.
0:38 O48 1 10 Gun 20 4-2-5 Over 3 Pass 4 TE Flat McCallister 3 Hamilton  gets late pressure, forcing a throw to the flat. McCallister (+2) has a low tackle on the tight end, which unfortunately results in an injury. Coverage +1. Tackling +1.
0:26 O45 2 7 Gun Y Flex Trips 4-2-5 Under 1 Pass 4 Scramble Eichenberg 3 Sawyer (+0.5) gets a bit of pressure up the middle. Eichenberg (+0.5) keeps this to a minimal gain. Pressure +0.5.
0:20 O42 3 4 Gun 4W Trips 4-2-5 Show Blitz 3 Pass 4 Checkdown Chambers 1 Pressure -1. Wisconsin handles the stunt. Play-calling -1 because of this. Still, Mertz panics and throws to the checkdown. Chambers (+1) gets there first. 
0:11 O41 4 3 Gun 3-2-6 Show Blitz 0 Pass   Verticals McCallister 0 McCallister (+3) with an insane play to break up a pass while attempting to cover two deep routes at once. Play-calling -2 because you don't normally want your guy to be in this position. This reminds me of his play against Oklahoma last year. Incredible. End of Half
Third Quarter                          
15:00 W25 1 10 Ace Pair 4-2-5 3-3-5 Leo B 1 Run   Outside Zone Simon 5 Seemed like a fine run. Vincent (-1) gets caught on the wrong side of the center.
14:38 W38 2 5 Ace Pair 3x1 4-2-5 Under 3 Pass 4 Scramble NA 3 Pressure -0.5. Not bad for the group. They mostly collapsed the pocket. Stunts are not working against Wisconsin though. Certainly no running lanes. Vincent (-0.5) gets a bit out of position. 
13:53 W33 3 2 Wildcat Wing TE 3x1 4-2-5 Under 3 Read Option   Arc Read Styles -5 This is a play that Ohio State's defenders don't really play correctly. Normally, when the tight end comes across, Sawyer needs to blow it up. However, since Allen is the QB, you have to know as a defender/defense that the QB is almost always going to read an unblocked defender to maximize the Wildcat. Doubt that they put him in at QB just to run a play without the QB as a run threat. Sawyer (-1) doesn't recognize this and is read. Styles (-2) goes through the same gap for some reason.I could go either way on the holding call. Probably technically holding, but eh.
13:24 W28 3 7 Gun 3x1 4-2-5 Show Blitz 1 Pass 7 Throw Away Hall 0 Wisconsin actually blocks this up pretty well, but Ohio State sends too many guys. Pressure +2. Play-calling +2 as all of this pressure was from the call. Punt.
9:35 W25 1 10 I-Formation 21 Strong 4-2-5 Over 3 Run   Jet Sweep Eichenberg 4 Eichenberg (+1.5) plays this perfectly and is able to essentially limit this to a modest gain with help from Martinez (+0.5) and Chambers (+0.5). Play-calling -1 as without a great effort from Eichenberg this is a solid gain.
9:06 W29 2 6 Ace Pair 4-2-5 Over 2 Run   Power Eichenberg -13 Chambers (+0.5) and Eichenberg (+1) corral the running back. Sawyer (+1) does a nice job of controlling the edge.
8:34 W16 2 19 Gun 4-2-5 Under 2 Pass 4 WR Screen Johnson 15 Hickman (-1) takes a bad angle. Play-calling -1 for the timely screen call.
7:54 W31 3 4 Gun 3x1 4-2-5 Under 2 Pass 4 Improvisation Brown 0 Chambers (+1, -1) and Vincent (+1, -1) get good pressure, but neither can make the tackle. Mertz isn't a bad athlete, but he isn't that good. Brown (+1) has good coverage. Pressure +2. Coverage -1. Tackling +2.
6:11 W2 1 10 Ace Heavy 4-2-5 Over 2 Run   Counter Eichenberg -1 Cage (+1) and Williams (+2) collapse a whole side of the line. Jean-Baptiste (+1.5) also holds up to a triple-team, and Chambers and Eichenberg (+1) are left clean.
5:28 W1 2 11 Ace 3x1 4-2-5 Field 1 Run   Duo McCallister 3 Cage (+1) and Williams (+1) again plug the middle. Friday (+2) gets held in the backfield. McCallister (+1) makes a nice play to make the tackle near the line of scrimmage.
5:11 W4 3 8 Gun Y Flex Trips 4-2-5 Show Blitz 2 Pass 4 WR Screen Friday 0 Ohio State is much more prepared for this screen, so Play-calling +1. Friday (+2) deflects the ball as he is rushing the quarterback. Punt.
2:18 W20 1 10 Gun Twin TE Pair 3x1 4-2-5 3-3-5 Leo B 2 Pass 5 Swing Pass Eichenberg 4 Curry (+1) gets in the backfield quickly. Eichenberg (+2) makes a great tackle in space. Tackling +2. Pressure +1.
2:14 W24 2 6 Ace Pair 4-2-5 3-3-5 Leo B 2 Pass 4 Rollout Hitch Simon 5 Simon is in a tough position here. He probably has to continue going toward the sideline to defend the curl-flat. Still, he takes away the scramble, which I think is the right move.
1:17 W29 3 1 Wildcat Wing TE 3x1 4-2-5 Under 3 Pass 5 PA TE Flat Proctor 10 Great play-call at the right time for Wisconsin. Proctor isn't far off. Play-calling -1.
0:50 W39 1 10 I-Formation 21 Strong 4-2-5 Over 4 Run   Power O Hickman 8 Williams (-2) gets completely cleared in the middle, forcing Eichenberg to overcompensate. Hickman cleans up.
0:18 W47 2 2 I-Formation 21 Strong 4-2-5 Over 4 Run   Counter Johnson 9 Williams (-1.5) and Cage (-1.5) get blocked down, and the rest of the line follows suit to plug up that side of the line. Johnson (+1) makes a good open field tackle, while Proctor slows him down. Tackling +1,.
Fourth Quarter                          
15:00 O44 1 10 I-Formation 21 Strong 4-2-5 Over 1 Run   Power Jean-Baptiste 4 Jean-Baptiste (+0.5) makes a nice tackle. 
14:29 O40 2 6 Ace 3x1 4-2-5 Boundary 3 Run   Power Eichenberg 4 Proctor (+1) holds up to a block from an offensive lineman, and sheds it to combine for a tackle with Eichenberg (+1.5).
13:45 O36 3 2 Wildcat 4-2-5 3-4 Tite 1 Run   QB Power Chambers 6 Chambers (+2) makes a nice tackle in the open field. Tackling +2. Allen does a nice job to bounce this back.  
13:38 O30 1 10 Ace 3x1 4-2-5 Boundary 2 Run   Power McKenzie 5 Eichenberg (+1) does a nice job of getting all the way across the formation. McKenzie (+0.5) does a good job making a tackle.
13:00 O25 2 5 Wildcat Wing TE 3x1 4-2-5 Under 2 Read Option   Arc Read Proctor 0 Jean-Baptiste is read here. Simon (+1) does a nice job to blow up the block, while Proctor (+2) makes a great play at the line of scrimmage.
12:26 O25 3 5 Gun 4W Trips 4-2-5 Show Blitz 4 Pass 4 Checkdown Simon 19 While Simon might be responsible for this, I don't believe he is necessarily at fault for this. Play-calling -1.
11:20 O6 1 6 I-Formation 21 Strong 4-2-5 Tight 0 Run   Power O Hamilton 4 Hamilton (-0.5) and McKenzie (-0.5) are pushed back.
10:44 O2 2 2 Goal Line Goal Line Goal Line 0 Run   Counter Simon 0 Cage (+1), Chambers (+1), Simon (+0.5), and Williams (+0.5) play this especially well. 
10:21 O2 3 2 Goal Linee Goal Line Goal Line 0 Run   PA FB Flat Hickman 2 Not sure if Hickman is actually responsible for this. Play-calling -1 because it took Ohio State completely off-guard. Touchdown.
End of Charting                          

Here is the defensive chart:

Defensive Chart vs. Wisconsin
Player + - T Percentage Notes
Defensive line          
zach harrison 5.5 0 5.5 100 Can shut down one side of the line at times in the run game.
michael hall 1 0 1 100 Didn't see him a whole lot.
taron vincent 5 2.5 2.5 66.7 I was looking for him a little more in this game and he held up. Holds up to double-teams.
jt tuimoloau 5 0 5 100 A few great plays give him a great grade for limited time.
jack sawyer 4.5 1 3.5 81.8 The three starting ends are all playing well.
javonte jean-baptiste 2 0 2 100 Quietly playing well.
tyler friday 4 0 4 100 Best I have seen him play ever.
tyleik williams 3.5 5.5 -2 38.9 Got pushed around a little bit toward the end of the game, but he had his share of good plays as well.
ty hamilton 0 0.5 -0.5 0 Limited action
jerron cage 4 1.5 2.5 72.7 Played better than he has in any of the first three games. He can occasionally put together some strong games. I was surprised he did well against Wisconsin.
jaden Mckenzie 0.5 0.5 0 50 In on a couple of plays at the end
caden curry 1 0 1 100 Didn't see him a whole lot.
total 36 11.5 24.5 75.8 Played well as a unit. Starters are noticeably better than the backups at this point.
tommy eichenberg 11.5 2 9.5 85.2 Continues to be exceptional. All-American is not out of the question, though I don't think he will get the recognition.
steele chambers 9 2.5 6.5 78.3 Not as many tackles as Eichenberg but played nearly as well.
cody simon 1.5 0 1.5 100 Got much fewer snaps than Chambers for the first time this year.
chip trayanum 0 0 0 0 Did not chart.
Total 22 4.5 17.5 83 Eichenberg and Chambers are exceptional.
cameron brown 0 0 0 0 DNP
denzel burke 0 0 0 0 DNP
Josh proctor 5.5 0 5.5 100 His best game this year. Very active against the run and against the pass. Fun to watch.
lathan ransom 0 0 0 0 DNP
tanner mccalister 9 2 7 81.8 This is a ridiculous score for a safety. Play at the end of the half is the biggest highlight.
ronnie hickman 0 1 -1 0 They didn't target him much. Usually it seems like they play him more in the box than they did in this game. Maybe this was because of the big lead. 
kourt williams 0 0 0 0 Did not chart
cameron martinez 0.5 0 0.5 100 One nice tackle on the edge.
jk johnson 1.5 1 0.5 100 Not targetted hardly at all in the passing game. Happy with his performance.
jordan hancock 0 0 0 0 DNP
jyaire brown 3 0.5 2.5 85.7 Great game for his first start. Really like the start to his career.
ryan turner 0 0 0 0 Did not chart
kye stokes 0 0 0 0 Did not chart
sonny styles 0 5 -5 0 Impressive figure and athleticism. He played very poorly given the amount of snaps he played. Still, plenty of time to improve. He is a high school senior after all.
total 19.5 9.5 19 67.2 Outside of Styles, the secondary looked excellent. Probably the best defensive game thus far.
pressure 13.5 1.5 12 90 Wisconsin didn't have a ton of time to throw all day. Still, Ohio State didn't have a ton of individual pressure. Most of the pressures were group pressures or designed blitzes.
coverage 6 4 2 60 Coverage was okay, though Wisconsin didn't test it much.
tackling 10 2 8 83.3 Couple of missed tackles early, but it was genuinely pretty good.
play calling 6 10.5 -4.5 36.4 Ohio State didn't show a whole lot in this game.

Zach Harrison, J.T. Tuimoloau, and Jack Sawyer continue to all play well. JT has more splash plays but Harrison can erase one side of the line on run plays. Jean-Baptiste has played better than he is usually given credit for. Friday had his best game this season.

Tyleik Williams had a rough game in limited action. He got pushed around and couldn’t hold up to double-teams. He is playing a step down from the starters of Vincent and Hall.

Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers played great once again. It is amazing what good coaching can do. This is the first game where Chambers played significantly more snaps than Cody Simon.

The defensive backs were the most interesting part of the defense. After struggling to defend the passing attack two out of the first three weeks, they played excellently against Wisconsin, even adjusting for the expectation of the Wisconsin offense. Proctor had a great game against the run and the pass. Tanner McCallister had an incredible play at the end of the first half reminiscent of his play against Oklahoma last year to seal OK St’s win. JK Johnson and Jyaire Brown played quite well on the outside in their first action of the year, but they were not challenged much. Sonny Styles, while physically impressive, had a rough game. He missed a tackle and was in the completely wrong gap multiple times. I don't think he has a ton of experience defending power. I didn’t really see any other players make similar issues. This is a big step up from high school, even though I think he is there physically. I don’t expect this to be a trend, but he was not good in this one.

What should we worry about?

Reversion to the mean. Everything in this game was better than in the last three weeks while the starters were in the game. The biggest question is whether this game showcased growth or an outlier. If it was the latter, then explosive passing attacks can still exploit this team, especially if the quarterback is mobile. Missing tackles in the backfield against Dequann Finn was one thing, but missing those same tackles against Graham Mertz is something else. The Maryland and Michigan games loom large.

What should we not worry about?

The run defense. This won’t look great at the end of the season, but anyone watching the game could tell you that Wisconsin couldn’t do anything until the starting defensive line left. I guess you could be concerned about the depth there, but that is about it. This defense is a stone wall against the run.

What should we be excited about?

The young corners. I think Cam Brown and Denzel Burke should still start, but in a room that is so incredibly thin it is nice to know that the guys behind them are somewhat viable in a pinch.

This is a forum post from a site member. It does not represent the views of Eleven Warriors unless otherwise noted.

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