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It Was Really More of a 1st Down Thing

+13 HS
buckeye phi's picture
November 27, 2023 at 1:55pm

There has been a lot of commentary about some 4th down and 3rd down decisions, offensively.  What frustrated me the most about the loss was the 1st down play calling (particularly, early in the game). 

Day and his staff have successfully recruited numerous outstanding wide receivers, quarterbacks that can really spin it and o-lines that tend to be better at pass blocking than run blocking.  So, why on earth was he frequently calling running plays up the gut into the teeth of an excellent run defense on early downs - and waiting until obvious passing downs to throw?

One of the things I've always liked about Day is that he has shown he's generally well suited philosophically for today's game.  Clearly, the rules have changed over the past couple of decades in favor of the passing game.  I believe that when one is blessed enough to have the likes of Harrison, Egbuka, Fleming and Stover on the field at the same time, they should be turned to at nearly every opportunity.  When the defense is doubling Harrison - go to one of the others that are not being doubled (practically, by definition). 

Henderson is an excellent running back, but it seems Day and co. could have been more creative in finding ways to get him the ball in space, as well. In today's game, it's just as valid to set up the running game by establishing the passing game as it is the other way around.  Especially, when that is clearly the offense's strength.

While McCord's first pick was disastrous, you can't give up entirely on your starting quarterback at that point in the season. I haven't given up on the kid, by any means - but there is now more clarity on how a hand-picked QB in his third year in the system did not win the starting job outright until after the season actually began.  The point is - we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  He was our best option at the time. 

Given the overall situation, I remain mystified by the play calling - especially, on first downs in the early going.  It seemed Day refused to play to his obvious strengths verses the opposition as early and often as he should have.

I realize he has been particularly sensitive about certain people suggesting his teams lack toughness.  But I hate to think my beloved Buckeyes took a loss they really shouldn't have in order to prove a point about it.

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