Power Running Team Continues to Ignore Its Tailbacks

By Chris Lauderback on September 9, 2017 at 11:58 pm
J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber accounted for five carries in the 1st half against Oklahoma.

When the home team loses 31-16 and puts up 92 total yards in a half, there's going to be more than one reason for the debacle. 

That said, a common theme in big games continues to be Urban Meyer's over-reliance on the his quarterback in the run game despite claiming to be a power inside run offense typically loaded at tailback. 

And yes, make no mistake, this is an Urban Meyer problem not an offensive coordinator problem. There have been three offensive coordinators but just one Meyer as Ohio State's offense takes on the feel of an outdated attack refusing to surprise legit defensive coordinators. 

And yes, the wide receivers are weak, and yes right tackle is still an issue, and yes J.T. Barrett's regression continues but the stats don't lie when it comes to how the quarterback is utilized in the run game over the tailbacks. 

Since Tom Orr was clearly thinking the same thing, I'll just put this here: 

The game wasn't quite over yet so tonight's stat line actually reads 18 carries for Barrett and 16 for the tailbacks but the trend is the trend. 

During the 92-yard first half tonight, Meyer's tailbacks earned exactly five carries (on 5.8 per) while Barrett logged 10 (to be fair, Prince's pass pro inflated that a tad). On top of that, Barrett attempted 11 passes, completing five. 

The five carries for tailbacks broke out as just three for J.K. Dobbins and two for Mike Weber despite Oklahoma not stacking the box and Ohio State having a solid run blocking front. 

Why the power inside running game wasn't used more especially down near the goal line is something only Urban can answer. Interestingly, the offense had no problem going to exactly that early in the 2nd half as Dobbins reeled off a 12-yard run up the gut on the second play of Ohio State's opening possession and capped the drive with a six-yard dash through the middle to paydirt. 

On the next drive he registered 13-yard and 16-yard gashes, again up the gut, before the drive finally ended with a field goal and a 13-10 Buckeye lead. 

Again, the list of frustrations after an embarrassing loss are always plentiful but why the tailbacks were ignored tonight in favor of a quarterback who mostly looked like he'd lost his mojo is certainly a head scratcher. 

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