Both good questions:
- Yes, the single-high system fits the way they've recruited over the past few years, prioritizing corners and pass rushers (as evidenced by the NFL draft talent). Those are the two positions where a defense must be ELITE in order for this system to work, and OSU has historically had that talent. The key is continuing to identify and develop said talent, however.
- They announced last month that Wade will bump outside to occupy one of the traditional cornerback spots. This should pay huge dividends in his draft stock should he continue to develop.
No Buckeye RB is as good as Zeke was in that regard. Not Hyde, not JK, not Weber, etc...
That said, Teague still needs to work on this aspect of his game, which is expected for a young back. He seems capable of identifying who he's supposed to block and delivering an initial strike, but sometimes had trouble staying engaged on the block and allowing pressure. The good news, however, is that this is easily correctable with reps, whereas some players never put in the time to even understand blocking schemes.
He needs to have the patience to chase the hole to the edge. Yes, the defense had it well-covered, but the idea of the scheme is that holes often take a few beats to develop, and the back needs to wait until the right time to plant and go. Instead, he immediately squares up to the line in hopes of finding a cutback, but when that is taken away he tries to shuffle back toward the sideline.
That's fair, but my point was not to diminish Etienne but rather to show that there are weak spots across the Clemson OL. In every game I've watched (A&M, UNC, SC, UVA so far), there have been multiple instances of the C & RG giving up penetration in both the run and pass games. I believe that is the spot in which OSU must take advantage in order to win this game. It won't be because Chase Young was unblockable, Clemson is too good to let that happen. But if OSU wins it will be because Davon Hamilton or Jashon Cornell were living in the backfield from their tackle spots.
If you can't block him, read him. I'd imagine they'll try to find Chase every play and make him the option man.
Yep, Seth is correct. It's all about the front-side tackle. If he's working to get across the face of the end, then the back has an aiming point of the C-gap outside (with the option of cutting back inside). However, since so many DEs want to keep that outside leverage, OSU has relied on this mid-zone scheme in which the Tackle simply drives the end into the sideline and the RB aims for the B-gap between he and the guard.
This was definitely a big factor as well. Once they subbed in Hooker and Reip, they were playing Fuller like a 4th CB and manning up Okudah on DPJ or Collins. They also blitzed a TON, forcing the ball out of Patterson's hands knowing that the protection would be rotated to Chase Young. Though they were often leaving only 5 men in coverage, that was enough.
I think the use of the 4-4 was due to how much they'd run it throughout the season. Behind the base personnel (4-3 with Wade as the SS/Nickel), I'd bet OSU has run the 4-4 the most of any other personnel package, as Werner's athleticism and versatility allows it to be less of a true, run-stopping 4-4 only.
However, it was clear that such a personnel grouping lacked change-ups in coverage, especially as UM went with more and more 3WR sets. The risk in subbing to the nickel and dime packages was the inexperience that came with them. Riep hasn't played many meaningful snaps this year, and Hooker had hardly played at all. Luckily, Fuller showed why he's so valuable, stepping into the Strong Safety/Bullet role for the first time all season and then playing it well. Once Arnette went out, the secondary essentially had only 2 starters playing against a passing game that was on pace for 500 yards passing. The young guys stepped up big time.
It's 3 yards at the time the ball is thrown. The blocker was within the rules as he didn't reach the 8 until well after the ball was thrown, so there was nothing illegal about the play. It was a good play-call that was properly executed, and OSU did a decent job of limiting the damage.
Good question, and I'd probably answer A) it was something PSU was doing. They mixed up their coverages, playing a mix of Cover 3 and Cover 4 out of a 2-deep shell, but their safeties keep their eyes in the backfield a little longer than most, hoping to add a body in the run game or robbing a crossing route. This leaves the corners on islands and creates space along the outside.
The long TD passes were perfect examples. On the first half TD to Hill, OSU ran a Smash/Fade concept that forced the safety to help over the top of the nickel, who was trailing Hill out of the slot. Though he started on the hash, Hill drifted toward the sideline while Fields held the safety in the middle of the field with his eyes. By the time he threw, the safety was too far away to make a play while the corner was standing 5 yards from the LOS on Victor's hitch route.
On the second TD to Olave, the play-action held the SS flat-footed while Olave hit a double-move to beat the corner.