Go back and watch OSU's offense against Michigan in any of the past 3 seasons and ask that question again.
If you really want the officials to start cracking down on those pick plays, the OSU offense is going to have to revise its playbook. It's funny how these plays make fans say 'Ryan Day is a genius' when its the team in scarlet & gray running them, but it's cheating when other other team does it.
Indiana had a great gameplan on both sides of the ball. When Fields held the ball with nowhere to go, it was often because Indiana would show him one clue pre-snap (such as playing 2-high coverage), then would fall into a single high coverage paired with a blitz. The QB was tricked into looking to one side of the field that would be covered up while open receivers were on the opposite side. It was great scouting on their part to recognize how/when Fields is trained to pick which side to look to first, then hope the blitz got home before he could work to his 3rd or 4th reads.
However. Ohio State had 600 yards of offense. While the INTs and the missed field goal made it much closer, OSU moved the ball largely at will last Saturday.
This is yet another thing Day has taken from Sean McVay. These offenses are remarkably similar and use bunch formations to create natural picks against man-coverage. I can't find exact video of the tight end staying in to block, like we saw in the example, but you get the idea from this clip:
(3/3) Rams empty bunch. 49ers playing Cover1 with a "Lock & Level" adjustment against bunch. The DBs lock on man to man and adjust their alignment to be on different levels to avoid the picks created vs bunch. Cooper Kupp wins inside on the crossing route which is good vs man. pic.twitter.com/mOvMI3O6zK— XandOJunkie (@Spread_it_Out) December 22, 2019
Glad someone picked up on that
I think two different issues have been combined into one. Good offenses beat good defenses in the modern game. Every time.
Every defense has a weakness, and offenses know it. It's simply up to them to execute on it. With Cover 3, the weakness is those slants and intermediate throws, but in order for them to hurt a defense, offenses typically need to string a whole bunch of them together. That takes time and exposes the receivers to a bunch of hits. It was a winning strategy in 2019 and Ryan Day clearly still believes that to be the case (though a change-up from time to time can be very effective, as we saw in this game).
As for Wade, he simply looked off. He seemed to be as surprised as anyone by the first circus catch from Dotson, and maybe it got in his head for the second. That catch, along with the third touchdown in which he appeared to give up on the play, looked more like an issue with effort/mentality than scheme or technique.
That's because of the play-call. The corners weren't in man-coverage on those plays, they were playing a Cover 3 zone, and in that situation, they're trained to funnel receivers back inside toward the help (aka the free safety). Nothing is supposed to get outside of them as they're voluntarily giving up the inside break into what they call the "kill zone" (I'm not kidding). Eventually, WRs will get so sick of getting popped over the middle that they'll start getting alligator arms on some passes AND they'll have to string together a whole bunch of completions vs. giving up a big play.
With a big lead, this strategy makes sense, as frustrating as it might be to fans who want every game to be a shutout.
He's a senior who appeared in 11 games as a freshman and then all 14 games each of the past two years. Hopefully, an injury doesn't force him out for extended time this year, allowing him a medical redshirt. Otherwise, this is his final season.
I would actually disagree with this point. Clifford seemed to really struggle when his first read wasn't there, as seen in the "Cover 3 Buzz" example. That coverage forced him to tuck and move in the pocket, resulting in a sack.
Correct, this was NOT a read play. Fields is getting grief for not pulling the ball to run outside of the blitzing OLB, BUT based on the blocking scheme, I don't think he ever had that option.
As far as I can tell, Day's approach was, “I don’t want Justin taking another hit. What are the chances they actually blitz the D-gap here, especially if we go fast?” and Day simply lost that gamble. It happens.
That DE was supposed to be unblocked as he's the defender Fields was reading on the play. The DE did a good job of making Fields give the ball, then explode to make a play. It was just a good play from the defender, but certainly not on Munford.
This is the Big Ten. Occasionally, opponents will make good plays, too.
Yes, if Down Brown plays man-coverage, it's almost always going to be press. While this aggressive approach can slow down opposing receivers and disrupt timing enough for his pass-rushers to get home, it puts the individual coverage defenders at risk of exactly what we saw. Other versions of man-coverage will stagger the depth of the defenders, but that eliminated the ability to disrupt receivers at the line. There are plusses and minuses to every approach.
Yes, I expect more 2-safety looks for two reasons:
- After providing a full year of film with single-high looks, they may try to be a little less predictable this fall
- Without proven commodities in the secondary that can be relied upon, Coombs may be more likely to mix things up and try to hide any weaknesses that the new additions may have.