I have few worries about the secondary, as they've locked down nearly everyone since that Indiana game in which they saw the kinds of throws they won't see again until they're playing on Sundays. No one else on the schedule has the personnel to challenge the OSU DBs like that, and few contenders vying for a playoff spot do either.
The linebackers are a far bigger concern, as they've seen very few RPOs and play-action passes like the ones Oklahoma torched them with. In addition, while it's been great for Tuf Borland and Malik Harrison to get more playing time in recent weeks, Chris Worley will obviously resume his role at MIKE in the very near future, and he's been given little chance to correct for the sins committed against the Sooners. The reason this is so critical is that Penn State runs such a similar offense to Oklahoma, with a heavy emphasis on RPOs. They'll undoubtedly look to test the OSU LBs the same way Mayfield did, although the threat is reversed in that the biggest threat from the Lions is obviously the run with Barkley.
I'll have more about this in the week before the Penn State game, so stay tuned.
My initial desire was to write about how good the front 7 was defensively, but after reviewing the film closer, it became clear that the Buckeye DL simply outplayed a far lesser opponent, and it wasn't due to any fancy schemes. Instead, the silver bullets were beating the man in front of them, allowing them to make countless plays in the backfield
Burrell wasn't bad, but there were a few hiccups on passing off blitzes and stunts between Burrell and Price/Prince, which is clearly due to a lack of chemistry playing together. By the second drive of the third quarter, when the offense marched down the field via the running game, Burrell looked far more comfortable.
He's certainly the most likely choice to man that spot moving forward, but that battle will likely be fought on the practice field, not in mop-up duty late in games.
I don't ever recall seeing the TE this deep in the backfield. They've been lined up in the B gap many times, but often only a yard behind the guard and tackle, and acting more as a wing than anything.
There were a couple passes, such as the back shoulder fade thrown to Mack in the first half, but I believe that was an RPO off of 'split-zone' run action. I'd imagine there are plenty of RPO and play-action passes they can work into this alignment, as it's clearly derived from what Oklahoma State and West Virginia have done for years with 2-back shotgun and pistol sets.
"If we see JT complete a long pass down the right side of the field of more then 20 yards in the air, this will be the tell tale sign for JT and our offense."
I know it was called back for a weak PI penalty, but I don't know how this throw doesn't count in the assessment of J.T. Barrett (press play):
Oregon also ran the same RPOs they had in the regular season, and the Buckeyes had plenty of time to diagnose them before that game. Also, Darron Lee is a freak, as were the guys on the D-Line that kept beating their blocks and clogging up any semblance of Oregon's inside run game.
Against a top-tier team, the Buckeyes won't be able to just run these same couple RPOs over and over and will need to mix in new combinations, which Meyer eluded to in today's press conference. The game plan against Army was a step in the right direction, but that's all it was - a step. Luckily, there are four more games against lesser opponents before they face Penn State. Take an additional step in each of those and all of a sudden the Nittany Lion defense has a LOT to think about.
Very well said. This is exactly why they run the bubble all game - to present the threat - which allows them to do the things they REALLY want to do, like run the ball inside.
I'm sure Meyer would be thrilled with defenses pressing all three receivers out wide, as it would leave him with better numbers to run the ball on the interior. The bubble screens aren't there to create big plays of their own, but rather to open the running game back up.
Thanks, glad to hear it makes a difference the next time you watch a game,
Agree on your comments about motion and hard counts, but I actually think JT made the right call in the example you pointed out.
JT is reading the left end (#87), who doesn't immediately crash down on the inside run, as he appears to be ready keep contain on the QB instead. However, the play breaks down because Okoronkwo (#31) beats Baugh through the C-gap on a blitz along with the corner blitzing from the D-gap. Whether Baugh expected help from Prince is unknown, but the breakdown occurred there, not with the QB's read.
It was a great call by Oklahoma, though, blitzing from the backside of JT's read, knowing that OSU liked to run that screen to the wide side from that formation. Could've been in the original game plan, but might've been a halftime adjustment.
Thanks for posting, would love to see you contribute more!
Haha thanks guys, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Does JT hesitate to pull the trigger on downfield pass plays? Yes. But does he make the right read almost every time on option plays? I'd say yes and so would the coaches. At this point, we'd all love to see him develop the former, but in order for the team to succeed, they might want to rely more on the latter. Those options should probably just be expanded at this point.
Excellent observation - this feels a lot like the same system we've seen from OSU since Urban arrived, and not as much like the one Wilson ran at IU. He had far more outside zone runs, screens, and packaged reliefs down the field vs. horizontal routes that we've seen thus far. Additionally, he relied far less on PA passes downfield, which Urban has long featured (although with far less success recently).
Yes, there's nothing wrong with the concepts themselves, since there wasn't much difference in between the plays OSU and say, Clemson, run. The difference is in how they're packaged together - do you run the same play from 5 or 6 different formations and personnel groupings? Then, can you run 5 or 6 different plays from the same formation and personnel?
This is what cost Chip Kelly his job in Philly and SF after he started so hot in his first year in the NFL, winning 11 games and making the playoffs - he didn't hide what plays he'd call so every time his team would line up a certain way, the defense already knew what was coming and could stop it.
Against the UNLVs of the world, that's no big deal because OSU is so much better physically, But against the Oklahomas of the world, that's not good enough.