I did say Zeke is winning a footrace over 100 yds. I'd hazard to guess they'd be close to dead even through 40, with Dobbins pushing a lead off the blocks, but Zeke catching up going through the finish line.
I think where Dobbins makes up compared to Zeke is Dobbins accelerates a LOT faster than Zeke, who is more of a traditional track sprinter (able to maintain top end speed past 60m).
Dobbins seems to get to his top speed faster than Zeke, but Zeke is probably winning the footrace over 100 yds.
I do think Dobbins is faster than a 4.49, probably around where Zeke is, but Dobbins will be decelerating shortly after 40 yds, where Zeke would still be putting on speed.
Braxton was far more shifty and sudden (more like Dobbins, but more shake with a less explosive initial burst) than he was a top end Campbell/Curtis Samuel/Ted Ginn type runner in the open field.
Either way, I'd take the under on Dobbins and probably take the under on Chase as well, just based on what I've seen on film.
Dobbins is certainly under a 4.49. His explosiveness out of the blocks will probably net him a super fast first 15 yards or so.
4.65 seems about right for Young. He's faster than either Bosa, but not sure exactly how much faster. Wouldn't be surprised to see him come in lower simply because of his length, low bodyfat and absolutely insane burst off of the edge. Thinking his 20yd split will be really fast for a DL.
As an addendum, I think PSU is running out of gas. Them beating us in 2016 gave them a shot in the arm and in my opinion, gave Franklin some more time to turn it around. I do think they've probably hit their ceiling with him, as far as recruiting goes.
I'm very interested in what happens if the 2020 version of Ohio State rolls into Happy Valley and takes PSU to the woodshed. Not a super-likely scenario, but we seem to have gotten into Franklin's head after 2017, similar to how we got into Harbaughs head after The Game in 2016.
This is correct, but I do think that the gap widened last year as opposed to years before that.
2016 - PSU wins on a freak ST play that was entirely preventable had we just called a timeout before the kick (still scratch my head on that one)
2017 - Instant classic with JT throwing the dagger
2018 - Another close one with Young ending McSorley's attempt to get a win. Probably our worst game of the year outside of Purdue.
2019 - Demolition. We win by 2 possessions in a game where we went -2 in TO ratio and coughed the ball up something like, 3 times in a row? That game could have easily been worse than the 2015 beating they took in the shoe if we take care of the ball.
Based on what I've seen, Clifford isn't McSorley, Cain and Brown are certainly not Barkley. PSU's Offense takes a step back without Hamler, Ohio State's takes a leap forward (IMO) due to Fields having a year under his belt in the system, OL returning (I have confidence in Master getting it done at HB), and insane talent in the WR room (Olave, Wilson, Williams, Gill returning, with Fleming, DSN, Mookie, and Gee Scott probably all seeing some time).
PSU's defense will be stout, but losing Gross Matos up front is gonna hurt. I'd look for Parsons to be a de-facto rusher next year. I'll take Fields/our OL/ our receivers against their defensive front and secondary.
Don't sleep on Jaelen Gill. I think he has to be the favorite for KJ's position unless one of the youngsters really shows up.
Fields reset his feet on the Michigan throw, I can't exactly remember if he did or not against Wisconsin.
Lawrence is very good at resetting when forced to roll to his left, but hopefully our pursuit (I think our defensive speed is going to surprise Clemson, I don't think they've seen a defense that can run like ours in a long time) won't allow him to reset his feet and we are able to get some deflections/throwaways/INTs on those high risk throws.
The issue is two-fold in going away from the 5-step drop.
1. Lawrence is a tall, lanky QB. It helps him from a 5 step because he has a cannon and can throw it a mile. However, his length is also a double-edged sword. The taller you get, the harder it is to set up quickly, it's just physics.
While Lawrence is absolutely a better than advertised athlete and can really run when he gets his stride out in the open field, he suffers from having a slightly longer setup and release (he compensates with superior arm strength) compared to say, a 6'3" QB like Fields. Footwork and timing is also a lot different in a 3 step drop system vs 5. Essentially everything has to speed up, which can be challenging for a taller QB. Not to say it can't be done well (Manning was exceptional at it), but it's certainly something I haven't seen him have to do on a regular basis. Clemson tended to just run their offense wide open all year instead of working on specific aspects of the game vs. lesser opponents.
Etienne does like to get set up a little deeper in the backfield than most backs, precisely for the reasons you surmised. He's lightning fast, and that extra step or two really lets him hit a seam or gap hard. That being said, he's not as sudden as Dobbins in change of direction or cutting, and he's not nearly as strong in pushing a pile either. Think Curtis Samuel, but about 10lbs lighter, not quite as deceptively strong as Samuel was, and not quite as good out of the backfield and that's what Etienne is.
Might be a product of their competition, but he seems to try and find a seam and tries to run through contact vs. making guys miss. This can be seen in his per rush stats, he gets stopped a lot at or within a few yards of the LOS, or he's off to the races for a gash play. He's not a back that kills you 7-8 yards at a time. He's a feast or famine homerun hitter.
Lawrence is a good QB, full stop. That being said, as with any right-handed QB, it is more difficult to throw when moving away from your dominant hand. He's just fine rolling to his left, but I want to say his accuracy takes the typical drop you see in those situations (particularly if he's under duress and having to throw on the move).
I'd say if we can get him rolling left/away from Young for most of the game, it'll help, but we need to focus on containing him on those types of plays, as he seems more liable to just straight up take off when he's running left.
Keep in mind that Clemson did get their bigger bodied TE back from the ostarine suspension for this game. I'd anticipate them maybe seeing if Carman can hold his own (he won't be able to deal with Chase's speed and technique, he's too slow on his initial kick step), and if not, they'll be using that TE to chip and release to give Lawrence and outlet a fair bit, at least according to my Clemson homer BIL.
That being said, I want to see if Clemson has adjusted their attack in the interim. Clemson was primarily a 5 step drop team all year, they had no reason to fear any sort of pressure on Lawrence (they didn't play a single edge guy in the same stratosphere as Young, and I'd venture to say Smith, Harrison, and Friday are more talented than 95% of the good edge guys they did see). I REALLY hope they try to run 5 step drop routes on us, because even when Chase is getting chipped, a 5 step drop on an obvious passing down is death against an end as good as Young is. If they have adjusted to a 3 step, quicker game, I think that actually takes a lot of sting out of their offense, and would help our secondary quite a bit on being able to simply attack shorter routes vs. having to run with Higgins and Ross all game (not worried about our athleticism to keep up with them down the field, but am worried about their height).
What'll be interesting to see is if Harrison's speed alone gives Carman trouble on passing downs, as he's pretty slow in his kick and set-up. He's a mauler that tries to get his hands on you off the line, not a dancing bear who can keep up with elite speed off the edge (hence all of his false starts, he tries to time up and jump the snap to get an advantage). If we can throw Harrison/Smith/Friday/Cornell on him and put Young on the RT in passing downs, I'll feel really good about our pressure potential.
Bonus is that Myers is more of a natural OG vs. a center, but he has been nothing short of fantastic this year at C. A middle three of Myers, Miller, and Davis (please come back!) would be even more punishing than what we have currently, which I didn't think was possible.
Kid hasn't been "out out" a year, he's still been practicing with the team and a part of conditioning, film, etc.
However, running scout team and practicing isn't a good replicator of game time situations, where there are certain things that can't be replicated 100% (crowd noise, pressure, nerves, etc.). I would expect to see a few wrinkles thrown our way with him, but trust Day and company to know that we'll see him and have a plan.
Werner did a great job covering a better TE against PSU. Those types of big bodied TEs and pass catchers you can't truly shut down if the QB is accurately hitting them, the best thing you can do is minimize their impact on the game, which Werner did beautifully.
Also might expect them to use him as a decoy to open up Higgins, Ross, and Rodgers on some misdirection concepts.
Also sounds like they might leave him in most of the time to help block Chase, since reportedly their OL is very concerned about their ability to block him, and he's a much bigger body than the TE that has played for them all year.
Addazio was hired to CSU, so we don't have to worry about anyone leaving just yet.
He does force the ball downfield quite a bit, it's one of those things where Clemson takes the risk because he can throw it a mile, and if it's picked, it's basically a punt (or better). That being said, I'm hoping Hafley/Mattison can find some way to bracket Higgins and Ross while while generating pressure on Sunshine. A lot of those downfield throws take about 2.5-3 seconds to develop. Here's to hoping Young and company can force him to throw early, or better yet, get to him and take him down before he sees separation.
I think that's the dark-horse advantage for OSU. They've played a consistently tougher schedule that ramped up and peaked at the B1G Championship, whereas Clemson played a pretty soft schedule, including UVA in the ACC Championship. We'll be more ready to play an elite team than Clemson will simply because we've seen a few very good teams this year. Need to come out and punch them in the mouth, hard. They haven't been challenged all year, and as a former player, it can be hard to adjust your effort levels and execution when all your opponents simply haven't been good enough to keep up with you.
Simmons is an animal. The others are good players, but not much more than that. I've watched them all year, courtesy of my BIL and sister living with me at the moment.
Having watched a TON of Clemson this year (BIL is a diehard Clemson fan), here are my takeaways.
- Punish them via a heavy dose of Dobbins and Teague between the tackles. Their DL is very undersized, and outside of Simmons, their LB corps is simply OK. We should hold a decided advantage against them on the interior of the OL IMO. Fields will need to keep them honest with his legs as well to keep Venables from cheating to Dobbins when we run the ball.
- Clemson likes to roll into a 3-3-5 quite a bit. We need to identify when they're in this formation and punish them with inside runs when it happens. Venables likes to bring his guys on blitzes off the edge in this formation, we need to be ready for it.
- Venables is a very aggressive DC who loves to send guys to generate pressure. We need some way to mitigate the pressure he likes to bring. Whether that's Fields taking a shorter drop, or designing routes to beat the blitz, or giving Fields a release valve read, we need to be ready for it. Clemson struggles to bring pressure with just 4, so you can almost bet on a blitz if we're in a passing down.
- Their secondary is arguably the best part of their defense. That being said, Tanner Muse is the weak link. He's a good player, but he's very stiff and struggles with shiftier receivers. Venables masks this with pressure packages, but the vulnerability is there. We need to identify when he's isolated in coverage and get out on routes that emphasize him needing to change direction, and hit them. Simmons is athletic enough to flex out into coverage like a safety. He's a big-time player, and we need to be aware of where he's at on the field.
- Win the LOS. Etienne is one of the best backs in the country, but he needs lanes to really show his stuff (he's not a very big back when compared to someone like Taylor). We don't need to be shooting gaps in this one, but we do need to play very gap-disciplined and tackle well. Etienne might be the fastest RB we've seen all year, we need to get to him before he gets started.
- Probably need both Proctor and Fuller in a double high look in this game. Clemson LOVES to take shots downfield, and honestly, with Higgins and Ross, I don't blame them. They're both big, fast, and have a knack for getting 50/50 balls to make big plays. Need Okudah following Higgins, Arnette on Ross, and they need to jam them off the LOS.
- Harrison needs to spy Lawrence from time to time. He's a "pro style" QB, but he's mobile, and can really gobble up yards with his huge strides in the open field. That being said, he very much prefers to stay in the pocket and throw, which brings me to....
- Absolutely have to generate pressure with our front 4 on obvious passing downs. Clemson's propensity for taking shots down the field means they have quite a few long developing routes in their playbook. Lawrence usually has most of the afternoon to throw the ball. Need Young and company to get to him, and bring him down when they do. Honestly, this is the battle for me. Carman is OK at LT, but at 345lbs, he's not the most agile LT in the world in pass pro. Their right side of the line is much softer than the left. Need to move Chase around to isolate him in 1 on 1 matchups. Clemson hasn't faced a rusher even close to Young's ability all year, and I think that's the one matchup Dabo is very worried about. If we can get to Lawrence early, he can be rattled. When he's uncomfortable, he tends to uncork his arm and send the ball sailing down the field to Higgins. He's played much smarter in the last half of the year, but if we can get him thinking about Young, we should have a few opportunities to force turnovers on rushed throws and strip sacks.
Just my .02
Other obvious things that we need to do well is tackle and take care of the football.
Carlos Hyde picking up the Super Star on his run against Iowa in 2013.
Braxton shaking the entire PSU defense out of it's shoes at the goaline.
Malik Hooker running every bit of 40 yards, leaping in the air and snagging a one handed INT vs. BGSU in 2016.
Zeke's 85 yarder against Bama and his first TD run against Oregon
Zach Boren destroying Devin Gardiner in The Game to help preserve the 12-0 season.