is the B1G going back to being a smash mouth running league? Currently the league is running the ball on 60 percent of offensive snaps, a 17 year high.
Good article with lots of interesting facts in the Omaha World-Herald looking at why the B1G and CFB is seeing a revival of a rush oriented style after the rise of all the pass happy offenses. Thought it was worth sharing on the eve of two traditionally run first teams squaring off.
Programming note: Next week will be pretty busy with thanksgiving break and all, so I'm gonna go ahead and put up all my OSU stuff this week. The Nebraska game wrap might be a week late too, especially if we don't win.
Old Scouting Report is Old
There are just way too many red and white teams in this league now.
I had watched this game when it happened and had written up some notes and was planning to post it after the MSU game, but then I spent the week cursing at inanimate objects and hoping MSU's random bands of roving thugs would target Gholston.
There's been a lot of personnel changes since then so I've thrown out the old notes and started from scratch.
Both teams were coming off loses, Nebraska had just been blown out by Wisconsin thanks to a handful of Martinez interceptions and OSU had been blitzed to death by sparty. You can see the effect of both those games on some of the early playcalling in this one.
OSU on offense
No Dan Herron, and Shugarts hadn't gotten hurt yet. The offense was all about Hall and Stonebrunner and Miller's legs until he got hurt.
Miller is a scrambler
Like I said in the QB comparisons, Miller is more of a natural scrambler rather than an option runner.
On this play, the left side of the Nebraska D-line is going to stunt to get pressure on third down.
There's a missed holding call, but whatever. The DT gets around and tries an outside speedrush against Shugarts
This is a mistake against Miller. You want to keep him in front of you and don't open up big lanes like this. As soon as he feels the end rushers go past him, his first instinct is to scramble upfield. If you rush under control, he'll scramble laterally and can be coralled for a sack.
MSU had a lot of success the previous week by timing the snap and sending blitzers up the A gap. Nebraska tried it early, but didn't really get there because their timing wasn't as good. After this play they didn't really blitz much until Bauserman was in the game.
This is a 6 man blitz with one of the linebackers dropping into coverage.
There's a little bit of a twist going on with the right DE, but this was a called QB lead draw all the way. The blitzer gets blocked by the RB and Miller jabs his back foot and is off into the secondary.
Without any LBs on that side and the secondary playing man coverage, this turned into a big run for MIller.
This play shows just how quickly Miller will bail on a play. It's just a flare to hall at the top of the screen, but the Nebraska rusher gets a good bull rush.
When the defender jumps, Braxton decides he's seen enough and pulls down the ball.
Instead of looking for another target, he tucks the ball and runs.
Hyde got a lot of carries in the early part of the season when both Hall and Herron were doing their NCAA penance. That's dropped off considerably since Herron came back. He's got good straight line speed, especially for being a larger back, but his vision isn't very good. He's like Stephen Hopkins but with more speed. He still gets some duty on kickoffs, but mostly as the lead blocker for Hall.
You can see OSU's commitment to zone blocking on this play. It looks like a lead play because of the FB, but Hyde's route on the handoff indicates that he's free to pick whatever hole opens up. At the snap, all the motion is to the left. The Nebraska D-Line responds by moving with the slanting linemen. Miller does a reverse pivot.
But Hyde's aiming poing is not following Boren, the FB, instead he's aiming for the center of the line and bending back against the grain. For some reason, nebraska has a DB playing backside contain, and the Will linebacker has been fooled by Boren's path.
That DB doesn't understand "run fits" so he wasn't flowing the the D-Line and there's a huge gap between him and the DE that Hyde thanks him very much for. The weakside LB has over run the play and can't get back to make an arm tackle. Once Hyde gets past those two, he's pretty much untouched all the way to the endzone.
Throwback to Stonebrunner
With Corey Brown out and no one sure what Devier Posey will do, the RB's and Stonebrunner will be the focus of the passing game. This throwback screen should look familiar to Michigan fans, with the exception of the TE getting the ball instead of Vincent Smith.
Miller is going to roll out to the right while the O-line shows pass blocking.
Stonebrunner does an excellent job of selling the block and the OLB is completely caught flatfooted.
Stonebrunner comes off of contact and opens up for the pass, it's the center that gets the OLB and the other interior linemen are heading downfield
The blocking is setup well and Stonebrunner has enough speed for an easy 30+ yard TD
Nebraska on offense
Nebraska does a lot of different things on offense. They have the spread/zone read stuff, the power running game, and also the veer option offense. Burkehead will even get back in the shotgun to run some wildcat, probably because he's better at READING on the zone read plays than Martinez.
After taking a lot heat for the interceptions against Wisconsin, you got the feeling that he started out the game a little gunshy against TSIO.
That's his passing chart with about 4 minutes to go in the first half. Nothing deep or risky, and a double digit deficit to show for his 100% completion percentage. So Nebraska gets the ball realizing they've got to pass deep to soften up the defense.
This is Martinez trying to throw a deep ball.
And this is the result. That receiver is kinda open. I mean, yes, he's got 4 guys around him, but none within a 5 yard radius. Nebraska fans understand our pain when it comes to armpunts.
Where Martinez is realy dangerous is when he gets to accelerate straight ahead. This is a midline option keeper even though it looks like an outside zone read. You can tell by the pulling guard who goes off tackle. I think the sideline tells Martinez before the play whether or not to keep the ball on most plays. That would explain a lot of his "bad reads" and it makes sense that Bo Pelini would be a control freak (see below).
Burkehead's fake holds the contain man. The pulling lineman takes out the LB and the rest of the O-line is getting a good push up the middle.
This is the kind of run that Martinez loves. He's not the kind of guy that will cut back across the entire field, but he's very good at reading the blocks in front of him and making quick cuts without losing any speed.
Inverted T series
The way you design an offense is that you have a series of plays that work together or are out of the same formation. Sometimes during the game you have to scrap a series if the first couple plays don't work. But if the first play works for a big gainer, you can expect the defense to adjust and that opens up the companion plays.
Nebraska stumbled across such an opportunity in the middle of the 3rd quarter with this Inverted T formation. Some people call this a Diamond, but with the QB in the shotgun it looks more like a "T" to me. But the stumpy part is away from the LOS so I call it inverted. Here's what the standard T form looks like.
This is just a power sweep option. The odd thing is that Burkehead has a longer ways to go to get to his block, but he's a fast guy, so it's not a problem. The neat thing about this formation is that you can envision all kinds of counters and double option plays where the person in #2's position can pitch it to Burkehead or handoff to the the other HB coming back on the counter.
OSU is overreacting the motion and the whole right side of the defense is flowing. Ironically, the backside of the defense isn't reacting enough and the result is a gaping hole down the middle of the field.
I don't the think DE ever actually saw the ball because he keeps running with #2 even after Martinez zooms past him.
Against a normal QB, the safety and LB should have been able to stop this for a large gainer, but because they reacted slowly and because Martinez is already up to full speed, he blows by them like they're standing still.
From the endzone shot you can see just how wide open that running lane was.
A little later, they come back to the same formation, but this time the give is called. It doesn't work as well because the ball is on the hash and they're running into the sideline. But the point is to see how the defense has adjusted. The weakside linebacker is way closer to the play this time and #7 Howard is up in bump and run to take on the blocking in case there's a counter or reverse coming.
The DE is completely befuddled by this play. He's nowhere near the mesh point so he can't help on a Martinez keep. He's pointing out Burkehead to .....uh.... And he's not quick enough to get #2.
Again the backside has been completely sealed off, and Martinez woulda had plenty of room for a big gain if not enough for a TD like before. But I'm getting more convinced that he's not actually allowed to "read" the play. As it is, this play gets about 10 yards which coulda been a lot more if they hadn't run into the sideline.
A little later comes the payoff. They've got bump and run on the short side and they give them the same backfield motion.
But if the LB's and Safeties had been reading the O-line better, they'd have seen this was a pass.
Martinez drops a couple steps to give his receiver time to get open.
And the safeties are both dead. It's interesting that they run the same route with both WR, this shows a kind of lack of sophistication in the passing game. And it's only a 2 man route. But both WR had gotten a step on the DB's and this play get's Nebraska back within one TD.
He's not the fastest guy, but he's a solid football player. Martinez is probably more dangerous, but you've got to stop Burkehead first to slow down this offense.
This is an inside zone that should look pretty familiar to michigan fans. the H-back is coming across to either block the DE or go out in a pass route. There's also some bubblesceen motion with the slot receiver.
The DE is crashing hard and the H-back completely misses him. Martinez either missed the read, or it was a give all the way called by the sideline. .
If Martinez had kept it, there was a lot of open space once he cleared the DE. The lead blocker would have taken out the safety, 54 is taking to strong of an angle, and the other DB is too concerned with the bubble to have stopped Taylor. Instead #94 gets the TFL on Burkehead since #93 had gotten good penetration and Burkehead had to stop his feet.
On the game tying TD, Burkehead showed a nice jumpcut. (If you're not sure what a jumpcut is, here's a nice example of Miller doing one.) He gets the ball on the flare after Martinez scrambles around a bit to avoid the pressure.
The DB had him lined up for a big hit, except he jumps out of the way.
And with the big blitz called, the rest of the secondary is in tight man coverage and Burkehead has no one between him and the endzone.
So it was raining off and on during that game, which led to some amusing moments and a lot of slipping.
Martinez's throwing motion is even uglier when he's falling down.
Both sides were having trouble with it.
And Miller turned his ankle as he slipped on a cut.
Then Bauserman came in and promptly did this.
At least on that previous picture he was under pressure. On this one he's got no one to blame but himself.
That ball is JUUUUUSSST a bit overthrown.
Ok, maybe a bit more. But if you're wondering about the genesis of the the Bauserman Passing Chart, it was probably this play.
- Bo Pelini has anger issues.
Here are the standings. Don’t mock using Ctrl+F to find your name or else half of your teams will lose, your score will go down by 17 points and you’ll drop 57 places in the rankings. Just ask BlueBarron. If you’ve forgotten your username or have any other questions email email@example.com
Lots of “new” teams entered the poll this week. TCU, Florida State, Notre Dame and Baylor re-enter the poll to replace Georgia Tech, Texas, Cincinnati and Auburn. Florida State and Notre Dame will make a lot of readers happy since they were 2 of the top 4 most popular teams to be picked -- 36% and 35% of the people picked them. Texas was the most popular unranked team so their loss hurt 30% of the contestants. At the same time only 99 total people picked Georgia Tech, Cincinnati or Auburn, so basically nobody would notice if I didn’t point out their loss.
Individual Ballot Analysis
Brooklyn Blue stays on top of the rankings this week with 93 points. His highest ranked team is Oklahoma at 5th but he also has the 8th, 9th, 11th and 12th place team. The perfect ballot has 110 points this week coming from the same six teams: LSU, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Michigan State, Southern Cal and Clemson.
At the other end of the standings there was a lot of shakeup in the race for worst. TCU, Florida State and Notre Dame had been killing people the last few weeks. Now that they’re ranked again there is a new person all alone in last place with 25 points. It’s also the first time in several weeks that the person in last place does not have the worst possible entry. They chose Notre Dame and are getting a whole 2 points more than the theoretical worst possibility.
Judging Your Picks
This week the MGoBlogosphere is bringing negative value to their picks. A completely random entry should earn 54 points but the contest’s median and mean is 52 points. If you have more than 52 points you’re an above average MGoBlog. Cheer up though, if you’re reading this, then you’re above average in my mind no matter what your Pick 6 score is.
Games to Watch
According to ESPN’s schedule the weekly ESPN3D game is Vanderbilt at Tennessee. That is 5-5 Vanderbilt with roughly the 75th best offense in the country playing at 4-6 Tennessee with roughly the 86th best offense in the country. Wouldn’t the offenses have to be able to move the ball to take advantage of that 3rd dimension?
I guess the punts will look spectacular.
Here are the games that could shake up the Pick Six standings.
#18 USC at #4 Oregon
8 pm on ABC
Oregon has one last test before they crush Oregon State and then crush whoever manages to not lose themselves out of contention for the Pac-12 South title.
#17 Nebraska at #20 Michigan
Noon on ESPN
I don’t need to talk you into watching this game.
#5 Oklahoma at #25 Baylor
8 pm on ABC
Which 8 pm game will score more points? This one or the USC-Oregon game? My money is on this one. Five of Baylor’s nine games have had a total of more than 80 points.
#13 Kansas State at NR Texas
8 pm on FX
If Texas can beat Kansas State at home they should be ranked next week. I’m not sure if Texas will be able to catch up to Auburn’s record for number of entrances and exits from the poll, but they can try.
NR Cincinnati at NR Rutgers
Noon on ESPNU
There are no Big East teams in the AP poll this week. West Virginia is receiving the most votes but they aren’t playing this week. With a strong win this week and a couple of losses Cincinnati might make it back into the poll. But you shouldn’t actually watch the game. First, it will probably be terrible. Second, it is on at the same time as the Michigan game. Third, only 4 people actually picked Cincinnati as their unranked team so chances are you don’t care at all whether or not they’re ranked.
Not to say I told you so, but I told you so. Why? Because in past playoff discussions, one of the drums I've been banging is that if the misguided "monopoly" pressure gets too great on the BCS as it concerns "autobids," the BCS will dissolve before it creates a playoff....
According to sources with direct knowledge of meetings held in San Francisco earlier this week, the suggested change calls for the BCS to sever its direct ties with the so-called BCS bowls -- the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Discover Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio -- and concentrate solely on arranging a No. 1 vs. No. 2 national championship matchup.
Just like I've been saying: If this happens, the mid-majors can kiss their chances goodbye of ever seeing a prestigious bowl ever again. I've said for a while - the idea of an "autobid" is far, far overblown. The SEC and Sugar Bowl have essentially the same arrangement that the MWC does with the Las Vegas Bowl - they send their conference champion. If the Big East had a bowl tie-in instead of a BCS tie-in, the difference would be even less.
I have one beef with this article:
Under this format, the champions of the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big East and Big 12 conferences would no longer receive automatic entry into the bowls that currently make up the BCS rotation: Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange. That's because the BCS would no longer be required to provide teams for those four games.
Instead, all 11 FBS conferences and their members, as well as football independents, would begin, in theory, each season with an equal chance of reaching the national championship game.
In that second paragraph there, THAT'S WHAT ALREADY HAPPENS. You see the depth to which misconceptions about this system have been propagated.
Anyways, this would be interesting; the only problem I have with the idea of sending all the bowls back to purely conference tie-ins would be the loss of the chance to go to an Orange Bowl or a Sugar Bowl or something with a really good season - someplace we wouldn't ordinarily get to go.