The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
LSU on defense against OSU
Earlier I posted some observations on LSU’s offense against OSU’s defense in the BCS championship game. That match up was particularly interesting because of OSU’s problems with the spread and M’s shift in offensive philosophy. There were some interesting things I noted regarding the OSU offense versus LSU’s defense.
I was surprised at the success Wells had. I expected LSU to take Wells away and make Boeckman step up. They tried but it was only OSU’s play calling that put Boeckman in the spotlight. Despite the success of Wells, Tressel opted for offensive balance. If an alternate universe existed just for my experimental pleasure (I’d have like way more publications and probably be tenured somewhere Ivy covered), it would be interesting to see what would have happened if OSU went all DeBord and just kept feeding Wells.
Boeckman is an acceptable game manager who throws a nice long ball but otherwise is very limited. Aside from some clever play calls, Boeckman wasn’t consistent enough to keep the chains moving. LSU put their corners alone in man press coverage and went after Boeckman. OSU was not able to overcome the negative plays that resulted and couldn’t spring enough big plays to make up for their offensive inconsistency. I was surprised at the prevalence of sideline go routes OSU ran and Boeckman threw. It made me wonder if that type of route is the only one Tressel really trusts Boekcman to throw. They also avoided the center of the field (like WOAH!) further demonstrating Tressel’s lack of trust in his QB due to his proclivity for playing pitch and catch with the safety. The most shocking thing was the ability of LSU to go three deep at corner and blanket these routes in man press coverage with no safety help. Despite throwing some pretty nice balls Boeckman only completed one of these passes and unfortunately that was to Chevis Jackson (and nearly had another picked.) I noticed Jackson’s name was called a lot in coverage which made me wonder if Tressel wasn’t trying, unsuccessfully, to pick on him. I’m left wondering, completely unsupported by a sufficient sample size, if OSU’s wideouts are capable of getting deep separation from a decent corner without some kind of “Jebus make Wells stop!” play action. There is reason to hope that Trent and Warren can handle the OSU WR’s especially since Trent’s strength is running straight really fast (beat Ginn in the 200 m hurdles blah blah blah) and that is what the OSU WR’s like to do.
The final word is Wells is a ridiculously terrifying man beast freak and will be sufficient (along with the defense and some cherry picking from Boeckman) to ensure OSU only loses 1 or maybe 2 games in 2008 winning the Heisman along the way. As with ND in Weis’ first 2 seasons, there just aren’t enough teams on their schedule that can exploit their weaknesses. They will go to another BCS bowl and depending on the match up may be in for another nationally broadcast embarrassment.