Mattison’s bend-but-don’t-break scheme Saturday was maddening, but ultimately panned out with two key interceptions and one turnover on downs. The bend appeared to be a scheme where we sacrificed bodies for the pass rush in exchange for keeping everything in front. Forgivable also given that Reese appeared prepared to check down the few times he smelled blitzes, and managed them successfully. So our defensive game plan made sense, except for the part where we had no answer whatsoever for the counter gap. ND gashed us repeatedly right up the gut, as their right guard constantly pulled and buried, typically Ross, while their center and left guard moved our nose tackle to off to the right, leaving a lovely gap for 8-12 yard gainers.
What we saw today is precisely what we are going to see from Ohio, and what we saw from them last year. They counter gapped us to death, and Miller checked down off of our blitzes. Now for the upcoming Ohio game, I envision the same bend-don’t-break defense given Miller’s speed. Our opposing QB will trade a little accuracy (Reese > Miller) for a ton of athleticism and escapability, which to me, is far more scary (nightmares of Troy Smith still dance in my dreams), and I’m comfortable our scheme will keep Miller in check, but how will we solve the counter gap? It gashed is last night, I’m surprised ND didn’t resort to it more, and flat out I no likey.