It's 4am and I wake up in a cold sweat. I've been dreaming about The Game but can't remember my dream. I start to wonder if Borges and Fickell are sleeping well these nights. My guess is they probably aren't, unless they rely upon prescription drugs for assistance.
Fickell's got a tough job defending two excellent athletes who are triple threats [maybe quadruple threats if they go back to the pooch-punting days of a few years back.].
Ultimately, though, Borges has the toughest job because Fickell can't really prepare defensive schemes; all Luke can do is make sure his best football players [Simon, Shazier, Boren, Roby] stay aggressive, but not too agressive, and do what they do best--make plays.
For Borges, he needs to do things which curb the OSU defense's aggressiveness and punishes Buckeye defenders whe they are overly aggressive. To slow them down, he must make the Buckeyes THINK, THINK AND THINK. When they think, they slow down. Here are a few suggestions on dealing with OSU aggressiveness in the Horseshoe:
- Keep Denard on the field most of the time, at least 2/3 of the offensive plays. He is equally dangerous as a decoy as he is when he has the ball;
- Run the hurry-up offense repeatedly but irregularly. Keeps defense off-balance as they try to cope with Michigan's 2-QB offense;
- Motion everybody everywhere Again, this gives defenders more to think about. It obviously also helps the QB read the defense;
- Before critical 3rd or 4th downs in the first half, line-up in a play, then call a time-out. Use the time-out to remind the play-makers they don't need to make a play at the expense of risking a turn-over. Also, it makes Fickell and his players THINK, THINK AND THINK.
- Use a trips back-field of Denard, Norfleet and Smith behind Devin. Send them sprinting out in patterns on the edges, then run the QB draw.
- DON'T GO FOR 4TH AND SHORT [Unless the game is on the line.] On the road, the better part of valor is to punt and force the Buckeyes to complete a long drive to score.
- On 3rd and 12 or longer, keep Smith and Kwiatkowski/Williams in to block, swing Denard to the outside, roll-out Devin and air it out with jump-ball 50-yard+ passes to Funchess and Roundtree. This avoids potential QB sacks/fumbles; even if its intercepted, its probably an equal percentage play re field position as punting to Brown will be.