Scouting: OSU vs PSU game notes

Submitted by SFBayAreaBlue on November 24th, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Ed-Seth: Bump.

Talented BUT . . .

So I've watched about 7 of Ohio's games, (Brady Hoke has only watched 4, he clearly doesn't "Get It".  I mean what's the point of the countdown clock if you're not doing something every day to beat Ohio?  Doesn't that include watching ALL of their games? /sarcasm) and the team has lots of talent, as you would expect.  BUT...

Most of it is inexperienced, and the experienced parts of it are having trouble getting on the same page.  It's one thing for your QB to be young and dumb, it's another for your senior laden O-line to not be getting to their blocking assignments or your two upperclassmen running backs doing their impression of the keystone cops when you put them in the wildcat.  Those things are on the coaches, and it's been pretty clear for awhile that these coaches are on their way out.  (Regardless of what lies Urban is spinning)

The video above is pretty typical.  Shazier is stepping in for team captain Sweat.  He's got loads of talent, but if you look carefully, you'll see that a lot of the plays he's making are downfield (when they're not running right at him) because he's slow to react and diagnose.  Once he get's going, he's got a lot of speed to get there, and he likes to hit, but not very much form on the tackle because it seems like he's more interested in making a big hit. 

When I watch this edition of OSU, I see lots of playmakers, but I don't see a cohesive team. 

OSU on O

The Speed Option

The two plays I worry about from Braxton Miller are the QB lead draw and the speed option.  He's also dangerous when he scrambles, but I feel like our DL can be disciplined enough to keep him in the pocket.  I've already focused on his scrambling and the lead draws in the previous scouting reports, so this time I'm focusing on the speed option, which they ran much better this game, and ran more often. 


They like to run out of the pistol, and they'll run it to either the weak side or the strong side depending on what the defense does.  But they do prefer running to their right, which is behind Shugarts.  PSU shows a cover 2, so there's a numbers advantage to the left side. 


I kinda think PSU is a little bit miss aligned for this formation, but it seems like they had a CB blitz called on the weakside.  The option motion just goes away from it and those two guys are not going to be a factor in the play.


It's just zone blocking and this is one of the plays where the O-line does a good job of scraping to the 2nd level. 


Miller looked much better this game at taking the hole that is in front of him.  But from a scouting standpoint, he almost never pitches.  So it kind of seems like a waste of a player.  They had one play where they did the power lead, which I would be even more concerned with.  


So now that they've hurt PSU with the base play, it's time for the companion playaction. PSU had 8 men in the box for a lot of the 1st quarter, but backed off a bit after Miller hit a couple of passes. Here they've only got 7 in the box. 


The option motion starts to the right, but then Miller jabs his foot in the ground and gets depth to throw.  The key to reading this play is that the O-Line is clearly in pass blocking mode. The backpeddaling uncovered guard is a dead giveaway. 


PSU does a great job of rushing with discipline, no one is over-running Miller, and they get a free rusher coming up the middle. 


Miller will usually make the first man miss, but because of the spread out pocket and controlled rush by the D-line, he's got no place to go. 


[Ed-Seth: take the jump for the much more.]

This next play is the speed option that went for a TD.  It's short yardage and PSU has 8 in the box. The TB goes to the right, but look at Miller's eyes, he's heading straight into the line. 


OSU gets away with a hold, but whatever.  Miller picks his way through the first wave of defenders, and somehow OSU has managed to triple team the MLB.  Usually, this is the kind of play where Miller would bounce it outside, but I think because of the down and distance, his coaches have told him to just cram it up in there and get the first down. 


A lane opens up off the triple team and Miller's speed gets him to the outside. 


From there he makes a harsh cut to elude the last defender, and then it's clear sailing to the endzone. 


With PSU not keeping 8 men in the box, this power speed option should always pick up good yardage.  There is both a TE and a H-Back to the right, along with a flanker who is out of screen. I feel like the PSU linebackers are shifted the wrong direction.  


Because on the frontside, there's 4 blockers for only 3 defenders.  


And if that's how you're going to align, then it's up to that MLB to be a beast and get over to contain.  It's never a good scheme when you require your MLB to make tackles outside of the hash marks. Ohio's interior linemen do a good job of passing off defenders on this play. 


Miller get's the edge easily because of the lack of contain, and there's only a safety to defend both the him and the pitchman.  Now that safety doesn't realize that Miller never pitches it, so he's stuck in no man's land inbetween them. 


Miller gives him a pretty good pitch fake and then quickly cuts it up and totes the ball deep into the redzone. 


So Miller had a much better day running where he was supposed to go on that speed option, but he did have this one bad moment in the 4th quarter where I think he was trying to make a big play.  


The other major part of their offense is Dan Herron.  If they line up in I-form, the odds are good that the TB is getting the ball. 


Since coming back from suspension, he's averaged over 100 yards per game, he hasn't gotten very many TD's, but that's because Miller is used more near the goal line and they've had lots of Derpiness that has killed potential scoring drives. 


This is just a typical I Left, 34 power Iso.  PSU walks the safety up late to get 8 in the box. 


The center pulls and the FB leads through the hole. It's up to the DTs to read that motion and try to squeeze down the hole.  The backers have to read it so that we get a wham on the lead blockers and the backside LB can clean up


With the safety in the box, this play looks well defended, but because the backers were slow to react, they get caught on their heels.  


The two lead blockers do a great job of kicking and sealing and the unblocked backer gets caught up on the wrong side of the hole.  He does manage to trip up Herron who slices through for about 5 yards, but that was a shoestring away from being a big play.  


This next I-form play starts out the same, but the blocking is pure zone instead of the pin and pull power stuff.  Again, PSu walks up the safety for 8 in the box. 


The backfield motion is very different this time.  Both backs do a sidestep and Miller does a straight drop.  You might even think this was a Lead draw, if not for the totally unconvincing pass blocking fakes of the line.  


But their fakes were just enough to hold the MLB and get him to shift his weight backwards.  Bot the FB and TB are reading the zone blocking to see where the hole opens up. 


The MLB is easy pickings for the FB and this woulda been a huge play if the DE hadn't made an outstanding move to get off his blocker, and come underneath for the tackle. 

Posey's Impact

After missing the first 10 games, everyone was interested to see what kind of impact Posey would have in the passing game. 


Because, OSU was just god awful without him. Seriously, Army and Navy don't pass, like ever. 


I hope those tattoos were worth a 6-5 (Hopefully soon to be 6-6) season. 


And the impact was not insignificant, if still somewhat minimal.  OSU went a bit more to the shotgun pro set on passing downs.  Before, this was a near automatic QB lead draw call. PSU has their safety playing a little shallow because he's going to spy Miller, and they LB's are going to rush the edges. 


The right DE does a stunt and they get good pressure up the middle. 


It's a pretty clean rush, but the left DE has fallen down, this gives Miller an escape route. 


Because of the disciplined rush, Miller can only bounce it outside, but the spy goes with him to keep him from rushing upfield. 


Instead he pulls up to lob a duck. 


The difference is that Posey has the ability to separate from a defender on a broken down play. So Ohio gets a first down, not by design, but on talent. 


Another point about having Posey back is that it should draw attention from the DB's and open up other receivers.  Should. PSU has 8 in the box on 2nd and long, Ohio is in that shotgun pro set.  The CB is in man coverage, meaning that there's a DE covering Hall on the wheel.


That should be mismatch, and Hall is a very good receiver, and very good at getting YAC against DB's.  The safety is in no position to help out since he's coming from midfield. But that's no ordinary DE. 


I mean, wow.  I be like damn.  That's a crazy athletic pass break up from that DE, that guy can play on my team.  I'll take 11 of him please.  


Aside from that, Posey only had 3 other catches, yes one was a great one handed catch, but they only threw it at him a couple other times, and those were pretty bad overthrows on the sideline.  I didn't like Bollman's gameplan regarding Posey at all.  Hopefully he's not reading this and I can safely say that they shoulda done more to get him some sitting down in zone routes and slants against man.  Miller needs easy throws, not downfield bombs to open up running lanes. 


So as long as we can keep Miller in the pocket, his passing inexperience should be enough to neutralize Posey and keep his impact limited.  This is another great pass rush by PSU.  It's just a four man rush, but the DT has beaten #75.


The DEs make sure to not over run the play.  Even though Miller makes that first man miss, the timing is all messed up now.  


And the DE comes off his block to make the TFL.


From the endzone view you can see why Miller had to pull down the ball.  His primary receiver fell, the other guy is going to be undercut by the LB, and the man on the right, well, he's never going to make it that far in his progression before he starts to scramble. 


As a bonus, the LB does a good job of spying outside once he sees Miller start to scramble, this play was going nowhere even if the DE wasn't awesome. 

OSU on D

It's never good when you lose a team captain. Especially when he's a middle line backer. 


After sustaining a rather bad concussion, Sweat didn't last saturday. He's listed as questionable for The Game. From a health standpoint, I wouldn't want him to play, he was having trouble walking hours after the hit, that's a pretty serious concussion.  But I wouldn't be surprised to see him suit up.  


Either way, we'll probably see a lot of #10 Shazier who featured in the video above.  Not shown was this play where he totally got owned by the wildcat formation. If that DE's alignment looks funky to you, yes. 


It's because he's stunting.  


But the O-line does a good job on the switch and he is stuffed, coming from the outside, he's already kicked and a huge hole opens up right down the middle.  But both #10 and the safety are unblocked so it shouldn't go far. 


Except Shazier is staring at the wrong guy, and the safety can't see what's going on. 


So that fast guy runs right past them.  This would be a recurring theme from the wildcat. 


But the kid has a lot of talent, even if he's a little undersized. PSU tried the sprint draw of death. Shazier goes with the initial rollout but sees the blocker coming at him. 


He delivers a blow making the RB stop his feet. 


Then he comes off to make the tackle.  That's a pretty good play. 


This is another play where he gets owned, but it's not his fault this time.  Ohio has a weak side run blitz called, PSU runs a counter to the right and gets major RPS points. 


The LT blocks down on Shazier, and the DE is unblocked, but he takes a bad angle and is left in the dust.  The other LB has floated behind the blitzing Shazier leaving a nice running lane for the guard to lead through. 


The PSU line does a great job of peeling back and passing off defenders.  #4, has a chance to stop this play. 


But IMO, he's the weakest link on this defense and should be attacked and gameplanned against.  (Someone tell Borges :-)) This arm tackle doesn't achieve anything. 


To make matters worse...


The other safety whiffed too. 

2nd Half Derping

OSU was having some troubles that hopefully they'll replicate this week. 


For one, just getting a shotgun snap wasn't a sure thing. 


The announcers were all over this. Brewster looks back, sees Miller in the shotgun, but then snaps it like he's under center. 


And it didn't just happen the once. 


It happened 3 times. 


Then OSU saw how much fun PSU was having with the wildcat so they tried it too.  It didn't work out so great. 


How do the fans feel about that? Is this called "Scalp palm"? Maybe they're just telling the refs that there were 12 men in the huddle


Well how does this make them feel?


I see, interesting. I guess they had 12 men in the huddle again. 


Let's be fair, Braxton Miller can throw a tight spiral, just not all the time.  Or downfield...


And Posey is not the only WR who can get open. 


But he is their only WR that can catch. 


Tears?!? Really, you've still got 11:30 to go! You're only down by 6!


Whatever, those tears are delicious. 



  • Plays on the wasteband, or comparing underwear labels? You decide. (That's so totally crackable)


  • Goodbye sweet prince.  If only you had been fired earlier, Sandler could have made Jack and Jill without having to do double duty. 







November 23rd, 2011 at 6:07 PM ^

So good in fact, that I am a little more concerned than before I read it.  The of Posey coming back scared me bfore and maybe slightly more now, but their offense while inept at times, sems to be a block or a cut away from making many big plays.  That's where the youth comes in.  Miller has gotten better each week and I think he'll be tough to handle.  If our ends don't over pursue upfield and the LBs don't get too sucked in, I think we'll have success containing Miller.

It won't be the cakewalk some are predicting, but if we limit our mistakes and turnovers we should control this game.


November 23rd, 2011 at 7:29 PM ^

"Quack." Love it!

A cakewalk will surprise me. Michigan is a relatively cohesive team against an agglomeration of relatively talented individuals. Trouble is, if those talented playmakers get it together for enough big plays, look out. And then there's the rally round the Dead Coach Walking, as in Earle Bruce. Now Fickell is no Earle Bruce, but you get that us-against-the-world dynamic that can bring a team together enough to be scary.

This is the opposite of every Ohio game since the fairly even matchup in 06: an expected win with a huge downside in losing. Instead of being resigned with a dollop of hope, I am hopeful with a bucketful of fear. I can barely remember how this feels!

OSUMC Wolverine

November 23rd, 2011 at 10:10 PM ^

My confidence is absolute....ready to order my BCS Bowl tickets.  Ohio just simply stinks this year...plain and simple.  The only way we lose is if we beat ourselves...Hoke will not let that happen.

Urban Warfare

November 24th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

Ohio State's use of the pistol.   OSU has used it at times this year, but it appears and disappears at random

Also, you forgot to mention that Ohio State almost always run play action on third and long.

Enjoy your win.


November 24th, 2011 at 11:37 AM ^

but Braxton looks like he has two reads when passing. If those aren't open, he looks to take off. Pressure up the middle will be key IMO. OSU seemed to go a lot of 3 WR packages with two RB's or one RB and one FB  to protect. This limites Miller's options to me. So, if his initial reads are covered and Michigan can get a DISCIPLINED but aggressive pass rush, I fee very good about Saturday. However, if the rush gets too wild, Michigan is in trouble.


November 24th, 2011 at 5:55 PM ^

It's like when the offense calls a screen when the defense called a blitz and it goes for an easy touchdown.  Or like when the Defense calls a corner blitz and the QB rolls right into him for an easy sack.  Think tecmo bowl when you call the right play.