Previewing OSU via the Nebraska game

Submitted by username on November 6th, 2018 at 10:36 AM

I rewatched the first half of Nebraska / OSU game using my untrained scouting eye and had a few thoughts that I thought worth sharing:

Nebraska Offense vs. OSU defense

  • Nebraska had a lot of success with zone read.  Martinez and the Neb RBs had a number of nice runs on good decisions by Martinez.
  • Nebraska had two good chunk plays on roll out right, throw back to the left to wide open receivers
  • OSU's defense did not look fast laterally.  Nebraska runners were able to get the edge a handful of times
  • OSU cornerbacks missed multiple tackles near the LOS on the wide-outs in space
  • OSU defensive line was called for offsides 3 times (2 accepted) in the first half

OSU Offense vs. Nebraska Defense

  • Nearly all OSU running plays had the look of a zone read (not sure that they were), but Haskins handed off every time
  • Nebraska cornerbacks gave OSU wide-outs large cushions.  They seemed to be playing bend, don't break from the start of the game

Potentially lost in the box score - It was an odd collection of drives in the first half

  • OSU scored a safety on a blocked punt deep in Nebraska territory
  • OSU's first drive started on the Nebraska 31 after a failed onsides kick plus penalty on Neb.  OSU proceeded to gain 9 yards and go for it on fourth down, only to be stopped.  They probably left 3 points on the field
  • OSU's second touchdown was on a drive that was sustained by a phantom defensive PI call on Nebraska
  • Nebraska's Martinez made a bone-headed backwards pass/lateral deep in OSU territory that OSU recovered.  Nebraska left at least 3 points on the field
  • OSU's leading tackler, Jordan Fuller, was ejected for targeting early in the 2nd quarter
  • OSU fumbled at the Nebraska 26. OSU probably left at least 3 points on the field
  • OSU fumbled again deep in their own territory which led to a Nebraska TD right before the half

When Michigan plays OSU

  • Our developing zone/read capabilities look like they should have an opportunity for success
  • Our corners will be in the pockets of the OSU wide-outs.  Haskins should not be throwing to wide open receivers like he was against Neb
  • I know Haskins hasn't run much all season, but I get nervous that OSU will breakout some true zone reads to take advantage of our DEs crashing hard based on Haskins lack of running to date
  • DPJ, Gentry, Evans (as receiver) all seem to have good match-ups on the outside with a real opportunity to extend plays by breaking tackles




November 6th, 2018 at 10:42 AM ^


When Michigan plays OSU

  • Our developing zone/read capabilities look like they should have an opportunity for success

This is absolutely correct.  The OSU faithful down here are beyond upset at how poor their LB play has been all year.  I dont see it improving dramatically in the next three weeks.

  • Our corners will be in the pockets of the OSU wide-outs.  Haskins should not be throwing to wide open receivers like he was against Neb

Disagree.  This is an area I think OSU will make some hay with.  Haskins is VERY good and if he has time my guess is their going to hit a couple of deep shots against us when we get caught in single coverage.  This is an area to watch out for.

  • I know Haskins hasn't run much all season, but I get nervous that OSU will breakout some true zone reads to take advantage of our DEs crashing hard based on Haskins lack of running to date

Not a chance in hell.  Haskins is way more John Navarre than Troy Smith and no matter how badly they may want to exploit our DE's crashing he simply cannot do it.  This is NOT an area to watch out for.

  • DPJ, Gentry, Evans (as receiver) all seem to have good match-ups on the outside with a real opportunity to extend plays by breaking tackles

Agreed.  Although my guess will be you're going to see a very conservative gameplan, at least initially, as Harbaugh tries to not repeat 2016 turnover wise.


November 6th, 2018 at 11:48 AM ^

Tate would have to be the one to run it.  Haskins slid 5 yards from defenders last game.  He has already made the business decision to go to the NFL. 

Check out the show on Netflix "QB1:Beyond the Lights" to see Tate Martell at Bishop Gorman and decide if he is a greater competitor or douche.  He excels at both.  I hope Haskins stays at OSU because he does not fit their system.


November 6th, 2018 at 11:50 AM ^

Haskins will not be a serious running threat. A surprise Martell package, especially in the red zone, is what I would expect to be a threat. Best case scenario is that our line wrecks it; worst case scenario is that it gets them a big play and/or TD before we adjust and calm things down. 

But that's the wrinkle I'd expect to see there. 

Perkis-Size Me

November 6th, 2018 at 12:17 PM ^

He's not replacing Haskins straight up before going into The Game. Haskins is going to break (if he hasn't already) virtually every single-season passing record for OSU. Haskins is not that team's problem. 

Putting in Martell doesn't fix their OL. Or their defense, which are two of OSU's biggest problems. He may be a better fit, overall, for Meyer's system. But Haskins probably gives them the best chance to win games. 


November 6th, 2018 at 1:54 PM ^

Has Meyer ever busted out some new wrinkle for the Michigan game?  I really can't think of any.

I'm aware of his record against us, of course, but I really don't think that's due to him coming up with epic gameplans.  He's just had the better team every year (2016 excepted).


November 6th, 2018 at 10:53 AM ^

Haskins is fantastic when given time to throw.  There's a reason he was neck-and-neck in the Heisman race with Tua.  However, like most college quarterbacks, his efficiency goes off a cliff when he's pressured.

I'm not sure OSU will be able to keep him upright long enough to hit deep passes.

I think Michigan's biggest concern needs to be OSU's screen game.  That's often the best way to take advantage of a hyper-aggressive defensive front, and OSU has run it well (see the PSU game, for example).  As much as I like Michigan's DBs, if they're able to set up a numbers advantage with a screen, OSU has the WRs -- particularly Parris Campbell -- to make that pay off in a big way.


November 6th, 2018 at 11:34 AM ^

Haskins has earned his passing yardage on short throws, and that's where they're going to make hay - if they make hay.  He won't get time to setup for the downfield action, and his accuracy falls off a cliff when he's moving.  Not too worried about the deep game.  But they have hella athletic WR's that can make short throws look like bombs, so that worries me. 


November 6th, 2018 at 12:27 PM ^

So basically, the consensus is that OSU can't run the ball against us, can't throw deep against us, can maybe get a few mid range passes off, meanwhile won't be able to stop our run game, will likely give up chunk plays because their linebackers suck.

I believe this is one of those games where the team that rushes for more yards wins like 102% of the time. I'm having a hard time thinking of a scenario where Michigan doesn't AT LEAST double up on OSU on the ground, but the most likely case seems to be Michigan rushing for somewhere around 350-400 yards (while Patterson throws 8 passes for 100 yards) and OSU rushing for around 50-100. I'm not trying to put the cart before the horse, but damn this could really be a bloodbath.

Blue In NC

November 6th, 2018 at 3:15 PM ^

Um, I would like to have what you are having.  I know the trendy thing right now is to think that OSU is terrible but they have great players and still have 2.5 weeks to get better.  To me that game is a toss-up at this point.  Michigan is better but it's on the road.  I would be happy with 200 yards rushing in the game.  Your take is, let's say, a bit optimistic.  OSU is not going to let us run for that much.  If they have to, they will bring guys into the box and force Shea to make passes.  The only way we run for 350 is if we get up big early and they just quit.


November 6th, 2018 at 10:48 AM ^

So, if OSU were to run true zone reads against Michigan, I think you would absolutely want the DEs to crash inside to the running back.  If you're talking about a simple zone read -- no pulling frippery, just spread-to-run, 11 vs. 11 zone read -- Michigan can turn it on its head by removing the option entirely and forcing Haskins to keep.  You're worried that Haskins pulls -- I'm thinking, Michigan should make Haskins pull, because the guy with the QB responsibility in a zone read defense is going to be a LB, not the DE.  (I don't know specifically if it's the viper or the middle linebacker in Don Brown's system; I'm guessing it depends upon alignment and opposing personnel groups).

Devin Bush or Khaleke Hudson against Dwayne Haskins, 1-on-1?  I'll take that matchup every time.  The only way that goes well for OSU is if their line is able to blow past Michigan's DL and get to the second level so that somebody can block that LB.  Considering that OSU hasn't been able to blow anybody off of the line of scrimmage -- their rushing stats are mediocre at best -- I'm not that worried.


November 6th, 2018 at 10:49 AM ^

Nebraska was a legit threat to win the game. The game stats were very close. If this current version of OSU is still in place on Nov. 24, UM will win by double digits.


November 6th, 2018 at 10:59 AM ^

The end of the Urban Meyer era at Florida in 2010 came with some really embarrassing losses where they were simply a mess and he was completely vacant.  They were still really talented teams but they weren't prepared, like at all.  It could be that time again.  It is tough to tell but I kind of get the feeling that when Urban starts not caring he does it with the same conviction as when he does care.  I am on blowout alert with them against MSU this weekend.  If the OSU ship is going down I think it will be in spectacular fashion.


November 6th, 2018 at 11:40 AM ^

There is a movie where the protagonist is maybe in space and might be dying and he says something to the effect of "The stars.... They're beautiful...."  I always want to post a meme of that when I see a "beautiful" comment, but I have no idea what the movie is or if I've made it up.   Google doesn't know what I'm talking about.   Does anyone know this?    


November 6th, 2018 at 10:55 AM ^

I don't know what to think about Ohio State.  Part of me thinks that with Barrett gone and with Bosa leaving, the issue is one of developing leadership and that they could become a potent death machine at any time.  The other part has seen a defense that has pretty much sucked against just about everybody and that they might just actually be not very good for the first time in like ever.

Probably going to find out this weekend.  Michigan State has rebounded impressively after Michigan depantsed them and I kind of think now that was more Michigan being really good then Michigan State being bad.  If OSU is a fraud I think State will expose them. 


November 6th, 2018 at 11:06 AM ^

Bosa leaving was the start, methinks. 

When a leader, team captain (right?), and guy whose name is so closely related to OSU...decides that he would rather NOT hang out with the team, finish school, or even try to contribute for the rest of the sends a message. 

That message is "fuck all ya'll, Imma do me."

Imagine if, say, Chase was to do something similar. It wouldn't take much to shove the rest of the team into apathy, especially if the head coach was already there.


M go Bru

November 7th, 2018 at 4:04 AM ^

I thought that Bosa being a captain leaving was a big deal .........until I discovered they have SEVEN captains.

They suffer from "too many cooks" ....and NO leadership!

This isn't the first time this has happened to Meyer. How could you respect your own coach who violates his own creed to "respect women" posted on the walls of your facility?

Conversely, our team is unified and on a mission, "the revenge tour". And they, like us fans, are tired of all the negative BS. Can't win on the road...... Can't beat your rivals......Can't beat a ranked opponent. What a difference!


November 6th, 2018 at 10:58 AM ^

The team we will play, will likely be a completely different team than than the one that played Nebraska, or anybody else this season.

That said, I still think we win by 3-4 scores


November 6th, 2018 at 11:19 AM ^

OSU and Michigan were in virtually identical spots in 2016.  Whoever won was going to Indy and then going to the playoff, intentional conference favoritism of OSU didn't make a whole lot of sense in that game particularly when Michigan was better and would have represented the BIG better in the Playoff.  I don't think the issue was one of intentional favoritism by the conference, I think the issue was more of really shitty negligent ref assignments that resulted in two legit OSU "fans" as on-field officials. 


November 6th, 2018 at 11:02 AM ^

The few times Haskins has run, he has looked terrible and indecisive. I keep thinking he is going to hurt himself sliding because they look so awkward. So even if he does run, I'm not super worried, he'll end up getting wrecked by metellus/kinnel or bush


November 6th, 2018 at 11:19 AM ^

Have to agree.  Haskins doesn't even look like the same guy who replaced JT in last year's game.  He looks thicker, slower almost not athletic.  That one slide in the Nebraska game was very awkward and then the entire stadium booed his feeble attempt.  Not good. Columbus booing a guy who is in the Heisman hunt ?  Unbelievable.