Q: What makes Ohio O so QB friendly?

Submitted by Gameboy on December 17th, 2014 at 11:01 AM

This is a break from your normally scheduled CC programming...

This goes out to better football minds on this board.

What makes Urban Meyer's offense so QB friendly? It seems that no matter who they put back there, they will pass for 200 and run for 100 and score a boatload of touchdowns.

I understand that spread is very effective in general, but other spread schools have ups and downs with various QB's. It seems Ohio is almost immune to whoever is quaterbacking the team. Obviously, this means that the QB reads are very simple and the routes/scheme is getting wide receivers wide open. Exactly, how does he do it?

P.S. If you are looking for a coach in NFL, wouldn't you at least give a call to Urbz to see if he is interested? Chip Kelly has proven that this system can win with crappy quarterbacks (re: Sanchize). Hell, Urbz won National Championship with Tebow (and we now all know how good he is at throwing the ball)! If I am an NFL owner with an open head coaching job, Urbz would be the first one I would call.

P.P.S. If Ross steered Harbaugh to Michigan and hired Urbz from Ohio, we should build his statue right next to Bo's.

Now you may resume with HARBAUGH!!!



December 17th, 2014 at 11:04 AM ^

It's easy to run and easy for them to read and go through their progressions. It's why anyone has been able to run his offense. And because Urban is a damn good QB coach.

Save for John Brantley.


December 17th, 2014 at 11:47 AM ^

Disagree.  It's the scheme that makes these players so extremely good, not the other way around.  They had 4 new OL this year and looked extremely good.

This was the fundamental difference between Urbz and Hoke - Urbz's schemes made it easy for his players to play well, whereas Hoke's O.C. schemes were a predictable, horrible mess that made his players look awful, no matter how good they might have been in other systems.


December 17th, 2014 at 12:10 PM ^

I'm saying that spread scheme is good AND they have an extremely good offensive line, which makes everything easier. Lots of teams spread it out and still can't run. OSU can. It also gives young QB's lots of time to make the already simplified reads.

And I think their use of 4 new linemen this year actually adds to my point - they recruit and properly train OL players on an elite level.


December 17th, 2014 at 12:14 PM ^

When you have good coaching, new players can step in and they magically know what they are supposed to do. Their OL improved at lot over the season, i mean they got wrecked by VT early on and by the end of the season were rolling over everybody. The new starters werent all freshmen, they had been on campus and gotten a chance to learn and develop in practice and grow behind all those seniors that left after last season


December 17th, 2014 at 8:31 PM ^

If that's the case how come Urban had so much difficulty beating Bama/Saban?  I believe they scored 31 points and won in the first meeting in 2008, then only scored 13 points in 2009 and 6 points in 2010 against Bama, losing both games.  I just always got the impression the pressure Saban/Bama put on Meyer/Florida is what pushed him out.  He couldn't beat them.


December 17th, 2014 at 1:18 PM ^

"easy for them to read and go through their progressions"

Progressions would be something like: Receiver X > Receiver Y > RB rolling out to flat > Tuck it and run.

Normally there would probably be a couple reads for each option (e.g. receiver X has his man beat, no safety help over the top = throw the post)

What is it that makes that offense easier to read? Fewer progression to go through (e.g. rolling out to the right, is receiver X open? throw, else tuck and run)? Or do multiple progressions read off the same player (e.g. Is the nickle/HSP doing X then throw to receiver X, else throw to receiver Y)?


December 17th, 2014 at 11:07 AM ^

Along with "spread=easier reads," I think they're finally reaping the benefits of some backend-heavy pact with the devil which forced them through a decade of Joe Germaine/Bellisari/Craig Krenzel before their eventual deliverance. 


December 17th, 2014 at 3:40 PM ^

You do realize that they won a national title with Krenzel as their QB?  They also went 11-1 and finished #2 in the country in 1998 with Germaine.  

The only one of those three who was actually bad - and hurt the team - was Bellisari.  His drunk-driving arrest a week before the Game in 2001 was terrible luck for us. 


December 17th, 2014 at 11:06 AM ^

1. He recruits good talent.

2. He has a good OL

3. He has a good running game.

4. He has or tries to get good receivers.

5. He simplifies the scheme and does not make too many demands on the QB.

In short he is a good coach.


December 17th, 2014 at 11:46 AM ^


Putting Denard and Devin under center with limited o-lines and more complex passing schemes depedent upon accuracy and both qb and receiver reads is a recipe for success.  

Or, just maybe, we should have used the above ideas with some tempo to keep our QB in as much of a zone as possible and allow him to pass from the gun on 95% of his passes so he can see the whole field immediately and react....never mind, reason my head hurt almost every Saturday.   Square peg, round hole, rinse repeat at a mind-numbing rate.


December 17th, 2014 at 11:09 AM ^

No academic rigors. They get to focus 100% of their time on learning the offense and don't have to do any coursework. As Adolphus Washington pointed out, "Even if you’re giving minimal effort [at OSU] there is no way you can fail."


December 17th, 2014 at 11:10 AM ^

are always open, i didnt watch them much this year but when i did the QB never had to fit the ball in a tight window, either the primary receiver was wide open or the QB takes off and runs 


December 17th, 2014 at 11:12 AM ^

There's some smart X and Os guys on this board, but my thought is Ohio has the advantage of being able to recruit great O linemen, and meanwhile the Big Ten is a crap conference right now.  If Ohio were in the SEC, I doubt they could just plug in QB after QB and win.

Before Chip bounced to the NFL, I would have said that there is no chance that Urbz would be interested in the NFL.  But Chip has been a success, and the Eagles are actually fun to watch.  So I would say that there's a better chance than zero that Urban would want to make the jump.  The other question is:  If Oregon weren't facing sanctions, would Chip have made the jump?



December 17th, 2014 at 11:24 AM ^

Quarterbacks have done well most places that Urban Meyer has been, and as others have pointed out, it is the scheme and the ability to get the players to run it, good OLs, and so on. Actually, Cleveland.com had the historic chart via SportsReference in this article earlier this month.

The chart is below:

  Passing Rushing
Year   Player Yds. TDs INTs Rating Yds. TDs
2014 OSU J.T. Barrett 2,834 34 10 170 938 11
2013 OSU Braxton Miller 2,094 24 7 158 1,068 12
2013 OSU Kenny Guiton 749 14 2 165 330 5
2012 OSU Braxton Miller 2,039 15 6 141 1,271 13
2010 Fla. John Brantley 2,061 9 10 116 111 0
2009 Fla. Tim Tebow 2,895 21 5 164 910 14
2008 Fla. Tim Tebow 2,746 30 4 172 673 12
2007 Fla. Tim Tebow 3,286 32 6 173 895 23
2006 Fla. Chris Leak 2,942 23 13 145 30 3
2006 Fla. Tim Tebow 358 5 1 202 469 8
2005 Fla. Chris Leak 2,639 20 6 137 81 6
2004 Utah Alex Smith 2,952 32 4 177 631 10
2003 Utah Alex Smith 2,247 15 3 152 452 5
2002 BG Josh Harris 2,425 19 11 125 737 20
2001 BG Andy Sahm 1,326 11 10 126 33 3
2001 BG Josh Harris 1,022 9 3 143 614 8


Two Hearted Ale

December 17th, 2014 at 11:38 AM ^

Coaches call the plays after they have seen the defenses alignment so the play is always called by the professional coach with years of experience instead of the redshirt sophomore quarterback. The plays that are called give the quarterback simple pre-snap reads...or maybe not so simple, the point is the decision is made with no pressure. Meyer's quarterbacks tend to be pretty talented too, which helps.

The thing I have noticed about Meyer is that he thinks about everything. I've heard he wanted more night games and RAWK music at home games. He doesn't want night games and music because he likes it, he wants it because he thinks it gives his team an advantage, however slight. If he's thinking about something as minor as game atmosphere you can bet he's thinking of as many ways possible to give his QBs advantage. Little stuff adds up.


December 17th, 2014 at 11:41 AM ^

running game opens up so much in the passing game, and when the qb is a running threat that has to be respected. This sets up one on ones where there speed kills. I don't believe there qbs are that great they just operate in a system that sets them up to succeed.

Space Coyote

December 17th, 2014 at 11:48 AM ^

I think first and foremost is that Meyer has always had great OLs. He did at Utah, he did at Florida, and he does at OSU. And not just great because of scheme, great because they are legit good even beyond the college level. But notice what happened when the OSU OL broke down early in the season: Virginia Tech. OL breaks down for any scheme, and the rest falls with it.

What his great OLs have done though is:

1) Set up the run game in a big way. Meyer has used the run game in a lot of ways, from getting the H heavily involved (Harvin), to the RB (Hyde), to the QB (Tebow, Miller). This variety in the run game makes the pass game more of a change-up (though it can be more emphasized with guys like Leak or Kenny G).  This opens things up in terms of coverage because in many ways you have to be careful with your coverage and must respect the run threat.

2) They provide great pass protection. This very much has to do with the run game as well, as DL have to respect the run threat and you can't be gap unsound on your blitzes. This gives QBs all day to read.

Now, there are a few other things. If you rewatch the B1G Championship game, you'll notice that Jones wasn't that great. He was decent, but far from great. His receivers had to leave their feet on what seemed like 75% of their catches (and he was often late). But they bailed him out again and again. In his time at Florida and at OSU, Meyer has had great athletes at both the WR, Slot, and TE positions.

Because of the run threat that Meyer has in his offense, and because of the strength of the OL and the athletes on the outside, Meyer is able to employ very simple route concepts. So you get teams worried about the run and then you give simple one or two person reads for the QB and the defense can't defend everything short and everything deep.

Meyer isn't completely immune to bad QB play though. You listed Brantley. At times his offense bogged down with Miller as well, because of his limited passing ability (similar to Denard); look at last year's B1G Championship game; or in 2012 look at Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue, or MSU; or look at this year against VT or PSU. So it isn't immune.

In each of those games though, the defensive front beat the offensive front, and once that happens, the pass concepts (and QB abilities) often times aren't strong enough to succeed on their own. Part of that is a weakness of the spread (you have fewer blocking adjustments you can make, protection combinations, etc to help the OL), some of that is Meyer's scheme that relies heavily on the success of the run game (similar to any run-oriented offense) rather than strengthing the complexity of the pass game.

Now, credit where credit is due, OSU and Meyer have a heck of a track record. They do a lot of things to simpilfy the game for the QB, including limiting his reads in the pass and run game based on his strengths and experience, surrounding him with great talent, and teaching them very well to get the ball where it needs to be. Meyer can teach QBs, he can teach WRs, and he consistently gets very good OL coaches. And he has a smart scheme that he is good at altering based on team strengths. He's also continued to innovate and modify his scheme to new concepts (typically that lean on something older).

As for Meyer to the NFL, I think it's a bit of wishful thinking. Kelly's version of the spread I think is set up a bit better to have success in the NFL. Part of that is because Kelly employs a bit more complex of a pass scheme. It can use QB runs, but it relies on it much less to set up the rest of the offense. As I said, Meyer has dominated the front as a College HC, but that changes in the NFL. You don't get that domination, you have to be more rounded. Kelly's version of the spread is more rounded. Meyer's, especially with the tighter hash marks, I really don't think is complex enough to have consistent success at the NFL level with the caliber of athlete and creativeness and intelligence of opposing coaches.

Also, regardless of Tebow's lack of NFL success, he was a great college QB, and would have been pretty much anywhere. The fact that the speed of the game is a bit slower, the windows are generally a bit more open, and he was a freak of nature athlete, would have allowed him to be a great college QB pretty much regardless.


December 17th, 2014 at 12:22 PM ^

How much do the hashes really impact what a coach can do on offense in college vs the NFL? Is it just being able to have significantly more space to one side of the field or is it more than that? I've read a couple interwebs posts which echo similar concerns.

Chip Kelly's scheme seems pretty similar to what OSU does to my untrained eye but with less QB running because lol sanchez. I had always thought his was a run based offense but it seems to work well in the NFL.

Space Coyote

December 17th, 2014 at 1:22 PM ^

The width of the hashes has a couple impacts.

First, like you said, the spacing aspect. Without a wide side of the field, a QB must be able to scan the whole field in order to maintain relatively reasonable throwing windows, meaning his reads need to become more complex.

Second, if you snap the ball on one hash in college, you can attack that side of the field quickly with the run, but retain all the room to the wide side of the field for passing. This also opens up windows and space for multiple receivers to get open on the same side of the ball.

Related to point two, the ball being on one hash puts DBs in a bit of a bad position for run support while still playing the pass. They have to cover all that space in the pass game but they still have to retain a presnap position to have support angles. Near side alley fill is compromised by having to play against the pass. Wide side alley fill is much smaller and therefore puts the DB in less space (meaning he can react a little later) and allows for the support to get there.

Fourth, with the hashes reduced, the defensive front can essentially just play balanced. There isn't a really a very wide side of the field. They don't need to flex out nearly as far. This allows them to keep the box intact much simpler.

And number five, because there isn't as much of a wide side of the field, you can much more easily disguise coverage. This is part of the main reason the simplified Air Raid offenses don't directly translate to the NFL, and why many NFL teams focus their pass game more to the WCO sort of elements while mixing in some Air Raid schemes. But the coverage in some ways dictates what is a good run play as well, so in that case it works against Meyer's offense in two ways.

Kelly's offense is a bit different than Meyer's. Kelly's is more focused on attacking the edge with the RBs, though not exclusively. While both incorporate screens, Kelly probably did more. Kelly's route structures are more complex, and generally he used much more bunch and trips looks within his scheme. While Kelly is run dominant, I don't think his running playbook is quite as diverse as Meyer's, which allows more time to focus on the pass game. Likewise, Kelly utilizes more motions in his offense to mess with coverage and such.

I said a couple weeks ago that the spread to run makes this type of progression (from a high level standpoint)

Rich Rod -> Kelly -> Meyer -> Harbaugh

                                 \  Malzahn /

If you added a spread-to-pass line, Kelly would be more between the spread to run and spread to pass lines.


December 17th, 2014 at 2:37 PM ^

Generally in agreement but this year they had an OL with 1 whole whopping more career start than UM's had coming into the year.

And they threw in a QB who never played a down of CFB in his life and was coming off 2 years of inactivity really with his HS senior lost (a lot like Shane).

So it goes more than just a great OL this year.  Either their OL coach is 100x ours this year or it is a bit more complicated.  They had the exact same experience level ours did. 


December 17th, 2014 at 12:17 PM ^

As others have noted, it's a really simple offense for a QB with some wheels - you look for 1-2 reads and then you run.  Plus, because teams will start to cheat up to stop the run, lots of those throws are going to be easier than in a traditional 5-step drop offense where you hvae to go through a progression.  When you have your outside receiver streaking past a flat-footed DB or your slot receiver blitheringly wide open 10-yards past the line, it's a pretty easy throw.

The read-option rushing attack also means you don't have to spend much time figuring out line checks and what the front 7 are doing - you read the end and then you make your play.  I think it puts more pressure on linemen at times to get to the second level, but it really is a tough offense to stop, especially when you have great athletes.


December 17th, 2014 at 12:59 PM ^

As others have noted, I would put this right on the coach.


I was watching ESPN the other day, I don't remmeber when -- sometime during my sleepless-waiting-for-Harbaugh-stupor.... and one of the guys said he had sat in on a practice at OSU earlier in the year, just before braxton was hurt, and noted that the backup QB's looked absolutely terrible at the time.



Or maybe it's just that if you practice well, you play shitty and vice versa?  (ok, ok, i didn't really mean it)




December 17th, 2014 at 1:17 PM ^

Meyers offense is great if you don't have any NFL asperations, his offense does not require you to make multiple reads, check downs, hot reads, audibles, it doesn't require the QB to make alot of decisions, things you need to do to be an effective NFL QB. His offense also does not require you to be accurate down field, not alot of complicated routes which makes the offense easy to stop in the NFL. If im a high school quarterback with NFL dreams I would not go to Ohio if you paid me (which they do, hehe).