You are Al Borges for this week. What is your game plan to beat Ohio State?

Submitted by M-Dog on November 24th, 2013 at 12:19 PM
In a bizarre College Football Kafkaesque twist, you wake up not as a giant cockroach, but as Al Borges.(Do NOT go there.)
Your season is shot, your program is reeling, and your job is in the crosshairs.  The Game is your last desperate chance at redemption before the long cold winter sets in.
Forget about what you want the offense to be in the future or what you wanted it to be in the past, how are you going to beat Ohio State this week with these players?
You are not going to beat them straight up.  You will have to think outside the (9 men in the) box.  There is no point in any risk aversion at this juncture.
Do you roll the dice, spread 'em out, and go NASCAR, ala the first half of the CMU game?  Do you try to run Devin to put pressure on their D knowing that he may be injured?  Do you cross your fingers and hope that Green and the OL have made enough progress to fall forward for 2 yards at a time and keep Devin out of third and long?  Do dare give Morris some reps?
None of these are very good options, most of them are a little desperate, but desperate is all you've got at this point in time.  You won't beat Ohio State without doing something risky and imaginative.
What's your plan, Al?  


Mr. Carson

November 24th, 2013 at 12:43 PM ^

I would go max protect and throw a hail mary every play.  If intercepted, it's longer than a Wile punt anyways, and if caught, it will exceed our entire offensive production in the second half of Iowa.  It's a win-win.


November 24th, 2013 at 12:51 PM ^

Run the triple option and use cut blocking in the 1st half (we zone or drive block, so might as well cut block).

Then go run n shoot spread in the 2nd half and throw every down.

Never punt.  Onside kick only. No field goals.  Boom or bust.

It's a strategy of craziness rather than our current craziness without strategy.


November 24th, 2013 at 12:52 PM ^

*Have the offensive linemen widen their spits-past finger tip-to-finger tip. This will stretch the defenders out in the box, and "yes", you are giving up space for blitzers, but it makes it harder for the defense to stunt, and easier for your linemen to pick up.

*Line up in alot of spread, trips, and 5 wide. Tell Devin you are going to dip and dunk with the passing and running game. Your goal is to pick up 3-4 yards a play. Enough to move the sticks every 4 downs and keep the ball out of the OSU offense's hands. If a big play happens, great. But getting into 3rd and manageable, every series, is the primary goal.

*Emphasize a passing game that looks for the quick slants, digs, bubble screens, slip screen, underneath drag route, etc. Devin should get rid of the ball ASAP, and no more than 3-step drops. The quicker the ball gets out of Devin's hands, the less likely any OSU blitz or stunt will screw things up.

*Running game should feature true jet sweeps, inverted veers without all the "manball" blocking (just zone blocking), options, HB dives, and QB powers. Again, by widening your splits you are going to create some natural running lanes, and OSU can't defend them all. So you, in theory, should be able to pick up 3-4 yards a pop more often than not.

*Emphasize to your skill guys, then when they have the ball, get up the field as fast as you can and pick up what you can. OSU is too athletic and too fast, trying to "juke" a defender will do you no good and you may end up losing yardage.

*Most importantly, preach the significance of this rivalry. It is one of the BEST, if not THE best football rivalry in all of football. By playing your best game of the season, you can knock the Buckeyes out of a chance for the national championship. Who needs more motivation than that?


November 24th, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

I would hire the finest ninjas to liquidate tOSU's first and second string players.  Then, I would spend the game ticking-off my play script and reading Kafka while wishing instead of being Al Borges I had been born as a giant cockroach.


November 24th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

Well, even though none of these teams beat Ohio State obviously, I suppose the first step is to watch film on the teams which were most successful against Ohio State.

If we go by the conference schedule, those teams would perhaps be Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin and Northwestern as all three of these teams put up 24 or more points on the Buckeyes. Focus on their scoring drives and see what we can do that might be comparable within the skillset of the personnel that we have.

To me, this is the essential first step - benchmark our tendencies against what other teams have done to be reasonably successful (if not ultimately so) against OSU. We have a defense good enough to slow them down some, so now we need to figure out how to creep up on them - a frontal assault doesn't seem like it would work (i.e, I-Formation, inside run).  


November 24th, 2013 at 1:08 PM ^

Is what Meyer will look at and pivot on yardage, field position, and situation.

I will make the offensive line focus on only one thing this week.  Pass protection.   I would make the RB understand only how to pass protect and catch passes out of the backfield.  I would focus on making Gardner work through reads 1 to 3.  I would line up jeremy jackson at the first read if I had to force Gardner to look at anyone outside of Gallon and Funchess.  I would make Toussaint play slot with Dileo.  I would use Dileo if I could.  I wouldnt practice a run at practice this week.

I would cut out any sort of power play unless in short yardage.  Even then, Devin would be in the pistol.  I would make sure Devin Gardner never loses sight of the field via play action unless I have passed 3 times successfully before.  I would not let funchess line up as a blocker on anyone that is 10 pounds lighter than he is and 3 inches shorter.  I will allow gardner to do his crazy spin thing in the backfield. 

THOUGHTS?!?! Thoughts.


November 24th, 2013 at 12:56 PM ^

Therefore, minimizing negative yardage plays and embarassing himself further. Sorry, I just don't think Al is creative enough to help us this week. What he should do is throw deep often and hope for some nice catches and interference calls.

Steve in PA

November 24th, 2013 at 12:58 PM ^

knowing that it could not possibly be any worse or more predictable than playcalling has been all season, I'd use twitter to allow fans to call the plays.

#RunLeft  #RunMiddle  #RunRight

Al Borges

November 24th, 2013 at 1:03 PM ^

Look, I am in a tough spot here.  It should be obvious by now that without great execution it doesn't matter what plays I call.  So, my gameplan stays the same.  we'll try to run it up the middle by using the ultra-effective fake pass handoff.  i'm gonna run it 8 times in a row without actually passing it.  i call that the triple dipple reverse psychology play.  lets hope fickell hasn't watch tape from the iowa game.  then i'll run the jet sweep 5 times in a row because that shit works on ncaa 14 and if i had some damn execution it would work here too.  i'll top it all off with a lot of 7 step drop passes where my receivers run 30 yards downfield and my line is expected to block for 8 seconds because, as we all know, funk is the best line coach out there and these types of plays would work if they would only execute!

Durham Blue

November 24th, 2013 at 1:16 PM ^

don't forget about the ultra effective 10-seconds-to-develop play action pass into double coverage.  Gotta do that one at least five times.  Oh yeah, and the RB screen where blocking is optional.  That's good for at least three tries.  Or the QB Special where we just let Devin do whatever feels clever and let him get sacked for a 9 yard loss.  But we gotta save that one for the fourth quarter.

EDIT -- and all plays must be snapped with less than 4 seconds to go on the play clock.  This is important!  Go as slow as humanly possible.  With any luck the crowd may fall asleep and voila we automatically look better as an offense.

Al Borges

November 24th, 2013 at 3:11 PM ^

I was trying not to give everything away, but yes all those plays are in there.  Hell it doesn't matter what's called as long as we execute.  I'm writing up a speech i'm gonna give before the game.  it's sort of like Bo's "The Team, The Team, The Team".  Mine is titled "In the absence of any sort of offensive scheme...Execute, Execute,'s not my fault."

steve sharik

November 24th, 2013 at 1:04 PM ^

  • Self-scout and break every single tendency I have; e.g., line up in Ace (2 TE, 2 WR) and actually run the ball.
  • Put in a personnel group that can run any formation. This means obviously Funchess playing both WR and TE, but I would do this with Jake Butt also.  Butt would also line up at FB when necessary.
  • Stay in the huddle until about 8 seconds are on the play clock, then break and sprint to the line and snap the ball first sound.  A) This makes it hard for them to line up.  B) This slows the game down.

Al Borges

November 24th, 2013 at 1:12 PM ^

in theory, these all sound good, but

1. i HAVE self scouted all year and i like what i see.  all the plays would go for touchdowns if there was execution.

b. we already run 40 different formations, as i stated in a press conference earlier in the year.  now granted we only have 2 plays out of each formation but the formation itself should be enough to confuse the defense.

4. is this even legal?  look, we need to be lined up long enough for the defense to read the formation.  that way when i call the fake pass handoff, the defense will see there is a receiver out there and sprint toward the sideline.  this is all dependent on execution of course.


November 24th, 2013 at 1:13 PM ^

It is incredibly obvious that we have zero % chance of sustaining a drive. Just go shotgun four flys every single play and have Gardner chuck it to the least covered dude before he gets drilled. Maybe you hit on two or three out of fifty and score 17. Hope the defense plays well and maybe we only lose by 31.


November 24th, 2013 at 1:13 PM ^

offensive wrinkle in the first half, like a stretch counter, that nets us enough positive yards to make the fans believe there is a game plan. After Ohio adjusts to it in the 2nd or 3rd quarter keep running it for -2 yards over and over the rest of the game. 


November 24th, 2013 at 1:19 PM ^

As Al Borges, I would send out 12 men every down, where one is dressed in an OSU jersey (conveniently, this player is lined up on the opponents' sideline, with up to 20 teammates). Then use whatever gameplan that has been repped in practice (I know this already, given my existing gameplans from previous weeks). OSU will now either get called for too many men on the field or will be forced to defend with 10 men, assisting tremendously in our success.

If the opponents get aggressive and try to forcefully keep my disguised players off the field, I will instruct the player to resist and fight back. OSU receives a 15-yard penalty and (possibly) has the instigating player ejected.

If the above doesn't work, I will send out 13 men, where two are dressed in OSU jerseys. I will continue adding additional players until the offense is successful.


November 24th, 2013 at 1:33 PM ^

Now THAT's what I'm talking about.  Crazy and inventive.

On the old Hollywood Squares gameshow, which is just tic-tac-toe, whenever a contestant would do something bat-shit crazy, the MC would not call them out in public.  Instead he would gently say "Interesting strategy.  This could work out."

Interesting strategy, MGoNukeE.  This could work out.


November 24th, 2013 at 1:15 PM ^

Up tempo. Don't let them get set each down. Screens and no stretch runs period. Hope funch and gallon can get open and make some plays downfield

Bobby Boucher

November 24th, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

Throw everything including the kitchen sink at em.  I wouldn't run the ball until the 2nd half.  Have a trick play ready for every other down.  Do an onside kick on every chance during the first and third quarters.  Execute option plays on every other odd possession and under center plays on the even possessions except for 4 and shorts, in which I'd run a double pitch option similar to what Nebraska did to us in 2011.  

In the second half, only play hurry up offense.  Get the play off within 20 seconds with only quick throws, screens, and jet sweeps as the play calls.  Also, go for two on every touchdown in the second half.

That would be my game strategy if I were Al Borges this week. 


November 24th, 2013 at 7:17 PM ^

these coaches can't get these players to run and block effectively on basic plays given hundreds of practice reps over the season.  yet, trick plays are to be excuted in just a week of practice.  face it, al borges has no chance of calling a game that we can win unless the defense scores for us.  al, funk and jackson obviously can't coach fundamentals.  that said, the D was just one add'l score away from winning the game in iowa city.


November 24th, 2013 at 1:30 PM ^

Line up facing the wrong direction. Fumble on purpose. Hope ohio picks it up and runs the wrong direction. When their player drops the ball after he thinks he scored a touchdown, sneak in and pick it up for 6!

What's so hard about this?

I dumped the Dope

November 24th, 2013 at 1:40 PM ^

1. Wildcat.  I do like that idea with a direct snap to Green.  Get an extra TE out there, make it a run-read play and let Green do a read on where the line has gone soft or blown open.  It might be a LB waiting right there but that guy's at least on the other side of the LOS.  No DE are going to be able to scrape back due to the width of the formation, and thus all blocks can be straight ahead.  Green's going inside. Use Norfleet or Chesson and run the same play except outside with speed.

2. Taylor Lewan as Fullback.  Yep, you read it right here, I want a 300 lb masher with blood streaming from his forehead to get a 5 yd running start and go flying horizontal on the opposing defender at times.  I dare Shazier to get in the way.  He might be slow but something's going to open.  Green just has to stay off his heels and not roll over his ankles.

3.  Taylor Lewan as pulling guard.  Again its OK if he's slow, I just want my most massive and strongest player taking 2 shuffles to his right and then blow out the player in front.  Kerridge can then follow, and Green after that.  

4. Butt.  We have to use him more on short passes.  Not sure of the routes but this is Funchess 2.0 where he showed promise early and then disappeared in the second half of the year.  Funchess' best ability is the crackback block, so let him go downfield and then maul someone unsuspecting from the backside.

5. Chesson.  We must target him deep to open up corner coverage.  Granted there might not be time to watch him go open and then fire.  Make it a timing play when you see man coverage or the safety cheating run, so there's not any deep help, throw to a "corner" of a multiple of a 10 yard line and the sideline just like the back corner of the endzone throw.  Loft it up and let Chesson run under it.

6. Wile throw on a punt situation.  Identical to Rudock's play on the 1st down throw that sealed the game.  Tuck it under, let defenders come at you.  Stop, set, throw over the defenders to Dileo or someone waiting about 5-7-10 yards downfield.  Key detail:  Ya first gotta get him the miniature QB shoulder pads that let a guy actually throw the ball.

(realizing this is offense but I'm on a roll here...GMatt probably has it figured out)

7. Defense is going to be tighter coverage and blitzes from all over.  LB flowing downhill at the snap to take away Hyde when its obvious run.  On the blitz CB must jam the WR like mad at the LOS to keep them from going deep/open in man coverage.  In obvious pass situations, I'd use a combination of delayed LB blitz plus overload outside the DE with faster players.  The idea being to put pressure on Miller when he's going to pass, keep speedy guys to hawk him when he pulls it down to run.

8. Once the blitzes start working, then throw in a mix of some soft coverage schemes just to keep them guessing.

Anyone want to nominate Dump the Dope for 2014 OC? 8-D I think its a pay raise and I'll take the job if Hoke calls me.  I only live 15 minutes from the stadium.