Using the Fast Pass
One of the ways opposing offenses have tried to negate Ohio State’s pass rush has been by having their quarterbacks get rid of the ball as quickly as possible. Screen passes, quick hitches, and slants became more prevalent as last season wore on.
“We were talking about that today,” defensive end Jalyn Holmes said. “Last year, teams started towards the end of the year, they knew that we were sending in those four defensive ends on third down. So on second down, those were the times that we made them pass. On third downs, they were trying to do quick passes or screens just to try to get us off our game a little bit.”
There are some new plans in the works to permit the Ohio State defensive line to get after the quarterback more than they did a year ago. The hope is that this will lead to more pressure and eliminate the effectiveness of the quick passing attack. Opposing offenses found themselves throwing the ball more on first and second downs when there were only two Ohio State defensive ends in the game. Then on third downs when the Rushmen package would take the field, the offense would revert back to a quick passing game.
So even though the Rushmen are seen as a dynamic pass rush package, they didn’t get all that many opportunities to rush the passer last year.
“The crazy thing is, it’s not (that often) because they know our personnel that we have,” Holmes explained. “You wouldn’t take that chance, would you? They just try to get it in on first or second downs, to try and take that shot or whatever. And third downs, they try to be real quick to get us off our game so we can’t do what we want to do.”
The best way to know that an offensive lineman is playing well during a television broadcast is to never hear his name mentioned. Never be part of a penalty, or a replay of a defensive end running right around him on his way to the quarterback.
An offensive lineman doesn’t want to be pointed out. He just wants to be part of a five-piece wall that is effective every step of the way.
When an offensive lineman struggles, it creates problems. It creates trouble for the quarterback or the running game. It creates a lot of replays and telestrations on what went wrong. And it creates a whole bunch of criticism from the outside that is impossible to ignore by those on the inside.
That criticism doesn’t necessarily drive players to improve — they have enough reasons for that, but it does point out the importance of not being a reason for that criticism.
“What I’m seeing different is — and it stems with what I said from Isaiah [Prince] back to the whole group, when you face that criticism and you see that and you really look at what you need to do, now all of a sudden how you approach things is different,” offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said.
“How you go out there and approach practice is different. Why? Because you know those little mistakes from an offensive line are going to get blown up and be on the front page. So now you know what? You pay attention. You fight, you strain. You don’t let those things happen. And that’s what all of them — Isaiah has obviously turned that around, but so has everybody else. They understand that. So they want to make sure they pay attention to detail and get the job done. Period.”
Undermined at Every Turn
This weekend, we told the story of how former Ohio State cornerbacks are doing their part to coach up the current Ohio State cornerbacks. One of the side stories in that whole angle was the fact that Kerry Coombs mentioned that redshirt sophomore Damon Arnette is very similar to former Buckeye Bradley Roby because of their insistence on talking to receivers before, during, and after a play.
Both players are aware of the comparison.
“Yeah, they both know that I hated it, right?” Coombs said. “So they both know. With that swagger nonsense trash talk drives me nuts, but they still do it. I just have learned that I’ve got to adopt it.”
Coombs is trying to rein Arnette in, but the cornerback does have a very powerful person in his corner, however.
“Damon actually is one of my wife’s favorite players,” Coombs said. “She’ll call him and say, ‘Hey, don’t let him get to you.’ Which, I want to get to him. But anyway, I talk with both of them about it and they enjoy the fact that they have that in common.”
So what is it like for Kerry Coombs to have his coaching undermined by both his former players and his wife?
“It’s terrible,” he said smiling. “It’s hard to be the coach at Ohio State. It’s very hard. Very hard.”
He’s awesome. It’s good to see the jump in title this year. I hope it’s enough to keep him around. I’ve been worried we were gonna lose him the last few years. Just like Tom Herman leaving — it’s fine and I’m happy for him, and we’ll be OK with whomever his replacement would be, but while we’ve been fine there has been a noticeable difference on Offense and play calling. I think we have it fixed, but selfishly, I wish he’d never left and the same goes for Coombs.
The more I read about Coach Coombs, the better I like him! 🙂
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