By the numbers defense

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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 11/11/2011 3:45 AM
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Football
By the Numbers - Defense vs. Indiana
By Jeff Amey

The Indiana offense had a surprising amount of success against the Ohio State defense this past weekend, keeping their team in the game well into the fourth quarter.  What allowed a team that hasn't really come close to winning any of their other Big Ten games other than a 16-10 loss to Penn State earlier in the season?

First and foremost, the Hoosiers got a pretty good game from their freshman quarterback Tre Roberson both passing and rushing.  He finished the game with 243 yards of total offense, 173 passing and 70 yards rushing, with a touchdown each.  He managed to play pretty much mistake free until less than five minutes to go in the game when he threw an interception that allowed the Buckeyes to put the game away.  The Buckeyes had a lot of trouble getting off the field on third down as the Hoosiers did a pretty good job of extending their drives.  All seven of their third down completions went for at least a first down, and on average their third down gains were more than their yards to gain.

The defense in this game was interesting, and a little disturbing in some areas.  We'll get into that in the position groups.  First, the stats.

Run/Pass Breakdown

70 Total Plays--334 yards--4.8 yards per play

            21 pass (30%)--11/21 for 173 yards  1 TD  1 INT

            49 rush (70%) for 161 yards  1 TD--3.3 ypc

11 Defensive Possessions

            Ave. of 6.4 plays--30.4 yards

            Ave. start--Indiana 28

First Down--29 plays (41%) for 149 yards

            4 pass (14%)--2/4 for 46 yards  1 INT

            25 rush (86%) for 103 yards  1 TD--4.1 ypc

            Ave. gain of 5.1 ypp

Second Down--23 plays (33%) for 64 yards

            6 pass (26%)--2/6 for 25 yards

            17 rush (74%) for 39 yards--2.3 ypc

            Ave. of 7.9 yards to go

            Ave. gain of 2.8 yards

Third Down--17 plays (24%) for 130 yards

            11 pass (65%)--7/11 for 102 yards  1 TD

            6 rush (35%) for 28 yards--4.7 ypc

            Ave. of 7.1 yards to go

            Ave. gain of 7.6 yards

            Conversions--10/17 (59%)

Fourth Down--1 play (1%) for -9 yards

            1 rush (100%) for -9 yards--(-9.0) ypc

            Ave. of 15.0 yards to go

            Ave. loss of 9.0 yards

            Conversions--0/1 (0%)

First Downs Allowed--18 total

            9 by pass

            9 by rush

Formation/Personnel Breakdown

Indiana Offense vs. 4-2-5--27 plays (39%) for 105 yards

            6 pass (22%)--4/6 for 36 yards

            21 rush (78%) for 69 yards  1 TD--3.3 ypc

            Blitz Percentage--7/27 (26%)

            Negative Blitz plays--1

Indiana Offense vs. 3-3-5--43 plays (61%) for 229 yards

            15 pass (35%)--7/15 for 137 yards  1 TD  1 INT

            28 rush (65%) for 92 yards--3.3 ypc

            Blitz Percentage--13/43 (30%)

            Negative Blitz plays--3

Indiana Offense vs. Base (no blitz) defense--50 plays (71%) for 271 yards

            15 pass (30%)--7/15 for 135 yards  1 TD  1 INT

            35 rush (70%) for 136 yards  1 TD--3.9 ypc

Indiana Offense vs. Blitz defense--20 plays (29%) for 63 yards

            6 pass (30%)--4/6 for 38 yards

            14 rush (70%) for 25 yards--1.8 ypc

Indiana Offense vs. Man to man (Combo) defenses--27 plays (39%) for 87 yards

            7 pass (26%)--3/7 for 27 yards

            20 rush (74%) for 60 yards  1 TD--3.0 ypc

Indiana Offense vs. Zone defenses--43 plays (61%) for 247 yards

            14 pass (33%)--8/14 for 146 yards  1 TD  1 INT

            29 rush (67%) for 101 yards--3.5 ypc

Other Stats of Note

~ No defensive penalties

~ Indiana started on the Ohio State side of the 50 once--7 points (TD)

~ 3/4 in the Red Zone--(1 TD  2 FG)

~ 4 Sacks and 1 turnover (INT)

~ 29/70 plays took place on the Ohio State side of the 50--(41%)

~ 22/70 plays went for no gain or loss--(31%)

~ 11/70 plays went for 10+ yards--(16%)

~ 2/11 drives went three and out--(22%)

The Hoosiers left Ohio Stadium with a 1-8 record, but you can't help but be a little impressed with the young talent they've managed to scrape together in Bloomington.  I'm guessing the Hoosiers will find themselves in a bowl game sometime in the next three seasons.  I have to also give the Indiana coaching staff credit for doing a good job of getting their freshman quarterback and the rest of their young team ready to play the Buckeyes.  They played well, considering the circumstances, and had they had a better defense, might have been able to pull that game out.

There are a few things that might stick out to you looking through the statistics.  For one, I have that the Buckeyes ran more 3-3-5 than 4-2-5 in this game, even though they were using their normal 4-2-5 personnel.  I did that because they put John Simon in a two point stance and played him a little different than normal in a lot of situations, and I decided to differentiate those plays from when he was in his normal stance.  There were very few plays where the Buckeyes were in an actual three man front, mostly just at the end.

Secondly, the Buckeyes came out in this game trying to play Indiana very aggressively.  Of the 20 blitz calls, 13 came in the first half, as did the majority of their man to man calls.  While Indiana did have some success against the blitz and man to man early, they didn't have sustained success against those defenses.  Against man to man, they gained about a quarter of their yardage on 39% of their plays.  Against blitzes, they only gained 19% of their total offense on 29% of their plays.  That means they had better success against the base zone defenses Ohio State called the majority of the game.

What did we learn about the defense in this game?  Let's take a look at the position groups.

Defensive Line

We didn't learn anything about the defensive line that we didn't already know.  They are the defense's most dominant group, and the starting four finished with 24 tackles, one sack, and 3 1/2 tackles for loss.  Last week, it was Adam Bellamy that emerged on the defensive line to have his best game of the season.  This week, it was Garrett Goebel with seven tackles who was very active all game long.

It was interesting the way Jim Heacock used John Simon. He played a very similar role as Nathan Williams did early in the season, playing a two point stance to the field side on a host of plays in this game.  With the Hoosiers running option on nearly every running play, and faking it on the vast majority of the rest, he spent most of the game focused in on the option game, which he did very well.  He finished with a team high ten tackles, three of them for loss, including a sack. 

I still didn't come away from this game thinking the defensive staff has the best handle on the opposing team's option game.  Similar to the Nebraska game, they had trouble getting the ball out of the quarterback's hands on most plays, and he was the only player that was really hurting them.  Neither of the next two teams do a lot with running the quarterback, but Denard Robinson could pose a serious threat to the defense if they don't do a better job of getting him on the ground or the ball out of his hands.

Grade--A-   A pretty good day for the defensive line, and Michael Bennett added a sack at the end.  Where was Adam Bellamy in this game?  He finished with no tackles and looked lost at times against the option.

Linebackers

With most of the Indiana offense being option based, and the Hoosiers using the recievers most of the game in jet motion, the linebackers were severely stressed in this game.  While Andrew Sweat was effective when he managed to get into position, the rest of the linebackers had a pretty rough game.  Both Storm Klein and Etienne Sabino looked painfully slow reading the Hoosier option, and were caught out of position several times in the game. 

At this point of the season, I'd like to see both of those players reacting better to option.  The key to stopping the option is an active defensive line and being gap sound.  The line was active all game, but the linebackers gave up their gaps too often.  Without such a good game from the line, this might have actually gotten kind of ugly.  They must do better against Michigan.

Grade--C+   The tackling was better when they got there, but they had a lot of trouble getting into position.

Defensive Backs

With the skill set of the defensive backs on the field for the Buckeyes this season, I can't understand why they aren't calling more man defenses.  The linebackers and safeties haven't been good enough in zone defenses to make them as effective as they need to be, and opponents are having an easier time against them this season.  It was no different in this game.  Bradley Roby did give up slant patterns to his inside in man coverage a couple of times, but the majority of the pass plays against man ended up being throwaways or scrambles because the QB couldn't find anyone open.  The Hoosiers completed one pass of 10 or more yards against man, and seven of 10 or more against zone.

As for the individuals, we didn't learn anything we didn't already know about them this week.  Roby and Travis Howard are good when they're in man, and Howard came up with the clinching interception on a zone call.  C.J. Barnett and Tyler Moeller are solid, if unspectacular, and Christian Bryant is raw, but talented. 

Grade--B+   All I have here is my usual argument.  Man vs. zone, and I think the Buckeyes are better at man.

Defensive Coaching/Gameplan

I wasn't surprised that the Buckeyes came out blitzing and playing a lot of man early and often considering they were going against a freshman quarterback and young offense in general, but I was a little surprised to see them go away from it in the second half.  The defensive backs were giving up their inside a little too easily early in the game, but they adjusted their alignment a little bit to take that away after that, and gave up hardly anything after that when they played man. 

I just don't feel the linebackers are good enough for the Buckeyes to be playing as much zone as they are this season.  They're too slow to react against option and playaction when in zone, and when combined with the spotty safety play this season, have given up too many big plays this season.  There just haven't been enough turnovers to offset that in my opinion.  The defense has been best this season when the coaches have been a little more aggressive.  I hate to second-guess a coach that has been as successful as Heacock, but I just feel this defense could be more efficient getting off the field.

Grade--B-   Despite the 10 point hole they started the game in, they were most successful in more aggressive defenses in the game.  I don't think the defense came ready to play at the start of this game, and only woke up after the long Braxton Miller touchdown run.


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