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Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 03/02/2012 5:46 AM
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Offensive Football In the Midst of Witches
By Tony Gerdeman

We are stepping forward into a dangerous time, my friends. The swaddled safety of yesterday is gone, and the blackened threat of tomorrow is upon us. We must walk with open eyes and careful steps because the darkness brazenly approaches.

I speak, of course, of the coming Ohio State offense under Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman. The things that these two men are talking about doing on offense are not natural. They are not healthy. They are not clean.

You doubt me? Well, what does this description from Herman sound like to you!?

"I think it's an offense based on matchups. I think it's an offense based on using the entire width and length of the football field. The field is 120 yards long and 54 yards wide. And in our opinion the defense only has eleven human beings to cover that much grass, and so we're going to use space and numbers to our advantage."

You know what it sounds like to me? Witchcraft!

This offense should be drowned in a farmer's pond until we can study it further. We have to think about the safety of our children!

Using space and numbers to their advantage? Why does one team need to have an advantage over another? Sounds like a whole bunch of hooey to me. Ohio State has never needed space or number advantages before, and it doesn't need them now.

What kind of monster makes a defense defend an entire field?  Have you ever heard of a thing called "sportsmanship"? And what kind of sadistic animal looks at a defense and focuses on matchups?

The black arts have arrived, people, and no doorstep is safe from their hateful reach.

The days of leaving your windows open and doors unlocked are gone. No longer will Ohio State let a defense know what is going to happen simply by the formation they are lined up in.

This is not a world that I have chosen. This is a world that has lost its hope for the unchanging. Next you're going to tell me that a snap count won't always be on "one" moving forward. How dim has our light gotten?

Everything was fine before. Change is a gateway to becoming lost, and with these two men leading the way, I fear the old way will be lost forever.

Not even bread crumbs left by a terrified Dave running for his life will mark the path to the old ways. (Not that Dave would need to mark his path, since everybody already knows where he's going.)

Night has gripped our land, and not even the moon's reflective light can escape its grasp.

"We'll put stress on the defense in terms of using the quarterback in the run game. And then take advantage of any of the mismatches that we can create out there in space with our athletes on the opposing athletes."

You can practically hear Herman cackling with cryptic glee as he speaks those words. Like a promise of a future dystopic wasteland where polite attempts to snooker an opponent are tossed aside for full-fledged deception and aggression.

Is this what football has become? At what cost?

There was never anything wrong with pitting eleven helmets against eleven helmets in a confined space of about ten square yards and letting the better man win. And then doing it forty more times.

There's no need to use anymore of the field than necessary. Just like you don't want your children wandering off into the woods, you also don't want your offense wandering off down the field because they may never make it back.

The world is a dangerous place. Wide receivers disappear every single day. It's best to keep them as close to the snap of the ball as possible.

This is what Ohio State has done for decades, and it has always worked for the most part. And because of it, the blackness has stayed away. The darkness has never settled upon Columbus' shores. Until now. And we will all pay dearly.

There was a certain safety in predictability—a calmness that allowed everyone to accept the mortality of the Ohio State offense.

Meddling in the supernatural may make for some interesting movies, but it has no place on the football field.

To hear co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers describe this offense is to hear a villager recount his hamlet's malicious destruction at the hands of something of extraordinary evil.

"They make you defend every part of the field. A good, strong run game within a spread type offense. Yet still being able to run some of the traditional runs out of the offense, and being able to throw the ball out of that offense makes it harder."

What kind of depraved mind comes up with this? Running traditional plays out of spread sets, while using the entire field and also being able to throw the ball as well?

Do these corrupted conjurers have no goodness in their hearts?

Since when did offensive success become such an important thing for Ohio State football?

When did football stop being about defense and punting, and start being about touchdowns?

Under Jim Tressel, the goal of the offense was to keep from putting the defense in a bad position. And it worked.

Now, Urban Meyer and Tom Herman are attempting to open up portals that should never be opened under any circumstance.

They don't understand the dangers of what they're meddling in. They don't realize that if you give Ohio State fans an offense, they will expect it every week. It will become a fixation, an insatiable obsession. It will consume them.

Jim Tressel and Jim Bollman protected Buckeye fans, because they knew what evil lurked in the hearts of man. They didn't explore that darkness. They wisely let it lie.

And now, like a couple of nabobs without an understanding of their surroundings, Urban Meyer and Tom Herman are imposing their beliefs on a willing and ignorant group of followers who just don't know any better.

Friends, you have to stay strong. Stay in the light. Do not reach out for the darkness. If you feel the pull becoming too much to bear, remember this mantra: "Second and nine is perfectly fine, and third and eight is pretty great."

Don't give in. You've gone this long without calling upon the dark forces of super-competent offenses. Your strength is your resolve. Use it.

I just don't want to see you give everything up that you've worked so hard for. Your frustrations, your disbelief, your anger. This is what makes a football fan a football fan. If you take that away, you have lost your football soul, and that would be a bad thing.

So repeat after me, "Second and nine is perfectly fine, and third and eight is pretty great."

We can do this. Together.

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