OSU Offensive Coaches Speak at Coaches Clinic
By Patrick Murphy
The second day of the Ohio State Coaching Clinic was all about presentations from the Buckeye coaching staff. On the offensive side of things, the speakers were Tom Herman, Stan Drayton, and Zach Smith.
Each coach focused on their specific position, and mainly on drills they use to get certain concepts to their players for the many high school football coaches in attendance.
One common theme through all of their presentations was developing drills that covered multiple positional aspects. Drayton said it best when explaining that he really only gets about 15 minutes of one-on-one time with a player, so they have to teach several things in one drill.
Herman’s presentation was Quarterback Fundamentals and Footwork, but he opened with discussing the core values of the position. According to the Buckeyes' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, the quarterback must lead, protect the football, make great decisions (running and throwing), and understand the “why” of the offense. He must also play with a great base and perfect footwork, and be 1-0 on every snap.
As he began to talk coaches through drills, along with complimentary video, he focused on a few different things. The main point was footwork, because everything starts with the feet even when throwing the ball. Herman wants feet underneath the armpits and to keep the hips straight up and down.
Coach Meyer has stressed to his coaches that players should have the best fundamentals in the country, so Herman went out and found new drills in order to improve those (as the Buckeye quarterbacks were not sound fundamentally). All these drills focus on footwork, while also stressing foot quickness, foot speed, and balance. The one other wrinkle was to make them throw to visual cues – such as hats being thrown or bean bags – because those are the types of cues they will get in game action.
Drayton focused on OSU’s base run play, the tight zone. He explained to the coaches how to line up out of the shotgun, and how best to do this with the running back’s toes at the heel of the quarterback. Drayton then showed how the play was drawn up and the different gaps and the jump cut options for the running back. He used both drill tapes and game film from last season to show the wrong and right ways, and how this play can be successful.
He then explained the Buckeyes’ use of the pistol and how that complicates the defensive reads. Drayton was quick to point out that it took Ohio State a year to get to the pistol and still had issues at times.
Smith’s speech was entitled Wide Receiver Fundamentals and he used videos like Drayton did to give examples. He discussed where the defender should ideally be positioned while running each type of route; going away from the quarterback the defender should be on your behind, while coming towards he should be on your outside shoulder.
He then went through different moves depending on the type of coverage. Cornerbacks are taught to react to the second move, so the triple release – three quick moves – is the best way to get past them. He went over different drills, all of which had multiple teaching points, explaining the way coaches could do these and what they would help with. The wrinkle Smith added was to interfere in the receivers vision because in the game, hands and body parts will flash across the field of vision.
All of the coaches made reference to how things were not where they wanted them in the drills from last fall, but have improved in spring practice. This was obvious in the videos they showed, depending on when they were from.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Meyer spoke last, focusing on real leaders and how special it can be when a team comes together. He went step-by-step, beginning with his hiring, on what it took to make the 2012 Buckeyes 12-0. He said nothing can happen until players and coaches open their chest and give their hearts to each other.
Meyer called John Simon's emotional team address after the Cal game a turning point for the team. He fully expected to lose at MSU and to Nebraska if the team chemistry didn't change, and Simon started that process. The very next day former Buckeye Butler By'Not'e addressed the team and spoke on the value of love for one another in team chemistry. By'Not'e detailed that the kind of love needed involved Choice, Sacrifice, and Time. Meyer said he and the OSU team embraced those concepts that day, and for the rest of the season they broke every huddle by saying "C", "S", "T". (Choice, Sacrifice, Time)
It was interesting to see the coaches break down the drills and show how they worked in games. All of these coaches are very candid about everything and were clearly excited to be a part of Buckeye Nation. Herman pointed out that Mike Vrabel has no reason to work, but loves Ohio State so much that he wants to be there (also pointed out that he’s cheap and buys $25 shoes despite having made millions). It is clear how hard these guys work to get these players ready for the season and their opposition.
Defensive Coaches Comments: By John Porentas