The Ohio State offense began the season lacking creativity and misdirection, predominately in the loss to Oklahoma. But with that loss came an added emphasis on these missing concepts in the following weeks.
The Buckeyes have shown an increased use in bubble motion and Run Pass Options. Versus UNLV, however, the Buckeyes showed a “new” wrinkle to their Read Option offense.
On Saturday, the Buckeyes aligned in their base formation with a single back and trips receivers to the wide side of the field. With the odd front of UNLV shaded towards the strength of the formation, Barrett motioned Dobbins to his left, setting up the Read Option towards tight end Marcus Baugh and the strong side of the formation. The UNLV outside linebacker stayed off the line of scrimmage, having an easy read for Barrett. Dobbins took the handoff and countered back towards the wide side of the field, behind the pulling right tackle, Isaiah Prince.
While I stated this concept is “new”, this idea of counter out of read option behind a pulling tackle has been used by Meyer in seasons past, but hasn’t been used thus far in 2017.
If you’ll recall, Ohio State used similar counter motion to much success in the second half versus Oregon in the National Championship game. Last season, the Buckeyes used this concept, but Barrett would keep the ball and follow the running back through the hole.
This concept allows Ohio State to attack the outside runs with power blocking schemes while still maintaining a facade of Read Option.
Look for the Buckeyes to continue to use this play whenever the defense does not bring a linebacker down to the line of scrimmage as an overhang defender, which is a tough task with the recent success of the bubble screens that now need to be accounted for.