Reading the Buckeye Leaves — Army Week

Ohio State Football Helmet

It is incredible to watch a program use the run to set up effective and manageable passes like Army does. A program that knows its identity, as well as its deficiencies, yet makes them work together to control the line of scrimmage and time of possession.

With such contrasting styles of offense on display this weekend, there are parallels that Ohio State can draw upon to swing the momentum of their season and capture their goals as a team.

When Army Has the Ball

Greg Schiano describes it as “eye candy.” Army calls it the Triple-Option Flexbone. No matter what it’s called, it is usually followed up with the term “assignment football.”

Army uses motion and deception to create leverage and to manipulate the defense. Coming off a week where the Buckeye linebackers and secondary were gashed by trickeration, it will be imperative that each player does his job and trusts the man next to him that they will accomplish their task as well.

Patience in pursuit will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game, but more importantly the defense will need to take appropriate angles in pursuit to limit big plays from happening.

Once Army has rocked everybody to sleep with a steady diet of Fullback Dive and outside pitches, they will hit a home run with a tactic that looks all too familiar this week — a forward pass to a person pretending to block. We will see how the Buckeye defense has adjusted to this, similar to the Jet Sweep struggles in 2016.

When Ohio State Has the Ball

Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to this offense. We could see J.T. Barrett attempt 35 passes to work through the deficiencies of prior weeks, or he could run the ball 35 times. I think we see more of a balance of the two with Kevin Wilson sprinkling in a few of his trademark plays to test the waters.

In all seriousness, I expect the Buckeyes to run the ball about 50 times with carries split between Weber, Dobbins, Williams and Barrett. Remember, Zeke Elliott got 30 carries following the disappointing Michigan State loss at home where he only had 12 carries for 33 yards. He then followed up the 30-carry game versus Michigan with 27 carries versus Notre Dame.

Nobody setting out to find Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster actually finds Bigfoot or Nessie. It’s always the unsuspecting hiker or outdoorsman that seems to capture the creatures in a blurry photo. The same can be said of the deep ball. The offense is looking for those opportunities and forcing them instead of letting the opportunities present themselves.

Run the dang ball, throw horizontally, then take a shot over the top. Hopefully the team and staff spent some time this week watching The Blind Side, a Morgan family favorite.

4 Responses

  1. If their offense is that great everybody would be running it. If it is that hard to stop they would have won more than 2 games in 2015.

    1. They were 8-5 in 2016 though and do a great job with what they have. The whole point of the story was to show how an offense can utilize what they have, i.e. JT Barrett, and use them in a system with an identity to maximize results.
      Nobody is trying to make Army a throwing football team yet the Buckeyes seem to want to be a vertical passing team without the tools required to be a vertical passing team.

  2. Until Ohio State can find someone to develop an offensive line and get a real quarterback, there is nothing they can take from Army. Far lesser talent but far superior coaching.

    1. It is clueless comments like this that make some Buckeye “fans” an embarrassment to the rest of the World.

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