Reading the Buckeye Leaves: Rutgers Week

Rutgers Ohio State Football Buckeyes

This week presents a challenge for the Buckeyes, but not something they haven’t already experienced so far this season.

Opening in Bloomington provided a good feel for what Ohio State will experience as far as road crowds and window dressings go. The atmosphere in Piscataway will surely be exciting for the locals, so I fully expect a raucous crowd and a freshly-polished cannon on Saturday night.

As for the game itself, the recent weeks have provided a few keys to each team’s success which we have highlighted in this week’s edition of Reading the Buckeye Leaves.

When Rutgers Has The Ball

Rutgers uses a Pro-style offense while mixing in a fair amount of Spread offensive concepts.

The use of a fullback is the most significant aspect of their offense, predominately in short yardage and red zone situations, as they can run play action out of the “I” formation.

Factor in a mobile Quarterback and you have the opportunity to run a number of traditional misdirection plays such as Waggle and Bootlegs to move the pocket and buy time.

Don’t be surprised if we see true freshman quarterback Jonathan Lewis, who provides another dynamic runner under center. Below are examples of the varying “schemes” Rutgers employs.

Spider 2 Y Banana

Trips Bunch for run game-screen game

When Ohio State Has The Ball

This very well could be Ohio State’s first look at a defense that will play predominately Man Coverage, as Chris Ash has historically been a proponent of aggressive man-to-man coverage. If this is the case, look for J.T. Barrett to take a number of shots downfield. Kevin Wilson is chomping at the bit to test the waters, and this will provide a great opportunity to see how the passing game has progressed, not only as a whole, but in terms of gauging the trust and confidence in Barrett himself.

I’m not one who normally retreads old work, but the clip below illustrates the abilities of Barrett, should he be confident and trusting, versus Man Coverage. If I am Chris Ash, I take my chances and force Barrett to beat me with his arm, especially with an improved defense and struggling offense. A turnover could swing the momentum and field position battle to their favor.

Look at the earlier days of Barrett versus Man Coverage