Buckeye Football Notebook: ‘It’s going to be a fistfight to run the ball.’

Ohio State Football Notebook Buckeyes Buckeye Football

It’s Time to Pick a Fight

Despite OSU’s defense giving up 48 points to Iowa last week, so much of the talk coming into Saturday’s game against Michigan State centers on Ohio State’s offense.

The Spartans will bring the Big Ten’s best run defense into Ohio Stadium. Generally, in order to run against a defense like this, an offense will need to utilize the pass to loosen things up. According to OSU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, however, it’s just not that easy.

“You don’t loosen these guys up,” he said. “They just kind of keep playing their quarters man. They have some adjustments when they zone pressure and do their zone fires and their fire zone games they’ll go to some man-free.

“Years ago coach (Terry) Hoeppner would always call it ‘cat coverage.’ ‘I got this cat, I got that cat, and you’ve got to stop the run.’ You’ve got to make some one-on-one plays to throw the ball on these guys. You can do all of the play-action you want, but it still comes down to one-on-one. They are so well-taught in their scheme. They keep their eyes where they’re supposed to. You can try to open up the running game, but it’s going to be a fistfight to run the ball.”

More on J.K. Dobbins Getting the Ball

The topic of J.K. Dobbins getting the football has been pounded into the ground more than Dobbins has been pounded into an opposing defensive front over the last month.

On Wednesday, Kevin Wilson said that he wasn’t trying to take the ball out of Dobbins’ hands against Iowa, but over the course of a game, many factors can cause players to get short-changed. Ultimately, however, it still comes down to the guy calling the plays.

“He’s a special player, he’s a special kid. We’re not trying to take the air out of his ball,” Wilson said. “That being said too, the guy’s going to distribute the ball on certain plays, and I’m going to call certain plays, and Coach Meyer’s going to call certain plays when we get going in the game plan. We’re trying to score as much as fast [as we can], but we did not Saturday. That falls on me. I’ve got to own that and take responsibility for that.”

Deja Vu Coming for OSU’s Defense?

There were many problems with last week’s defense, and with some similarities between the Iowa and Michigan State offense offenses, some of those problems need to be fixed immediately.

Urban Meyer is well aware of those similarities, and the problems that it could cause.

“They do run some pro-style run game like we saw last week, so we went into that correction mode immediately on Sunday, and that’s going to be worked on all week in practice,” he said.

One of the major differences between the two offenses, however, is Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke’s mobility. He is as dangerous a runner as he is a passer, and he’s thrown for over 800 yards the past two weeks.

“Today was my day to watch a lot of him,” Meyer said on Wednesday. “I see a guy that’s deceptively fast and he creates a lot of plays on his own. He’s a very accurate thrower.”

An Update on Trevon Grimes

One Buckeye who was expected to contribute this season is freshman receiver Trevon Grimes. Unfortunately, a personal issue took Grimes back home to Florida a while ago, which is where he will be for at least the rest of the semester.

“He’s still there. He’s finishing his classes online. It was a personal situation,” Meyer explained.

And is the plan for him to eventually return to the Ohio State roster?

“I think so,” he said.

14 Responses

  1. I see they’re still trying to make football complicated and nonsensical. Defense is no different then when Chris Spielman played. See Ball, Get Ball. There are 11 of you and there are 11 of us, so, no matter how frigging complicated the coaches try to make it sound for fans, it’s simple. My guy is faster and stronger and, better than your guys. Our staff is smarter and more capable of putting our guys in position to succeed than you are.. We’re going to bust you in the face and keep busting you in the face until we come out on top. That’s what made Jim Tressels ultra conservatism so effective. His teams had no quit. Even his slow plodding offense was difficult. That’s because his players knew they had the guts and heart to go 4 quarters toe to toe. War of attrition and Jim Tressel bet on his guys and, he was right.

    Unfortunately that’s just not true for Ohio State’s defensive staff. Minus Larry Johnson and Kerry Coombs the Buckeye defensive staff is not even mid level MAC capable. What Greg Schiano and Bill Davis equal is inability. Their training and development is pathetic and it’s on obvious display. Schiano’s credentials are entirely based on success in the Little Least Conference. Bill Davis is a terrible coach.

    If the defense plays well it’s going to be in spite of their coaches at safety and linebacker. Those players have to take it on themselves to deliver because they aren’t getting any help from their teachers.

    I’ve really been spending time watching the last 4 games and the Iowa (yeah, it’s nauseating to watch) game especially. RARELY are the Buckeye receivers well covered by defenders. Every int JT threw against Iowa he had guys open and 2 of them would have gone for long gainers or TD’s. I’ve been critical of Zach Smith but frankly? His receivers are NOT the problem. About every 3rd or 4th pass play defenders are in great shape. The rest of the time JT has multiple targets he should be able to deliver to. The only difference in games is front line pressure. If JT has a nice pristine pocket he is going to make plays. If he’s facing dirty pockets his mechanics are all over the map. The only anomaly to that was the 4th quarter against PSU. He played very well in that quarter facing pretty good defensive line pressure.

    If I’m a coach all I have to do is take a look at the films and combine it with the stat sheet to know that it’s more than unacceptable to not feed JK Dobbins the football. That BS about circumstances in games or making sure all the playmakers touch the ball is ridiculous. You feed those who are productive and force the defense to defend them or get mauled. That horse pucky about Iowa was going to take away the run game is a patented smoke and mirrors coaching failure. If a coordinator can’t have a real time sense that their gameplan has fallen off course live, they shouldn’t be a damned coach. Balance between rush and pass is and SHOULD BE the goal, but, not if you’re taking the ball out of the guy you recruited hands and fall back on a quarterback security blanket. They’re abandoning the tailback and it’s just a stupid plan. Instead, they’re spending 2 or more quarters just “trying” to get the quarterback into a rhythm. WHY are that forcing things? Why does Ohio State have that problem? I personally think it’s because the coaches aren’t feeling the game and are forcing an ideal that isn’t a live reality. It’s like they say, “JT will rescue us, otherwise we’re in serious trouble.”

    I don’t know about anyone else, and with the new age lousy math teaching, I can still count to eleven. The rules make it really easy to add the elements of space and distance with the markings on the field. Ohio State IS NOT facing much different box pressure than any other program in a power 5 Conference. It’s simply that the Buckeye staff must not be actually looking at game film and making adjustments during the week, OR, on gameday to the rushing and passing attack. They don’t have any adjustments when opponents already know what they’re going to do. It’s like they sit there when the defense laughs at their gameplans and throw up their hands in despair because THEY ARE NOT PREPARED to counter with anything but their predictable “get out of jail free card.” Coach Meyer can blame anybody he wants to but, he’s the guy who demands it so, it’s entirely his fault.

    And what happened to Rashod Berry? He’s virtually vanished and that’s inexcusable. When the defense plays to minimize the read option rushing, it’s because that’s what they’ve prepared for throughout the week. Line up in an I backfield with Rashod as a fullback and shove isolation runs at them mixed with some play action passes rather than those designed in RPO. If the defense doesn’t adjust to it just grind them to pulp with 15 play battering ram plays until they adjust or collapse. That can also create other opportunities as the defense tries to adjust to stop it. It creates conflict for linebackers and safeties and opens up veer, inverted veer and even triple option rush and pass in the intermediate game.

    WHERE IS THE CREATIVITY from the Buckeye offensive staff? Why are they spitting out the same nonsensical media responses. They’re well paid to deliver contender level production and it’s not happening. For defense. Keep Larry Johnson and Kerry Coombs and get rid everyone else. They don’t know how to coach or develop players. So Coach Meyer needs to find and evaluate guys who know how to develop ground floor players and up. If Wisconsin is capable of developing less talented players to perform consistently, there’s no reason why the Buckeyes shouldn’t be able to match that consistency or better considering the talent advantage the Buckeyes have on their rosters year in and year out.

    NEVER going to win them all, but, a program like Ohio State shouldn’t be grounded in dog fights or completely blown off the field.

    1. Good God James, that’s a lot. No offense but I quit reading after the first paragraph and let me just say you were right on!!!!

  2. In my opinion, MSU has the best player development and scheme coach in the conference. He doesn’t recruit as well as some other schools but that also has a lot to do with longstanding traditions and brand. But, it is amazing how good and how consistent his teams are ……and doing it with less talent overall. Imagine, how they’d look with OSU recruiting classes.

  3. Alright, I saw Kevin Wilson’s offense at Indiana really click against the Michigan State defense. There is no reason he cannot do so at OSU with our players and program. Dantonio will bring enough guys into the box to handle both JT and Dobbins in our standard read option play. Those same guys will be pressuring JT very quickly in the pocket when he drops back to pass. You know what is coming, scheme to beat it. There are a number of ways to attack his defense. He doesn’t have the lock down corners he had in the past nor the premier pass rusher.

  4. Barrett needs a psu performance otherwise it could be a long day. We know dantonio will load the box and force the pass to beat them. Then blitz his ass off early and often. We’ve seen his defensive MO for many years now. Hopefully our brain trust has taken a long look at the northwestern tape to see how they moved the ball so effectively against msu. Defensively I guess hold your breath and hope our D line can dominate the game and protect our back seven. I’m really struggling with the buckeyes being 16 point favorites. Hope it happens.

    1. The way we played last week, it is hard to imagine us beating anybody . . .even Illinois. You are right, our D line has to stop the run (as most people have been able to do) and also put heat on the passer . . .this MSU QB can’t be any quicker than McSorely of PSU was.
      On offense, I believe we have to throw deep early and often to give our running game a chance. Iowa seemed to have our passing patterns all figured out and knowing we weren’t going to go deep . . .they just jumped our short patterns. And on shorter passes, we have to do quick hitters. JT reverted back to his old habits of being indecisive and holding onto the ball way toooo long to make up his mind and then telegraphing where he was going with the pass. It was an absolute nightmare.

  5. If we get a good defensive line pass rush we win, If not take the points!

  6. Urban said on Wednesday that it was his day to watch a lot of film on the MSU quarterback? I would think Sunday would be the day to do that, develope your game plan by the end of the day and start practicing and coaching it on Monday. He’s watching film on the upcoming opponent with only 2 days until the game starts? No wonder his program is falling apart. Then on Saturday he tells Wilson what plays to call. Hey Kevin tell him to take a hike!

    1. Meyer is an offensive coach, so he spends time with the offensive coaches early. He leaves the defensive stuff to the defensive guys early on. That’s normal.

      1. Well, at least Kevin Wilson let it slip- accidentally I’m sure- that Meyer calls some of the plays. Pretty sure that contradicts Meyer’s comments from earlier in the week that he lets his coordinators “do their thing”, or whatever his terminology was during that lie- er, comment. Maybe Kevin Wilson is right, though. Its so freaking hard to run the ball (!!) that OSU may as well throw on every down. Let’s go one step more and just freaking punt on 1st down, because running an offense is so HARD! Does OSU play the 85 Chicago Bears on Saturday, or is it Sparty? What in the world?

    2. REALLY, the program is falling apart? This is what happened to programs like Texas. Spoiled fans not willing to accept any result but a national championship every year.

      1. q

      2. You are right, we should accept getting blown off the field in 3 of the last 10 games, Then try to regroup and really get pumped and try to squeak by MSU. Notre Dame didnt have much of a problem. When MSU had one of their best teams, you saw what Alabama did to them. The Big Ten is weak.

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