Reading the Buckeye Leaves: Iowa Week

Greg Schiano stated earlier in the week that Iowa will provide a very different look for the Buckeyes offensively compared to recent opponents.

While the scheme may look drastically different, the same principles will remain in place for the Ohio State defense. Eye discipline of the secondary and linebackers will continue to be important as the Hawkeyes roll out their own version of misdirection.

Offensively, the Buckeyes were able to overcome critical turnovers last week, which is something that will need to be cleaned up on the road in an emotional contest.

The strength of the Hawkeyes lies in their defense and special teams units. The Buckeyes will need to be efficient and limit offensive penalties in a tough environment to keep the crowd noise to a minimum.

Here is what we can expect from both teams this Saturday.

When Ohio State Has the Ball

The Hawkeyes stunted their defensive linemen versus Penn State, a tactic Ohio State mimicked to limit the effectiveness of Saquon Barkley on the Inside Zone. With Ohio State also leaning heavily on the Inside Zone plays, the Buckeyes will need to attack the edges if things become too muddied inside.

Iowa continued to stunt the interior linemen versus Minnesota. The Gophers, however, decided to go with a different approach.

Fortunately, the Buckeyes have had success attacking the perimeter in a number of ways. Whether it’s a bubble screen or a pitch, it accomplishes the same objective.

When Iowa Has the Ball

In many ways this is your father’s Iowa Hawkeyes team, and to some degree probably your grandfather’s Iowa Hawkeyes as well. The only thing missing is the tight ends standing straight up with their hands on their hips at the line of scrimmage.

Look for the Hawkeyes to run a pro-style formation with multiple tight ends and even a fullback at times. For those Millennials reading the column, a fullback aligns in the backfield, typically in an “I” formation or sometimes an off-set “I” formation.

For further assistance, please Google “Football in 1960.”

Perhaps I’m being too harsh on the Hawkeyes. They do an excellent job of utilizing their tight ends, something Ohio State fans have been clamoring about for years. Here, they use play action to sneak a tight end out on a bootleg.

The success of the tight ends in the passing game then creates some space for their running backs, as the linebackers are much more hesitant to crash down towards the line of scrimmage.

Here is another example of the creativity surrounding the tight ends. This is likely classified under “Super Duper Trick-Plays” in the playbook, and somewhere Hayden Fry is smiling.