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Friday, December 11, 2009

War Of The Roses: Buckeye Battle Plan

The fans have spoken, you wanted a Rose Bowl game plan session...well step into the war room.

Let's look at how Ohio State's offense should attack the Ducks.

Now you all know I'm a Senator Tressel disciple so you can probably guess what's next...

The run game is king for both teams in this one, but especially for Ohio State since they're air attack scares absolutely no one. Ohio State has run the football 65% of the time this season, and 75% in the last three games.

I wouldn't expect to see anything different, nor should they try anything different.

Terrelle Pryor under center gives OSU no other options, other than making sure he doesn't lose the game. Not to mention the fact that the Buckeyes have had success pounding the rock the latter part of the season.

The Oregon defense is active, but teams have had success moving the football. They've allowed offenses into the redzone 44 times this season, compare that to 23 for OSU.

With that fast, disruptive Ducks' style of play you want to try to run right into the teeth of the defense. The ball needs to go North-South, don't try to run away from that speed.

It's like trying to make a dog stop playing with you, you don't run away from it because it only creates more frenzied energy. You face it head on and let it know you're done messing around.

The Ducks were able to stymie the Beavers' tough run game, but you force them to do it again. Can they take 50 hits to the chin in the trenches?

The only two teams that were successful doing that (Boise State 59 attempts/Stanford 52 attempts) have come out victorious.

What's that, the Ducks will load the box?

Here's where OSU needs to take a page from the Oklahoma Sooners' playbook. Get Pryor out of the pocket, not on a QB sweep but rather with the intent to throw.

Rolling him out does three things:
  1. Distorts the coverage as the defense moves with him.
  2. Gains his big frame some momentum for the throw.
  3. Simplifies the decision process.
Now he's already on the move, there's little indecision of whether to get out of the pocket or not.

He's only averaging 12 yards per completion so you keep him right in his wheel house. Short to intermediate throws that move the chains, control the clock, and let him get in the flow of the game.

The easiest way to take the sting out of an aggressive defense is to create hesitation. With Pryor on the move Kenny Rowe and the feisty Ducks defense no longer have a stationary target to t-off on.

That all sounds easy enough, but I've got a feeling that the Buckeyes are bringing a knife to a gun fight right now. Here comes the Ducks' scoring attack and hell is comin' with it.

Can Ohio State's offense actually score with the Ducks?

Their rushing attack has racked up yards the last half of the season, but there's not a ton of points to show for it. Against Michigan they managed 144 yards rushing in the first half and yet punted on 6 of 7 possessions?

The three headed attack of Pryor, Saine, and Herron has loads of talent but there's only 18 touchdowns amongst the group. Oregon's LaMichael James has 14 TDs by himself!

Redzone productivity has been abysmal (23TDs/42attempts), and they've only managed to score 18 offensive points per game against solid defenses like USC, Wisconsin, Purdue, Iowa, and Penn State.

At the end of the day when you're playing Oregon points matter the most, and you better not go waltzing into a shootout with your guns holstered.

In the immortal words of Wyatt Earp in "Tombstone," the Buckeyes better "jerk that smoke wagon and go to work."

Read the Oregon Battle Plan

BallHype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

Great analysis! As a Duck fan, I feel OSU will represent well. Their defense will definitely slow the Ducks down, but how much will determine the outcome of the game. Excellent writeup and have a great time watching the best RB in the past 6 years!

Go Ducks!

Anonymous said...

Agree, seems like the best plan. The only team that has kept Oregon under 37 points all season with Masoli as QB was Boise ST., but part of that was because Oregon's offensive line had very little experience at that point. For OSU to win it they will have to keep the Oregon offense on the sidelines as much as possible. Even if OSU doesn't score every time running the ball does limit possessions and that will keep the score down. OSU can't be down more than 2 scores, it will create an urgency that will take them out of their strength and allow Oregon to gamble less on defense.
Many Buckeye posters are suggesting the Buckeye D needs to bring pressure, but that's actually the last thing they want to do. It allows Masoli to do what he does best, break contain and produce big plays. The best way for OSU to defense the Ducks is to contain Oregon from breaking big plays and make Masoli beat them on 3rd down early in drives. He tends to press when they aren't getting a lot of yards early and that when he makes mistakes and turnovers. If the Buckeyes can contain Oregon early and score some themselves it will force Oregon into passing from basic sets rather than play action and they aren't as efficient that way.

James said...

Good take.

Two problems with it however.

1.Stanford was successful rushing the ball because their power game uses extra offensive linemen and multiple tight ends, formations not in tOSU's playbook.

2. Most importantly: Luck's deadly accurate downfield passing. Whenever Oregon began stuffing the run, Luck would burn them with a deep, play action pass. That kept the Duck's defense honest and was the key to the game. Pryor has no such ability.

Bob said...

Hey Rob, I've done some analysis at http://azwebfoot.blogspot.com/ for the Ducks, I would be interested in your comments.

This is going to be a wild one come Jan 1.

Anonymous said...

It is not good to think the run is the key. Oregon is good at stopping running games if that's the primary threat. You have too be able to throw the ball successfully. The biggest feather in Oregon's Defensive cap is their red zone play. Best in the Pac ten. That is were the field is short and their team speed is best utilized. I believe as the Beavers found, and just about everyone else is that if you do not convert in the red zone you will not beat the Ducks.

Anonymous said...

You should watch this video of the Ducks last year's Civil War blowout of a very good Oregon State team (that beat USC)

Be afraid. Be very afraid


Anonymous said...

The owner of every meaningful freshman rushing record in school history, James has eclipsed the 100-yard mark nine times as a rookie, including the final seven games of the regular season. He is averaging 6.9 yards per carry and has run for 14 touchdowns, the third-most in one season at UO.

James leads the nation in runs of 20-yards or more with 20, and his 582 yards against top 25 opponents is also the top total in all of college football.