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The Chalkboard: Ohio State

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Spring Game 2013:

Play 1: Braxton Miller is kinda good.


OSU's offensive: 3 WRs, RB, HB QB in Pistol.
OSU's defense: Nickel

On Offense: OSU likes to start in this formation to set the tone for the game, which is based on spreading out the field, reading the defense and using the zone read to create mismatches. Here Miller quickly pulls the ball out and launches a deep and accurate bomb.

UB Lesson: OSU doesn't need much time, the veteran secondary cannot make any mistakes because Miller has the vision and the arm to exploit each one.

On defense: OSU employs cover 4 zone coverage, the safety is responsible for the slot receiver if he goes vertical, if not, he doubles over top of the outside WR. The safety misreads the play, allowing the speedy OSU WR to run down the field wide open.

UB Lesson: OSU has an athletic defense but they are young. We will need to push the tight ends and the slot receivers deep to open up room underneath in the zone and also to see if we can catch their safeties flat footed.


Play 2: Contain Contain Contain

On Offense: Braxton Miller is mobile, if he runs right he is incredibly accurate throwing on the run. The 4 man pass rush is very good, with only a little hole left for Miller, but he found it, and the resulting scramble leads to a TD pass.

UB Lesson: Contain Contain Contain, and if possible force Miller Left. UB had no answer for Jordan Lynch, so this will be a huge test for the Tepper defense.

On defense: OSU gets great penetration with a 4 man rush, their flex safety reacts well to the scramble action, had Miller ran the ball he would have only gained a yard or two, and every receiver was covered well.

UB Lesson: Licata won't make the play Miller made, instead, the UB running game will need to be operational to force OSU to bring more pressure at the line of scrimmage, and as adages goes, the run will open up the pass.


Play 3: He's got all kinds of time

On Offense: Braxton Miller is comfortable in the pocket as Devin Smith runs 50 yards across and down the field. With Miller's accuracy, this is too easy.

UB Lesson: Pressure, we need Way, Mack and company to make Miller uncomfortable he is just too good right now to try to drop in coverage and stop him, and even if you cover everyone down-field, he is a threat to run, UB will have to put Miller on his back 10-15 times to have a chance in this game, and they can never give him the cushy pocket he enjoyed in play 3.

On defense: OSU again rushes 4 men and play a zone scheme. Ohio state sends both outside wideouts straight down-field and the two slot receivers cross about 12 yards into their route. The safety on the right of the screen runs with the slot man as if he had man coverage, the safety on the left takes a zone drop and leaves his shadow of Devin Smith to cover underneath the slot man that crossed to the left side of the field. As a result, Nickelback Tyvis Powell is the only man left to stop smith, and he is 5 yards behind. With Miller's accurate throw and Smith's speed, it is an easy TD.

UB Lesson: UB needs to push the OSU safeties into making quick decisions with good routes by the interior receivers. Once again our depth at receiver and tight end will be the key.


Play 4: Force him left but he's going to run.

On Offense: I roll my eyes as OSU lines up in the shotgun with an empty backfield and a tight end from the FIVE yard line. I assume during film breakdown Jeff Quinn shed a single sad tear for the offense he prefers to run but cannot at UB. He probably made the fullbacks run extra hard in practice the next day.

Everyone is covered but the pocket is not contained so Miller takes off and beats everyone to the pylon.

UB Lesson: Ohio blitzes their strong side linebacker to force Braxton Miller left, GOOD. Their weakside end rushes up field to get to Miller, BAD. He broke contain giving Miller the room to take off running. Once again CONTAIN CONTAIN CONTAIN.

Two linebackers started running when Miller started running, they had the angle, and Miller out ran it. I'm looking for converted LB Adam Redden to keep Miller's runs under 5 yards with his speed, and this will be the true test of Mack's NFL readiness. If he can't track down Miller, he'll have a hard time as a rush defender playing against Vick, Kaepernick and RGIII.

On defense: OSU's pass rush looked formidable when they pinned their ears back and sent a 5th man. They still covered everyone with 6 pass defenders.

UB Lesson: UB has to stay out of obvious passing situations to avoid that rush. Despite the weakness of the OSU defense in my opinion being the two safeties, the best way for UB to exploit that weakness is by putting the secondary on islands, and keeping everyone on the defense guessing.

They came to play football, they aint came to play school and that should be our strategy. We know the defense is athletic, so UB needs to keep the OSU defenders thinking, not reacting.