Saturday, November 14, 2009

Quick Iowa Post-Game Thoughts

Wow-a great game, I had a lot of thoughts on this one, so I'll kick it off right away. 

1.  First and foremost my hats off to Iowa.  I will be the first to admit that I severely underestimate d them.  IMO they are the best team we played this year.  They are just so solid in all facets.  Kirk Ferentz is a great coach, bar none.  They are the most fundamentally sound team you will see.  Their offensive line is really, really good and they had a great gameplan.  They attacked passing the ball with primarily the 3 step drop, a la Purdue, and then took their shots off of half bootlegs.  Their linebackers and secondary are so sound and discplined in their zone coverages, they take away anything down the field.  You can tell how well they've coached up their young QB-he stands tall in the pocket and goes through his reads.  So you have to tip your hats to them.

2.  I also tip my hat to the OSU offensive line.  Remember when we had problems gaining third and shorts?  That never happens anymore.  We have become a rushing behemoth.  We have rushed for 500 odd yards against two of the better teams in the Big Ten.  Once Shugarts came in the running game took off and it never stopped.  They are really gelling together as a unit and are just so strong up the middle.  OSU has basically rode them the last two games.

3.  I was at the game so I had a viewpoint on this that many did not.  Our receivers DID NOT get open all game.  There was a reason Ballard and the Running backs had 7-10 catches between them.  Pryor was doing a nice job of reading down his progressions.  Iowa played their cover 2 and our receivers could not get any separation from them.  IMO its the primary reason we passed as little as we did. 

4.  With points 2 and 3 in mind I will say here:  I had almost 0 problems with the playcalling.  The one drive I did not like was the one we missed a field goal.  It was too complacent.  And that was as much about the game situation as anything else--OSU couldn't count on sitting on the lead because Iowa was moving the ball the whole game.  But other than that I have little problems with it.  Who cares how many times you run the ball if you're gaining yards???  You keep running until they stop you.  That is especially true when Iowa is doing what they are doing--which is playing 2 deep safeties and taking away anything down the field.  In those situations you have to run the ball.  Remember how we came out the first few possessions and threw on first down??? Well our receivers were not getting open so we were not moving the ball.  If they are going to play 7 in the box then you better keep running.  And the play calling was pretty varied.  We ran quite a few counters, draws, and a lot of playaction and bootlegging--all the things you have to do to have a solid run game.   The 'wildcat' formation for lack of a better word has actually turned out to be pretty effective.  The line just gets such a good vertical push running the power play out of it because it can hit so quick. 

I think a coach's responsibility is to figure out what his team does best build your gameplan about that.  Well right now OSU is a very good inside running team.  There's not a reason to go away from that unless they force you to.

5.  I think Pryor played really well.  His stats may not be great, but he made great decisions.  He did not force throws when the receivers were not open as he has in the past.  In the past he may have had several interceptions in a game like this by forcing the ball when he gets frustrated and the receivers are not open, but he did not do that.   Instead, he went through his progressions and threw underneath.  He also continues to come up with big third down runs to move the chains.  The one thing he needs to work on is his reactions when plays are called (again something I can see by being at the game).  He is very emotional and I could tell whether we were going to run or pass by his reactions.  It's good that he's a competitor and wants the ball, but I can bet you that opposing teams pick up on this. 

6.  Also the best games I have seen out of Boom and Saine.  They showed so much more patience and vision--it looks like Boom has finally slowed down and did not try to force things. 

7.  I know I've focused a lot of the offense above, but IMO it's pretty myopic to complain about the offense this game when the defense and special teams were what  let Iowa back in.  The offense had over 300 yards, and had drives of 79, 74, 73, 43, and 30.  Our kickoff coverage was not very good all night.  We had a major letdown on that kickoff return where we could have put them away.  Defensively, as I said Iowa had a great gameplan.  They didn't give OSU much of a chance to rush the passer with all the 3 step drops, and a good offensive line. But I still think the Defense played a little complacent.  They did not get the usual rush and Iowa may have had as many plays over 20 yards as the defense has given up all year.  But they definitely showed up in overtime. 

8.  Did anyone else notice how few seniors this team has during the introductions???  They are a VERY young team and with that in mind its pretty amazing how well they have reloaded and played this year. 


  1. Finally, the offense was the key to winning a big game. And, in this case, JT did not have a chance to button down the offense and hand the game over to the defense thanks to the break down in special teams. I read the spread offense essay over at Smart Football and it occurred to me that what JT has done, after his flirtation with the spread and TP's injury, is fully commit to the running game the way that author says you have to commit to your offense. That's his natural instinct anyway and, one unintended consequence may be to turn Terrell in to a really good quarterback, making good decisions and throwing accurately.

  2. Just wanted to let you know I enjoy reading this blog at every posting. Great info and real discussion no fluff. Keep it up and Go BUCK!!!!

  3. Good thoughts....I am looking forward to your analysis of the OSU defense v. Iowa offense, if you decide to provide one.

  4. Language Guy-I think this is a very good point. I do agree with committing to having a particular identity and I think this is really the only one Tressel will embrace. It works with his personality and how he wants to construct his team. The benefit for Tressel and OSU is that the offensive line is developing into a very strong unit...