Saturday, November 7, 2009

Unbalanced Trips Look and Play Possibilities

This past week both DontHateOState on the Ohio State Scout 'Ask the Insiders Board' and myself both discussed the innovativeness of the unbalanced tight trips formation Ohio State employed last week. To quickly recap Ohio State lined up with a trey or tight trips look to the left, and then the LT moved over to the right side for an unbalanced look.

The nice thing about this formation is the following. First, a defense generally regards the 'trips' side as the formation's strong side and align themselves thusly. But with the tackle over it makes the right side the formation's strength in terms of running. This is especially so for OSU running the speed option. This creates alignment issues for the defense and the possibility of not matching up correctly. Second, it prevents a team from overloading to the side OSU wants to run the speed option to like teams have done in the past:

But here, the formation is more balanced, preventing teams from doing so, while at the same time still creating strength at the point of attack with the two tackles to the right side:

You'll notice that one NMST cannot figure out how to align themselves. Second they still have to keep 5 1/2 defenders to the trips side to match OSU's 5 1/2 players, particularly with 3 eligible receivers.

I assume that PSU will prepare for this unbalanced look and create adjustments. One change they may make is to match up in the secondary but 'overshift' their linebackers in their 4-3 towards the tackle over side. Perhaps something like below:

But as mentioned, the creativity of this formation is that it still gives you a viable passing game to the trips side. One thing you might see if PSU does this is a sprint out pass to the trips side. OSU could do something as shown above, for example having Posey and Sanzenbacher run a post-flag combo. The post would hold the deep safety in place, leaving the flag open to the corner. They could also easily run smash from this look. Either such two-man route would punish Penn State for cheating to take away the speed option and challenge the PSU DBs being left alone in space. It would also give Pryor the easy run option on the sprint out if nothing is open. So long as Ballard could neutralize the backside DE with the line doing full slide protection, this could lead to a big play.

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