Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rose Bowl Preview: Oregon Offense: Personnel

For further discussion visit the Ohio State Ask the Insiders Site. 

In my second look at Oregon's Offense, I will focus on Oregon's personnel   Part 3 (I've decided to expand) will then feature matchups, both how teams have defended Oregon and how Ohio State may attack the Ducks offense.


Personnel 

As one may expect, Oregon's personnel fits their scheme.  As a whole, there are not a lot of guys that project to the NFL.  But they are effective players for the 'spread option' system and execute well collectively.

Oregon's offensive linemen are chosen first and foremost to be successful zone blockers.  They are undersized, both in height and weight.  This reduces their effectiveness as prototypical pass blockers.  And there is no one linemen who stands out  as dominant or a future high round NFL draft pick.  But in exchange they are effective zone blockers.  They are also obviously well schooled on zone blocking and one can see how well they work in tandem on zone blocks.  In those screen shots I posted earlier (from TJA) one can get a sense of how well their line moves in tandem zone blocking.





   









































But, because of their relative undersized nature, Oregon's line can get controlled at the frontside point of attack on their zone plays.  Defensive linemen are able to stalemate and control the gaps, te most surefire way to shut down zone rushing plays.

 

Turning to their Wide Receivers and Tight End, they remind me a lot of Penn State.  They are nice players, but not people that you gameplan around or worry about beating you.  Their Wide Receivers beat you off of scheme; i.e. a team overcommitting to stop the run, not through their individual ability.



No. 23, Maehl, is Masoli's favorite target and the guy they most often look to for a big play off the play action game.  Their TE, Dickson, is a solid threat over the middle--though similar to many of the good TEs OSU has played this year.  But, as I said, none are the type that you change your coverages are schemes to defend:  if a secondary play theirs assignments well and don't get caught on playaction, they will be fine. 

The two biggest threats are obviously Masoli and James.  I will start with James first.  To me, he is the guy a team should focus on shutting down, because he is a homerun threat.  He has very good patience waiting for zone plays to develop, and is very elusive.  He prevents people from getting clean shots on him and bringing him down.  To me, he is the key player to slow down, as everything is based around getting the frontside zone play going.

Turning to Masoli, he is a great runner.  He does a great job getting vertical immediately when he keeps off the zone read and is a tough inside runner.  But he is also more elusive then he appears at first.



Masoli is also a great faker.  He accelarates through the fake, no matter whether he keeps or gives the ball.  This is not to be underestimated, as faking holds backside defenders and "makes long runs."

Compared to this, Masoli's weakness is as a passer.  This is not to say he is not a passing threat; he is.  But like the wide receivers, I would say his success derives a lot from the opportunities provided off the running game.  In my mind, he is not an accurate enough passer to be a consistent threat.  For whatever reason, Oregon came out throwing against Stanford and had trouble moving the ball because they could not string together completitions.  Moreover, he is limited by his height, (5'11''), which makes it difficult to see over defenders, forcing Oregon to use a lot of half rolls and bootlegs. 

Masoli (and Oregon generally) also have shown the potential to fumble.  This is a downside in general of the spread zone read scheme.  Whether OSU's D, which has shown a propensity to create turnovers this year, can cause fumbles for turnovers could make a big difference in this game.


Next, I will focus on matchups.


For further discussion visit the Ohio State Ask the Insiders Site.

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