But first, specific thoughts from the Spring Game. I re-watched and broke down the first half and did a play-by-play for the First Quarter. Here are my specific thoughts:
- I will discuss this in more detail later, but it is suffice to say that Ohio State's downfield passing game has 'evolved' to transition from a more pro-style, downfield passing game, to what I would consider is a more-typical college based spread attack employed by teams like Texas and Oklahoma State. (See here). The focus of this is short, horizontal stretching routes, specifically the: all curl route; the double slant/snag combination; quick outs; and the double scat routes. (The play action passing game is more vertical, namely with flag/out combo, switch, and post/dig). OSU will then run a deeper horizontal stretch with the 3-verticals route. I do not want to use the word 'revolution', but this represents a continued development of what OSU gradually included last year that peaked in the Oregon game.
- Building on this, the most promising thing I saw in the Spring Game was a Pryor to Stoneburner connection on the 3-verticals route. The defense was playing a cover-2 man under. As described in the above article, Stoneburner read the cover 2 and broke to the post. Pryor read this perfectly, stepped up into the pocket, and delivered a strike before Stoneburner broke on his cut. It was very well executed and bodes well for OSU this year.
- I am with those who think Stoneburner is legit. He needs to improve his 'scramble' reactions when the QB starts moving. But he is a threat down the seams and the deep corner and brings another dimension that allows OSU to expand their pass game in the way described above.
- Adams has, in my mind, locked down the LT position. He is doing a great job sitting down in pass protection, being patient, and using his feet. Last year he would get in trouble because he would rush to get outside, and then the DE would beat him underneath. I am not seeing that any more. I also think Marcus Hall may need to move inside. He was constantly getting beat around the edge, and to me does not look to have the 'body' of a tackle. It may simply be youth, but I would like to see him perhaps move inside with Adams and Shugarts only juniors.
- Boom Herron ran the best I have seen him run as a Buckeye. He stayed patient, kept his feet moving, and used his vision to find the hole as opposed to barreling into his blockers. He was also the quickest I've seen him. Jordan Hall again impressed me. He had a great cutback on the first carry he received, which again makes me believe that he has the best vision of any of the running backs.
- The Defense played very vanilla up-front. They employed their usual array of coverages, but there was very little blitzing. This gave the QBs more time and exposed the secondary more-so than they may otherwise be.
- The above may qualify what I say here. But I am now a bit concerned with the safety play. I thought the safeties were repeatedly out of position and getting beat deep because they are too flat in their breaks. I am not ready to pull the alarm yet because some of this were problems with the back-ups; I need to see Hines and Johnson together. But I do not think there is any doubt that OSU's defensive strength is in the front 9, and I expect you will see defensive schemes that reflect it.
First Scarlet Series:
1st-10: I sprint draw fake, 3 verticals. Hall beat around right side, Pryor had to throw short
2d-10: Gun ace right-Good time, nice job by Adams sitting down and moving his feet. All curl play, Pryor anticipated Stoney’s cut and hit him right in stride. 5 yd gain.
3d-5: Gun 4 wide. Nickel. 2 high. Rolle comes A gap. Cover 1-robber. Double snag routes. Rolle beats Lindsey, Pryor doesn’t step into the throw and skips the in-route.
First Gray series
1st-10: Gun split left. 4-3 under. 1 high. Lead zone left. Z Boren neutralizes Klein and Boom has a nice cut outside. 5 yd.
2d-5: I-twins right. 4-3 over plus 2-high. Sprint draw play pass right. Cover 1 man. Deep safety stays inside, Posey beats Torrence, PI.
1st-10: Gun ace right strong. 3-4 heads up. 2 high. 3 man pass dropback route. Q-Q-H coverage. The DBs took false steps, wide open but Guiton didn’t put air under it.
2d-10: I right. 3-4 straight up. Sprint draw right. Offside.
2d-5: I left. 4-3 over. 2 high. Zip motion right to twins. Sprint draw right. Saine missed the cutback, instead tried to cut outside.
3d-7: Gun ace right strong.. Nickel double eagle 2 high. Nickel blitz. Double slant/snag route combo made so famous during Oregon. Way too much DB slack in man coverage, easy pickings on the slant-route.
1st-10: Gun ace tight trips strong. 3-4 nickel. 4 vertical pass pattern. Cover 3, Torrence never gets deep enough-nice catch by Washington. Deep safety No. 8 got stuck in no mans-land. Bad safety play for Scarlet.
Second Scarlet Series:
1st-10: Gun tight trips left. Nickel 2 high. Cover 2 man under. 3 verticals. Great read by Stoney on the 3 verticals play. He saw the cover 2 so broke for the goal post between them. Fantastic job by Pryor stepping up in the pocket, never taking his eyes off downfield and hitting him on the cut. Most promising thing I’ve seen.
1st-10: I twins left. 4-3 open plus 2 high. Fake Dave pass left. LBers bit the Dave fake. Very nice job by Browning getting his shoulders squared pulling. Nice change up in the route—ran a ‘switch’ route. Will fool teams expecting the flag-out combo. Fooled Sabino who was stuck in no-mans land.
1st-10: Gun tight trips right weak. 4-3 under 2 high. 3 step ‘Texas double out route.” Great job by Pryor
1st-10: Gun tight trips left strong. 4-3 open plus 2 high. Dropback. Q-Q-H coverage. Snag-flag combo. Clarke got stuck in quick sand. Pryor hit his spot and threw it right on time.
Second Gray Series
1st-10: Ace double tight wing right. 3-4 shaded to the field (NG and backside in 2-I techniques). 2 high. Draw. Great job by Brewster and Boren controlling and turning their men. 4 yds.
2d-7: Gun 4 wide right. 4-2 nickel 2 high. For whatever reason Mewhert did not get off on the snap count, leaving Bellamy basically untouched into the backfield. Sack.
3d-11: Gun split backs left. Nickel 1 high. Q-Q-H. Flood route left. Miller got out of position and Heyward was able to shed inside.
Third Red Series
1st-10: Strong I right. 4-2 nickel. Playaction shallow cross “drive” route. M. Hall again got beat to the outside. Pryor ball batted.
2d-10: Gun 4-wide. Nickel 2 high. Double snag route. Hall got beat inside this time but Pryor stepped up and delievered the flag route. Q-Q-H coverage but the deep half safety never got over to his side quickly. Stoney in the slot running the flag route-tough in that position. Great job with Adams dealing with the swin move.
1st-10: Gun ace left. 4-3 over 1 high. Double curl-flag route.
2d-7: Gun tight trips stron. 3-3 nickel. 4 verticals route. 2 deep man under. Pryor throws the vertical to Stoney but doesn’t put enough air on it. Should have checked down.
3d-12: Ace right: 3-3 nickel. Adams overextended himself, getting beat inside quickly, forcing Pryor to dump off.
Third Scarlet Series
1st-10: Lead draw-great quicks by Boom; best I have seen him run