WEEK 6 PREVIEW: NEBRASKA at OHIO STATE

Posted: October 6, 2012 in All Things Power Spread

OHIO STATE  5-0    NEBRASKA  4-1

OSU has arguably the least talented team on hand since their first year of Tressel. This is not surprising as that was also a transitions after a rocky ending to another great regime under Coach Cooper.  Ohio State possibly saw its most talented teams ever during the reign of Tressel, but now have the schemes to go with the great leadership and recruiting that Coach Tress provided.  Still, in a transition year with a young team, the quality of play has been far from sterling.

“Far from sterling” seems to be the moniker for Big 10 play in 2012. While Nebraska doesn’t suffer from the transition/experience problems that plague the Buckeyes, they have bigger issues with what the coaching staff is doing on both offense and defense. OC Beck can’t seem to decide on what’s best for his offense, which is ironic, considering Martinez is obviously a run first, throw later QB.  Stick to the Power Spread, coach. What’s more surprising is the Defense – Pellini’s speciality!? Similar to the offense, there seems to be a real lack of direction in concept and scheme. Even worse is some of the shoddy fundamental play from the back 7.  This should not be happening on any Pellini defense.

 

What I’d Like to See for OSU

Continued increase in the variety in play calling and schemes on both offense and defense.  Understandably, with a young team in transition, both coordinators on offense and defense have been handcuffed some. There’s been a preponderance of very simple QB option runs on Offense and very little deep passing and route variety.  We need to keep defenses from keying on Miller and just putting everyone in the box similar to the days of Nebraska’s old power option offenses of Tom Osborne.

On Defense there was very little mix of blitz packages and pretty much zero Passive Aggressive concept that Fickell was getting so good at in his prior years as a DC.  In other words – zone blitz, shifting from man to zone coverages right before snap, hiding man coverage behind a zone look, etc.  All attempts at hiding the aggression and bringing it from different directions and looks.  This is what made Nick Saban famous. It’s hard to do with a back seven that still has a lot to learn.  But last week against Michigan State we saw more of this from Fickell and certainly having a healthy veteran up front, like Nate Williams, didn’t hurt.

 

PREDICTION:

In my mind this is the biggest chance to see an OSU loss the rest of the year. And this isn’t because OSU has such a great team this year – they don’t.  Its more a reflection on a weak schedule,  lack of quality in the Big 10 and more so a lack of good schemes in the Big 10. Meyer understands the power behind the Power Spread. Most of the Big 10 still does not. It’s the single biggest factor, in my mind, that’s kept the Big 10 behind the SEC and Big 12 for the past decade.

At the start of the year I would have thought that this game and the one in Wisconsin would have been our losses for the year. But no longer. The changes on the staff at Wisconsin and the surprising continued ineptitude on Pellini’s staff in Nebraska have changed my mind.  If the Buckeyes lose this I won’t be surprised. If Beck’s actually starts with the Power Spread schemes early on with Martinez and sticks to it, then our inexperienced Defense will struggle to keep the points down. A few more expected mistakes by our Offense and this could even turn into a runaway and Buckeye panic across the state of Ohio. But I can tell you this – if the Buckeyes win tonight, there’s no looking back. Take your licks now Big 10 – because this is as easy as it gets.  By next year OSU’s offense may well be a juggernaut and we will be back to our normal strong Defense, but with more big plays!

Urban Meyer is all about big plays and maximizing talent -AT ALL POSITIONS – not just at QB and not just with the first string. That goes for 2nd string players and Special Teams also. Because I’m a Buckeye fan I will say that we get our revenge with the much needed BIG PLAY at the ends of both halves pulling out a high scoring victory somewhere around 31-28.  But in my mind its a toss up, due to the more experienced Husker team, who I do expect to win the yardage battle either way.

 

NEW ERA

But this is a new era Buckeye fans. No longer are we the most talented team in the land that can never win the Big One again.  This is as bad a team as Meyer will have and we still have a shot to be undefeated. Fasten your seat belts, because win or lose tonight, the Meyer Experience for the next several years is going to be one wild and fun ride!

~PS

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