Upon Further Review – Illinois at Ohio State

Posted: November 17, 2012 in UME 2012
51 Yard TD Pass Braxton Miller to Rod Smith to open up a close game in the 2nd Quarter
Single Wing Spread T
The exact same formation that I covered the week before against Penn State. But instead of the POWER idea of Power Spread, this analysis will cover the SREAD idea. Last week was a heavy blasting Power Counter in the form of Old Woody Hayes Football, albeit out of a completely renovated Spread Set. This week is imitating the more standard pass play out of the Spread that football has gotten so accustomed to over the last decade or so.
In reality – both plays resembled something far older than Woody Hayes of the 60s and 70s. Let’s try the 20s and earlier with the formation of the day – the Single Wing. The misdirection that made that scheme so powerful is present in both of these plays run by the Buckeyes. In fact, the misdirection on both of these plays is to the right side of the field, with a counter back to the left.  Against Penn State it’s on the ground. Against Illinois it’s thru the air. And that’s the POWER SPREAD. All parts of the field and 3D as well as 2D – in other words, Air and Ground attack. The air attack was only in it’s early stages back when the Single Wing first came into popularity. Misdirection with almost 100 years of advancement in the passing game, plus athleticism of the athletes makes this very simple, yet very deceptive scheme and concept incredibly powerful.
Last week was a simple Counter Run Left by the QB with a counter trap block up front. This week, still simple. Same formation, same motion from left to right by the Wingback, same misdirection to the right, same movement of the play back to the left, and same confused defense. The big difference this week was the main players involved in the play executed and the potential of last week was realized this week in the form of 6 points.


The blocking scheme is actually almost the same as for the Counter Trap run blocking scheme. #79 RG Hall pulls and sets up to protect Miller’s backside, while the rest of the line blocks down. Not only does this protect the QB, but it looks like a run blocking scheme, sucking in the LBs and opening up the passing lanes. Again, PS schemes are aimed at using EVERYTHING the game has to offer. Constant deception on the Full Space – Deep, Wide, Air and Ground.
The biggest deception on the line with this particular play is the pulling of #71 C Lindsay to the Right and the RT and WB blocking down. This is a fantastic blocking scheme and part of the reason that our Line has done so well this year. Bolman’s blocking schemes in past years were not good and didn’t come close to maximizing OSU’s great recruiting in that area. This scheme makes it so easy for our Line. Just as long as the pulling Lineman move their butts! But down blocks by the LT, LG and RT, WB create great leverage by putting these Lineman in spacially great positions. The RG blocks the QB’s backside and the C blocks for the Rollout Right.
The split halfbacks are #2 Rod Smith to the left of the QB and #34 Carlos Hyde to the right. Both RBs move towards the left sideline in a Fake Read Option Sweep to the left with a right Counter Trap Blocking Scheme up front. Braxton Miller fakes the Read Option left and Rolls Hard to his right. Rod Smith fakes the sweep block and flairs on a deep fly pattern down the let sideline. Hyde fakes the Option Run and flairs out in the left flat.
Due to the incredible misdirection and blocking scheme of this play, the DLine is crushed and the LBs are sucked in and chasing to their left after Braxton Miller. Completely out of position for any type of pass play. Thus no pressure up front and no pass defense in the back. Miller is protected from his back by the RG and from his front by the C.
Even with the WB staying in to block and only 2 WRs on a pass pattern, there are players open everywhere because of the Spread/Misdirection set up by the Power game of OSU. Not only is Hyde wide open in the flat as LBs are stumbling around in the middle of the field, but both Wrs – in front of Miller, and back to his left – appear to have chances of breaking open.
None of this mattered though, because #7 SR Safety Supp Sanni for Illinois came flying up for run support and got completely burned by the fly pattern down the sideline. You can see at the top right in the pic that Sanni is completely out of position, facing the wrong way to give chase to Smith about to speed past like a blur and down the sideline.
Miller’s ability in the passing game is a work in progress. He again glued himself to the primary WR, without any further reads, but in this case it worked out brilliantly. Speedy Smith ran right past the shocked Sanni (top right of the pic) and was open by a mile. Miller’s pass was a wisely bit short as an overthrow would have been a huge mistake. Smith was able to wait a second, make the catch, and waltz into the end zone. OSU never looked back in their first big 1st Half of the season
PS Wins over Perfection
Again, the execution wasn’t perfect. But in the PS concept – the realization of the full potential available in the game of football – you don’t have to be perfect. In this example, the execution was pretty close to perfect. The only mistake I saw was an underthrow by Miller. But that was a smart toss as Smith was open by a mile. But again, the scheme had Illinois so confused that Miller could have gotten a big play by swinging the ball out to Hyde or possibly one of the 2 WRs. And he certainly had enough space with Smith to make a “SAFE” throw instead of the perfect throw. All the players involved, all of the 3D Space involved and at minimal execution. That’s the Power Spread.
One last note. I have left out the element of Time in this analysis for the sake of focus. But I had mistakingly mentioned that OSU was no longer running much No Huddle in my live commentary. This was wrong. They were running the Standard No Huddle (~20 s) with a touch of the Hurry Up (~10s). Sometimes some Standard Huddle Time (~30s) was seen. But it was all out of the No Huddle. This use of Time certainly had Illinois on their heels. Just as much as the full use of the Space and the Players.

To Illinois’ credit, their new coaching staff actually ran some good schemes on both offense and defense. I also erred in my criticism of the DC, Tim Banks. His defense was certainly more aggressive than I originally noticed early on in the game. But after the injury to star LB Jonathan Brown and the surprising prowess of the OSU passing game, Banks got a bit conservative – death against the Power Spread. Also, the talent difference of the two teams and the injuries Illinois has suffered was simply too much to overcome when going up against one of the best coaching staffs in football! Talent + Coaching + Power Spread are simply an unbeatable combo!


  1. […] Illegal Blk penalty stymies Illinois. Orhian Johnson having a good game. Hankins and Boren too!   Play of the Week:  51 yd pass to Rod Smith down the left […]

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