2015 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW – Ohio State vs Oregon

Posted: January 12, 2015 in All Things Power Spread, UME

MY PREDICTION:

No matter what happens the night of January 12, 2015, Power Spread football will have cemented itself as a lasting paradigm shift in the game of football.

By 2020 PS will have “spread” across the NFL.

By 2040 the game may not even look like the game you are watching today.

2050 – Hopefully the thoughts of Expansive Flexible Variety will bring down Lines & Barriers not only in Sport, but in the World at Large!

TODAY POWER SPREAD WINS  TOMORROW EVERYONE WINS!

SYSTEM = TEAM over STAR

“The average spectator at a game is of the opinion that the quarterback does all of the thinking for the team as far as the selection of plays on the field is concerned. Superficially speaking, he does ; he, with the captain, guides the offense. The spectator forgets, however, that the quarterback in turn is guided by the system and that all of the men plus the coaches are part of that system. The system develops football brains, controls the football thought of the quarterback, and furnishes him the data on which to base his generalship.” (Football Technique and Tactics, by Robert Zuppke, 1922, p. 135)

Almost 100 years later and spectators are still struggling to understand the philosophy of one of the great minds of this great game. First with the Single Wing Tailback, then the Modern T Quarterback, Football Fanaticism has turned from Team to Star long ago.  Bring in TV Viewership starting in the 1950’s, followed by Big Business and you have the QB Fear Pathology that dominates today’s NFL.

But “times they are a changin”. Football is the ultimate team sport and Power Spread puts a premium on Team. Even in a more individual type sport like Basketball we saw the great upset of “Team over Star” this past year in the NBA.

Few coaches are willing to state this publicly, but the right System or Environment is what produces the great Morale needed to win. The great Ohio Coaches listed the 4 main concepts of Football: Morale, Talent, Technique,System. In other words, M=TTS. I see it as PS=STT.

Just like E=mcc, PS in the end is the equivalant of Energy. We saw it last week with the Ducks when they exploded like a nuclear bomb in the 2nd Half. This is Morale. Team the talent. Technique the Teaching or Time. System the Space or environment in which the game operates. I believe if the Space is defined, the Time and Team follow suit. Therefore, teams can have great flexibility in recruiting and overcoming injuries.

Take Ohio State. According to Phil Steele recruiting, Braxton Miller is a Super Recruit with a PS#2 rating. He goes down for the year before the season starts. JT Barrett is a PS#11 and has never started a college game. He is a different type QB than Braxton – not the athlete, but better distributor and ball handler. Football smarts. Urban Meyer’s PS system adjusts. Then he goes down. In steps PS#41 Cardale Jones. Jones always had the talent – big kid, some speed, big arm – but not the smarts. Thus the lower recruit ranking. Again, PS adjusts and now we go with more QB Power runs with big passes deep. Suddenly, Cardale is invested and showing just how smart he is. THIS is the power of Power Spread.

PS SYSTEM – Aggressive, Flexible, Variety. And the game of football has only scratched the surface of Flexible. Tonight you will see the best that football has to offer in Power Spread – the future of football.

AGGRESSION

Aggression and expansive thinking have been the hallmark of great football starting with the first great innovator, Walter Camp. Variety has taken longer to flesh out, but after 140 years is starting to come full circle. Flexibility has a long way to go, but the brilliant mind of Glen “Tiger” Ellison hit upon something that we are seeing come together in Power Spread attacks.

For now I will say this: Urban Meyer is getting criticized for his play calling at the end of the Semifinal game. This is simply a lack of understanding of where the game is heading. The number one thing is Aggression. At all times. There is a balance and there can be over aggression, but Urban absolutely did the smart thing by going deep on 1st down. A completion or pass interference penalty and all the spectators would be calling him a genius.

The bottom line is that IT DOES NOT MATTER WHETHER THE PLAY WORKED. What matters is that the Power Spread Attitude continues full steam ahead. Aggression is the reason the Buckeyes are in the Championship. Passivity by Alabama is why they are home.

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, they haven’t played a true Power Spread power like Oregon. Cincinnati? Maybe Minnesota? Neither of these teams are close. Alabama, for all their talent, is simply light years behind the philosophy and schemes of Oregon. Urban Meyer’s only chance is to stay aggressive and keep his team positive from start to finish. THEY HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE. This can be powerful and believe me, Urban knows this.

PUNTING

WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT CAM JOHNSTON!?? He should be up for MVP of the Buckeyes. The 4th Quarter of the Bama game came down to a fantastic punting duel between to great talents. Will the same happen in this game? And what of the rest of the Special Teams?? Hardly anyone has covered this important part of the game so I will give it some quick attention.

Two names – Urban Meyer and Tom Osborne.

Most know who Urban is, but many do not know that he made his claim to fame as a great Special Teams coach. Jim Tressel did a great job with Special Teams and Urban has picked up right where Tress left off.

Tom Osborne is not the former great Nebraska coach, but the Special Teams coach of Oregon and a very good one. Here he is explaining what I like to call Swinggate or the “Swinging Gate” which Urban has used in the past and Osborne used last week for 2 points.

Both teams have great punt returners and good speed on kick returns. Both are aggressive in both the kicking and kick return games as well as blocking kicks. Both have true frosh kickers – the Buckeyes’ is a top recruit, while Oregon’s is a walk on. Ironically the walk-on has had the better year, but Nuerenberger is a big talent for the Bucks.

So far it’s pretty even – so we come back full circle to the Punters. Cam Johnston is an underrated huge recruit from Australian Rules Football. Not only does he have a BIG leg, but he’s a good athlete who can run out of trouble or on fakes and also is CLUTCH! The Oregon punter is a PS#1 sophmore, Matt Wogan, but he has yet to live up to his billing. Two great talents, but the proven talent lies with the Buckeyes and gives them a crucial edge in a close game.

SCORE – How the game may play out.

Finally we are here – time to predict the score. Well, I’m not going to do it. To be honest, I really don’t care. What I do care about is what both teams are bringing to the game that will create the score.

Both are big time Power Spread Offenses. The experienced QB is on the side of Oregon. This will make a difference as OSU is not playing a slush PRO/PS Alabama team or the mixed up multiple slush they got to go against in the Big 10 this year. This Oregon offense will get it’s points. They will feel out the defense early then “go where they ain’t” for big yds and scoring. OSU needs to keep it close.

This is where we talk Defense. What few spectators realize is these are burgeoning Power Spread Defenses as well. What is a PS Defense. Same as Offense – Aggressive, Flexible, Variety – with a key on Flexible. It’s the only way to slow down a PS Offense – to be ahead of the Game in Flexibility.

Both Defenses struggled early with personnel and coaching changes, but Defensive Coordinator Don Pellum of Oregon has really come on as has defensive masterminds Luke Fickell and Chris Ash for the Buckeyes.

Oregon has an unknown lineage in this game going back to 1906 when Hugo Bezdek was sent by Alonzo Stagg at the bequest of Walter Camp to bring football to the West Coast. From 1913-16 Bezdek was ahead of his time in using the Forward Pass at Oregon.

More recently Rich Brooks, then Mike Bellotti brought winning ways back to Oregon. Chip Kelly brought Power Spread. Don Pellum has played or coached under all three of these great coaches. He learned his craft from the brilliant DC, Nick Aliotti, who retired last year. Aliotti was great at taking undersized talent and unleashing their speed through great schemes.

Pellum has been passive aggressive in his approach with multiple zone blitzes in the style of the recently resigned Dick Lebeau, but don’t expect the same tonight. Pellum knows that the Buckeyes will want some control of the clock – even from the no huddle- and I expect Oregon to sell out for the run and force Cardale Jones to throw. I also expect the Ducks to protect deep, so Cardale will need to hit short and intermediate routes and be patient. I believe he will do this – at least initially.

As for Ohio State – they will need to keep mixing coverages and blitz pressures from their 3-3-5. I believe OSU will be successful at this early on and actually be winning for a large part of the 1st Half.

Here’s where the tide may turn. As Pellum starts to bring more pressure and mix coverages, Cardale’s inexperience will come into play. This is not the passive lack of variety that Alabama showed. Especially when they went ahead 21-6. Oregon also won’t underestimate the Buckeyes passing offense with Cardale the way Wisconsin did. They may let Cardale settle in early, but then expect more aggression than what they showed against FSU’s Jameis Winston last week. If Cardale handles it, then OSU will be in this game, but I don’t know if he can.

Then on OSU’s side, I do think the great minds of Helfrich (Gillman Spread) and Frost (Osborne Power(THAT Tom Osborne!)) will start to find holes in the Buckeyes’ D. Fickell/Ash are good, but Helfrich/Frost have shown signs of greatness this year. Add to that the experience and brilliance of Mariota. Even with some WRs missing, Oregon has plenty of WRs left to catch and run, such as quick mosquito true freshman Charles Nelson. Again, its Power Spread=TEAM!

PREDICTION

If Cardale maintains his cool in the face of a Helter-Skelter Oregon Passive Aggressive Defense, then the Buckeyes will stay close in a game that may reach the 40s or 50s. Then the Special Teams edge of the Buckeyes will pull this out and I will be screaming for Cam Johnston to win Team MVP!

Unfortunately, I just can’t see this happening. Urban knows all the tricks and will one day be modeled as a Coach of the Future, but the bottom line is OHIO STATE HAS NOT PLAYED A TEAM LIKE THIS ALL YEAR. Just like you saw with Florida State, there is no substitute for experience.

If Cardale starts to make some mistakes and Helfrich/Frost find the holes in the Buck’s coverages and pressures, then the game could start to get away from the Buckeyes. Unlike Alabama, a power spread team like Oregon will not let it’s foot off the pedal.

The one big hope for the Buckeyes that can’t be underrated is the psychological edge as the pressure is really on Oregon. OSU is not even supposed to be here. But I need to say this one more time – OREGON IS A POWER SPREAD TEAM. Sometimes if it looks like a Duck and smells like a Duck..well..the system is what it looks like. Great.

Scenarios

CLOSE GAME – Bucks pull out an amazing game in a year of destiny for both Ohio State and Power Spread!

BLOWOUT – Oregon after falling behind early in a close first half closes strong for their first ever National Title.

BLOWOUT – Oregon has all the pressure and folds under it as OSU plays loose, free and fast!

WIN/WIN – Power Spread, the future of Football.

~PS

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