PS 101 / Michigan-OSU Review / Wisconsin-OSU Preview

Posted: November 29, 2017 in All Things Power Spread

(Yeah, I’m back. I’ve got a lifetime’s worth of material. Let’s get started)

1850-1900- FORMATION (RULES)



An exploration of SpaceTimeTeam thru AggressiveFlexibleVariety.

Aggression – Francis Schmidt (PopWarner) to Rusty Russell + Sid Gillman to Bill Walsh.

Power to Spread  – R&S Trio of Neumeir/Faught/MDavis from Tiger Ellison.

Variety –  Option Run combined with Option Pass. Power+Spread. Ben Griffith Hambone. Paul Johnson Flexbone. Finally the Triple Shoot of Manny Matsakis. Read Option of Rich Rodriguez.

Aggressive Variety – PS Triumvirate of Urban Meyer, Gus Malzahn, Art Briles.

The full compliment of Run/Pass from Spread Sets. Old school PS of the 00s moves into new school PSAR combining all the forms of Offense in our football history. Mumme’s Air Raid = R&S+BYU(College WC offense of Walsh). Now we have CollegePS + Spread Power (Run/Pass spread from power sets) +  ProPS.

Aggressive Flexible Variety in the 2020s –  A Full PS Triumvirate =  Full PS / Concept Football / Positionless Football

Could it be?   — Steve Sarkisian / Manny Matsakis / Art Briles  —

Quick Terminology:

PS = Power Spread – the overall power spread concepts being used on Offense/Defense/SpTeams across all football now. College and Pros are splitting into ProPS and CollegePS. The differences of which require another article.

PSAR = Power Spread Air Raid – The Air Raid of Hal Mumme, Pass Spread of Mike Leach, beginning Power Spread of Tony Frankin and finally the creation of a full PSAR by Dana Holgorsen with help from Kevin Sumlin. It is the new school Power Spread flavor of the day.

PS 2020 – Those coaches who lean towards the future of Power Spread.  Aggressive Variety with more Flexibility meshed into a complete whole. Power Spread. Leading triumvirate may be James Franklin, Tom Herman, Kliff Kingsbury(Lincoln Riley?) as they evolve into the next decade. The explosion may be about to happen with Scott Frost. A new PS way of coaching.



PS Quality

OSU – Good team – not great. Great talent but struggles a bit with scheme on D + Old School PS Offense which struggles to win vs top talent and/or PSAR or newer cutting edge PS 2020 Schemes.

Michigan – Average team – good at best. A lot of underrated talent Harbaugh is accumulating, but inexperienced this year. Harbaugh runs a top notch ProPS scheme – in fact he invented it – but anything “pro” is not good enough in college. Too Personnel Dependent. NFL has experience/talent to get away with such a TEAM heavy concept without much creativity in Space/Time. College does not.

NEITHER TEAM DESERVES PLAYOFF BID – Michigan is obvious. OSU many think will get in playoffs if they beat Wisconsin. I believe the 4 teams deserving of the playoff bid should be great teams. OSU in 2017 is not. There are at least 4 other teams that are great or closer to it than OSU.   BUT….

If OSU does get in – then they have every bit a chance to win it all due to their most talented team in the Meyer era. It may not seem like it, but Meyer’s PS#s (Phil Steele Accumulated Recruiting Rankings) are his best ever right now. Nice depth and Urban is using it. Kudos to his wherewithal to get Haskins some game experience this year. Paid big dividends last weekend.

The Game

OSU Offense – Typical Offensive performance by OSU vs top talent. Not enough aggressive variety in the pass game. Good PS run game mainly due to talent of RBs and Barrett’s great ball handling and improved Oline.

We are not as in bad shape as we were last year. Wilson is a friend and a big part of Meyer’s study of early Spread schemes which led to his groundbreaking Power Spread ideas. Wilson is allowed to run the offense. Uninhibited. There’s nothing worse than an OC not allowed to do his thing, which is exactly what we had with Tim Beck. Our PS Offense is too old school at this point, but at least the coaches are on the same page this year. BIG difference.

Haskins – As I said after Spring Ball, Haskins may be the most talented passer ever at OSU. Dual Threat with a strong arm, touch + accuracy. More importantly he reads defenses quickly. Unusual for a College QB – especially at OSU. He doesn’t have the feet of Braxton Miller or the arm strength of Cardale Jone or the ball handling of Barrett, but he’s the better passing version of Troy Smith. Not as elusive as Troy but if Urban ever goes full PSAR or even to a cutting edge PS 2020,  Haskins could quickly become a Heisman Candidate.

OSU Defense – In very very simple terms, Schiano is slowly shifting from a Cover 1 Quarters(w/cover 2 looks) to Cover 1/2/3 man under type of mix with more blitzing.  This is good as the aggressive read/react of quarters gets burned too easy with PS Play Action and Misdirection. Still not a cutting edge scheme, but we could certainly do worse. Schiano’s cover shell mix at the end of the game confused O’Korn into a bad game ending interception.

Still, I feel Schiano doesn’t have quite enough variety and is a little over aggressive at times leading to big chunk plays. Aggressive ReadReact Defense depends heavily on talent+execution. We have the talent. Execution sometimes lacks with our young guys.  If Michigan had better QB play -like Iowa – we would have been burned more in this game. 4th&3 down 24-20 and driving, O’Korn totally missed a wide open slot guy over the middle for a big play. Could have been 27-24 UM with little time left. This was only one of several big misses by Michigan throughout the day.

QUICK ASIDE – Allegations against Greg are unfounded and ludicrous. I actually played briefly with Greg in College. An absolute stand up leader who walks the talk. He noticed a young LB who wasn’t always on board with the Team Concept. He noticed the passion and energy in someone who maybe just needed a boost. Or maybe just some focus and direction. A small physical effort – a quick line – “Way to go today, Pags. You got a chance and made the most of it”. I’m sure he doesn’t remember. I do.

MIch Offense – Great talent at WR/TE and Oline – not bad at RB – avg at QB. In Harbaugh’s Pro PS system, QB and personnel is paramount. He’s expecting NFL decisions from an average College QB. Pretty silly.

At the end of the game he went pure PS with zone reads and it was working!  So what does Harbaugh do next? Puts O’Korn under center where he promptly stumbles for a 3 yard loss. I think this was right before the overthrow of the wide open WR on 4th&3 followed by a terrible read on the interception to end the game.

Thank god the NFL is finally moving into PS level football with ProPS. Thank god for coaches like Harbaugh willing to take chances and think outside a very narrow box. But this simply doesn’t cut it, for many reasons, at the College level. The schemes have to be less complicated, more deeply understood by coaches so players at this level can let it loose and experience the joy of this game.

Harbaugh needs to go back to the NFL where schemes can be overthought, overdone, borderline ridiculous and saved by amazing NFL talent/experience. Harbaugh is needed there – not here – imo.

Mich Defense – I love DC Don Brown’s aggression and always have, but this big aggression struggles some vs Power Spread Offenses when he doesn’t have a lot of experience/talent. Mich’s D has talent but was inexperienced this year – like the rest of the team.

Still the D played very well vs the pass. Haskins made some great reads/throws under pressure. Our Oline/RBs and early on Barrett’s decision making/ ball handling in the run game were really good. Tough on an inexperienced team.

When Mich was up 14-0, there was one scramble by Barrett on 3rd&short that turned the game around. It was a nice scheme by Brown as PS#1 recruit DE Russell Gary was lined up off the line and in a zone cover/ spy on Barrett. He almost had Barrett for a big stop, but JT made a great spin move to just get past Gary and pick up the 1st down. We were hard to stop on the run after this play. Almost like we turned a psychological corner. Great leadership by JT set up the heroics of Haskins at the end.



OSU ON DEFENSE  – Everyone wondering if we will get burned by the great Wisconsin misdirection and play action like we were vs OU and Iowa. We definitely could again as this Schiano D is still very much an Over Agg Read&React scheme.

The good news is Schiano’s tweaking towards more variety in the cover shells and aggression on the pass rush. Not just standard 4 man rush with Quarters or Cover 1. Of course Schiano is quite aware of our issues with play action so will have this on his mind when coming up with the game plan.

I also am not a huge fane of Chryst’s Offense. Like Harbaugh’s ProPS, he’s pretty much the father of Spread Power – heavy power sets combined with spread passing/misdirection/play-action. This “works”, but is more execution/experience dependent than pure Power Spread schemes. I can understand us getting burned by Lincoln Riley’s Offense, but we shouldn’t have gotten burned by Iowa nor should we get burned by Wisconsin. But like the Iowa coaches, Chryst is very good at what he does so we will see.

OSU ON OFFENSE vs DC Jim Leonhard  – Appropriately up for the Broyles award. He is continuing the Aggressive 3-3 D of Gary Anderson/Dave Aranda with Justin Wicox’s own flavor in 2016. These are all cutting edge DCs in their own right.

Leonhard has played for the innovative Ryan brothers, Rex and Rob, old school but top notch D’s of Mike Hankwitz and Dick Jauron, plus the evolving DelRio and Jim O’Neil. I still hold out hope that Rob Ryan will one day soon create the PS Defense of the future, though O’Neil has come closest in what I saw from him in his one yr at SanFrancisco.

Leonhard will pressure our run game with Barrett – make him throw and take chances. If it’s Haskins, he will mix coverages and blitzes to rattle the young kid. We have the talent to survive. Our RB core is second to none -a talent like McCall can’t even get a chance behind monster backs Weber and Dobbins – but our QBs and Oline will have to play their game of the year. A definite possibility.

Again – an opponent with a tough scheme+talent can give us trouble

Most likely we will struggle some on Offense and have to win a defensive type game. I actually have confidence that the young Haskins can pick Wisconsin apart, but our limitations in route designs and aggressive variety will make it tough on the youngster. I expect some mistakes.

Same if it’s Barrett. We will try to pound and ground. Don’t think we will have the same luck as we did vs Michigan. Be forced to throw into tough coverages with scheme limitations leading to more Barrett mistakes.


OSU Win – I actually think we can do this if Schiano comes up with a good game plan. Our front 7 could really dominate if we mix up the pressure thus leading to Wisconsin mistakes. Field Position helps our Offense and therefore takes the pressure off our schemes/QBs.

But the only way I feel OSU deserves consideration for a playoff bid is if we wipe out Wisconsin and I don’t see it. But, “supposedly”, all we have to do is win. In which case some other school(s) will be screwed.  Whatever – Go Buckeyes! (sincerely – I have been a Buckeye fan since the 70s!)

Wisc Win – Chryst calls a great game. Ball control. Little mistakes. Chunk plays, Finishing drives for TDs not FGs. OSU and WISC continue their trends on offense and defense respectively and this is a Wisconsin win.

My Pick – Toss up. Really unpredictable variables on this one. Everything trending towards Wisconsin, but we have the most talented team in the Meyer era. Even a youngster like Haskins could explode in this game and shock the world with another B10 CH Blow Out vs Wisc (2014).

I doubt it though. More likely a tough grudge match where execution at the end will decide it. Wisconsin wraps an amazing year or our kids grow up fast! BIG EMOTIONS LEAVING A WAKE OF JOY AND SADNESS. This is the Game of Football.

Physical Mental Emotional = Energy  /  Talent Technique Scheme = Morale  /

Team Time Space = Game Energy = Dynamic Opposition = Power Spread


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