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Film Review: OSU’s Linebackers Continue to Overwhelm Simple Offenses

OSU’s linebackers were incredible in the second half against Kansas State.



What KSU was doing

Anyone who has followed Big 8/Big 12 football over the years knows a KSU offense when they see it—quarterback under center, fullbacks, one or two tight ends, etc.

We see KSU employ a couple of these things for this play. The QB is lined up in a shotgun formation instead of being under center, but we can see a FB (Glenn Gronkowski), TE and three WRs lined up on this play.

The ball is snapped and we can see the play is a QB run. With it being 1st-and-10 and KSU experiencing minimal success passing the ball in this game, a QB run of some sort was to be expected.

The WRs, TE and FB are all blocking on this play.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “pulling guard” before and KSU has one on this play. A pulling guard is an offensive guard that leaves his side of the line when the ball is snapped and runs to the other to provide the offense with a size and numbers advantage in blocking. On this play, it is the right guard that pulls and comes over to the left side.

What OSU was doing

After a couple weeks of seeing OSU in its 3-3-5 package, we’re back to a play where the Pokes are in the base 4-3 defense.

It looks like there’s only three linemen but Jimmy Bean is in a stand-up 5-technique on the left side of the line. The reason Bean is the only lineman standing up is because he is playing spy/contain. KSU was having some success running with the QB so Spencer made the adjustment of having Bean stand-up and play spy on the QB to keep him from getting around that edge.

Seth Jacobs, Chad Whitener and Burton are the three LBs, with Burton playing up on the line-of-scrimmage outside of Ogbah.

Ashton Lampkin and Michael Hunter look to be the two CBs on the play. If you notice, both are two yards across from the WR’s they’re lined up on. This lets us know that they will be playing man-to-man coverage.

As a side note, you’ll see a lot of talented defenses play man-to-man coverage on 1st and 2nd downs and then run a zone defense when they have the offense in 3rd and long. This forces the offenses to execute and make plays against an aggressive defense, rather than just giving them easier yards, which might happen if you start in a zone on 1st down. Of course, as with every scheme in football, this can easily change/be negated as different situations occur.

It looks like Sterns and Flowers are the two safeties. Flowers is lined up about ten yards off the inside receiver at the bottom of the screen. With no one else available to cover him, the inside WR becomes Flowers man to cover. Sterns is playing back about 12 yards off the ball. With every skill player already accounted for, Sterns’ job is to prevent the big pass play or come up and provide run support.

Why this worked for OSU

Notice when the ball is snapped, the three linemen in three-point stances all fire off and go left. This sort of collapses the right side of the offensive line. This leaves all three LBs to hold down the right side of the line.

We have the pulling guard, the TE and the FB left to block the three linebackers. KSU might have the size advantage here, but OSU has the definite speed one.

None of those three blockers really get a good block on any of the LBs. Whitener uses his quickness to get around the TE. The TE is able to get a little bit of a block on Whitener and the guard comes over to help.

Now, we have the FB blocking Burton and no one blocking Jacobs. Even though Burton and Whitener are the ones being blocked, they’re also the ones who make the stop.

The best part about this play is Burton. Since he stepped on campus, we’ve been hearing about the hitting power of Burton and I think it was displayed in impressive fashion on this play.

No, he didn’t lay out a 190-pound WR, but he did knock back a 6’3”, 240-pound GRONKOWSKI. Fullbacks LOVE running plays because it’s their chance to run and knock someone senseless. But Burton doesn’t shy away from the contact. Actually, he creates it. And not only does he knock Baby Gronk back, he also disrupts the running lane and it able to bring the QB down.

It almost feels unfair to do a breakdown of this play because the Wildcats were so limited in what they could do and being backed up in its own 10-yard line causes KSU to become even more limited. Nevertheless, this was a big point in the game for both teams and it was important OSU come up with some stops.

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