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Film Review: What’s Working and Not Working in the Running Game

Spread it out, guys. Spread it out all day.



The photo below is just before Chris Carson’s biggest run of the day. Let me say this, I love this formation, this is 2011 OSU football. Four wide, spread the defense out and run the ball. OSU used to carve up defenses running out of this formation.

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I wish the offensive coaching staff would take any formation that isn’t four wide, diamond, or goal line and shred them, then take the shredded pieces outside, put them in a dumpster pour gas on them and set them on fire

This play appears to have multiple options for Rudolph, a play like this puts a defense in a bad spot. Texas has three down linemen, three linebackers, three corners, and two safeties. One safety is deep off screen. This formation puts OSU in a five on five situation for running the ball.

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The RT for OSU chips down on the NT and breaks away towards the LB. Rudolph’s main focus is the right side DE. OSU lets him run free. If he crashes Rudolph pulls the ball back and has a pass/QB run option.

The slot WRs are running WR screens. The left side outside WR is blocking down, if Rudolph throws to the left side he could have a nice five to six yard gain. Rudolph’s right side looks even better, Texas has a two on two situation set up, if he throws to Washington, he already has his guy beat, he’s a block away from a big gain. The outside WR is Jarwin , he’s one on one on the outside, which can be a favorable matchup TE vs CB.

The DE doesn’t crash, he shoots up field, Rudolph makes the correct read and hands the ball off. With the alignment and blocking scheme, all Carson has to do is pick which way the linebacker is getting blocked and go the other direction. Carson makes the correct cut and doesn’t get touched till he’s ten yards downfield.

The up front blocking scheme is great because the backside backer is reading the OL blocking down. If you’ll notice their first step is to the left, this causes the backside backer to misread the play. By the time Carson hits the hole, the backside LB has already taken himself out of the play. I love everything about this play, the formation, the blocking scheme, the multiple options.

I don’t understand why we don’t run like this more often. Perfect example of great play call, great execution, let’s hope to see more of this in the weeks to come.

On the other hand…

This is one of the formations I wish would be shredded and burned. Look, OSU isn’t built to be a power running team. The reason I hate this formation is because it draws more defenders into an area of weakness, I don’t think anyone will argue that OSU is good at interior OL. Now OSU has bunched up the defense, Texas has four DL and three LBs crowding the box, they have two safeties over the top, and two corners.

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This isn’t a terrible call, second and nine, usually a passing down, OSU runs a draw right here. We now know that Rudolph had some throwing issues and had numbness in his hand. So I completely understand running a draw. You’re down three and on your own 46 yard line; a couple of first downs and you get into field range to tie the game. The issue is, our execution is and has been so bad on the interior, OSU ends up putting more stress on an already gimpy QB.

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The way this play is being blocked should look like pass blocking, the DL is allowed to rush up field, and with this blocking it is important that you stay squared up or in front of the defender. The idea is to let them rush up field and block them out of the RBs lane. First thing that happens is No. 57 gets beat (common theme) and doesn’t stay squared up or in front of the DT. This disrupts the RB’s ability to gain momentum.

Second thing is that No. 74 gets stood up, he’s either supposed to be coming off the ball to drive the DT out or he messed up on allowing the DT to rush up field, it’s hard for me to tell because he gets stood up and driven backwards.

Either way this hurts the RB’s momentum and causes the hole to collapse. Third thing is No. 47 completely whiffs on the middle linebacker, so even if Childs had gotten through he would have been met in the hole by the MLB. This isn’t a terrible play call given the situation, had those three blocks been made, then Childs is on a one on one situation with the CB.

To contradict myself, this is a terrible play call, because No. 57 has consistently shown that he can’t make those blocks. The play I broke down earlier, he was crashing down on a DT, who was already stepping the direction he was being blocked.

This play went for no gain, now OSU is in 3rd and 9 down three in the 4th quarter with a QB that has a bad hand. That is how you set an offense up for failure, it is on Gundy and Yurcich to understand what this teams weakness are and avoid calling plays that will exploit that.

If OSU runs the draw out of the first formation they would have spread the LBs out to cover the WR. Even if No. 57 misses the block, there aren’t as many bodies around and Childs has a possibility to bounce the run another direction. OSU has a history of effectively running the ball out of four WR sets; it creates space, which is something OSU has struggled with.

I’m not going to blame Yurcich 100 percenton this, Gundy is trying to take the offense a different direction, which is something that needs to be looked at more in depth on another post.

Gundy and Co. want OSU to be a power running team, which is fine in theory and I understand why, you aren’t always going to have a great passing QB and Big 12 defenses have shifted to defend the spread. If every defense you face in conference is built to stop Baylor or Tech’s air raid and you roll in there with multiple fullbacks and tight ends, you now have an advantage over those teams.

The problem is OSU does have a great passing QB and WR talent, the Cowboy Backs so far have been a flop in blocking situations. I love them in passing game, 6’5 260 pound guys are tough to cover, ask anyone tasked with guarding Gronk.

While I understand why we are making this move, it still doesn’t make sense to push it right now. OSU doesn’t have the talent to do that, they aren’t good enough at interior oline right now. OSU has too much depth at WR, changes like this need to be phased in slowly.

Nick Saban isn’t going to start rolling out four wide and throw it all over the field, he doesn’t have the personnel to do so. This is on Gundy to realize what we’re doing isn’t working. Mix in the power every now and then, but OSU’s base offense needs to be four wide and throwing. They did that some on the first two drives, so maybe we’ll see a shift back to the old way. I commend Gundy for trying to stay ahead of the curve, I really do, but he needs to stick with what works.

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