Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Who Is This Ohio State Team?

I have to admit, I know very little about this Ohio State team. Strangely, ESPN seems to give me little actual usable information about how to evaluate Ohio State. They cover sports 24 hours a day and they give me no usable information. How about that?

Here's what I know about Ohio State from ESPN:
  • Beanie Wells is reportedly a very good running back, though probably not on the level of a McFadden.
  • Their offensive line is reportedly one of the best in the country.
  • Their QB/receivers are adequate but not great.
  • The defense is considered rather good, especially James Laurinaitis
  • They have a reputation for being pretty slow.
That sounds pretty nice there, but it honestly doesn't tell me anything useful. What kind of formations do they run? Do they blitz a lot? Do they run a lot of play-action pass? Are their linebackers vulnerable in coverage? These are things a highlight clip just can't show you. Nor can a poignant human interest story really inform you on these things. If it can't be conveyed in a highlight clip or a poignant human interest story, ESPN's ability to convey it is limited.

I think I'm just going to have to try to find a few Ohio State reruns on ESPN Classic or something. I need to know these things.

There are a few more things that can be gathered about Ohio State by looking at their statistics:
  • Todd Boeckman didn't score a rushing touchdown all year and only got 70 yards rushing. Compare to Matt Flynn who rushed for 208 yards and 4 touchdowns. Even Ryan Perrilloux did significantly better with 203 yards and 2 touchdowns (and one 2-point conversion)
  • Ohio State is a running team, but we actually ran more and had a higher average per carry than Ohio State had, but we didn't have any rusher with Beanie Wells' numbers of 254 carries for 1463 yards and 14 touchdowns.
  • Ohio State has only 2 receivers with 20 or more catches, and 7 with 10 or more. LSU has 4 with 20 or more (all of whom have 28 or more, actually), and 8 with 10 or more. Ohio State's Brian Robiskie had as many catches as Early Doucet had, but outgained all of our receivers with 885 yards. Our leading yardage gainer was Brandon Lafell with 641.
  • By my count, Ohio State completed 24 passes to running backs for 159 yards. We completed 45 passes to running backs for 414 yards.
  • We got 1000 more yards than Ohio State over the course of the year.
Synthesizing this information, I think it means that we have a more diverse and more dangerous attack. We use more receivers effectively. We throw to the running backs and tight ends more and more effectively. We have a more dangerous running threat at QB. We run the ball just as effectively, if not more. That means, I think, we are a harder team to defend than is Ohio State.

That tells me about who gets their yards, but not how they get them. I simply have no idea how sophisticated their systems are or how they strategize to get their yards or make their stops.

If any of you can help me, I'd appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

Hi Richard
LSU will have to play action pass on first down to begin the game, in order to sit a strong OHS defense on their heels. Running Hester up the middle will be a waste and will cause our defense to be on the field to long. The unexpected will work if applied correctly. Our offensive line will need this in order to block a superior defensive line of OSU. It's critical that we score touch downs and not settle for fied goals on our first few posessions

Bryan said...

OSU has the best defense in the country. They are much better than "good." Their weakness is the spread offense -- seriously, it's like their kryptonite (see games against Florida and Illinois). They are a run first offense with a QB who loves to throw to the other team.