Turel's OSU Film Breakdown: OSU Strategies

Josh Turel outdoes himself. OSU's offensive and defensive strategies – a detailed analysis of OSU's formations on both sides of the ball, and the percentage of the time that the Buckeyes use each of them.

Main Offensive Formations

Formation: Shotgun Tight End Spread
Percent of usage: 38%
Pass Play: 62%
Run Play: 38%
This is their formation of choice with Ted Ginn and Santonio Holmes on the flanks with Anthony Gonzalez in the slot. They will mix Troy Smith and Antonio Pittman in with quarterback draws, halfback draws and options. They also like to run screens off of this package with Pittman. The receivers will also rotate alignments on occasion to find a matchup. Look for Ginn to line up in the slot with Gonzalez at split end on occasion. They will also put Gonzalez at flanker with Holmes and Ginn split in twins to the wide side. They will usually run a combo zone stretching play with one of them going deep and the other running an inside cut or out route. This is also their favorite formation to run play action.

Formation: Two Tight End
Percent of usage: 22%
Pass Play: 32%
Run Play: 68%
This formation can either be balanced or with Stan White set back off the line. They like to run White to the flat out of this formation. Look for them to possibly go deep out of this as well. Ohio State has been taking most of its shots downfield from its bigger sets to isolate match ups with Holmes and Ginn as well as make the coverage more visible to quarterback Troy Smith. The Buckeyes have also been using on occasion, an offensive lineman as the 2nd tight end and running to the boundary on the strong side. Watch for Ginn coming in motion and taking the snap as well.

Formation: Three wide shotgun with Ted Ginn as an h-back
hybrid, also know as "shot-Ginn"
Percent of usage: 16%
Pass Play: 69%
Run Play: 31%
They can use Troy Smith, Antonio Pittman and Ted Ginn as runners in this formation. Ginn is split out usually behind the tackle and this gives the offense some flexibility. What this formation can do is instantly give Ginn the ball in space, which when that happens, everyone watching collectively holds their breath. They can use the option, draw and shovel pass from this formation to attack a defensive front in the middle or to the boundary. More often than not Ginn will head to the flat area or run a swing pass route to draw in coverage while Gonzalez and Holmes work the under coverage and behind the linebackers. The Buckeyes can also motion Ginn to a four wide set from this formation, looking at who covers Ginn and whether they have a mismatch.

Formation: I Formation
Percent of usage: 12%
Pass Play: 25%
Run Play: 75%
There favored running formation. They can throw in Brandon Schnittker at tailback and Stan White at fullback and go to a power look. They aren't all that fancy out of this formation but again, watch the deep ball from this type of look.

Formation: Four Wide Shotgun
Percent of usage: 11%
Pass Plays: 81%
Run Plays: 19%
Roy Hall and Brian Robiske will rotate in at the fourth receiver position. They like to screen out of this package, and they will slip screen with Ginn from this formation. Again, Smith and Pittman do occasionally run the option out of this look.

Formation: Five Wides/Other Formations
Percent of usage: 1%
Passing formation with Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez, Roy Hall and Brian Robiske.

Other Offensive Notes:
I didn't chart out every down and distance situation but Ohio State has run the ball A LOT on first down. My guess is look for it 90-95% of the time. Down around the goaline, beware of Smith on the option. They like to isolate a contain defender on the boundary and either pitch it or fake the pitch and keep it. They like to use Roy Hall at receiver on running plays. Seem to be quite a bit of comeback routes on film. They also like to work Anthony Gonzalez in the middle of the field. Look for him on drags and zone beaters to bring in a deep dropping under coverage.

Defensive Strategy:
The defense under Luke Fickell and Jim Heacock has been a bit more creative than OSU defenses of the past yet it has retained its high level of success. The first thing you notice on film of them is their aggressiveness upfront. They like to run line stunts and twist, and use some combos to open up defensive end Mike Kudla on the rush. The defensive tackles don't get their just due but they keep bodies off the linebackers and occupy gaps well so that the linebackers can make plays, which is the whole point. They will also put strong side linebacker Bobby Carpenter at defensive end and kick David Patterson inside to tackle, both have played well at their "other" positions. Carpenter will also rush off the edge from his linebacker position while linebackers Anthony Schlegel and AJ Hawk can terrorize the middle with stacked blitzes or on delayed blitzes. They will also bring safety Donte Whitner on the blitz, and will occasionally double blitz the cornerback or nickel man with Whitner. The front four can generate a good rush, which has enabled Ohio State to play a bit more zone. Their common coverage is cover three but they run a variety of zones and will roll coverage's to one side like they did last year against Braylon Edwards. They will mix in a zone blitz every now and then with Kudla or another lineman dropping out and they play man coverage well too.

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