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X's And O's: Zeke To The House

Ohio State hit the jackpot again with a long Ezekiel Elliott TD run for the sixth game in a row. How did the Buckeyes and Elliott do it this time? With a "Bear' beater that took advantage of Virginia Tech's defense.

Last season against Virginia Tech, the Ohio State Buckeyes only ran for 108 yards against the Hokies' "Bear" defense and struggled mightily to move the football.

Monday night however, the Buckeyes broke the Bear wide open on Elliott’s first rush attempt for an 80-yard score.

Here is how they did it:


The Buckeyes lined up in what is commonly known as 11 personnel, meaning the offense has one running back, one tight end and three receivers.

Ohio State lined Michael Thomas (the "X" wide receiver) and Parris Campbell (the "Z" receiver) in a "Twins" look to the short side of the field. Initially the "H" played by Curtis Samuel on this play was lined up on the outside in a "Trips" look before motioning just outside the right tackle (Chase Farris).

The Hokies lined up in their usual Bear defense, covering up the guards and center and walking a defensive back into the box. In this case it was No. 19 Chuck Clark.


The play illustrated above is more traditionally called a “tackle trap” as the tackle (in this case Farris) is pulling, leaving the outside linebacker free to penetrate. This is likely why Samuel motioned inside, to pick up the backer and keep him from blowing up the play.

Next, you will notice the left tackle (Taylor Decker) and left guard (Billy Price) double team the defensive end to the left side. This is essential to creating the hole for Farris to pull through. If the double team is not executed to perfection, Farris cannot get through and the play is blown up.

Also essential to this play is the block of tight end Nick Vannett. If he does not turn the outside linebacker outside, he could very well get inside of him and make a play on the ball carrier. Vannett however does indeed turn his man outside.

Elliott’s path and objective are simple: Jab step right, get the handoff from Cardale Jones, and follow the pulling tackle through the hole.

The one man who could have made a play on the ball here is No. 26 Desmond Frye, who is not initially on your TV screen but is represented as the strong safety (SS) in the above illustration.

Frye takes a poor angle on the ball (likely falling for Elliott’s initial jab step to the right) and Elliott takes advantage by flying by a diving Frye.

The receivers block the man across from them, and keep stride so they do not catch Elliott down field, and the rest as they say, is history.

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