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Ohio State Vs. Clemson Rematch In New Orleans: Previewing the Buckeyes Offense
What Clemson vs. Ohio State has lacked in frequency (the schools have only played four times) it has made up for in intensity. Three of those four games were in New Years Six Bowls, two were in the playoffs, and one ended Woody Hayes career. Through it all, the Tigers are undefeated. Ohio State is able to run inside zone as a zone read, with the tight end kicking out the defensive end (slice), with the tight end faking the kick out and leading to the linebacker to block for the zone read (arc), and by reversing the QB and RB paths (bash). That before we get into the RPOs designed to punish teams that overload the box.While these plays looks significantly different to the defense, the difference between the run above and the run below is just switching the QB, TE, and RB assignments.To hear the coaches describe it this is, spread college run game with an NFL-type passing game. That the sell to the quarterbacks. Like last year, we have a 2,000-yard running back and we have a quarterback who throws 40 some touchdown passes. elevenwarriors.comQuarterback Justin Fields, breakout RB Trey Sermon, and hat a football name Master Teague III (if healthy) are more than capable of taking advantage of the running lanes the Buckeyes offensive line provides. Sermon, in particular, was able to hurt Northwestern with cutback runs, and Day and Co. play-called well to take advantage of that in the second half.Here Day uses a uads (four receivers to one side) set with a RB in the backfield. While this does make one Buckeyes receiver ineligible, it also gets the Wildcats safeties out of position to stop Sermon once he gets to the second level. While Fields carrying the ball is almost always a possibility, Ohio State really likes to use his legs to gain numbers on short yardage and in the red zone. They can punish the backside of defenses over-committed against the Buckeyes running backs, or Fields can carry the ball himself on more single wing looks which use the backs as lead blockers.The Buckeyes TEs have not brought much to the passing game outside of the red zone (thirteen catches split three ways), but they are generally excellent blockers for the position Watch #88 get downfield and spring #33 free for another chunk of yards on this outside zone run.Although much was made of Fields return to Columbus, he had a disappointing 2020. The Kennesaw, GA, native has already surpassed his total interceptions from 2019 (5 vs. 3) in a fraction of the time. More concerning for Buckeyes fans is Fields performance against the best two teams on the schedule, Indiana and Northwestern (stop laughing, I serious). In those games Fields went 30/57 (52.6% completion rate) for 444 yards, two touchdowns, five interceptions, eight sacks, and a partridge in a pear tree. You can pin that on a lot of reasons, and I inclined to believe each is a bit true. I see a mix of questionable play-calling, Fields trying to do too much, an offensive line that doesn pass block as well as run block, and a lack of playmakers outside of the top two receivers. Ohio State passing game mostly consists of RPO, a handful of NFL-style concepts, screens and max-protected shots downfield. You can see why Fields was such a highly rated recruit. He got the arm strength to take the top off of defenses and uses his legs well in the running and passing game.In Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, Fields has a pair of targets with the speed to beat teams that load up against the running game. They both have five receiving touchdowns and at least one gain of 40+ yards to their names this season. Theye averaging around fifteen yards per reception and are generally terrifying Theye also the only two pass catchers with more than ten receptions this year. Olave absence against Northwestern helped lead to the offense grinding to a halt. He back for the rematch against Clemson. Olave wants this as badly as anybody. He the one who broke his route off, thinking Fields was scrambling, before Nolan Turner game sealing interception.Ohio State has been able to get around some of their depth problems at WR/TE by incorporating the backs into the passing game. The Buckeyes are fond of using backs as outlet passes, such as on the above snag concept. Once linebackers begin sitting on the passes to the flat, Day calls up an angle route to get the RB isolated on the linebacker in pass coverage. The pass is batted down by a defensive lineman, but look how open the RB is underneath.Looks like this, and the backs occasionally leaking to the flats on play-action passes, could be a matchup to watch. Clemson has had issues with underneath coverage this year. But let not overstate the risk, Sermon and Teague III have a dozen combined receptions in 2020. One concept Day has used to attack teams that run Clemson base quarters coverage is the shallow and go. The concept uses quarters rules against itself. You see, in quarters the safety has to take the slot WR if he goes vertical. Meanwhile, the corner only covers the outside WR if he runs vertical, but if the outside WR runs in or shallow the corner lets the linebackers handle it and drops deep.By having the outside wide receiver go shallow before breaking vertically, youe (ideally) able to get him isolated 1-on-1 with a linebacker. A wide receiver isolated on a LB in coverage is a winning matchup for the offense every time.Fields is one of the most elusive quarterbacks Ie ever seen, and it gets him both into and out of trouble. This year he had multiple wounded duck interceptions thrown while falling over, rather than just tossing the ball out of bounds or taking a sack. His offensive line hasn helped, struggling in particular with blitz pickup. Over 10% of Fields passing attempts this year have ended in a sack. There have also been instances where I think the play calling is asking him to do too much. From a oing against your tendencies standpoint, I understand the idea of running a play-action pass off a QB sweep your offense is fond of in the red zone.From a situational standpoint, this is fourth-and-one in the red zone against Indiana, and you just called a pass where the QB has to do a 180 before seeing the defense? I know second guessing is easy but Ie still got questions. This should be an exciting matchup between two programs that know each other very well. Along with Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson have taken the majority of spots available in the playoffs. Whichever one wins will likely get reacquainted with the Crimson Tide in the title game. I don know what wrinkles or adjustments the coaches on either team may have saved for this game. In 2019, Clemson made massive changes to its offense to break out two weapons it hadn before featured, building a game plan around running Lawrence and throwing to Etienne. Meanwhile, Day and his staff were able to take a 16-0 lead over Clemson after coming out in an up-tempo passing offense. I do recall one huge adjustment Clemson made in 2019, which consisted of shifting to a dime front in the second half in order to better stop explosive running plays. With Nolan Turner only suspended for targeting in the first half, this look may be one to watch out for. Ultimately this game will be won or lost at the line of scrimmage. Clemson has the talent at corner to match up with Olave and Garrett better than any team the Buckeyes have played so far. Ohio State has a good enough offensive line to bowl over a lot of defenses, but the Tigers front (as long as Skalksi and Davis stay on the field) should be able to provide a challenge. If Ohio State is able to run the ball well enough to create explosive plays, as well as stay out of third and long situations, theye going to be able to give the Tigers a headache. If the Buckeyes can, I don think a passing game that has struggled against the est opponents on the schedule is going to be able to keep up with Lawrence, Etienne, and the rest of Clemson offense. Vegas views Clemson as a 7.5 point favorite. SP+ doesn know what to make of this game, viewing it as about a 50-50 with Clemson favored by under two points. Dabo says, here no question Ohio State is good enough to beat us... Theye good enough to be a national champion.egardless of which expert you decide to place your faith in, just be ready for a close one. Last year game was a rock fight that took years off of my life. This year is shaping up for more of the same.

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