This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.
  1. Follow us on Twitter @buckeyeplanet and @bp_recruiting, like us on Facebook! Enjoy a post or article, recommend it to others! BP is only as strong as its community, and we only promote by word of mouth, so share away!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Consider registering! Fewer and higher quality ads, no emails you don't want, access to all the forums, download game torrents, private messages, polls, Sportsbook, etc. Even if you just want to lurk, there are a lot of good reasons to register!
    Dismiss Notice

2020 tOSU Offense

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by ScriptOhio, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    Austin Ward: Trey Sermon will have 20 touchdowns for Buckeyes
    There is no doubt that Trey Sermon knows how to find the end zone after finishing his Oklahoma career with 25 touchdowns. Sermon also knows what it’s like to score in the Horseshoe having done that against the Buckeyes back when he was a freshman. That combination of experience, impressive physical tools and even his familiarity with Ohio State should all translate into a prolific season as the primary backfield threat. And while he might not match all of the numbers J.K. Dobbins posted a year ago, he will come close when it comes to touchdowns — thanks in part to a boost from his ability to be a target in the passing game out of the backfield.

    Birm: Trey Sermon will rush for 1,500 yards at Ohio State
    Ohio State had its first ever 2,000 yard running back in 2020 and the stage is set for another monster year by a Buckeyes tailback. Sermon is healthy and he’s hungry. He picked the Buckeyes because he saw an opportunity to make an impact. And though Master Teague appears ahead of schedule in his recovery, the Oklahoma transfer is in a prime position to be the lead back for one of the country’s premier offenses — and he looks ready to take on that pressure head on.
  2. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    How much can Ohio State freshmen contribute right away?
    The transition doesn’t happen overnight, even for five-star recruits. The speed of the game, the amount of responsibilities required in the Ohio State system and the level of competition are just a part of the challenge from jumping from high-school dominance to a spot in the rotation for a national-title contender — and even Garrett Wilson showed last year that it doesn’t happen instantly.

    Of course, Wilson was starting to really leave a mark by the end of his freshman campaign, and Brian Hartline will be trying to duplicate that again with his decorated newcomers. Fleming, Smith-Njigba, Cooper and Scott were all hoping for a more significant head start than just going through winter conditioning and three practices before the pandemic shut down spring camp, but that’s certainly better than nothing. Will that hiatus change the timeline for those four guys? Who will emerge as the first breakout performer from that pack? Can all of them find a way into the mix this season? That foursome has enormous expectations, and their development will be incredibly entertaining to follow.

    When will C.J. Saunders hear about his status for Ohio State?
    The Buckeyes were originally expecting to receive word about the eligibility appeal for captain C.J. Saunders back in April, but the NCAA has obviously had other issues to sort through during the pandemic before worrying about medical redshirts. But eventually it’s going to need to issue a ruling and provide some clarity for the Buckeyes and one of the most respected veterans on the roster.

    The case would appear to be a no-brainer since Saunders missed all of last season with a lingering knee injury. Plus, his rise from walk-on to captain and equality activist is the kind of story the organization should want to highlight. If he doesn’t get cleared, the Buckeyes would surely carve out some sort of coaching role for Saunders if he wanted. But Ohio State also could really use his skills in the slot and his elusiveness as a punt-return option if he finally gets the green light to return.
  3. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

  4. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

  5. DaddyBigBucks

    DaddyBigBucks Still Calculating Buckeye DSC... Staff Member Bookie

    They must be using the pro pass efficiency formula (would make sense for an outfit by that name)

    I ran their numbers but limited it to passes thrown by Justin fields; both of their numbers were way higher, more than would be explained by factoring in other QBs
    BB73 likes this.
  6. DaddyBigBucks

    DaddyBigBucks Still Calculating Buckeye DSC... Staff Member Bookie

    The Hole in Ohio State’s Swing

    Ohio State’s offense in 2019 was unquestionably one of its best ever. It was also imperfect. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about it was that it could light up both stat sheet and scoreboard while exhibiting flaws that some of the better opposing defenses were able to exploit at times, just as a Hall of Fame pitcher can find the hole in an otherwise great batter’s swing. Before getting to the flaws, let’s take a look at what the Buckeyes were good at.

    In mid-season last year, I posted something HERE that quantified just how ridiculously clutch Justin Fields was. It did not end there, as the Ohio State offense continued to produce when it mattered most, right up until their last play of the season.

    Ohio State’s pass efficiency was 5th overall last season, 4th on 3rd down and 1st on 4th down. But 3rd and 4th down are not just about pass efficiency, they’re also about getting first downs. When it comes to true success when passing on third down, the Buckeyes were way out in front.


    It gets better, like the Buckeyes’ performance on 3rd and long, but anytime you start looking at the details that show you the best in something, you can also see the imperfections.

    First of all, breaking it down this way reveals that the Buckeyes were only very good on 2nd down last year, not elite like they were on every other down. By down, Ohio State passing efficiency reads as follows:


    So… What’s up with second down? Minnesota is #1 in the country on second down; it is by far their best down. Other teams do just fine on that down as well. Looking at the rest of the country and ranking every team by how well they did on their worst down, only 3 teams were better on their worst down than Ohio State was on their own worst down, so some of this may just be the variability of college football. Then again, omitting 4th down from consideration, 3rd down is the worst down for well over half of FBS teams. The reasons for that are obvious. So again, what's up with 2nd down? Among the top 7 teams (ranked by who performed best on their worst down), only Ohio State had their worst performance on 2nd down. Of the top 17, only Ohio State and Wisconsin were at their worst on 2nd down. My suspicion is that the type of plays that tend to be called on second down is behind this, but I would love to hear any theories that the rest of you might have. While you’re thinking about it consider this: Justin was sacked more times on 2nd down than any other down last year.

    At this point, 2 of the 3 of you that are still reading are probably thinking that Ohio State’s second down performance doesn’t rise anywhere near the level of a “hole in their swing”. On that we would agree. You find that when you examine 3rd down more closely.

    When you break 3rd down by how far the offense has to go to make a first down you find the following (again, good news first):

    • There is a bigger gap between Ohio State’s rating of 232.57 on 3rd and 10+ (Best in FBS) and USC’s rating of 205.82 on that down and distance (2nd best), than between any other adjacent teams in this metric. Also, Justin was sacked on 3rd and 10+ only once all year, on a 3rd and 10 in the first quarter of the B1G CCG.
    • Ohio State’s rating on 3rd and 7 to 9 yards to go is OVER 90 POINTS LOWER (141.75) and is ranked 37th in the country for that down and distance.
    • 3rd and 4 to 6 yards to go is a little better at 151.43 (31st in the country)
    In my opinion, the flaws that we see in Ohio State’s game are at least partly to blame for this. Many, including Mike Hartlein and others that know QB play better than I do, have observed that Justin did not make decisions as quickly as some might like in his first year in the system. The good news: he didn’t rush things and had thrown only 1 interception all year entering the playoffs. The bad news: on short routes, when teams are expecting short routes, the decisions have to be made very fast or you end up scrambling or sacked.

    One thing Justin does NOT do though: He does NOT throw the ball short of the sticks on 3rd and 7 or more. On 3rd and 7+, Ohio State came short of a first down on only 10.71% of their completions last year. The next closest team in FBS, Texas A&M, fell short of the sticks on 17.65% of their completions and everyone else was over 21%. Even more remarkable to me is that Ohio State was #1 in this metric even when you only look at 3rd and 7 to 9 yards to go (leaving out 10+, which is Ohio State’s strong suit). Recall that 3rd and 7 to 9 is Ohio State’s weakness in terms of rating. It also happens to be a distance at which Ohio State never failed to gain a first down when they completed a pass and thus they gained a first down on 59.09% of such downs on which they threw a pass last year, the best rate in the country, even on their weakest distance (7 to 9 yards).

    Taking stock of where we are so far:

    • Justin Fields is clutch (3rd and 10+ is money)
    • Comparatively struggles on 2nd down
    • Comparatively struggles on 3rd and 7 to 9
    • On 3rd and 7 to 9 (or more), Ohio State has the best 1st down percentage when passing and throws the ball short of the sticks less than everyone else, by far
    What that leaves us with is 3rd and short and 3rd and medium. This is where things get interesting. This next bit might be easiest to digest in a table, because it is weird. … very weird.


    So, a QB that throws the ball short of the sticks rarely on 3rd and 7+ is 101st in the country in that metric on 3rd and 4 to 6 yards to go. A team that is first in first down % on 3rd and 7+ is 84th in first down % on 3rd and 4 to 6, a full 20 percentage points LOWER with fewer yards to go. I suspect the reason for this might be the use of a lot of screens of various types on that down and distance and relying on athletes to make plays, and that this tendency is a tad predictable. I would like to hear other thoughts on it though.


    If the Buckeyes can make decisions from the pocket faster in the starting quarterback’s second year in the system (seems likely), and if they can throw the ball a little farther downfield on 3rd and medium (and 3rd and short for that matter), they can do away with the one “hole in the swing” of one of the best offenses any of us has ever seen. This just might be a truly amazing season.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  7. BB73

    BB73 Loves Buckeye History Staff Member Bookie '16 & '17 Upset Contest Winner


    That stands for 'Too Short, Read It All'
  8. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    Is that all they do at Lettermen Row is make "Bold Predictions"? Well, here are 5 more.....8D

    Austin Ward: Chris Olave will break single-season touchdown record
    If the schedule stays intact and Chris Olave has a full season to unleash his Fiesta Bowl frustration, the Ohio State record books are going to be under relentless attack. Olave has already left no doubt about his big-play ability through two seasons with the Buckeyes, and after hauling in 12 touchdowns last year, he’s poised to top that thanks to an extra year of development and his chemistry with quarterback Justin Fields. The single-season mark for touchdown catches has stood since 1995 when Terry Glenn racked up 17 scores, but Olave has the potential to clear that bar with room to spare if he’s given the chance.

    Birm: Buckeyes will have two 1,000-yard receivers
    Yes, that’s right. Ohio State, which has only five players in history with more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season, will have a pair of pass-catchers banging on that threshold this season. For the first time in the last decade-plus, the Buckeyes have two bonafide starters at wideout in Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. And unlike previous years, there isn’t a large amount of proven depth behind them that needed rotating into the game. If Justin Fields goes out and chucks the pigskin around the yard for almost 4,000 yards like I believe he will, Olave and Wilson will put up gaudy numbers because of their ability to beat defenses anywhere on the field. That duo will get a lot of touches, and they each possess home-run ability with every touch. If Ohio State suits up for a full season as currently scheduled, there’s no reason to think each player won’t hit that magical mark.
  9. DaddyBigBucks

    DaddyBigBucks Still Calculating Buckeye DSC... Staff Member Bookie

    I appreciate that, thanks. But I may have been better served by splitting the post into several installments.

    I think the most striking thing in that post may have been lost in the sheer volume of information. So here it is, by itself.

    Don't you hate it when the quarterback completes a pass short of the sticks on 3rd down?
    Don't you love the fact that Justin Fields is literally the best in the country at NOT doing that?

    Well, he's the BEST in the country at not throwing short of the sticks on 3rd and 7 or more
    Ohio State is 103rd in the country at not throwing short of the sticks on 3rd and 6 or less

    I would LOVE to hear a reporter ask Ryan Day about that
    OHSportsFan and brodybuck21 like this.
  10. DaddyBigBucks

    DaddyBigBucks Still Calculating Buckeye DSC... Staff Member Bookie

    Because of the above, Ohio State was 48.6% more likely to convert on 3rd and 10 or more than on 3rd and 4 to 6.

    Ohio State is by far #1 in the country at converting 3rd and 10 or more when passing.
    Ohio State is number 84 in the country at converting 3rd and 4 to 6 when passing.
  11. MGMT

    MGMT Senior

    I’d be curious to see what % of those struggles are in what part of the field. Feels like this offense is a bit prone to stumbling in the red zone but that could be decency bias because of the Clemson game and the abortion that was 2018 Purdue
  12. Jaxbuck

    Jaxbuck I hate tsun ‘18 Fantasy Baseball Champ

    If anyone thinks that is a "hole in the swing" then they haven't played golf with me.
    BuckeyeSoldier and DaddyBigBucks like this.
  13. BB73

    BB73 Loves Buckeye History Staff Member Bookie '16 & '17 Upset Contest Winner

    A guess would be that defenses sent more pressure on third and medium, but thought they could sit back and cover and third and 10+, but the latter obviously was proven to be untrue.

    Hopefully offseason review will result in slightly different playcalling on third and medium.
    brodybuck21 and DaddyBigBucks like this.
  14. DaddyBigBucks

    DaddyBigBucks Still Calculating Buckeye DSC... Staff Member Bookie

    You'd think that Such a defensive tendency would affect other teams similarly, yet the Buckeyes seem to be on an island when it comes to this particular brand of weirdness
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
  15. Jaxbuck

    Jaxbuck I hate tsun ‘18 Fantasy Baseball Champ

    anecdotal... but I recall (as best I can right now) a shit ton of those being thrown well short of the sticks and either KJ Hill or JK Dobbins (I love the yin/yang of that) YAC'ing the living fuck out of the defense.

    which is of course my "not so fast my friend" theme for 2020.

    Let's see how well OSU/Day reload at those two dong punch of death on 3rd down positions before we start sucking each others dicks just yet on the 2020 offense.

    (Obviously the talent is least at WR)
    brodybuck21 likes this.

Share This Page