Breakdown of USC’s multiple D versus Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor

Read the whole thing over at Dr Saturday. I discuss Pete Carroll’s move to more of a Cover 1 man look against mobile QBs, and at a few of the plays that OSU might use to counteract that. One I didn’t get into is one shown in the video below, a pretty nasty QB draw/counter play Ohio State used last season with Pryor.

For help I want to thank Art of Trojan Football Analysis and Jerry Gordon for their insights, and the invaluable Brophy for the game film that launched a thousand (or more) words. And for more nitty gritty, TFA has a nice series. See parts one, two, three, and four.

  • stan

    I agree that the speed option has to be in the arsenal when a defense plays cover 1 against a running QB. Something you might want to point out is another possible weakness of playing man — the offense getting two for one from the WR block. I would expect that USC would have the free safety run the alley to pitch support if OSU shows option. If the WR slants in and blocks the safety while the CB runs inside with him playing man, the defense has no one left outside for the pitch.

    OSU can create bigger headaches for the safeties and corners by using the traditional option play action pass look (QB starts down the line as if to option then drops). Also have QB fake quick pass to the slant as he starts along his option path.

  • AgnosticTheocrat

    The speed option, as you said, will be incredibly important. Against Navy, the speed option racked up ridiculous yardage. There wasn’t a whole lot of zone-read plays in that game. The pitch is the key, and if the Navy game is any indication, Tressel trusts Pryor enough to let him make that read. Against an aggressive defense keyed onto Pryor, a well-timed pitch to one of Ohio State’s undersized-but-very-quick backs could lead to a big break. I expect the speed option to be Tressel’s go-to play this season, as unlike the simpler zone-read, it stretches the play to the sideline and utilizes the entire field. The Navy game saw, I believe, five or six speed options run, each for 5+ yards and one for over 20 yards.

  • This will be an interesting game. Tressel has devoted tremendous amount of time to the game plan for this particular game, to the point he neglected Navy. Extensive work has been performed in planning and preparing the team against USC. As pointed out USC’s offense heavily relies upon its offensive line and running game mixed in with play action they didn’t get to prolific with their passing due to the freshmen QB. The other problem is USC’s defensive losses to the NFL were tough, no matter how you cut it that linebacker corps was among the best college football has seen in quit some time.

    With that said OSU’s offense last season was not one to plug it out over the long haul, they made their points from big plays. Most of their passing plays that went for TDs were from blown coverages or simply out talented corners. Looking at OSU’s running game against Navy if you take the 3 longest runs off the board OSU’s running game is averaging less than 4 YPC and 5.88 when you do leave those in.

    USC’s defense last season was not as aggressive as it had been in the past. CPC went for a more limiting of big plays on defense and force the other team to fight for every yard, I believe this is what hurt OSU as their offense relies upon big plays to move the chains.

    It will be interesting to see if OSU has learned from their mistakes and will fight it out at the LOS and win half of those battles or will OSU lose that fight like they have recently in their big games.