What does it take for a multi-million dollar head coach and his certified genius of an offensive coordinator to realize that something isn’t working and that maybe they should try something else, you know, make half-time adjustments or change the game plan?
Last Saturday against Wisconsin, quarterback Braxton Miller ran the ball 23 times for 48 yards, a meager 2.08 average gain per carry. These statistics won’t get you All-B1G, let alone Heisman trophy honors. However, if you take away his two carries for 12 yards in overtime, his yards per carry in regulation play was an astounding 1.71. I’m no mathematician, however I believe you cannot gain a first down running the ball 1.71 yards a carry. If I remember correctly, one announcer commented late in the game that Ohio State had seven straight three and outs. And, after stripping the football from Montee Ball at the goal line as he was attempting to tie the score late in the game, all the Buckeyes needed was one first down to seal the victory after recovering the fumble, but again was forced to punt, giving the Badgers great field position in which they scored, sending the game it into overtime. Miller’s paltry 97 passing yards won’t garner much national exposure either. Nor win many big games.
After OSU scored its second touchdown early in the second quarter, the offensive play calling became more conservative than Jim Tressel coaching on a Sunday morning. Maybe the coaching staff believes its team is not capable of playing a wide-open offense such as that at Oregon or West Virginia and as a result doesn’t want to run something they believe the players cannot execute. The big problem however, with playing conservative football is that unless you have far superior athletes to dominate the opposing team, it is very easy to defend. All the defense has to do is keep bringing more defenders closer to the line of scrimmage, thus making it even harder to run and pass as pressure on the quarterback greatly disrupts a passing game, especially one that isn’t played often.
My philosophy in football is to be aggressive in all three aspects of the game: special teams, defense and especially offense. You dominate play, not your opponent. Isn’t it the sign of insanity to do something repeatedly, all the while expecting different results?
Steven H. Spring
OSU, Class of ‘87