Know Your Opponent: Ohio State's "Power Read"

The power read is a staple of Ohio State's ground attack.

This is the second piece in a series of film breakdowns of Ohio State's core offensive plays leading into the Hokies' matchup with the Buckeyes on September 6th. Additionally, I've slowed the video down to half speed to make following the play easier.

In my last post I highlighted how Ohio State merged basic gap blocking rules with the idea of a single wing "quarterback". Ohio State's quarterback is extremely talented runner Braxton Miller who serves as a primary running threat. On the Buckeye QB counter trey, linebackers must account for the running back going one way, the quarterback running the opposite direction, and then the quarterback countering and following two lead blockers back to the original flow of the play. Add in the possibility of the quarterback throwing off that run action, and it's a nightmare for a linebacker to read and defend.

The counter-step of quarterback freezes those linebackers because of the threat of two bread-and-butter components of the Ohio State offense: The Inverted Veer and the Power. Both are very familiar offensive concepts to Virginia Tech fans, as Scot Loeffler was very heavily influenced by Urban Meyer's system while serving as the quarterbacks coach at Florida. This week, I will focus on Ohio State's inverted veer, which TKP's friends at Eleven Warriors noted Ohio State calls the "Power Read" (power blocking + QB read).

The power read, along with the inside zone, are two primary read option plays that Ohio State runs where, depending on how the defense plays, either the quarterback or the running back could get the football. The power read poses an additional challenge to defenses because it incorporates similar blocking concept as the Buckeye counter trey.

Play diagram via 11W

To the side where the run action is going, the linemen all block the same rule: gap-down-linebacker. That means the lineman steps with their inside foot to the inside gap. If a defensive lineman is in the path, the blocker drives him inside. If there isn't a down lineman, the blocker continues on the same path to the linebacker. The back side guard pulls to the play side to give the offense a numerical advantage at the point of attack. He'll aim to go between the space where front side tackle and guard used to be, but can adjust depending on if the defensive end crashes or widens.

This is an option play, so the offense leaves the play side defensive end unblocked. The quarterback takes the snap, buries the football into the stomach of the running back while taking a belly step play-side. If the defensive end widens out to take away the sweep, the quarterback keeps. If the end crashes inside, the quarterback gives the ball to the tailback. Ohio State also usually aligns a tight end to the play side, flexed back like an H-Back. Usually the tight end will veer release outside the defensive end (influencing the end to widen out) and then goes into the secondary to block a safety.

Let's take a couple of looks at the base power read. Here, the defensive end widens out, and the pulling guard turns up to the inside. I don't think Buckeye QB Braxton Miller makes the correct read here, as he should have kept the football.

Here is the same play call, but the defensive end stays inside. The pulling guard passes by the end and goes on to the outside. The end, frozen by the quarterback fake, can't get outside to stop the tailback on the sweep.

Coach Meyer can also change up the blocking depending on the defensive personnel, defensive strategy, or to demonstrate a different look to create confusion. One technique is to have the guard kick out the defensive end. This usually happens to combat a scrape-exchange by the defense. To summarize what Mason previously described, a scrape-exchange features the defensive end abandoning read responsibilities and crashing hard inside, while the outside linebacker (or defensive back) stunts away to take away any wide runs. A defensive coordinator can call this stunt as a way to cross up the quarterback. The quarterback reads the end crashing, and he would hand off to the tailback on the sweep. The outside linebacker would be wide, unblocked, and awaiting the tailback.

To combat this defensive adjustment, the guard can trap block the defensive end. l am not in the film room, so I am not entirely sure if this adjustment is called by the offensive staff, or if it represents an adjustment in the scheme at the line of scrimmage called by the quarterback, or the play side offensive tackle. When executed properly, the end gets kicked out, and the linebacker has vacated the space inside to scrape out into the flat. As result, a big seam should form inside the trap block, as diagrammed here.

Here is an excellent example of Ohio State executing the trap. The Iowa defensive end crashes hard to the inside. The inside linebacker flies hard to the left flat to take the space vacated by the end.

The right guard pulls across and kicks the end out. The linebacker has vacated the space. Miller keeps (even though the end crashes) and a cutback lane opens for a nice game.

Here's another example.

Another strength of the power read is that the offense can use a wide variety of formations. Adjustments can be made for short yardage situations (where the quarterback is the most effective ball carrier). Other variations can adjust based on defensive personnel and tendencies. One variation even includes a second running back. The back aligns to the play side and serves as a second lead blocker on the play.

With the defense focused heavily on Miller as the primary running threat, the lead halfback can seal the outside linebacker inside. The end gets frozen on the quarterback fake, and speedy Ohio State scatbacks like Ezekiel Elliott (8.7 yards per carry in 2013) can slip outside.

The final compliment to the power read is play-action off faking the read. Against Iowa, the Buckeyes ran variants of the power read nearly a half dozen times on their first two series. Slowly, the secondary became familiar with the backfield movement and started to creep up. Immediately following the tailback run highlighted above, Meyer's staff felt that the defense was conditioned to attack the power read backfield motion and they attacked deep with play-action. The secondary completely breaks down against a simple post off play-action.

The power read is one of the primary plays that Urban Meyer uses as part of his core running game. As I highlighted above, the blocking schemes stay the same for multiple variants of power read, and the read is complemented by the power play. The power read also works as a meat and potatoes dependable four yards and a cloud of dust play, yet it's tendency to stretch the defense and make it tentative creates seams for big plays. Finally, Ohio State runs it with so much frequency and success that the defensive safeties can start to creep up when they see the power and power read run action, leaving receivers wide open down the field. This combination, coupled with an incredibly talented quarterback running the system, makes a defense play very tentatively. The Hokies can't stop the Ohio State offense playing tentatively.

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Comments

What kind of scheme can/will Bud come up to slow or stop the OSU O? Was UCLA a bad sign for how things will play out in September?

Correy

considering DE and LB are a little bit of an unknown for us this year, its a scary prospect. one thing that i didn't see on the film was the impact of the DTs. this is our advantage. let maddy and marshall play havoc with their quickness inside and disrupt the timing/mesh, and if they PA, maybe the pressure will force a bad throw. you'd like to think that our secondary (esp jarrett) will be savvy enough not bite hard on the PA and our corners can recover in time. lot's of pieces to the puzzle but i like using our strength at tackle to set the tone.

While our defensive tackles excel slanting against zone blocking fronts, they have struggled against down blocking at points in the past handful of seasons (Clemson in the ACCCG, Stanford, BC). I think one of the reasons that Corey Marshall can be so valuable is that the vulnerable point of down blocking is that it can be defeated with aggressive penetration (as long as that penetration doesn't make the tackle susceptible to an inside trap.

I think one big theme here is that Loeffler's offense is very similar to Ohio State. After a bad spring scrimmage, Foster turned up the penetration and aggression in the final scrimmage before the spring game and the defense dominated. If you get Ohio State in bad down and distance, their passing game becomes much less effective without the threat of play action.

Viva El Guapo

I could (and will) look at this French production for hours. Herculean effort, and greatly appreciated.
Scary, scary stuff for LB's indeed, especially if the offense is a well oiled machine with a confident running QB. OSU has a big check mark in the QB department, obviously. We will see about the rest soon enough.
(Edit: I jumped in here to comment on the play diagram at the top that featured a wing. I have since watched the videos that did not feature a wing and have a second comment/post about that)
The only thing I see from first glance that I would like to comment on and get responses:
What if the DE employed a third option? Instead of crashing or flattening out, what if he strongly takes on that wing straight up? He eliminates the wing as a downfield receiving and blocking threat, freeing up and simplifying the safety responsibilities so he can more easily come up in run support. Ideally, the DE stays tightly engaged with the TE/wing, and can move inside or out as he sees the play develop, create a logjam at the point of attack, and maybe assist on the tackle. A monster effort, would be to completely shed the block and make a solo tackle, but that certainly would not be the goal of my strategy.
Anyone see the flaws or attributes of at least occasionally adding that idea to our defensive attack? (I like to use the term "defensive attack" because this type of offensive can make the defense, well - "defensive", in a hurry. It is nice to turn the tables, IMO, especially right at the first whistle to let the offense know things are not going to go as planned).

A picture is worth a thousand words. A gif is worth a million.

What I'm visualizing you say is that you need to jam at the LOC so that he can't go past the engaged defender to take on the secondary. I'd say the following are risks:

1. End can't jam the wing properly -- can't guarantee this'll work every time (ie: Do CB's successfully jam WR's all the time?). If it goes wrong then you're back to square one. Net advantage: offense.

2. Scheme adjustment. By taking on the wing, you're optioning the secondary / SS, who's much further back, so you might as well just give it to the RB all day as a standard running play, or just run it with the QB for 7 yards a pop. Either way, it's still net advantage: offense.

Either case, we do a lot of reads with our DE's / LB's with against GT. Though def not the same scheme (chop blocking vs straight up engaging), I have confidence we can do well against this type of scheme. In Bud I Trust (just not Scotty yet..).

As far as #1 goes: I agree the DE will have a hard time jamming the wing every time, especially with him a few steps away. But the wing is not usually a deft WR, and our DEs (especially Dadi) are pretty dang athletic. Athletic enough to alter the timing of the wing release at the very least.
The worry about the DE missing is mitigated, though, because the wing is trying to avoid the DE anyway. If the DE misses, he is in the same spot that all of those DEs in the film are in: 2-3 steps in the backfield in contain mode. I don't see that as a net gain for the offense, but I admit that I don't love any DE in that spot - watching and waiting on the exchange.
On #2. I see what you are saying with the safety way back. I don't have an answer for that. Sure hope Bud does.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A gif is worth a million.

My experience as an observer of Bud Foster is that when he plays option teams, the ends will usually try to take away the tailback and let the quarterback get their yards (and the pounding that comes with it.) he would occasionally throw in a switch designed to confuse the QB, and that confusion coupled with the wear and tear of a 20 carry night leads to turnovers.

That strategy has worked wonders against Georgia Tech, but it has been risky business against better QBs in option heavy offenses like Clemson. Miller is the best big play running threat at QB that Foster has faced. 20 carries is a scary prospect.

Viva El Guapo

With the way Bud has our Rover (Kyshoen) play, he is much closer to the line at the start of the snap than safeties in other defenses. This creates a front with 8 men in the box a lot of the time (depending upon the offensive personnel and formation). I think that having Kyshoen, who is a phenomenal tackler, closer to the line of scrimmage makes the scrape-exchange strategy much more favorable for us than it would be for a team that plays a standard 4-3 defense.

"These people are losing their minds" - Mike Patrick

Good stuff, as always French!
I'm liking the slowed down videos, too.

Half-speed videos are awesome. I saw everything you were talking about the first time, rather than replaying 2-3 times to catch it all. Thank you for that!

So here's what I wonder - the crashing DE idea seems like a good one, but it's negated by effective OL play. With a guy like Dadi Nicholas, who has a motor like a train, do you think that he can be sort of an "X-factor" in this game? I have to imagine that his raw speed and strength will be able to tire out the OG, or at least cause enough havoc and confusion to give time for the rest of the D to adjust? A bit simplistic, perhaps, but I have high hopes that Dadi can take his tasmanian devil style and really mess some offenses up this year.

After watching the videos, one of the constants that troubled me was how the DE's were totally frustrated. Almost always, with the exception of the pass play, they were left standing there, watching the QB/RB action, only to be left behind doing nothing after the option was completed.
It was almost as if the DE wasn't even there, as far as the OSU offense was concerned, and the DE surely must have had one frustrating day.
What if we use the speed of our DEs to just fly in and attack one of the QB or RB instead of standing there in contain mode (as seen in the videos) and accomplishing nothing?
Again, I am a proponent of "attacking" on D. Force the option how you want it to go - QB or RB - right away, and have the rest of the D on the same page knowing who is going to have the ball.
I think back of that strategy in the stone age when I played against the option in HS. The DE in our defense was told to just come down the line and smash the QB as soon as possible to MAKE him pitch. Of course, the QB was getting rid of it every time, but he paid the price. I can also report that the DE had a fairly enjoyable day.
This OSU offense is anything but archaic, but I think it is possible to put it off balance by employing that "force" strategy with a guy with Dadi's speed, at least some of the time. Who knows? Maybe it could even cause a fumble the first time we try it?
Any pros or cons to the idea?

A picture is worth a thousand words. A gif is worth a million.

I think what you're describing is similar to a scrape-exchange. French mentioned it a bit, and there's more info on it here: http://smartfootball.com/defending-spread/defending-the-zone-read-athlet....

I think the question it boils down to is, are VT's ends and defensive front-7 athletic enough to contain Braxton Miller? If the d-end is tasked with crash / QB instead of read responsibility, they'll have to be fast enough to track down Miller, and technically sound not to breakdown and miss tackles in the open field. If an end whiffs on their assignment, is another defender in the box fast enough to make the play.

I think we'll see Bud leverage Tech's smaller, yet more athletic, front-7 in order to pressure and attack OSU more.

i think if our tackles can be disruptive inside against some of their newer linemen, it may allow our ends to be a little less aggressive and focus more on contain. we certainly have the speed but i can't shake how poor our angles and tackling fundamentals were against UCLA. gulp...

Yes. Thanks for getting me to read that through. (Edit: response to Joe and the "scrape" play link)
The videos show the DEs coming up, stopping and setting up in contain mode, then either the QB OR the RB simply blows by him as he stands there flat footed, and too far away from the exchange. The DE is helpless against all the speed and does nothing but turn and chase the play. I think that is the exact WRONG way to defend that type of play action. And I am certain the DE goes home at the end of the day feeling like an idiot.
I favor a plan where the DE flies in and makes a beeline for the exchange and targets (preferably) Miller. Miller taking shots over and over is a good thing. He is also the one, as the passer, that can do the most damage so he would be my priority, if given the choice of targets.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A gif is worth a million.

Perhaps I'm showing my ignorance but wouldn't the D Bud play's against GT have relevance here? I feel like what you are talking about is exactly what Ky Fuller's job was again GT and was done with great success.

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

I think you are on to something.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A gif is worth a million.

I also think, like GT, the DTs are the key. If they can cause havoc and push up the middle that should help the DEs and LBs. That's a big if, but tOSU is going to have a new OL and it's only the second game of the season vs. Big Lu and The Million Dollar Man. Beyond that Bud can be more aggressive with the safeties since he has 2 corners that can cover man on an island in Fuller and Facyson.

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

In addition to the Scrape-Exchange, Stanford also uses the slow-read to slow down the QB's decision:

Mason depicts a solution on the whiteboard, showing the unblocked end first going upfield, at no one, and then squeezing down on the running back once he gets the ball. The idea is to let the quarterback make a decision without giving him all the information he wants.

The quarterback wants a fast read all the time, Mason says. If you dont give him a fast read, then things start to break down and he starts to panic because everything is predicated on him being able to make a fast read. Especially in the NFL, because they dont want to get that guy hit. If you come up the field and then try to squeeze, its now hard on the quarterback.

If you watch the second video (Ohio State's "Power Read" 7) again, you see the DE rush straight at the mesh-point, making it an easy read and hand-off to the RB. If the DE were to use the slow-read technique, he would rush straight upfield, containing the QB and RB together on the inside. The QB would have to keep. For this to work, however, you need the backside to get off blocks and make the play.

This is a pretty good synopsis of how Stanford beat Oregon's option here by keeping the Ducks from getting to the edge #1 and #2:

This particular alignment cost Stanford some yards several times, but in the long run, this alignment took Oregons outside zone and sweep reads out of commission, simplifying the offense to just inside runs and dropback passes. Against Stanfords elite defense, two concepts wont cut it.

Foster has used a very similar method against GT with great success.

From my understanding, isn't this the exact opposite of Foster's gt game plan most years? Force the qb to do everything and get pounded every carry and pass, waiting for them to wear down and make mistakes? But then I guess gts qbs have been less athletically worrisome compared to Miller.

Kind of similar to what NFL teams did to RGIII / Skins. Sure you can option, and we'll take away the RB from the threat, but we're going to bang-up the QB so much that it's going to be a risk to do that.

It sounds like we want Dadi to play "incidental punishment" you touched the football with the QB. I remember when the Tech defense always seemed to play that way.

So would Bud have them play like they do agast Georgia Tech? Have it so the qb keeps it every time to wear him out?

With our DE speed, as long as OSU doesn't start trapping, I'd have them crash inside a ton and hit Braxton Miller hard regardless whether he keeps the ball or not. If you fly in there with bad intentions you can make the QB pay the price for faking that he's going to keep the ball. You get the same wear and tear on the QB, it's what teams started to do against the skins with RG3 and what my HS coordinator would preach.

If you look at the :02 second mark of the San Diego State youtube the DE just breaks down there watching the QB make his read, if I was the DC I'd preach let the QB know you are there and fly in. At that point the DE is committed to the QB run and he'd be too far away to stop the RB sweep so might as well run in there and hit the QB instead of trying to figure out make impossible play of playing both the keeper and the run.

Agree that penetration from DTs could disrupt the play as well or even if the backside DT was quick enough to disrupt the pulling guard. With Corey Marshall's quickness if he could defeat the down block to get a hand on the pulling guard that would give the D numbers playside but that's difficult to rely upon someone to do that.

Yes, this is what I was saying. Hit Miller every time they do that read option. Make him hand it off. You take the ball out of his hands (+1). Dictate and eliminate one of the options very early in the play (+2). You make Miller take abuse with no chance of doing any damage (+3). You have an outside chance of getting a sack, loss of yardage, or even turnover if you keep messing with that exchange (+4).
Sounds easy, so I must be missing something, ha.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A gif is worth a million.

Sounds easy, so I must be missing something, ha.

I think it's the part where you have to get through the hog mollies before you can wreak havoc.

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

the hard part is the O using the trap as the counter to the DE crashing hard otherwise the DE is unblocked with no hog mollies in the way

"I think it's the part where you have to get through the hog mollies before you can wreak havoc"

What I am seeing, time after time, is DEs being left alone. I also see a strategy of "contain, contain, contain". They are not flying off the ball at all.
Now, OSU certainly will pull a guard to kick out the end as in the clip against Iowa. But the DE was just waiting there in contain mode to absorb it. I am not certain that guard is going to get there in time if our guys come off the line in speed attack mode.
Also, in that clip, the LB (44, I think) flows with the pulling guard. Imagine if he went all Vince Hall and shot that gap vacated by the guard. Miller would have been toast.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A gif is worth a million.

That's a great point as well. Have the DE stay wide to handle the RB but have the backside LB blitz to handle the QB run inside. The only thing is that you have to rely on the LB to be quick enough to get there but the QB is delayed with having to read the end.

I agree... once the ends and the linebackers start trying to read the play, it is all over. The problem with the attack philosophy though is that if your end isn't good enough to make that play, you leave yourself vulnerable to big plays. Does Foster choose death by a thousand small cuts and have the ends slow play the mesh point? Or does he risk getting the head chopped off in one swing by attacking.

And note, between Joe and I we watched every offensive series of the games against Michigan State, Michigan, and Iowa. Every adjustment you can identify, Meyer ran some variation to counter it. Without superior athletes, you need the offense to screw up the execution to really have a chance to stop their offense unless the defensive line is winning every snap. They can run power read left and right, and with Ekanem's lack of experience I bet they run the read to their left a bunch. This attacks an inexperienced player who is on a big stage for the first time, and effectively takes Dadi Nicolas out of the play.

Viva El Guapo

Basing this off of nothing at all but I bet Foster goes big. I don't see Foster playing the death by 1000 cuts game. I see him attacking with the smaller but quicker line and hoping he can force Miller into mistakes.

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

Keep in mind, OL is anOSU's biggest unknown right now, as I believe they are replacing 3 starters. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. Couple that with our faster-than-usual D-line and the fact that we are their first "real" game (not counting the one against Navy, sorry), and they might be a bit easier to push around.

Bottom line...Hats off to The Key Play for this awesome thread. I am now pumped to personally take the field against OSU. I see that I (with that slight type A issue) am getting carried away - as I approach 100+ posts on this matter, so I will step aside for a while and calm down, haha.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A gif is worth a million.

that is my understanding as well. inexperience on their OL, combined with being fairly early in the year may kind of neutralize their ability to execute seamlessly against a very quick front four. if you're OSU, you still feel pretty good about things because you have an experienced and dangerous QB to make plays, even if things collapse a bit. meyer isn't stupid either so he will probably create a gameplan that puts his young lineman in a position to succeed while attacking our weaknesses (our DEs and LBs).

let the chess match begin.

The chance of the DE getting trapped is what makes it not as easy. As french documented that would be the offensive counter to the DE crashing hard every play.

If you could rely on the backside DT getting penetration or if the DE was flying up fast enough to not get trapped then it could be something.

Or one other thing on the scrape exchange is you could have the OLB/Rover who was supposed to take the outside read the pulling guard. If the DE gets trapped then he assumes the outside responsibility on the RB (who wouldn't have the ball because its a trap play but just to honor the fake) and then it would be up to the OLB/Rover to know to then try to get inside to fill the whole for the QB run as the free hitter

Correct. Foster's system is predicated on a one-gap concept. That means, if the end is crashing, either the outside linebacker or the rover/free safety has one on one responsibility to tackle "the pitch man"-in this case the tailback. That can create two problems for the defense.

1) If the defensive end attacks the mesh point, the Buckeyes will start using the scrape exchange counter-having the guard trap the defensive end. There is the possibility that the end will beat that block 7 out of 10 times, but because the linebacker is vacating the space behind the end to take the sweep, if the guard so much as gets a tiny piece of the end, there will be a gigantic hole for the quarterback to run through. As good as our safeties are, one on one with Braxton Miller in the open field is not a winning situation for Bud Foster. You have to swarm him. When he feels pressure from multiple points (see Denard Robinson, who was not as good a thrower as Miller), Miller is prone to eat the ball or take big losses.

2) If you choose not to scrap exchange, but still crash the defensive end, then you are forced to play inverted cover two, with your safety coming forward at the first key indicating inverted veer. A) The safety is coming forward even though he has coverage responsibility against either a slot receiver or the Hback, leaving him incredibly vulnerable to play action. B) The safety is alone with the tailback AND a blocker.

Any success the Hokies have will have to result from winning multiple battles up front (stopping plays before they gain downhill momentum) and being able to cover downfield with minimal safety help. That is why the nickel/whip position is so critical for this game. That position will need to be stellar in run support AND not be victimized deep.

Also, you are going to see the mike linebacker (Chase Williams or others) needing to defeat down blocks by offensive tackles AND make tackles against Miller in space any time the end does not blow up the play and the Hokies scrape exchange. As I documented about Williams back in the spring, he struggled getting off blocks and making tackles in space both in his limited game action and in the Spring Game.

Viva El Guapo

I trust Bud in whatever approach he decides to take against the Buckeyes, but I have to agree with some others on here that the prospect of Braxton Miller getting 20+ carries is definitely a little scary, one missed assignment and he can get upfield very quickly.

Agree it's scary, but my view is that if not him, then SOMEONE is going to get those other 20 carries. Might as well be the QB and we can hammer him rather than let him hand it off. One too many hits could induce a mistake in either a pitch, a pass, or something else that we can capitalize on.

Miller is known more as a runner than a passer. That reminds me of another BigFourteen QB -- Denard Robinson. Bud Foster schemed up a brilliant game plan and shut him down almost completely.

How does the Michigan offense that Robinson played in equate to Meyer's read-option single wing? Are there tactics from the Sugar Bowl tha we can expect to see against OSU?

Flowers, Harris, Chancellor, Carmichael, Whitley, Hosley, Fuller, Exum

Miller is at least as good a runner as Robinson. He is a much better thrower BUT he isn't nearly as effective when forced to be a pure dropback passer.

Viva El Guapo

I'd say we probably have better DB talent than most BIG schools, senior safety's can't hurt. The DB's not getting burned consistently has to take stress off the front seven, allowing them to focus on what is going on in front of them.

I didn't watch the game but I'd assume that there is a lot that can be learned from how Michigan State played against them. Their defensive talent was great last year but I don't think ours is far off.

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

Beamer needs to take 80 players and a staff to Columbus that won't settle for anything other than a win, however they can get it - a la Texas 1995. There are no moral victories. He and Virginia Tech need this one to set the tone for a reinvigorated program.

I'm guessing OSU will look at history and see Tech often plays these early big games tough for three quarters then fades. Not this year, nothing but a win, right Beams?

We shall return!

French, this is Urban Meyer's 2nd season as HC. As is known, he already has 2 NCs under his belt (Florida). What do you feel are some of the Beam's strengths against Meyer, and what are some of Meyer's weaknesses that Beams and his staff can hope to expose, exploit and take advantage of?

True Hokies STICK IT IN!!!

STICK IT IN Army of Virginia Tech

Fosterball

French, what do you think we can glean defensively (if anything) from their bowl loss last year to Clemson?

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

All I gleaned from that is that absolutely no one actually wanted to win that game.

Score frequently and often. Ohio State's offense wasn't the problem. Clemson gave up a ton of big plays, but they battered Miller (just like Michigan State did) and had enough offense to win. The Buckeye's defense was awful that game (and during long stretches in 2013) but they have radically changed their defensive scheme. I will have a long breakdown of the new Ohio State defensive concepts during our game week preview in September.

Viva El Guapo

Do you think that OSU implementing a new defensive scheme will work to our advantage since our game will be only their second game in that scheme?

Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

Interesting to me is that tOSU plays Navy and their triple option the week before us.

UVA: Jefferson's biggest mistake

@pbowman6

There are some similarities, especially in pass coverage, to how the Hokies play pass defense. That familiarity could breed an advantage.

Viva El Guapo

As I was reading this wonderful post it seems like whoever plays next to Maddy at DT is going to have the biggest impact on this game unless anOSU thinks they can block Maddy with his quick first step one on one. Therefore I think Maddy will be getting a C and a G on him every play leaving the rest of the three lineman to play one on one with the opposite OL. The problem I see with this matchup against Ohio State is will Dadi keep his head on straight the entire game. We all know that Dadi is probably one of the most athletic DE in the country but the problem he has is his focus on the game and executing instead of freelancing. If Dadi stays on task the entire game and the rest of the DL fill the assigned gap then we should be able to stop the power read or at least slow it down. I think most people here think that our DBs can stay with the Ohio State WRs one on one like against GT. So VT's DLine better be firing on all cylinders to beat up on the new anOSU OLine.

This game could be a great opportunity for Corey Marshall to welcome himself back to the team. Marshall + Maddy up the middle is a scary proposition.

I completely agree is Marshall can be as disruptive as he has been and Big Lu keep wrecking havoc we will have our two athletic DE (Ekanem and Dadi) flying around the field making plays. As someone said above if VT can penetrate and hit Braxton then the OSU run game becomes much more one dimensional.