Trench Warfare | OU vs. tOSU

Going into the season everyone knew the Sooners were going to face some tough tasks early.  I thought that 1-2 would be a possibility after three games, but I really didn’t think it would happen.

I’ve read and heard people say that the recruiting and personnel were the issue last Saturday, but that just doesn’t tell the whole story. And, it certainly doesn’t explain why we saw a team that panicked…at home. A talent deficiency doesn’t explain why we saw a team that couldn’t even get lined up on defense.  We saw Joe Mixon again average nearly 9 yards a carry and still get less than 10 carries, and if you factor in the two catches he had for 15 yards, he basically gets 8 yards every time the ball is snapped.  As for yards per touch, combined with the 3 kickoffs he returned, his average yards per touch were 18.75. So if talent was the issue then how the most talented offensive player, perhaps on either team, didn’t get 25 or 30 touches is baffling to me.

I’m going to switch it up and show some defensive shots this week as well.  I have to warn you that you’re going to be pissed.  I believe it’s warranted…


To start the game, the Sooners marched right down the field.  They looked good running and early on in the game it was cause for optimism.  As they approached the red zone, Perine took off for a nice gain off left tackle.  You can see here that the Buckeyes had a balanced defense with three to both sides.  The safety (blue arrow) is not in the box and doesn’t count as he’s standing behind the umpire.


On the snap, Alvarez and Samia pull to the left.  O Brown takes a zone step left to widen the D-End, while Alvarez will pull up on the playside backer and Samia will fill up into the hole on whomever shows.  In this case, the flowing linebacker (blue arrow) will be his guy as he looks back to his right as he enters the hole.


The result is a hole you could drive a truck through.  Perine gets it down to around the ten, and having success early and often in the run game had me thinking that it could be a good game for the Sooners.



On the very next play, Riley goes right back to a run call.  Had Perine hit the hole he may well have scored…



For whatever reason, he ran into the backs of his O line.  If you look behind Orlando Brown on the left, and DeDe Westbrook at about the 7 yard line, had he hit that hole and got up in behind Brown and DeDe, it’s a quick score right out of the gate.



You can see the Play Selection to this point in the game, and my opinion regarding it.  The next three plays were two incomplete passes, one of which was almost a pick six that Baker was late on an out route with, and a missed field goal.  To this point you’re on a 9 play march down the field with seven runs.  Dance with the one that brought ya!  Samaje missed a hole, but the run game was cranking.  If you can look past my scribble, the Sooners had them outnumbered to the left again here but chose not to run.



Pass protection is much like running where simply put you have to have enough guys to block who they have rushing.  Sounds simple right?  So here on pre-snap body language, the linebackers are both showing b gap blitz with a double a gap look.  You know the four down linemen are rushing, so there has to be a call to make sure your back stays in to block…



And on the snap it’s slide protection right.  A hot call would have Brown either stay out on the D-End and Samaje pick up the backer in the b gap if he comes, or like I have shown below having Perine pick up the D-End.  It’s not a talent issue, it’s basic math.  Rush six, block six.



For whatever reason, no one, including Baker calls an audible or a shift etc, and Perine goes out for a pass.  The end man on the line of scrimmage looks all world, when he’s not…it’s just that nobody blocked him.  It’s my firm belief that the Sooners made the Buckeyes look a whole hell of a lot better than they are Saturday night.



This was the 4th and 1 that popped for a Buckeye TD.  For the last three years of Trench Warfare you’ve heard me say time and time again that two play checks at the line of scrimmage, hot calls, audibles etc were what the Sooners needed to do in the run game.

Below, I circled the H-Back.  JT Barrett, the buckeye QB had sent him in motion right, but after he saw the alignment brought him back left, since at this point, the buckeyes were outnumbered to the left.



So after the Hback comes back left, it’s a complete clusterf%#$ behind the line.  Both Corners are in Man, and with no tight end to the right of the offense, there’s the H-Back and two RB’s to play man across four defenders back there.  Leadership is a huge thing, and at this point either the sideline or one of the safeties has to raise up and get a timeout.



So after the motion left, and the clusterf%^& on defense, the Sooners are outnumbered 5 to 4.



Right after the snap due to confusion caused by the formation, the numbers advantage left combined with the three unblocked Sooners right, allowed the Buckeyes to go untouched for 36 yards.  I’ve never seen a Bob Stoops Defense as unprepared mentally as what I saw Saturday.


Before the broadcast, one of the announcers, Joel Klatt, said when talking about Mixon and Perine, that if Riley leaned on them they couldn’t be stopped.  Right after the Buckeye Score, the Sooners go back to work.  Another simple counter play and Mixon gets it out to midfield through another massive hole.



Two plays later, the Sooners are down to the Buckeye 40.  It has been said all week how the Sooners were dominated on both sides of the ball.  They were, but i think it was because they didn’t stick to what was working offensively.  Mixon again off tackle with Samaje lead blocking for eight yards.



On the ensuing 3rd down, Riley called a naked play right which means you get Mayfield, a mobile QB out on the edge with a 3rd and three.  A great call in my opinion.  For whatever reason, Baker has tons of green grass to extend the drive and get the first, but he forces a throw to Andrews that falls incomplete.  On the next play, the ball gets tipped and ran back for a pick six.

It was clear early on in the game that Baker wasn’t really crisp.  The late out route on the goal line to Westbrook that was almost a pick six, and then this play should have been indicators to Riley to rein him in.  For some reason it seems like that Riley wants to force the issue sometimes as much as Baker does.  Baker has to know the down and distance here, and the pick six play never happens had he made the correct decision to just run for the first down.



Meanwhile, JT Barrett and company were making lights out decisions in front of a raucous crowd.  This was one play after the Joe Mixon return TD, and on the kickoff there was a holding penalty.  The d really needed to come out and get a stop here.

Look at how the Sooners are lined up.  They’ve gotta shift over to the offensive right, because AGAIN, by alignment they’re outflanked.


Again, the H Back is a weapon in the Urban Meyer Offense.  He pulls across to kick out OBO who has to close down better on this, and then the gates are opened.  Jordan Thomas (editor note: JT is misaligned) is in the middle of the field, and is the only guy who has a chance to make this play.



But it’s too late.  Obo gets kicked out too easily and doesn’t squeeze the hole.  This doesn’t slow the back down enough to allow Thomas to get there, and It’s off to the races for a gain of 35.


Finally, it was a tale of two coaches.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.   The Sooners were simply not prepared for the formations and motions of the Buckeye offense.  On one hand, you had an offensive team run nearly 48 times at 6.1 yards a pop due to simply outnumbering the Sooners at the point of attack and making it look easy.

While on the other hand you have Joe Mixon who was a big play waiting to happen every time he touched the ball, and the Sooners just didn’t give it to em.  Baffling, Frustrating and head scratching all at once. Million Dollar coaches should be able to never allow this kind of stuff to happen.  If the Sooners don’t get this straightened out and quick, you could be staring 1-4 dead in the face.