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How much offense does a team really need?

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by BrutusBobcat, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. BrutusBobcat

    BrutusBobcat Icon and Entertainer

    Three plus seasons of Tresselball have me looking at this sport in an entirely different light.

    Let's look at this Saturday's game. Take away the Ross fumble (or call Hawk's INT) and you're looking at a decisive win. Decisive despite under 140 yards of offense, and nearly no earned third down conversions. Going by JT's measure of explosive plays, I don't think we had any. The offense managed on TD, and that was on a "drive" that started at the 3 of NC State.

    Truly, all you can say is that the offense did no harm, and occasionally managed to shorten Nugent's attempt yardage. Yet at no point was the game in doubt.

    Compare and contrast to the Marshall game.

    Is the idea of Tresselball to actually not require an offense?

    I can really see this team winning future games with even less offensive output. That's not meant as a knock -- but if the defense keeps setting up good field position with turnovers, and the punter keeps burying the ball deep, and the place kicker can hit anything inside the 40, then does it even matter if the offense gains virtually nothing?

    Maybe it doesn't matter how many yards the back gains, or if he makes cuts or if he reads the hole, as long as he hangs on to the football. Maybe it doesn't matter if the QB has a rocket arm or thread the needle accuracy, so long as he never throws it to the other team. Maybe the idea is the "Prevent Offense"? As in, prevent the offense from losing the game.

    I'm just baffled that you can dominate a team without really moving the football. I guess I'll just shuffle off to bed chanting "defense wins championships". :p
  2. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

    You rarely get away with scoring but one TD with the amount of turnovers they gave us. Settling for four FGs on turnovers can bite you if your defense has an off day. We should've blown that game wide open. Take for example McClendon's fumble on their 16 or 17 yard line. We get 3 points out of it. The only TD of the day we got was when we started the drive on their 3-yard-line. Not cool.
  3. powerlifter

    powerlifter ▪█───────█

    Definitly a different style of football. Who can complain though? Well there is one complaint i've had,and that is with extremely close games in college football that gives you no time to experiment. I can't name a lot of teams that have to start a qb that has little to no experience. We can't ever be extremely aggressive on offense for the sake of possibly forcing a costly turnover.

    This system works well with Ohio State,because of this defense. Oddly enough it seems we let up too many points but never too many to lose. The stats a lot of times of other teams don't match up to point totals. It's really hard to beat us in this system because teams are forced to play "our game",because of our powerful defense.

    Even "the great" hurricanes of 2002 got caught up in this type of defense. As long as we execute we are fine,regardless who we play. I really hope to see an offensive powerhouse play us in the national championship. Thats a long ways away,but its not bad to dream right now. To shut down an offense like USC or Oklahoma would definitly cut the throats of a lot of writers and people,but I seroiusly think the shock of playing OSU and their type of game is enough to throw anyone off that isn't used to it.

    I agree. I also would like to add that if OSU does have a bad day on the defensive end then its going to be trouble regardless who we are playing. That and i'd like to watch a game with a little ease on my heart at the end of the 3rd quarter every once in awhile.

    Special teams and defense make or break this team.
  4. crazybuckeye

    crazybuckeye Sophmore

    Best thread title ever.
  5. MolGenBuckeye

    MolGenBuckeye Senior

    Keep in mind that during the NC State game we were given nearly as many yards by penalties as we gained on our own. So, while we are able to survive with fewer offensive yards than some other teams, we probably can't count on 140 yards = victory most days.

    You do bring up a good point, though. It would be interesting to see at what yardage total the chance of victory goes significantly down over a large sample.
  6. DiHard

    DiHard Guest

    remember how tired our defense looked against scum last year???

    thats the problem with tresselball.....
  7. BrutusBobcat

    BrutusBobcat Icon and Entertainer

    You guys are all making great points. My view on offense had always been "Control the ball and you control the clock. Control the clock and you control the game." Whether that control is an option offense, power I, or West Coast, the idea is the same -- keep their defense on the field and keep the ball in bounds and moving forward. By winning turnovers, time of possession and field position, you're virtually assured of winning the game.

    Then you get to what appears to be the Tressel formula: if you can kick and cover, those hidden yards make up for lack of offensive movement. Having your defense on the field simply means having a greater opportunity to get a turnover and put your offense in a position to be "opportunistic". Field goals are acceptable alternatives to touchdowns because you're still winning field position. More offensive plays means more chances for turnovers.

    Now, what I am not sure of is -- is the Tressel formula simply a way to still win games even when your offense is not firing? I can't believe that you'd deliberately design an offense to be ineffective, but maybe you DO design a system that is low risk and can afford to be ineffective.

    Of course, then there is the Michigan game from last year. Tresselball can't work if the defense is gassed or gets solved by the opposing offense. It puts tremendous pressure on one side of the ball (the D), while putting almost no pressure on the offense. Perhaps that makes sense, since mistakes by the offense tend to be pretty costly (note the Ross fumble on Saturday, which make a 25-7 or even 29-7 game a 22-14 one).

    What I can't reconcile are the games where the offense apparently explodes -- last year's Fiesta, Marshall this year, NC State in OT last year, Indiana last year, San Jose State two years ago, and probably a few others (WSU when MoC ran like few others can). That leads me to believe that maybe the Tressel formula is to button it up when things aren't working, and throw open the gates when things ARE working or when you have to. Or, maybe the story is that T-Ball is feast or famine -- if the execution isn't there, or if the opposing defense is on their game, the scheme is low gain-low risk, but if the execution is sharp and/or the opposing defense isn't up to the task, T-Ball starts to look like someone slipped Texas Tech's playbook in.

    I think for MolGen's model, we'd have to count in penalty yards with the offensive and defensive stats. That was a huge factor in this game, I'd agree. Of course, winning the penalty yardage battle is a big part of T-Ball.

    Powerlifter also brings up the excellent point that this style of play forces the other team to play OUR game, and they're usually not as prepared to do that (non-conference foes, particularly). A team that is used to making up for a special teams error with a big offensive play isn't going to be able to do that. Or a team that is used to being set up with big turnovers suddenly doesn't get them, or their kicker/punter isn't used to having the pressure on him to win the game (see Marshall).

    Which does bring me right back to Marshall. Looking at the NC State game and the Marshall game, this team played a much better game at NCSU, depsite the low output. It wasn't a lot of fun to watch, but I do think that you win that game every time, 140 yards or not. The turnovers were TAKEAWAYS. The defense earned every one of them by playing hard and smart. The offense did take care of the football, kicking and kick coverage with the exception of one punt, were as solid as you could want.

    Apparently, you can gain 1.5 ypc and 140 total on the day and win a football game. I am not sure I would have believed it if you told me before the game that that's all we would get. You have to believe that with a more effective rushing attack, or with Zwick hitting a few passes that he missed, that OSU gets the score into the mid 30's at least.

    Yeah, I know. :) 28-2, two BCS bowl wins, 1 NC -- it works. I'm just trying to figure out how.
  8. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

    BrutusBobcat: Very good points. I think what concerns a lot of us (at least me) is that we

    1.) did not capiltalize on their turnovers to the degree that we should have, and

    2.) when you look at it, the only offense we got was because of their turnovers

    So, what happens when you're playing a 140-yards-in-total-offense type game and you don't get all those turnovers? You lose. We cannot rely on turnovers to bail out our offense as we did yesterday, and when we do get turnovers we need to make our opponent pay dearly for them.
  9. buckeyebri

    buckeyebri 40 Days in the Hole

    Watching the Pro games yesterday and listening to some of the commentators got me to believe that what we are calling Tresselball is more what coaches want to do in the pros.

    I really don't think that JT is playing as conservatively this year as it may seem. We have been running a lot of 3 and 4 wide sets, empty backfields, etc. JZ has been putting the ball in the air quite a bit more than I expected already this year.

    I think the key word is "execution". When this offense begins to execute, I think Tresselball will have a new meaning.....

    :oh: :io:
  10. Oh8ch

    Oh8ch Cognoscente of Omphaloskepsis Staff Member

    I can live with a conservative offense and I would certainly be foolish to argue with the success of Tressel's efforts to play "mistake free opportunistic offense. It works and you can't say it hasn't been exciting.

    What I don't get is why "mistake free" so often translates into "ineffective".

    On 22 first down plays we averaged less than one yard vs NC St, and our average third down yardage was 8.4. Our Third Down conversion percentage the past four years has consitently been near the bottom of the Big Ten.

    If you want to run it - cool (althoug - to paraphrase Woody - three things can happen when Lydell runs the ball and two of them are bad). But is our offense incapable of running any sort of innovative plays without running into one another and dropping the ball? Where are the draws, the screens, the sweeps, the Fullback? Is this just a way of hiding our true offense for an entire season until we play Michigan (witness the Maurice Hall TD on the option)? If you are going to run into the line time after time then turn one of your 280 pound athletes into a FB and follow him off tackle. I guarnatee you will average more than .89 yards per play.

    I am convinced that the reason Marshall hung with us is because we ran a total of 4 offensive plays in the first 9:30 of the game - keeping their D fresh for the fourth quarter. You can't let your "mistake free" O give those kind of challenges to your D and get away with it against good teams. Last season after almost every game I heard JT talk about how they had failed to reach their offensive goals - yet every one of the players we lost from our O last season was drated into the NFL.

    I am not calling JT out - I am just sincerely confused by an approach used by a man who has forgotten more football than I will ever know. And I'm sorry, but although I agree JTs approach keeps us close he did not know Cincy was not going to complete that last pass into the endzone in 2002, he didn't know we weren't going to turn the ball over on one of our three OT possessions vs. NC St last year, and he was as amazed as any of us by the Holy Buckeye play. No coach is good enough to control the outcome of games that close. Even with MC here we struggled on O at times when we sholdn't have.

    My other concern is how long we can continue to run this type of O and attract the type of offensive players we want. If I am recruiting against OSU my biggest tool is OSU game tape (which goes to the question so many are asking about why we can't land a top 5 RB recruit).

    All that said, Pittman is going to make me take it all back by the end of the season. And Zwick will only get better.

    But I feel better now.
  11. gregorylee

    gregorylee I'd rather be napping!!

    One points worth more than the other guys...... Did somebody say BEER????
  12. Airspace

    Airspace Newbie

    Dihard - the problem last year with scUM was the schedule. We played Purdue, Michigan State and Penn State in the last three games. Physically we were tired and it showed in the first half in how flat we were. Michigan played Northwestern, Bye and Michigan State in their last three games. They were rested and ready for us. If they had a little harder schedule - who knows what would have happened. I do agree that Tressel Ball gives little room to rest the troops. But I do believe that the schedule played against us going into the Michigan game.
  13. Oh8ch

    Oh8ch Cognoscente of Omphaloskepsis Staff Member

    It's virtually the same schedule this season.
  14. WoodyWorshiper

    WoodyWorshiper THINK, Before You Speak Former College Pick'Em Champ

    Airspace, I'm going to invite you to take a deep breath with me and REALLY think about what you just said.

    The schedule playing a role in THE GAME last year? WHAT?

    If you truly believe that was the case and can get me to agree with you than I vote that Tressel be fired immediately and every player on the roster should have their scholarships revoked.

    I don't give a shit if we played USC, LSU, and Oklahoma in our three games leading up to "them" and "their" three games leading in were Bethune-Cookman, Liberty, and Wabash. I can (kinda) live with the fact they we were outplayed by scUM last year, but only barely. To blame it on fatigue, or any other factor would reflect so negatively on this program that it would make me want to vomit. If you play football at TOSU and cannot get yourself physically and mentally prepared to dominate scUM on a moments notice, then you simply do not belong here. The "schedule" leading up to it should mean NOTHING. Peace.
  15. JXC

    JXC 17-2 since 2001

    I love it! I've always loved defense. I think the 10-6 2002 Purdue game was the best game i've ever seen. And then the Purdue game last year came close. I think the most exciting play in the Ohio State-scUM game in 2002 was the Navarre fumble with just under 3 minutes to go in the game. It's all about defense. I really don't want to see blow outs. I remember sitting through Cooper's 70-7 Rice thrashing, and then the 72-0 blow out of Toledo. By the 2nd quarter the game wasn't exciting. I mean when we scored, people would calmly clap or quietly cheer. Whoopeee! We scored again. It was cool that we could put up all those points, but then our offense would hit a wall in a game...and we wouldn't be ready to play in a close game...and we'd get flustered, screw up and lose...and that sucked...REALLY sucked!

    Now in these past few years, when Ohio State scores a TD, the Shoe goes nuts. Everybody hangs on every play. I've never had so much fun watching college football than I have these past 2 years. Not just the winning...but the close games. Even the Wisky game and the scum game last year were exciting...except for all the rain and the horrible Wisky fans.

    After Nugent hit the field goal in the Marshall game I went nuts. It was just so exciting and the whole stadium was in total celebration. And then I realized...we just beat Marshall...and we are this excited? We've seen more amazing games in the past 2 years then most teams will in decades. And we win almost all of them! If it takes 10 years off my what? It's worth it.

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