Ohio State defense prepares for a unique offense

Colin Gay, Staff Writer
Buckeye Grove

USA Today Sports Images

COLUMBUS, Ohio- After any loss, the success of a team is determined by how short of a memory they can have heading into the next week. After a 31-16 loss at home to No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 8 Ohio State is in a very unique situation. Instead of attempting to improve upon what went wrong against the Sooners, the Buckeyes have to prepare for the triple-option when Army West Point comes to town on Saturday.

A major part of moving on from the previous week, especially after a loss, is watch film, finding areas to get better. However, with the Buckeye defense going straight into preparation to play the Black Knights, linebacker Chris Worley said that the team has not gone over much film from the Oklahoma game yet.

“There are some mistakes in that film that needs to be covered, but we can’t even necessarily have the satisfaction of seeing where we can get better as of now,” Worley said. “We will watch it later in the week, but, as of now, it is just a pit that you can’t really understand why until you can take that next step.”

Worley did say that the defense did go over some of the major plays from the loss to the Sooners, but, since the offensive play calling of Army West Point is so different, the film was not applicable to game preparation.

“It’s just another animal,” defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis said. “It’s a whole other offense.”

The Black Knights are second in the FBS, averaging 513 rushing yards per game. In the entire season, quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw has only completed two of 10 pass attempts for 17 yards.

According to Worley, Army West Point wants to keep the ball as long as possible to give the Ohio State offense fewer possessions.

“They are fine with having six, seven possessions a game,” Worley said. “Other offenses, they want 10-12 possessions per game. It’s going to be a battle of if we can stop them, get three-and-outs and stop them from creating long drives.”

In the Black Knights’ 21-17 win over Buffalo last week, the offense ran only eight drives. In the second half, Army West Point had back-to-back touchdown drives that each had double-digit plays and lasted at least seven minutes.

The challenging thing for the Ohio State defense is that it has a general idea of what the play calling will look like in those long drives. According to Lewis, it will test the stamina and staying power of the defensive line.

“We have to out-discipline them,” Lewis said. “Every rep, we have to do the same thing over and over.”

No matter how unique or unusual an opposing offensive scheme may be, the main idea of the Buckeye defense does not change at all.

“Guys just have to do their job,” Worley said. “Whether we are playing Oklahoma or Army, if a guy don’t do his job, it could potentially be a big play if they execute it right.”

Lewis was very blunt in saying that he does not like playing against offenses that run the triple-option. However, in terms of defending the run, this game can be viewed as an educational experience heading into conference play shortly.

“It definitely benefits the defense because now you have to be more disciplined,” Lewis said. “It teaches you something. You learn a lesson from games like this.”

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