I know you can’t measure everything a defensive end does by sacks, but it’s still a key number to watch. Unfortunately, they haven’t faced a legit passing offense to sack at this point. Knowles also said offenses are running more on third down than maybe they have in the past. I was curious about this, so I went back and looked at the first two games. YSU and IU had a combined 25 third-down (and fourth-down) situations with four or more yards to go, and they threw it 15 times. Only a handful of those have been straight drop-backs against the first-team defense, and two or three featured JT Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer dropping rather than pass rushing. Of the 15 times the two teams threw the ball, they picked up first downs five times, and two of those came against the second-team defense late in the Youngstown State game. Those three completions against the first team featured one play with a four-man rush, one play with a seven-man rush (where Tommy Eichenberg leveled the QB just as the ball was released), and another where Tuimoloau and Sawyer dropped into a zone. Obviously, this is just one small sample of downs and distances and doesn’t look at how things went last year comparatively. But I was interested.
I think I still feel better about the defensive end pass rushing after looking at those sure passing downs. There weren’t any sacks, but there also weren’t many first downs.
I wonder what the issues are on all of the other downs, however.
I know the Buckeyes are deep at running back, but that depth may be working against them at times. No running back is out there long enough to break a sweat or get a feel for the defensive approach. And if things aren’t going well, they’re not out there long enough to work through the problem.
I think there will be situations this year where it takes them too long to find the running back they want to go with. And maybe that’s already happened. It’s not quite paralysis by analysis, but when you have options, you may feel like you always have to find a better option, rather than allowing one guy to become that option.
I wonder if you are aware that Western Kentucky has already given up seven rushes of at least 20 yards this season. They have played USF and Houston Christian (who plays a team that played an NAIA team this year). Only North Texas has allowed more runs of 20 yards (8) so far. Only one of those 20-yarders against WKU went past 30 yards, however, and none of them made it to 40 yards.
To read the rest of this edition of What I Know, What I Think, What I Wonder, you can click here, but you must be a premium member of Buckeye Huddle. Additional topics include concerns at free safety, what’s going to happen with Sonny Styles’ playing time this week, the effectiveness — or lack thereof — of the OSU pass rush, the expectations for the Ohio State running game this week, the message for the offensive line, and much, much more.