Defensively Speaking: Badgering Wisconsin

Saturday wasn’t the first time this season we saw the Buckeye defense do most of the heavy lifting to keep this undefeated season alive. It wasn’t always perfect, but it sure was close.

Ohio State played a fair amount of Cover 1 Rat on Saturday:

We also saw some Cover 3 Buzz:

Jim Knowles also called for Cover 2:

Lastly, Knowles continued the trend of calling for more Cover 6 (quarter-quarter-half):

Note how, in the above clip, Ohio State is playing Cover 4 to the field (top of the screen) and Cover 2 to the boundary (bottom of the screen).

As for the pressure calls on Saturday, Knowles called for his favorite blitz – a Cover 1 blitz with the linebacker to the nose tackle’s side plugging the A-gap while the nose tackle stunts to the opposite A-gap – quite a bit. See below:

However, Knowles also built off of his favorite blitz call on Saturday, as you can see in the following clip. He installed a new blitz where, rather than having the nose tackle stunt to the opposite A-gap, the nose tackle stunts to the blitz-side B-gap:

Knowles also found success blitzing the boundary safety through the B-gap. This is one of the new blitzes Knowles has added this season and he’s used it regularly on run downs:

Ohio State defended the run pretty well on Saturday. When Wisconsin did break off a chunk gain on the ground, it usually had more to do with the play call than with players not doing their jobs. For example, below, Knowles called for a 3-high Tampa-2 look on 1st-and-10, which wasn’t necessary, and Wisconsin had a nice gain running Zone Cab:

Regardless, Ohio State defended the run well overall. Below, for example, Wisconsin tries running GY Counter, but Jack Sawyer does a great job taking on the pulling tight end’s block to help stop the back for a short gain:

Ohio State also defended Wisconsin’s zone run schemes fairly well throughout the night, such as below where Hero Kanu holds down the B-gap as he was supposed to and made a great play:

The Buckeye defense continues to step up when needed. The challenge this defense will face against Rutgers is the running ability of their quarterback. It will be interesting to see how they respond.

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