Former Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa certainly deserves his share of the blame for the struggles we saw in the run game. Moving guys who are natural tackles inside to play guard led to some outstanding pass blocking, but there were glaring problems when trying to run the ball as the season progressed. The offensive line was only part of the problem. The other part? The Ohio State football team’s run game became too predictable.
Around midseason, you began noticing major issues in short yardage. The offensive line wasn’t getting any movement. That lack of productivity in short-yardage began to spread to all downs and distances. The complaints of predictability could be heard from fans and media alike. Thanks to Bill Landis of The Athletic, I didn’t realize just how predictable Ryan Day had become in his run play calling.
Landis charted the Ohio State football team’s offense in the Rose Bowl and here is what he said:
• Ohio State ran 47 plays from the shotgun against Utah, and 42 of them were passes. That’s an 89 percent throw rate out of the gun. Even if you account for the run-pass options — called runs that turn into throws, of which I counted nine — that’s still not great.
• OSU ran 19 plays either from the pistol formation or under center, and 14 of those were runs. Day was better about mixing in some play-action pass in the second half than he was in the first half, but this is likewise too predictable.
What I find so disappointing about all of this is I’ve always believed Day to be a master at play calling and mixing formations. I’m not sure what changed this past season, but he needs to reevaluate his mindset on this. TreVeyon Henderson is a special running back, but it is hard to be special when the defense pretty much knows what is coming.
We know what this offense can do through the air. If they develop a run game to match it, the Buckeyes are going to be nearly impossible to defend. If not, we’re going to see a lot of C.J. Stroud trying to make throws on third and seven again.