Cody Cousino / Multimedia editor
Ohio State’s football’s coaches might spend days working on a game plan for the Buckeyes’ games on Saturdays, but offensive coaches have found that planning for the first three games of this season seems ineffective at times.
The opponents’ defensive schemes, some coaches say, have been entirely different from anything they’ve seen on film.
Rather, the opposition’s strategy has been geared toward stopping the running ability of sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller.
“I’ve seen defenses in the last three weeks that I never dreamt of in my mind to try and stop the QB from trying to run the football,” said offensive coordinator Tom Herman. “It’s an interesting quandary to be in when you have such a dynamic runner back there, that defensive coverages tend to be completely skewed opposed to what you grew up knowing.”
This specialized preparation by OSU’s opponents has shown in games. So far this season, the Buckeyes have scored a total 122 points and only 20 have come in the first quarter. That is eight points or more below in comparison to any other quarter.
Coach Urban Meyer shared Herman’s sentiment.
“All three defenses we’ve faced have been (unique)- we didn’t practice what they played because we didn’t know. So that tells you what they’ve been doing all offseason working on this one game,” Meyer said.
Sophomore tight end Jeff Heuerman is aware of the differences in schemes by opponents’ defenses, but said he realizes it is something to be expected.
“Not every team is going to do exactly what they say they are going to do,” Heuerman said. “They ran a different defense and a few other teams ran some stuff that we haven’t seen yet. That’s all a part of being Ohio State, you gotta come up with some unique to beat you.”
The Buckeyes’ next opponent, University of Alabama at Birmingham, might present a similar problem, but Meyer said he does not expect to see such bizarre styles of defense once they enter Big Ten play in two weeks on the road against Michigan State on Sept. 29.
“It’s harder as the season progresses for a team to do that, because they can’t just say, ‘We’re working on Ohio State,’ because they have some previous games. So after this game, we’ll see usually what we see, and that is what teams play, because you can’t change defenses in the middle of the year normally,” Meyer said.
OSU is scheduled to play UAB in Ohio Stadium at noon Saturday.