By the Numbers Offense: Mid-Season Report
By Jeff Amey
We entered the 2011 season cautiously optimistic about the Ohio State offense. We heard some good things about Joe Bauserman, the wide receiver corps was young but confident , and the stable of running backs were supposed to be stocked. Put all of that behind what was supposed to be a good offensive line and fullback Zach Boren, and there was good reason to be optimistic
Aside from one good game and one decent game against teams that are both currently 1-5, and a half of football against Nebraska that was a tantalizing tease of what could be, the offense has been pretty hard to watch. I would like to be able to tell you things are going to get better, but they've been so inconsistant, there's no way to say that.
What I can say is that the Buckeyes are currently 3-3, and they've got some work ahead of them if the Buckeyes are going to reach bowl eligibility. If we see more offense like in the first half of Nebraska, I think they'll get there easily. If we see more like against Michigan State, there's no way. The next two games, against Illinois and Wisconsin, will tell a lot about what direction this team is headed.
So here are the mid-season offensive statistics, and you won't find any real surprises in there.
381 Total Plays--1,877 yards--4.9 yards per play
63.5 plays for 312.8 yards per game
133 pass (35%)--65/133 for 881 yards 9 TD 3 INT
22.2 passes per game for 146.8 yards per game
248 rush (65%) for 996 yards 8 TD--4.0 ypc
41.3 rushes per game for 166.0 yards per game
76 Offensive Possessions--12.7 per game
Ave. of 5.0 plays--24.7 yards
Ave. start--OSU 36
First Down--165 plays (43%) for 871 yards
27.5 plays per game for 145.2 yards per game
42 pass (25%)--20/42 for 297 yards 3 TD 1 INT
7.0 passes per game for 49.5 yards per game
123 rush (75%) for 574 yards 3 TD--4.7 ypc
20.5 rushes per game for 95.7 yards per game
Ave. gain of 5.3 yards
Second Down--129 plays (34%) for 604 yards
21.5 plays for 100.7 yards per game
51 pass (40%)--28/51 for 376 yards 2 TD 2 INT
8.5 passes per game for 62.7 yards per game
78 rush (60%) for 228 yards 3 TD--2.9 ypc
13.0 rushes per game for 38.0 yards per game
Ave. of 7.9 yards to go
Ave. gain of 4.7 yards
Third Down--81 plays (21%) for 388 yards
13.5 plays for 64.7 yards per game
37 pass (46%)--16/37 for 199 yards 4 TD
6.2 passes per game for 33.2 yards per game
44 rush (54%) for 189 yards 2 TD--4.3 ypc
7.3 rushes per game for 31.5 yards per game
Ave. of 7.0 yards to go
Ave. gain of 4.8 yards
Fourth Down--6 plays (2%) fro 14 yards
3 pass (50%)--1/3 for 9 yards
3 rush (50%) for 5 yards--1.7 ypc
Ave. go 4.5 yards to go
Ave. gain of 2.3 yards
24/55 for 469 yards 6 TD 2 INT
First Downs Earned--93 total--15.5 per game
35 by pass
49 by rush
9 by penalty
Two Back Formations--180 plays (47%)--30.0 per game
46 pass (26%)--19/46 for 320 yards 5 TD 2 INT
7.7 passes for 53.3 yards per game
134 rush (74%) for 673 yards 5 TD--5.0 ypc
22.3 rushes per game for 112.2 yards per game
Shotgun Formations--136 plays (36%)--22.7 per game
67 pass (49%)--36/67 for 417 yards 4 TD
11.2 passesper game for 69.5 yards per game
69 rush (51%) for 290 yards 1 TD--4.2 ypc
11.5 rushes per game for 48.3 yards per game
Pistol Formations--11 plays (3%)--1.8 per game
8 pass (73%)--4/8 for 64 yards 1 INT
1.3 passes for 10.7 yards per game
3 rush (27%) for 19 yards--6.3 ypc
0.5 rushes per game for 3.2 yards per game
One Back Formations--21 plays (6%)--3.5 per game
12 pass (57%)--6/12 for 50 yards
2.0 passes per game for 8.3 yards per game
9 rush (43%) for 12 yards--1.3 ypc
1.5 rushes per game for 2.0 yards per game
Three Back Formations--4 plays (1%)--0.7 per game
4 rushes (100%) for 5 yards 2 TD--1.3 ypc
Victory Formation--2 plays (1%)--0.3 per game
2 rushes (100%) for -3 yards--(-1.5) ypc
RUN TYPE BREAKDOWN--248 attempts
Coutner/Trap--7 (3%) for 50 yards--7.1 ypc
Draw--16 (6%) for 76 yards--4.8 ypc
Jet Sweep--3 (1%) for 8 yards--2.7 ypc
Lead Zone/Iso--65 (26%) for 287 yards 1 TD--4.4 ypc
Option--24 (10%) for 146 yards 1 TD--6.1 ypc
Outside Zone--45 (18%) fro 234 yards 2 TD--5.2 ypc
Power--27 (11%) for 59 yards 3 TD--2.2 ypc
QB run/scramble--51 (21%) for 135 yards 1 TD--2.6 ypc
TEAM--7 (3%) for -4 yards--(-0.6) ypc
Other Stats of Note
~ 22 offensive penalties for 153 yards
~ Ohio State started on opponent's side of the fifty 13 times--61 points (7 TD 4 FG)
~ 15/18 in the Red Zone--(11 TD 4 FG)
~ 16 sacks and 7 turnovers (4 fumbles 3 INT)
~ 183/381 plays took place on opponent's side of the 50--(48%)
~ 122/381 plays went for no gain or loss--(32%)
~ Number of plays of 10+ yards--68 (18%)
Normally, there are several little things to point out in the breakdown that help explain why things are better/worse than they might seem, but there just isn't a lot to pull from here. None of the stats are exceptionally good, but aside from atrocious passing stats, none of them are exceptionally bad either. As a team, they are completing less than 50% of their passes. The national average is well over 60%, and only 4 schools have a lower team completion percentage. Despite that, the Buckeyes do have a decent 9 touchdown to 3 interception ratio, though it's easy to not throw interceptions if you're getting sacked or tossing it into the stands.
On the brighter side, the Buckeyes have had success running the ball this season, averaging nearly five yards per carry on their inside and outside lead zone plays (110 attempts). Aside from Toledo, who sold out to stop the run, and Michigan State, which blitzed the offense to oblivion, the running game has been the only consistant way the Buckeyes have been able to move the ball.
A couple of things I noticed: The 22 offensive penalties were higher through six games than in any other season I've done mid-season breakdowns. The next closest was 2004. I was surprised that despite all of the struggles of the offense, nearly half of their plays have been on the opponent's side of the field. The 32% of plays that went for no gain or loss is also the highest percentage of plays through six weeks in the eight seasons I've done mid-season breakdowns for. Again, the next closest season was 2004.
There is one disturbing stat I have to throw at you.
The offensive stats from the Akron game and the Nebraska game pre-Braxton Miller injury account for 808 of Ohio State's 1,877 yards this season. That's 43% of the total offensive output this season coming from just 26% of the game time.
As for the position groups, we're going to keep this short and sweet. Most of the issues in these groups are well-known by now and there is little use in beating on the proverbial dead horse.
For one game, Joe Bauserman actually looked like a quarterback. It was enough to fool some people into believing that he was going to be decent this season. In the last four games against schools not named for smaller towns in Ohio, he has completed only 14 of the 40 passes for 140 of his 492 yards passing. He was replaced as the starter after the Miami game, but has seen significant time in the last two games against Michigan State and Nebraska.
Braxton Milller has shown flashes of future greatness, but he's very raw in the passing game. He has some great moves when he gets free running the ball, but needs to do a better job putting the ball away and avoiding unnecessary hits. Since taking over as starter, he has completed 15 of 31 passes for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns. He's added 204 yards of rushing to that total as well. He needs to stay healthy, because the offense has been horrible when he hasn't been in the game.
Average Grade--C- Not surprisingly, this is the lowest grade of all the position groups.
This has been an interesting season when it comes to the running backs. Ohio State seemed to be loaded heading into this season with a stable of five backs. Due to injury and suspension, only two were ready to go when the season started. Neither Carlos Hyde or Rod Smith stood out in the first two games when they were all that was available, but the running game got a boost in the third week when Jordan Hall returned from his suspension. Since that time, Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall have seemingly been headed in the opposite direction.
Hall has looked worse in each successive game since the Miami game, and has accounted for less than 100 yards on 35 carries in the last two games after rushing for more than 80 in his first two back from suspension. Hyde, on the other hand, has run for 137 yards on just 18 carries in the last two games, and became the first running back this season to have a 100 yard game this past week against Nebraska.
Six games into the season and neither Jaamal Berry or Boom Herron have yet to make any kind of impact. Herron returns from his 5+1 game suspension this week, but Berry has been a bit of an enigma.
Average Grade--B Hyde and Hall have been two of the few bright spots on offense this season.
The receivers this season are pretty tough to evaluate. The top receiver is averaging less than 2 receptions per game, and he's the tight end. Devin Smith and injured Verlon Reed lead the wideouts with 9 receptions each, and things might not get better anytime soon. I've said this several times already this season, but I think they are better than they've been able to show on Saturdays.
Average Grade--B- The only players to see the field this season have been sophmores and freshmen. The future looks bright if the Buckeyes can ever find a way to get them the ball.
There isn't a whole lot to say here. This is the strongest area of the offense, and the strongest line I've seen at Ohio State in years, yet it's going to waste in a season I think everyone would like to forget already, and it's only half over. Mike Adams' return made a strong unit even stronger.
Average Grade--B+ Not surprisingly, this is the highest grade of all the position groups.
This offensive staff doesn't work without Tressel, no matter what they try to say otherwise. I think most of us expected the gameplan we saw against Akron this year to be what we saw the whole season, but the power running game coupled with playaction hasn't really worked well since.
Six games into the season, and I still don't think the staff has a real clue as to what the offense can do well. The first half of the Nebraska game was encouraging, but I don't have confidence in the staff to repeat that success.
Average Grade--C Only a slightly better average than the quarterbacks.