Playcalling - Beating the Dead Horse



PSU-OSU drive chart2 (via jjkjr2717)

PSU-OSU drive chart (via jjkjr2717)

Here's the flickr link, I created GIF's from a .pdf so I'm not sure how this is going to look.


I went to the game and watched from the upper deck in the south end zone, and watched my recording when I got home on Monday.  I saw here a lot of discussion about playcalling, whether it’s too conservative or not, so I made a chart while watching the recording, to try to understand what was for me a completely unexpected final score.

I picked the 6 best and 6 worst plays of the game from the chart.  Of the six best (green & bold text, #16, 20, 27, 30, 40, 41 on the chart), five had the QB under center and four of those were passes, all had TE’s on the line of scrimmage.  The six worst plays (red italics, #1, 42, 48, 52, 56, 59) show more empty backfield and formations without tight ends.  Overall, there were five plays run with an empty backfield, and they totaled 10 yards gained, and incompletion, an INT, and no first downs.   So I think we can ditch the empty backfield plays. (I should note I didn’t tally anything after the INT.)  It reinforces my long-standing disdain for the empty backfield formation.

The Lions came out firing with six pass plays in the first nine, but nothing to show for it.  The scoring drive started with three straight runs and then the swing pass to Zug for a big play.  The scoring drive was run-run-run-passZug-run-run-run-passInterference-4plays to muck and grind into the endzone.  My impression in looking at this chart is that our offense is much better with DC17 under center and a threat to run behind him in the backfield.

The play that made me most furious was #56, the wide pitch to Royster that was stuffed.  Has this play been run all year? I can’t remember seeing it any other time, maybe some of you can.  Is there no trust in your senior QB here?  This is where I thought about one of the Iowa posters that said our offense doesn’t have an identity, and I wonder if it’s true.  If we’re tied in the 4th quarter at Michigan State and it’s 3rd and 3, what’s the call going to be?  Sometimes I wonder if there's a federal law against running the same formation twice in a row.  Maybe simplification would be better against better teams.


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