Ohio State vs California Preview

Urban Meyer’s no-huddle, spread offense works best with a rhythm and tempo that keeps the opposing defense off-balance and does not allow them to line-up quickly or substitute. For example, when Braxton Miller runs the ball and gets tackled, he quickly gives the ball to a referee to spot the ball quickly so they can get back on the line and run another play.

The best example to counter the spread as a defense occurred on November 13, 2010 in Berkeley, California. The number one team in the country at the time, Oregon, whose offensive philosophy is similar to that of Urban Meyer’s, was completely shut down that night. The Golden Bears held Oregon to 15 points, their lowest total in the regular season by over three touchdowns.

Cal took the Ducks out of their fast-paced offense by getting up slowly after making tackles and faking injuries to use injury timeouts. Looking back on that game, Cal did make plays (limiting LaMichael James to 91 yards on 29 carries) but Oregon was very lucky to get out of Berkeley with a win to later advance to the BCS National Championship.

After, head coach Jeff Tedford vehemently denied that his players faked injury throughout the game even though it was clear on the broadcast that they did. But, defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi was suspended for their final game of the season due to telling his players to fake injuries during that game to slow down the Ducks high octane offense.

Now, with Cal coming into the ‘Shoe on Saturday  with a 1-1 record, followed by a game with in state rival USC the week after, do not be surprised to see their defense use similar tactics to slow down Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes no- huddle offense. As we have seen in the past two games, when the offense has little to no tempo, it goes nowhere. But, when the no-huddle gets rolling, it is very difficult to stop.

On offense, look for senior quarterback Zach Maynard to take a lot of time off the play clock and control time of possession. Maynard does have issues with the coaching staff though, as he was suspended for the first quarter of the Nevada game and got into it with his offensive coordinator against Southern Utah after missing his wide open fullback in the flat for what would have been a touchdown.

Although Maynard completes 64% of his passes, he is not very accurate when passing to running backs out of the backfield and makes easy throws seem very difficult for some reason.  Maynard looks for freshman wide receiver Chris Harper in the slot on bubble screens on first and second down and he is good after the catch. They use the screen game instead of running the ball and are about 60/40 pass to run.

Keenan Allen is the man that needs to be accounted for on offense for the Golden Bears. He is one of the best receivers in the country and he is the best receiver that Ohio State will play all season. Allen is big and can run any route; he is also a great punt returner. Maynard looks for him on 3rd and long situations when a big play is needed.

The Buckeyes need a big game out of Bradley Roby and Travis Howard to slow down the Golden Bears receivers. There has been communications issues in the secondary through the first two games but have not had to pay for it; Allen and Harper will take advantage of that if the Buckeyes do not clean up the communication issues in the secondary.

With Jordan Hall on his way back, but not at %100 percent, it will be important to run a balanced offense to take some pressure off of Miller. If the offense can keep up the tempo and run the no huddle to perfection without any Cal defensive players faking injuries and slowing down their pace, the Bucks will make them pay.

Look for Ohio State to make a statement on Saturday, as this is their last real test before they visit East Lansing in two weeks. Some players on Cal have maturity issues and if the Buckeyes can start strong, Cal will fold.

Make them get up. If Urban feels it’s necessary, he will run the score up.




  1. I can’t stop watching that video. That is hilarious and egregious all at once.

    I think this game will end up being lop-sided in the end, but I have this nagging feeling we’re going to struggle longer than we really should. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    I still predict Ohio State wins, OSU 38 Cal 13

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