Posted by: toddzilla | January 9, 2007

Ohio State-Florida Championship Game CSI

Wow!  Talk about a surprise.  Last night’s game is one the biggest surprises of late with college sports.  One of the many beautiful things about football (especially college football) is the fact that it is all or nothing in each game.  Playoffs aren’t based on a best-of series.  Each team must give their all in every game.  I know Ohio State fan is hurting today and I know, from much experience, how that feels.  Now I wasn’t really concerned with who won the game last night, I didn’t have a dog in the fight (I’m still waiting for NCSU to bring the thunder…cough, hack…) I wanted to see a good game and I wasn’t expecting what happened.  But, for what its worth, here’s my take on the game.

The biggest factor was the fact that over the last 30 days especially the last 1-2 weeks, OSU must have started to drink too much of their own kool-aid.  I don’t know if it was possible, but Tressel should have considered sequestering his team and keeping the media’s talk of OSU domination out of their head.  The coverage that noted OSU as the imminent champion was fuel for Florida and they were out to protect their pride.  They were inspired and OSU looked as if they were just going through the motions to seal the deal on a given championship.

Now for the mechanics of the game.  Florida did a great job of counteracting OSU’s defensive speed with excellent misdirections set up in the backfield.  LIke the basis of Tae Kwon Do is to use the opponent’s momentum against them, Florida set up halfback counters and draw plays that sent OSU’s linebackers in the wrong direction early, then they exploited their own speed capabilities to bust the play wide open.  Combine that with the exptraordinary speed of UF’s defensive ends, and you’ve got a game.

What did OSU do wrong?  Well first of all, they celebrated too hard after the opening kickoff return touchdown.  This injured Ginn and sent him to the locker room early and for the rest of the game.  Ginn’s speed is spectacular and his absnece took an entire dimension form OSU’s offense.  I’m not sure if OSU and Troy Smith showed that they can’t compete without Ginn or if it was a mental blow to the team, but it definitely hurt and is one of those head-smacking moments when a team shoots itself in the foot.  Also, has OSU had to play from behind this year?  If not, then that may have factored in as well.  The other thing that OSU missed on was the fact that they did not get Pittman involved early enough.  I’m a big fan of establishing the run early.  This helps to give the offense another dimension and keeps the defense guessing.  When OSU finally decided to start handing it off, Pittman was racking up about 4-6 yards per carry which is definitely enough to garner first downs and build time-of-possession which Florida was up on 15 minutes to OSU’s 7 minutes.  A huge stat…if you don’t believe me, then ask the New York Giants how they managed to beat Buffalo in the Super Bowl…and no it wasn’t all Norwood’s kick.  The Giants offset Buffalo’s fast no-huddle offense with slow, grinding time of possession runs and controlled the pace of the game.  OSU’s offense is powerful and scores in streaks and UF slowed it down by created long drives with several first downs.

What a long, boring post…tell me your thoughts on the game or refute my own…by all means.

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Responses

  1. Todd, I agree that the game planning by Florida was far better than that of OSU. Florida seemed to have a plan and they stuck to it. Whatever Ohio State’s plan was coming into the game, they seemed to abandon it pretty quickly. They couldn’t protect the QB, couldn’t throw the ball and couldn’t adjust to Florida’s offense. In my post today I suggest that there was probably some evidence to see this coming, however. Maybe this should have shocked us a lot less than it did.

    Peace-
    G

  2. This wasn’t a case where I think Ohio State drank their own Kool-Aid as much as it was Florida just dominated the Buckeyes on all phases of the game. Urban Myer had a great game plan that was able to limit the effectiveness of Troy Smith on defense and on offense keep the Buckeyes guessing with a great passing and run offense. I don’t think Ohio State had an answer to Florida’s speed, especially on the corners. But what amazed me watching the game last night was how much penetration the Gators were getting on the line of scrimmage. They were knocking the lines around like I’ve not seen anyone do all year.

    Ohio State is going to be hurting next year and will probably take a drop for a year, a reload year. Look for Wisconsin and Michigan – two programs that have a lot coming back – to contend for the Big 10 (11) next year. As for Florida, with what they have coming back, and coming in, this could be a team to watch next year for repeat. This wasn’t their year to win it and here they are as champions. Got to give them credit, they kicked OSU a new one.

  3. You’re right OSU was loaded up to win it this year. UF is set for next year and probably earned a preseason 1 or 2 ranking over Michigan and USC. One of UF’s d-lineman (either Evans or Moss) really rubbed some salt in the wound with his comment that he had played a better teams in the SEC and that they could have handled OSU too.

    I forgot to mention in my analysis the fact that Amato has a new job! He must be O-Coordinator for OSU with that 4th and 1 on the 29 call!

  4. That was a bonehead play, but it looked like a play of desperation. Coach Sweater Vest was so desperate for momentum that he needed to do something to get it, however it might have cost the team the game. If you put in that situation and get a good stop, you still have good field position.

    As for the case about playing better teams in the SEC, perhaps that one game. But come on, Mississippi State is no where near as good as Ohio State. However, I think – if anything – as I said on my blog this gives a lot of credence to the spread offense. I’m not saying this because Rich Rodriguez invented it, but because by opening the field and working with both speed and power you are able to out play teams that are just built for power.

    Look at Little Animal, he was made ineffective by the offensive strategy and made to look more like the WWF’s Doink the Clown instead of the son of The Animal.

  5. Here are the two major factors tha led to OSU’s dismantling: 1) The offensive line not showing up. They played well all year, they have played good defisive fronts and controlled them (See November 18th, over 200 yards rushing and only 1 sack against Michigan). You win or lose games in the trenches, and the buckeyes lost it.
    2) Urban Meyer’s offensive game plan was superior to Tressel’s Defensive game plan to begin with, and he stayed one step ahead throughout the first half (OSU only gave up 7 points in the second half). Leak was able to release the ball quickly, and the recievers were very wide-open. They weren’t that opedn because of blown assignments or coverage, they were that open because Meyer knew the OSU defense as well as anybody. OSU plays a lot of zone coverage, and when you do that, there can be some seams. Florida found and exploited those seams by flooding certain areas of the zones to force 1 OSU defender to cover 2 or three recievers.

    On a side note, I am happy for Urban Meyer. He was at Bowling Green when I was there, and one of the first things he did was speak to student groups across campus to encourage them to start attending football games. I will always be an Urban Meyer fan, as long as his teams don’t play the Buckeyes.

    GO BUCKS!

  6. You’re right, Florida’s Def ends were definitely all in OSU’s backfield. I think Urban Meyer had an advantage and he chose to exploit it with hard work. Tressel had the best team in the land going in to the game and I’m sure he wondered if he should “toy” with his winning formula…while Meyer knew that he would be the one that needed to make adjustments and what to aim for. Meyer did his homework and went for the jugular while Tressel was put on his heels early. He did make adjustments at half time, but it was too far gone. Plus how could Tressel plan on losing his star WR on the first play!


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