Ohio State Offense vs 2008 USC Defense - Part 2 (T. Pryor Runs)

In part one of this post I took a look at the main types of plays that Ohio State ran versus USC and how well those plays worked. Ohio State likes to get their run game on track and when it works it then opens up their deeper play action passing game. Head Coach Jim Tressel talked about the importance of this in his 2002 Nike Coach of the Year Clinic Speech on their Power Run Game.

In 2008 Ohio State on offense had some problems in offensive line play at times and suffered from a shortage of talented and healthy fullbacks. However due to the presence of Chris Wells and Terrelle Pryor there was no significant drop off in the run game on average in 2008.


I think the arrival of super talented freshman Terrelle pryor did result in a few key changes in the run game. Instead of mostly relying upon Power and Lead Iso plays out of the I formation as Ohio State had in previous seasons the Buckeyes put in a few more plays to take advantage of Terrelle Pryor’s capability. Against USC for example Ohio State ran a basic one back power play, speed option, an assortment of QB run plays (see explanation below the table), zone option read, and a couple of other play types as well.


Note on the above table: QB draws were clearly designed run plays. QB Roll outs were probably pass plays where the QB just rolled out and kept the ball. QB sacks were also pass plays but the sack yardage is subtracted off the run game in the NCAA stats.

As you can see above the top four designed run plays in terms of frequency for Ohio State in 2008 versus USC were the one back power play, a speed option play to the perimeter, a QB draw play, and the zone option read. Against USC the run game did not meet with much success netting just 71 yards (after sacks were deducted) on 34 carries. Ohio State did have some success however with the zone option read play and the QB running plays (Draws and keeps).

Here are the half dozen or so more successful Terrelle Pryor run plays from the 2008 contest versus USC. The plays were run mostly out of shot gun but the first example was a Pro Trips / Tight alignment with a single back and the QB under center. The other runs were out of the shotgun…Three plays featured a strange 4×1 alignment with a Winged player and 3 WR’s to one side and a single spread split WR to the other side with the QB operating empty out of the shotgun. These plays will be a big key to the game in Columbus for both teams.

T. Pryor Designed Runs vs. USC 2008

For comparison here are the runs that Ohio State used later in the 2008 season versus Texas in the Fiesta Bowl with more practice time and with Terrelle Pryor as the starter. The plays were all more effective than versus USC and there were some nice counter plays thrown in as well.


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