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Ohio State football: Charting the offense, Buffalo

Here is an in-depth look at the offensive snaps versus Buffalo.

Braxton Miller hands the ball off to Jordan Hall
Braxton Miller hands the ball off to Jordan Hall
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State offense ran 69 plays versus Buffalo on Saturday afternoon, I charted the participation for each offensive player on that day. Here is how it broke down along with some notes that I took:

Quarterbacks Number of plays
Braxton Miller 63
Kenny Guiton 6
  • Obviously it benefits the team when Braxton Miller is on the field for %100 of the snaps but it is so refreshing to see the offense not miss a beat when backup Kenny Guiton comes in.
  • Miller feels so much more comfortable in the pocket this year, compared to last. He did not look to run until the second half of the game.
  • Even with Miller not threatening to run, defenses still have to account for him. On Hall's touchdown run in the second quarter, Miller completely froze the defensive end who could have made a play on Hall in the backfield.
  • Expect Miller to vastly improve his completion percentage from last year (58.3%). Miller was 15-22 on the day, good for a 68.2 completion percentage.
Running Backs Number of plays
Jordan Hall 56
Dontre Wilson 7
Warren Ball 4
Ezekiel Elliott 3

  • Hall benefited from huge holes on the offensive line that led to his two scores, he is not a great runner between the tackles but he did the job on Saturday.
  • The Buckeyes lined up in the Pistol formation 17 times. Other times they initially lined up in the Pistol then motioned the running back to either side of Miller before the snap.
  • Freshman speedster Dontre Wilson was a shoe string tackle away from taking his first touch to the endzone. As I said on the Ohio State- Michigan review, expect Wilson to get most of his carries on the outside zone read option to get him the ball in space. If you remember the creative ways Chip Kelly got De'Anthony Thomas the ball as a freshman, expect Coach Tom Herman to do the same with Wilson.
  • I thought we would see more of Warren Ball between the tackles to spell Hall, but Hall took the majority of the carries at running back, both inside and outside.
  • I'm guessing more of a 65/35 split with Hall and Rod Smith/ Wilson next week.
Wide Receivers Number of plays
Corey Brown 60
Devin Smith 50
Chris Fields 48
Evan Spencer 47

  • Evan Spencer played in all but four snaps in the first half, then sat the entire third quarter before only playing in four snaps in the fourth quarter. Was he in the doghouse? Or were they just content with Philly Brown and Devin Smith on the outside with Chris Fields in the slot?
  • The receivers really need to improve on their stock blocking, as the running backs/ Miller were taken down by cornerbacks at or behind the line of scrimmage a couple of times.
  • Chris Fields has really earned playing time in the slot, as he played in all but four plays in the second half.
  • Brown lined up in the slot only 19 out of his 60 snaps, much different than last season.
Tight Ends Number of plays
Jeff Heuerman 51
Nick Vannett 19

  • In the second half the tight ends were playing on the line more often than in the first half, could have been an adjustment to help out on Khalil Mack. They did not stay in to pass protect but they chipped a lot more in the second half.
  • I really like these two tight ends, they are solid blockers in the run game and will make plays in the passing game.
Offensive Line Number of plays
Jack Mewhort 69
Andrew Norwell 64
Corey Linsley 17
Marcus Hall 69
Taylor Decker 69
Jacoby Boren 52
Pat Elflein 5

  • What a difference an elite center makes, Corey Linsley played the first three series, all resulting in touchdowns. Boren played very well in his place but the line seemed more on the same page with Linsley in the game.
  • Yes it was Taylor Decker's first start and he was going against a future 1st or 2nd round NFL draft pick, but the Buckeyes cannot afford to have a weak link in the offensive line.
  • Decker should get his confidence back up the next few games versus inferior opponents, which will be huge when B1G play starts.
  • Other than Decker, the offensive line played great on Saturday, opening huge holes on Hall's two long touchdown runs and getting a constant push against Buffalo's defensive line.

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