San Diego Stateby Eric Schieve
Adam Dingwell had a rough game last week, needless to say. Dingwell threw 63 times, an unheard of number compared to the SDSU offense last year. The Aztecs will do everything in their power to avoid that same situation again. The running game will need to get going, and that means a steady dose of Adam Muema.
Muema will need to stay on the field for the Aztecs if they want to have a shot. Clearly, SDSU head coach Rocky Long does not trust the rest of his running back stable enough to rely on them. Expect a newfound focus and commitment to the run after their embarrassing defeat to Eastern Illinois. If Dingwell has to throw 63 times a game, expect a similar amount of mistakes. The Aztecs must try to keep Dingwell out of tough situations and let him manage the game, as he is clearly not ready to sling the ball all over the field to a group of receivers that, outside of the decent Colin Lockett, doesn't include a lot to write home about.
San Diego State's 3-3-5 is a tough defense for power run offenses to prepare for, since it provides confusing looks and reads for the quarterback. The 3-3-5 stack formation (3 linebackers, three defensive linemen, two corners, one deep safety and two Rovers closer to the line) is pretty straightforward, so expect some "Okie" looks and "Joker" looks, where safeties are moved back from the line, or linebackers are shaded to one side of the formation.
Muema's sprained ankle will have to be fully healed, and the defense will need to stay disciplined, maintain gap integrity, and show different looks to try to confuse Braxton Miller if the Aztecs want to upset the Buckeyes.
Ohio Stateby Eric Schieve
The return of Bradley Roby is a huge deal for the Buckeyes' secondary. Armani Reeves had a tough game against Buffalo, and the coaches didn't have the confidence in their athletes to play press coverage. Apparently the coaches decided that superior athletic ability could not trump experience, and didn't want their new starters to get burned deep. The return of Roby, as well as the hopeful return of C.J. Barnett, will bring some good experience back to the secondary and encourage Kerry Coombs and Luke Fickell to be more aggressive with their coverage and defensive looks in general.
The defensive line will need to step up its play as well and keep the pressure on Adam Dingwell. The athletes on the line will be key in stopping Adam Muema and harassing the Aztecs' mistake-prone QB into even more errors. Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence will need to put the pressure on the experienced left side of the line and attack a young right side.
Braxton Miller will need to remain patient against the 3-3-5 formation, and be double sure on his keys. Urban Meyer will be looking to him to make the right decision – keep, hand off, or pitch – every single time. It may be tough going, but Miller has the smarts to be able to pull it off.