In watching a replay of last year’s game against Stanford, a few scenarios need to be avoided for the Beavers to win.
Late in the first quarter, the Beavers get a big fumble return from Scott Crichton that gets them to around their 45 yard line. Two quick passes to Mullaney later, they are in the red-zone looking to score. Even a field goal is a huge difference in this game and a touchdown is THE difference.
What happens to OSU is something they need to be aware of. On first and ten from the 17 the Beavers see this:
The three highlighted players are the blitzers, bringing the total of Stanford’s rushers to 7. If you look at OSU’s formation, they have five linemen, a tight end and a running back, so they have numbers to stop the pressure.
Unfortunately, both the tight end and the running back went out for passes. If you look at the circles now, you will see that our running back is in the middle running on a route. The tight end is upfield apparently blocking, while Cooks and Mullaney are running a pick route at the top. If you can see, Cooks is going to be open and Mullaney is doing a great job running between Cooks and his defender. Unfortunately, since no one stayed in, OSU is blocking 7 with 5 and Sean is running out of time.
Ultimately, this play ends up a sack and while Cooks was open and the play was a good one, when they saw the safety and linebackers run up to blitz, they should have either had the tight end stay in, or at least chip, or had the running back help. Either of those may have given Sean the second he needed to get the ball out on a positive play> Not sure it would have scored, but it would be good.
The following play, they called a tight end screen and Stanford brought no one, so it was going to be tough to get good yards on that play. Plus the pass was tipped.
The next play was the worst in my opinion. While still in field goal range, though it would be a long one, the Beavers line up with a single back and four wide.
Our Tight end, though in tight, is standing up and a yard or two off, obviously going out for a route. Our running back is split to the left, almost in a power I look, without the other back.
This formation actually looks perfect, but there was some communication errors.
Stanford brings four, but Harlow blocks down and the back goes out for a pass instead of protecting. What ends up happening is that the defender comes clean without even a chip block by the back and gets a free shot on Sean.
These things cannot happen and my guess is that Harlow was very worried about the backer that lined up close to the line. He doesn’t rush and they do a twist stunt in the middle and Harlow just ignores the defensive end.
These scenarios cannot happen this year. We need to make sure that if we get an opportunity, that we make the most of it. We cannot have mental mistakes ruin good drives, and these were mental mistakes. While not ideal, a time out on first down would have been better than snapping it with no protections called and terrible numbers facing you. If this season to date is ANY indication, OSU will get opportunities off of Stanford mistakes. So lets make sure we make the most of them. In a game where every point appears to be important, the Beavers have to score every time. If you need to use a time out, use it. If you need to change the play or protection, do it. There cannot be Red Zone drives that end in 0.