Under Greg Schiano, the Ohio State defense occasionally likes to press the issue. So, when 10 of the 11 defenders suddenly line up within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage, it’s a sign that the press is on.
Rutgers likely will see such aggression from the Buckeyes at times on Saturday. UNLV certainly did last week, like on this particular defensive play — call it “nickel, press man, safety over” — that resulted in a big loss for the Rebels.
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The beauty of the play, which puts a premium on defenders being able to tackle in space, was the improvisational ballet by the two linebackers. They had specific man-coverage assignments, though they disguised it by first stepping in among the defensive linemen before the snap, feigning a blitz.
It became clear after the snap that one linebacker had the running back wherever he went, and one had the quarterback, because as the action developed, the linebackers crossed in their pursuits.
What also became obvious was that safety Isaiah Pryor, rolled up within 3 yards of the line, had the inside slot receiver. The three cornerbacks took the other three receivers and free safety Erick Smith retreated deep, just in case.
But when Pryor’s man stepped in to block the defensive end, Pryor was was free to chase the quarterback, who had faked a handoff and was heading into the flat. Before the quarterback had the chance to spot a receiver, Pryor put him on the ground.