Sometimes the best thing to do when the running game is not working like it should is for an offense simply to throw its weight around.
Behold the 2018 Ohio State team’s son of “Robust T,” the fullhouse approach that coach Woody Hayes made famous. This version, which offensive coordinators Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson and their staff devised to snap the Buckeyes out of the red-zone doldrums, might best be called “Robust TEs”.
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When they jumped into it in the second half last week for two straight plays to take a lead over Nebraska with a 3-yard touchdown plunge by J.K. Dobbins, there were three tight ends involved.
Well, at least by the numbers they were wearing.
Backup guard Wyatt Davis was in the No. 86 jersey, and he lined up on the right end of the line, with hybrid back Parris Campbell tight on the left. Regular tight ends Luke Farrell and Jeremy Ruckert were in the backfield, each just behind the guard-tackle gaps, with quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Dobbins at pistol depth behind the linemen.
So call it “Double-loaded Pistol, jumbo smash,” because smash is what happened.
Left guard Malcolm Pridgeon pulled right, stepping past right tackle Isaiah Prince to hit the C gap. Ruckert went from the backside to attack the C gap, too, after Prince and Davis blocked out their defensive linemen. Dobbins took a handoff and simply followed Pridgeon and Ruckert through the hole.
It’s no simple puzzle for the defense to solve, though, since the play before out of the same formation, Dobbins attacked the A gap for a 4-yard gain. Later, out of a similar set, Campbell took a quick-shovel pass on a jet sweep for a 10-yard TD play.