Many fans have taken note that Riley is calling plays during Spring ball so Langsdorf can focus on QB development. With the OSU situation as critical as it is it seems like a smart move and Riley better make sure he gets what he wants when the pressure to win has risen to recent all time highs. Many mistakes were made last year but abandoning the run game has to be near the top. Statistics clearly show that for OSU they have success when they run for 120 or more yards a game. Also of importance is a near equal number of run plays as opposed to pass plays.
Last year, however, at the first signs fo being down even just one touchdown, OSU usually became very pass happy. Some games they passed more than 3 times how often they ran. Riley was allowing this and many fans just didn’t understand it, given the obvious statistics of what worked and what didn’t. The stats showed if we predominantly passed we lost at a 85% or higher clip. So even if Langsdorf was into letting Mannion go for broke, it was a colossal mistake of strategy from the get go based off all the numbers and facts.
Often, what would happen is Mannion might complete a few passes but then it would be so obvious what we were doing that an easy interception could be made or defenders could apply pressure and get us into lower percentage situations. On quite a few of these we needed 3rd and 10 and because of DBs who felt great about what was coming and could get added pressure on Mannion, he would be forced to dump the ball for a few yards with very little hope that the play would make the first down.
Balance has been a key word for Riley in the past but we were very poor in that respect last year. Our run game ranked 118th or 119th out of the 120 FBS teams last year. Shocking numbers. RB Jovan Stevenson became our most reliable back and showed increasing potential in flashes and Agnew was hampered by serious hamstring issues. Hopefully that injury will not be flaring up again this year and OSU can add Chris “Downtown” Brown and Storm Woods to be reliable contributors. Riley has stated Woods has looked good and appears ready to step up.
That being said how much would you like to see Riley calling the plays this fall? Can Langsdorf be trusted when he has shown he likes to bail out with too much pass dependency? It seemed like 25% or more of the run plays we did use last year came in obvious situations and many of those were up the gut where they often had little or no gain. There are still fans who don’t give proper credit to James and Jacquizz Rodgers being responsible for much of the higher win totals of the past. They were difference makers who could bump a 6 win season to 9 wins all by themselves.
I hope Mannion can have a great 2nd year and we get far more leadership from key players this fall. Wheaton seems ready and Cooks also looks to emerge. If Brown and Woods can provide real spunk at the RB position then we should be in most games. Digging deep and doing what it takes to come out in the win column is what will matter. Riley may need to take the reins himself as time is running out for excuses. Beaver Nation wants to get back to winning and being a contender.