San Diego State spotlight: Nat Berhe
DB | San Diego State
Last week’s assignment for Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and the offense was to keep an eye on Buffalo’s Khalil Mack and not let him become a disruptive force. OSU won 40-20, but Mack had an interception for a touchdown and made various other plays.
In game two, the challenge will be to keep track of San Diego State’s Nat Berhe. Like Buffalo, the Aztecs run a 3-3-5 defense. Berhe is the “Aztec” in the secondary, the roving safety who might be deep on one play, running the alley the next play and blitzing from off the edge or up the middle on the next.
“You can definitely tell that the scheme is built around his talents,” OSU running backs coach Stan Drayton said. “He is playing right down the middle of that defense.”
The beauty of a 3-3-5 is its ability to move players into disruptive positions. The pass rush almost always features one player from the backside — but whom? — joining the three men up front, and the scheme’s run defense allows eight players to swarm to the ball.
“They just do some things from a blitz standpoint that can cause some problems if we are not up on our game,” Drayton said.
The downside of the 3-3-5 is that it can be slashed from time to time. Ohio State did it on its three big scoring plays against Buffalo, and Eastern Illinois also did so in its 40-19 upset of San Diego State last week., scoring on plays of 37, 62 and 45 yards.
Berhe comes into the picture in the attempt to keep offenses guessing.
“He’s a very disruptive football player,” Drayton said. “He is run support and sometimes he plays the center of the field.”
Last week Buffalo moved Mack around, but several times the Buckeyes exploited where he wasn’t. The aim today will be to make San Diego State wish it could put Berhe in two or three spots at the same time.