Thoughts on a forgettable first loss: Miami (FL)

Written September 20th, 2011 by Jim

Raise your hand if you didn’t feel that one coming.

My eternal optimism had me hoping and wishing that the Buckeyes could somehow overcome all of the off-season turmoil this fall, but that house of cards came crashing down on Saturday night with a thud.

The writing was on the wall all along, and it wasn’t even dry from it’s initial application following the 2008 season when this all happened before… or at least most of it.

Prematurely losing nearly all of the top offensive weapons wasn’t a part of the equation in 2008 (Beanie’s injury gets us part way), but nearly everything else lined up in an eerily similar fashion.

Starting QB that struggles in the face of pressure? Check (and as an aside, let me say that Todd Boeckman was a significantly better option at QB than Joe Bauserman).

Barely beating a MAC team the week prior to going on the road for a major out-of-conference challenge? Check.

Thoroughly embarrassed with absolutely no offense to speak of? Yep, that’s how this story ends.

The comparisons between the first three games of this season and 2008 are too obvious to ignore.

So where do we go from here?

After a beat down like that, the response is the most important thing moving forward. As Woody said, nothing cleanses the soul like getting hell beat out of you.

Ohio State had the hell beat out of them all off season, and it just happened again on the field. Will the team’s soul be cleansed and their focus renewed this week? We can only hope.

The silver lining to this whole thing is the elimination of any excuse to keep Joe Bauserman as the starting QB.

Is there any reason not to start Braxton Miller at QB moving forward? I am honestly curious if anyone can think of a good reason, so speak up if you’ve got something in mind.

Braxton Miller as the new starter is the most obvious response to the offensive debacle this week.

In 2008, that was exactly the response that Jim Tressel chose and the Terrelle Pryor era at Ohio State began.

There were certainly some ups and downs during the transition, but overall it seemed like the right move then and it certainly seems like the appropriate response now.

Miller won’t be the answer to all of the team’s problems- far from it. He will still be throwing the ball to an extremely inexperienced group of WRs.

When Pryor took over back in 2008, he had the benefit of two experienced NFL caliber WRs in Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie to make him look good and cover up some of his mistakes .

I am not saying Ohio State’s current WRs don’t have NFL talent, but being in their first or second year of college, we won’t find out one way or the other anytime soon.

The return of Devier Posey will help out tremendously, but there are still two games to go before that happens.

The passing game will get a jolt with Braxton Miller under center, but it won’t instantly turn to sunshine and flowers for Ohio State’s offense.

There are obviously plenty of things to be negative about (and also some positive things that I am not hitting on), but the bottom line after a game like that you must turn the page and continue to focus on getting better each week.

Offensive troubles or not, the Buckeyes have a lot of soul searching to do. Luke Fickell’s young coaching career will be put to the test once again as he leads the team this week in practice.

Let’s hope he handles that test slightly better than the trip to Florida this past weekend.

This week starts a new chapter in Ohio State football, and there is a lot on the line for Coach Fickell and his team.


  1. BrutusNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Couldn’t agree more, I’d rather be a .500 ball club with a quarterback for the future who is learning on the go, rather than a team that isn’t making any progress with a graduating quarterback…just sayin…


  2. KenNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Good article, Jim. No reason that I can think of why Miller shouldn’t start. Give Braxton and the young receivers a chance to “grow up” together.


  3. Tony C.No Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 10:00 am

    reasons not to start Braxton Miller? how about he looked like he was in over his head when he was in the game and he was the reason for the two turnovers.


    Tony C.No Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 10:03 am

    i just don’t see what everyone is seeing in Braxton Miller. he has done nothing as of year in either game that really has shown any promise at the QB position


    Matt DNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 11:17 am

    He played against Akron and sat for Toledo! He doesnt even have a full game under his belt at the college level and you expect him to be thrown into the fire and not make some mistakes?
    He has to adjust to the speed of the game and that was his first road game in a hostile environment. I think he looks worlds better than Bauserman and he poses more of a threat. When we get into the red zone with a QB that cant throw or rush on his own how do you expect to score? Their gonna pile 8 in the box and punch you in the face. You play MILLER!


  4. Tony C.No Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I’d hardly call Miami a hostile environment… did you see the empty seats??

    like i said, he’s done nothing with the time he was actually in the games. nothing to sit up and say man i want to see this guy starting now. you could just look at his eyes during that Miami game and see that he wasn’t ready for it.


    KenNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Sadly, neither is Bauserman.


    Tony C.No Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    oh i agree. but i just don’t get why people are falling all over themselves for Miller


    KenNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I’m not exactly falling all over Miller at this point; I’d like for us to have other options at QB, and I don’t know who that would be. Living in the collegiate football hotbed of western NY, I’m ignorant of how the other lads on the roster at QB are doing.


    Dick BurgoonNo Gravatar
    September 21st, 2011 at 11:43 am

    The mismanagement of Braxton Miller is right in front of your eyes – his first series at Akron was a 2 yard designed run (I hate those), a dropped pass (I hate those) and a hike over his head that he recovered (I hate those). Then he sat….. How many downs did he play with Toledo???? So how does he become accustomed to college opposition? Pryor was green also but I believe that Braxton is an even better player at the same stage of development. Most of the knowledgeable fans in the world can see that – why can’t Luke?

    PS. Good thing he saved those timeouts – now we can use them this week, right? Did you notice how classy Miami was at the end of the game? Punch the ball in – Tressell would not have done that. Let’s get nasty!


  5. JTinNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    For the long-term growth of the team & Miller, there’s no reason to keep him on the bench.

    However…there IS an argument for one person to start Bauserman, and unfortunately, that person is the one making the decision: Luke Fickell.

    Bauserman has shown he is good enough at the “caretaker” role to beat the teams OSU is supposed to beat (the ones OSU out-talents). By my count, that’s at least 4 teams (Colorado, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana), with another 3 that OSU is at LEAST as talented as (Penn State, Michigan, Mich St). Set the basement of the Bauserman era at 7-5, and 8-4 the likely outcome.

    Miller has a higher upside, but also would be prone to more game-changing mistakes (i.e. turnovers) against teams that otherwise wouldn’t be likely to beat OSU. Playing Miller full time would likely result in losing at least one of those “gimme” games, and a 5-7 season would not be out of question, with 6-6 or 7-5 the likely outcome.

    As a fanbase, the difference between 6-6 with Miller and 7-5 with Bauserman is Hope. But for Fickell, coaching for his long-term job, the possiblity of an 8-4 season under Bauserman may look promising…


    JimNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    How does Toledo’s talent factor in to the “who we should beat” equation with Bauserman under center. I would prefer taking a chance with Miller, no matter how big, than accepting that we will lose against certain teams with Bauserman under center.

    As far as Fickell making decisions based on his future as the head coach, keeping Bauserman as the primary QB will do far more damage to his chances than a 7-5 record could ever smooth over in my opinion.


    JTinNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I think all of Buckeye nation would rather role with Miller – at least there’s hope of a bright future.

    Let’s hope Fickell thinks the same way. It’s a fair point, a true head-coach-of-OSU caliber coach would do what’s best for the program long term. WE’ll see what Fickell has.


  6. MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    What? No Kenny G love hereabouts???


    KenNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Mali, see my post (above) from a couple minutes ago. At this point, I don’t give a shyte WHO the quarterback is, I just want a playmaker that can help pull us through this transition year and build for the future.


    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Oh, no worries… I was just looking for an excuse to publish this:


    KenNo Gravatar
    September 20th, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Well played, sir.


  7. joshundergroundNo Gravatar
    September 21st, 2011 at 12:15 am

    seems like zwick/t.smith or boeckman/pryor all over again to me. anyhow, i’d rather have someone in there ‘trying’ to do something rather than just give up on every play. let the kid try to make something happen. i’ll take the turnovers if we’re at least trying. bauserman is a four letter word to me (plus the dude is from florida for cripes sake).


    JimNo Gravatar
    September 21st, 2011 at 9:20 am

    The frustrating thing is that it takes an absolute embarrassment (Iowa ’04, USC ’08, Miami ’11) to make a change. Like I said, who didn’t feel that game coming with Bauserman at QB?


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