We’re hoping everyone has had enough time to grieve, analyze, and recover from the Miami shock. It’s time to find out what we’re hoping to see against the Buffaloes this weekend. Update- We got to be guests on Fox Sports Ohio’s “Wish List” this week… Woot!
First Downs. After last weekend, let’s just start with the basic building block on offense and get some first down. Extra bonus points for sustained scoring drives.
Big Plays. I don’t care who does it, but I want to see the Buckeyes loosen up, gain some momentum, gain some yards, and start having fun on the offensive side of the ball. I want to see some big plays (20+ yards) and some excitement. I realize this request may be a bit greedy after what we saw last Saturday, but nothing will get the offense rolling and the confidence flowing again like some huge plays.
Start Fast. With a struggling offense, playing from behind is the absolute worst thing that can happen. Let’s start fast, get a lead, loosen up and have some fun.
Defense being the defense. With a little help from the offense (gaining first downs to give them a breather every once and awhile), I look for the defense to continue to be good.
Rush the BRAXTON. How do you make a frosh comfortable? You let him play his style of football. First and foremost, Braxton is a passer, but getting his feet comfortable could start with getting him loose in the running game. I’d love to see 50+ rushing yards from Miller.
Start Strong. The last two ballgames, the Buckeyes have been outscored entering the 2nd quarter. The best way to dig yourself out of a hole is to bury your opponent. OSU has got to get on the board first and often in the first quarter to have success.
Receivers at Ohio Stadium. Is it too much to ask to have a receiver catch a football? I don’t care who is to blame or who is not, but get the ball in the hands of somebody not in the backfield. HOLY COW.
Stop the Big Play. The way Tyler Hanson and the Buffaloes operate is by the big play. Sophomore receiver Paul Richardson can find paydirt. If the Buckeyes shut him down and the rest of the big play potential, it should be an easy win even if Justin Siems were behind center.
20 Pass completions. After last week, I just want to believe that we can complete more than a handful of passes. i really don’t care who is throwing them.
Offensive game plan. We have no rhythm to our playcalling, would like to see Fickell try and insert himself and ask for some changes after last week. Changes to me are finding ways to get our guys in space in 1-1 situations where our players can just make a play, and not really have to think about it.
Continue the good special teams play. This was one of our only bright spots this past week. FG kicking and Punting. As well as punt returns.
Can Berry come out and play?. Why doesn’t this kid ever get a shot? After Hall I would like to see Berry, he has the ability to take it the distance. Why don’t we showcase it?
Return to the vanilla offense. The coaching staff needs to focus on not getting too “cute” with the play calling. Against Miami, the Buckeyes started with 6 plays in the shotgun set; that’s every single play for two straight drives if you’re keeping track at home, and all with Joe Bauserman under center, no less. However, when OSU went with a more vanilla I-form and pounded the rock up the gut, they were far more successful. Even with Miller in the game stick with the I-form and single back sets, force Colorado to respect the running game, and only then start to look to pass.
A defense focused on tackling. We’ve all heard the quote from John Simon, that the defense against Miami had 27 missed tackles. That’s not going to cut it. I’d like to see some solid hits and good stops, and the end of the pathetic arm tackling.
Five catches for the Receivers. As I promised earlier this week, I won’t ask for passes to the RBs or TEs until the receivers start catching again. Let’s hope Braxton can deliver the ball like we’ve all heard he can.
An Ohio State lead at the end of the first quarter. Twice out of three games the Buckeyes have been behind entering the second quarter, and in both games that has had drastic effects on the way the offense is run. Put a stop to that here and now – preferably with a goose-egg next to Colorado’s name.
Braxton, Braxton, and more Braxton. He may not be the savior of this football team, but he is the future. Miller threw for more yards on ten less pass attempts than Bauserman did. Yes he threw an INT, but he needs more reps.
Jordan Hall gets 20+ carries. This team needs to get back to basics. Hall was the lone bright spot on offense for the Buckeyes last Saturday. He needs to be the go to guy on first and second downs. I am still miffed as to why the coaching staff went away from him in the third quarter.
Stop passing on first down. We are Ohio State and not Texas Tech. Run the football down the Buffaloes throats and don’t look back.
At least 2 sacks. The defensive front seven have to put pressure in the Colorado backfield. It’s time to pin those ears back and go after the quarterback!
Release The Braxton. I know it’s a popular sentiment in Buckeye Nation, but let me add my caveat. I don’t expect the new kid to be the “savior”; only desperate programs turn to freshmen (seemingly every year) and scream “we’re back!” I think, though, if we’re going to struggle then let’s let him learn and struggle. At the Tuesday media luncheon, Coach Fickell said he prefers young players to develop through playing time; here’s the best chance to see that happen.
Aggressive Defense. Colorado has a developing offense, predicated on West Coast philosophies. Disciplined response, particularly in the secondary, is necessary, but disrupting the Buffalo front will certainly be key to victory as well as keeping my ulcers in check. With David Bakhtiari returning to anchor their line, they’ll have confidence early… Ohio State should make sure it doesn’t grow.
No Ben Buchanan. Look, I love punters. I like longsnappers better, but punters are a vital part of the game (can you tell I’m used to Tressel-ball?). But, as amazing has he’s been this season in the punting game, I’d much rather have him on the sidelines for most of the game.
Buckeye Nation, Loud and Proud. Against Toledo, the boo birds were out. Against Miami, fans were leaving the game early. While I can completely understand that mentality, and like to believe that most fans don’t boo players but coaching decisions, it still has to be disheartening for a young team to feel a crowd turn against them. Ohio State fans have high expectation, as they should, but there are ways to encourage and motivate and support the team to reach those goals that don’t also take away from their spirit. Plus, Colorado is not used to playing in front of over one hundred thousand screaming fans; with classes back in session, my expectation is that the entire ‘Shoe will be cheering the Scarlet and Gray on as they go.
No False Starts. The one dent in the OLine’s great performance last Saturday… it’s important to get this straightened out. It’s not like this offense has proven that they can make up the five yards with no problems as of yet; it will be good to not shoot ourselves in the foot.