Happy 2012! Here’s our version of the weekly wish list for the Gator Bowl… the last Buckeye bowl game for a while.
A Will To Win - This is the first time since 2004 that Ohio State isn’t in a BCS bowl…. With a whole new fold in place for the upcoming season, it’s important to go out and play like you want to win this meaningless bowl. It just sets up momentum heading into the spring and leaves a lasting mark.
Seniors and Juniors Play their Best - Seniors and Juniors, this is the last time you will ever compete in a bowl situation ever again. Cherish it. Enjoy it. Play your heart out like your life depended on it. It might just be another bowl to everyone else, but for you guys– it’s your last chance to compete in the “post-season.”
Run it Up the Gut - As much as everyone is looking forward to new Urban Meyer folds in the offense, I want to see a game like the Illinois contest, where Ohio State runs it a heavy amount. Okay, not that much, but still I’d love to see two 100 yard rushers and some secondary scorers out of the backfield.
Ebner Strike - The Bo Rein most inspirational player on the squad deserves a BIG day on special teams. Here’s to hoping that he gets that against Florida.
I want to see John Simon send a message that he WILL be the best defensive lineman in the Nation next year.
After my article research I want to see us do better than the rest of Florida’s opponents on 3rd down (27%) and get in short yardage situations to do it.
I want to be pleasantly surprised by the game plan. Given the scenario mention above, I am not expecting much in the game plan department heading into this game. Hell, the game plans were painfully bad a majority of the time this season when the coaches weren’t preoccupied with looking for other jobs. I hope I wrong on this, but it would be a pleasant surprise if the play calls weren’t hugely frustrating…
I want to see the defense get creative to create some pressure on the appoasing QBs. The loss of Nathan Williams really hurt this season in that regard.
I want to see effort across the board from all of the players. After all they have been through and with a large chunk of the coaching staff looking for other work in the midst of bowl preparation, continuing to play hard in the face of such adversity is pretty much all you can ask for.
A good send off for the seniors who prop up their draft status and no injuries so we are healthy for spring ball.
Aggression. This is Fickell’s last chance as OSU head coach (at least for a while) and it would be nice to see his players send him out a winner. Attacking Florida in every facet of the game is the best way to do that.
A win over Florida. At the very least to make up for the game that…hey, there’s a hole in my memory. Weird. What was I saying? Oh, right, and also to get a second win over an SEC team in a bowl game – because you can’t vacate what memories I have left dammit.
Jake Stoneburner. After his arthroscopic knee surgery after the regular season, he’s only supposed to see limited action in this one. With next year’s bowl ban, plus the injury, there’s a non-zero chance that this will be the last game we get to see him play. I haven’t heard anything that would make me believe that he would leave, but I’m worried that there’s a chance.
Continued improvement from Braxton Miller. He looked great against Michigan, though obviously still has room to grow. I’d love to see him use the bowl practices to his advantage and take another big step forward in his throwing and decision making. If he does, he could have a huge game.
Gratitude. Our seniors have had the story of their final campaign overshadowed at ever turn. Our head coach could not have stepped into a worse situation to begin his career as the leader of a football program. And yet… and yet… They have shone in ways that will be all to quickly forgotten- and that’s a damn shame. This is the game for us, as fans, to show our appreciation and our support, and to in some way let them know that we’re proud of what they’ve accomplished.
Represent. It’s been a hell of a year… for the coaches, for the players, for Buckeye Nation. This game may seem meaningless to most folks, and may be overlooked due to all the “future” excitement for the program, but these young men are wearing the scarlet and gray. For many, this will be their last game in that uniform- either by graduation or by other routes. For others, this will be their last bowl game due to actions they had nothing to do with and decisions that they had not input in making. This is the game to send a statement- Ohio State is bloodied, but not beaten; down six times, but rising seven. Next year we won’t be back… because we never went anywhere.
We are Ohio State. Go Bucks.