Jason joins us again with another review of this week’s game…
The old adage of “a win is a win” certainly rang true on Saturday. The Buckeyes performed well enough to walk away with a somewhat convincing win, 31-16 over Central Florida. And this is in way to take away from UCF’s accomplishments Saturday afternoon, but that was what we call an “ugly” win as errors in the secondary, offensive line issues and penalty’s plagued the good guys all afternoon. Let’s look back.
The back 7
It’s early, but for the second week in a row we have seen major issues in the secondary and back seven in general in passing situations. Corners leaving receivers assuming they have safety help and linebackers chasing slot receivers across the middle are disturbing and happening too frequently. I don’t believe talent is the issue as some of these guys are athletic freaks of nature. A combination of miscommunication and being in the wrong place seem more likely.
Obviously, these are problems the coaching staff will address and get corrected. Sometimes maybe it’s making things simpler. Sometimes it’s a need to take pressure off guys who may be trying to do too much. Other times it’s running the snot out of someone and repeating reps in practice over and over until it sinks in. Whatever the case, Urban Meyer doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who is going to let it work itself out. I imagine he’ll start with conversations with Kerry Coombs, Everett Withers and Luke Fickell. They’ll work it out. Expect improvement.
One of the things I was looking closely at was our defensive line and their gap protection. To be more specific: How would our defensive line protect their holes against a UCF team that was said to have a more conventional running attack in that it was to come more straightforward. Central Florida started the game trying to hit the Buckeye defensive line between the tackles and did have some success early on in finding gaps and exploiting them. But this was very short lived success for the Black Knights (I) for two reasons: 1. Ohio State tightened up and 2. They went away from it shockingly early. Despite early success, UCF shifted to what you see in your everyday spread offense.
I wanted to see how well Ryan Shazier, Etienne Sabino and Curtis Grant plugged the holes and blew up the running back before he made any headway. This would also be a good test at their lateral speed. If the defensive line is doing its job, the back has no option but to spill outside and get what he can. Shazier did well at tracking down the ball carrier. Grant and Sabino seemed to disappear a little too much. Definitely a case of “caught in the wash” as coaches say.
It certainly hurt not having Nathan Williams on the field this week and Michael Bennett for the second week in a row. The fact is, Bennett is nursing a groin injury and Williams is coming off knee surgery. We may see these guys only in spurts, especially early on. Grant and Sabino need to get physical and more importantly get free of blockers.
With all that being said, the Silver Bullets still gave up only 16 points. Three interceptions had a lot to do with it. However, despite the turnovers, it doesn’t change my feeling that this defense has a chance to be really good. They’re fast, athletic and up front, especially, like to mix it up. Tackling in the secondary is an issue, but that also can be worked on and corrected. Once we hit the Big Ten schedule things should really be starting to gel. The next two weeks need to show improvement in these areas as it’s likely we won’t be so lucky as to see them have three interceptions bail them out. After all, they don’t play Denard Robinson every week.
I’m a Braxt-oholic
Hello, my name is Jason and I’m a Braxt-oholic. It’s an addiction that first swept over me last season on a cold night against Wisconsin and has since gone raging out of control through two games this season. I’m hooked on Braxton Miller.
The kid makes moves like he’s a player in a video game. That stutter step. The stop and go. The willingness to drop a shoulder and pick up a first down. Quick decisions in the short passing game. His acceleration. There isn’t much to not like about the sophomore calling signals.
I wrote last week that he was aggressive and looking for contact when it wasn’t necessary. We didn’t see that this week. Instead he was a quarterback much more poised and under control of the situation. He’s becoming a field general in front of our eyes.
Urban Meyer affectionately refers to his Tuesday practices as “Bloody Tuesday” in regards to the physical pounding the players put on each other. This week it may be extra Bloody Tuesday. You have to know that missing on fourth and one at midfield in the second quarter is going to eat at him all weekend. The lack of fundamental tackling in the secondary will probably drive him crazy too. Perhaps most upsetting will be watching the game film and seeing his quarterback getting up off the ground so much in passing situations. Tuesday may be a long day for the offensive line and secondary in particular.
Personally, I love Bloody Tuesday and that it’s a part of Meyer’s philosophy. I also love that he has very little hesitation in pulling the trigger on attempting to convert a fourth and one at midfield… twice. I can’t stop thinking to myself “this is a different cat walking the home sidelines”.
On to the next one
And so off we go to a home matchup with the California Golden Bears. Jeff Tedford brings his boys across the country for a noon kickoff in Ohio Stadium. The time change alone makes it no easy task. An angry Ohio State team will make it even more difficult. I don’t know much about the Bears right now, but check later in the week for our “What Do You Want To See This Week” segment and I’ll give you some keys to look for.
Oh Georgy Boy
You didn’t think I was going to wrap it up without mentioning Central Florida head liar err coach George O’Leary’s comments about fans “sitting on their hands” at The Shoe did you? Of Course not! It’s hard to tell from television, but it seemed as though (for an early season mid-level nonconference opponent) the fans came to prove O’Leary wrong. Kudo’s to you if you were in Ohio Stadium on Saturday for doing your part to be as invested as you could in a game against a team most of you know very little about. That said, George’s boys did a decent enough job keeping things interesting enough that it probably could have and should have been a little more raucous. Regardless, no matter how ugly or boisterous, a win is a win. Am I right?
Metallica track of the week
In honor of what may be a very Bloody Tuesday, here’s “My Friend Of Misery” from the Orion Music and More Festival on June 24th 2012 at Bader Field in Atlantic City. Yes, I was at this, and the crowd harmony (watch and see) was incredible!