Meaningful Awards- This week, we more about how well Ohio State’s players are being perceived nationally, as several more “just happy to be nominated” lists included Buckeyes. Jonathan Hankins is one of 16 being considered for the Bednarik award, given to the nation’s best defensive player, while Roby is one of 15 being looked at for the Thorpe trophy as the nation’s top defensive back. Braxton is getting some national appreciation as well, and is one of the 16 folks up for the Maxwell award this season.
Walking Wounded? Coach Meyer said on Tuesday that Etienne Sabino will miss the game against Illinois, which isn’t a surprise to those of us paying attention- the additional two weeks will be helpful for his recovery for the last part of the season. Zach Domicone, though, may be back this week against the Illini, which will certainly help on special teams. Also, for the first week this season, Jordan Hall is not listed on the depth chart- speculation that he might seek a medical redshirt are pretty strong at this point.
Awards, Continued- The B1G recognized Ryan Shazier on Monday as it’s co-defensive player of the week. If nothing else, it’s good that he’s getting kudos for joining Pick Six University’s fraternity.
Meyer’s Musings- Coach agreed that Shazier played his best game of the season, and said Tuesday that he’d finally settled down, and is playing like a safety more than a linebacker. He talked candidly about the punt issues, have all been due to missed assignments, in spite of the fact that the coaching staff continues to simplify things. Coach Meyer said that he was “disappointed: in Braxton’s progression as a passer, because he knows he can be much better, with no ceiling on his abilities. He finished his time on the B1G chat by owning that the team is tired, beat up, and looking forward to a break next week, but are first and foremost focused on getting to 10-0.
One of the narratives that emerged from Saturday’s win over Penn State on various Nittany Lion fansites was that the game was “stolen” from the Lions by the officials. Reasons for this are myriad, and include crappy B1G officiating, a bias against PSU since they joined the conference, a conspiracy to keep PSU from winning the division due to the events that kept them in the news recently, the B1G’s desire to have an undefeated team in the national conversation at the end of the year, and the 2012 Mayan predictions. OK, I may have fabricated one of those.
I have several thoughts on this, which is good since I have an article to write today. First, I think it’s important to understand the mindset that might be at the heart of these feelings. In addition to the “normal” anger/confusion/frustration that comes with being a college fan who has things go against their team, Saturday night had much more meaning in Happy Valley than Ohio State fans might be able to understand. For them, this was THE GAME, the moment that everything would be OK, for this season and moving forward. It’s why it was their first sellout of the season, and why a tackle on the sidelines could have knocked over a number of the 100 or so recruits that Coach O’Brien brought in for the game.
Given the significance of the moment, and looking at it as an outsider who has a nominal understanding in Kubler-Ross’ theory, complaints about the officials’ response resemble folks in the stages of Denial and Anger… areas that Buckeye fans can relate to.
Even as recently as last week, had the Purdue game not ended as it did, part of our conversation (in addition to ‘Hope Braxton is OK’ and ‘Wow, we played like crap’) would have been the one-sided officiating. It was a topic of a lot of discussion anyway, and our team won… with a lot less on the line.
Part of the issue was that the “narrative” regarding the officiating was set early on by ESPN’s commentary; which was compounded by the fact that former Buckeye Chris Speilman was in the booth for the game. When you go back and watch the game, there are a number of judgement calls (’cause, that’s really what the heart of officiating comes down to) throughout the game, but only a few get commentary from the crew on the telecast.
There were at least five instances where the team talked about the Buckeyes “getting away” with holding, even on a few plays where that wasn’t the case (a face mask call, for instance), and no discussion of Penn State “getting away” with questionable play once, in spite of the fact that the Lions blocking Noah Spence, Jonathan Hankins, and John Simon had their hands full, literally, all night long. There was, to be fair, a generic “they’re really letting both teams play” (paraphrased) by Spielman early in the game.
That, in addition to one of the holding penalties that the officials did correctly call against Penn State being identified as a “questionable” call certainly stoked the fire for people trying to make sense of why their team might have not been as successful as they had hoped. Just so we’re clear- the penalty in question, seen below, is legitimate- ask Michigan’s longsnapper in the 2006 game.
Stay Off Our Bryce! Courtesy 11W
Speaking as a former long-snapper, this happens a lot more frequently than is called; and probably should against Ohio State, as Bryce Haynes has turned into a formidable tackler on the punt team. However, as Michael outlined on Tuesday, the ball was still in the punter’s hands, making it a penalty from the spot rather than at the end of the foul. It was not, as mentioned on the telecast, the defender protecting himself from a cut block; I haven’t yet figured out when one of the leading participants on the coverage team would be asked to block low on the person across the line from them.
As for me, I’ve decided to just let the PSU stuff fade out… nothing anyone says, on any message board or online article will take away the W from Ohio State. Biased officiating didn’t throw yet another Pick 6. Poor officiating didn’t break up a fake punt. Bad officiating didn’t account for 32 total yards rushing on 28 carries.
And, since I’ve got a lot of respect for a number of writers on Penn State sites and believe that some of their thoughts and feelings regarding the NCAA’s response this summer are well founded, I can work to understand where they’re coming from. Given all the stuff they’d gone through, their solace was (supposed) to be on the field… and when that fell apart (due to something that their team seemingly had no control over) it left them grasping for meaning/straws. I had a similar feeling, I believe, last year when we collapsed against Nebraska- I thought that the weight of it all finally caught up to the team.
If this is indeed part of their grieving process, they’ll hopefully soon move on to Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. And there’s a lot to take stock in if only some folks would take the chance to acknowledge it- they’ve got a good coach and some solid things to build on, in spite of the NCAA sanctions. And forward is really the only way to go… whatever that looks like.
Meet The New Boss- The biggest news out of Indianapolis on Tuesday was that the NCAA has approved the new protocols for rule enforcement and punitive response, including expectations that the Head Coach will be accountable for all of their support staff and assistant coaches. They’ve also broken out the “levels” of infraction from two (major and minor) to four (Incidental, Breach, Significant Breach, Severe Breach); the last of which includes multi-year post season bans, scholarship restrictions, and monetary fines. In other words, the “Unprecedented” Penn State Sanctions can be a part of the response from the NCAA in future situations. The expectations for Head Coaches are pretty well spelled out, but are very expansive- at the rate that many big time coaches are being paid, there is no excuse for not having a staff that’s fully compliant in the NCAA’s mind. They also gave the possibility of expanding the hearing committees from 10 to 24 persons; better to have more people involved in these levels of decisions, given the magnitude.
Ready, Set… Go? The new rules go into effect next year (get your cheatin’ in now!), although there’s a caveat that current things under investigation might not fall under the new guidelines-
Conduct breaches that occurred before Oct. 30, 2012 but are processed after Aug. 1, 2013 would be subject to the new process but would incur the more lenient of the two penalty structures (current and revised).
That sound you just heard was the collective sigh of relief from Coral Gables, Eugene, and Chapel Hill.
Yeah, But- A couple of folks have already weighed in on their perspective about the impact of these new rules, including the staff that represented Coach Tressel during his investigation process. Marsh feels that the steps are wise ones, and might streamline a historically difficult set of issues and processes; but Nebraska’s Jo Potuto sees there being a problem with having panels be so large and diverse- they may lose consistency without a dedicated group of people who are focused on these types of issues. Marsh, though, feels like a set group of penalties might streamline the issue as involved folks would be more inclined to “take their lumps” and begin to move forward rather than arguing and working toward a lesser penalty.
Seriously? Here’s the scariest thing you’ll see/read all day: Star Wars VII, by Disney. In one way, at least, it will be an upgrade at my house, though. Serious question- other than stuff done by Pixar, name a sequel done by Disney that was of any quality at all. I thought the new Tron movie was good, and Pirates 2/3 seemed OK for something that was cobbled together to make a profit after they saw how much cash the first one made. I’m just worried that entrusting the franchise to the folks that brought you every High School Musical will result in something like this (ht Will Leitch):