Major Award winner Ken has submitted the following guest post for your perusal and enjoyment…
I want to thank the staff at tBBC for the opportunity to post an article. I also want to thank the Thurman’s, Dave and Drew, of The Silver Bullet, for mentoring me on the ways and mysteries of sports blogging, way back when… I was going to upload a photo of the other swag, the t-shirt, but I decided not to compete in the Chris Lee/Anthony Weiner Self-Portraiture contest. I’ll make this short, not to burn bandwidth. OK, on to what we’re here for..
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, …“
A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
I did not realize that Charles Dickens was an observer of Ohio State football, but so it seems. For this review, I want to give my brief view of this season. There was some excitement as the 2012 season rolled around, for me it started at about the time that Urban Meyer was named as Ohio State’s head football coach. An accomplished native son returns home to re-establish Ohio State’s primacy.
Part of my anticipation was the hopeful emergence of Ohio State football from the Dickensian dystopia of the 2011 season into its rightful position as a national flagship program. I felt that the season would be a success if the Buckeyes finished 9-3, even 8-4, while showing game on game improvement. To me, this was to be the transition year, compared to 2011 as the ‘placeholder’ year. To finish 12-0 while showing improvement in offensive and defensive execution was truly a bonus.
Specifically, I thought the offensive line developed as a strength, both Hyde and Smith emerged as playmakers at running back and Miller seemed to improve his option reads. A lot of the early season ’Gaah!’ with Miller’s reads may have been that he wasn’t all that comfortable with his read keys, and when you’re in an ambiguous situation, you revert to what you are comfortable with. In this case deciding whether to keep or hand-off, regardless of the option key. Miller seemed to get a better handle on this as the season progressed. I’m fine with the riches at running back, and granted there is only one football to be put in play, but with the up tempo offense, there should be carries aplenty.
Defensively as the season progressed, I uttered far fewer in-game “dammit‘s” as the defense took better attack and pursuit angles and improved in wrapping up the ball carrier. The senior leadership and effort on this defense was remarkable, they will truly be missed. There are some significant holes to fill on Ohio State’s front seven, so Spring Practice will be interesting to see who emerges into starting roles. There are no lack of candidates.
The key change to this years squad, part of the ‘Urbanization’, was the more aggressive approach of the offense. The was not a team that was content to sit on a lead. I credit the coaching staff for instilling the mind-set of continually improving. There were instances where, with the game somewhat in hand, the offense kept running the offense, likely because the coaches wanted the players to work on execution and get used again to success.
Finally, comparing the teams of 2012 and 2010, both showed comparable offensive numbers in terms of points per game and yards per play on offense. The advantage the 2010 squad had was defensively, allowing close to 100 fewer plays than the 2012 squad, roughly 8-9 plays per game, or a couple offensive series. If the 2013 defense can come close to the 2010 performance, coupled with the anticipated offensive improvement.. wow. It will continue to be a good time to be a Buckeye.