Welcome to the Big Ten football season! Has it hit you yet that after this weekends matchup the Buckeyes half way through the 2013 season? What did you think of the Wisconsin game? We’ll discuss it and more, it’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
Brax on, Brax off
As we learned would happen late last week, Saturday marked the return of Braxton Miller behind center for the Buckeye offense. If you watched the game then you know why I’ve been saying it for almost three weeks now: There is no quarterback controversy at Ohio State. This is Braxton Miller’s team, always has been and will be until he departs for the NFL.
Miller came out in full command of the troops leading the offense to quick score early to get the Badgers in fast 7-0 hole with a touchdown pass to Evan Spencer that simultaneously let Buckeye fans know who is “the man” and announcing to Heisman voters around the country not to count him out just yet.
The back shoulder strike to Devin Smith was impressive and the 4th down scoring pass to end the first half to Philly Brown was a laser shot. Miller finished the night 17/25 for 198 yards with 4 touchdowns and an additional 83 yards on the ground off 22 carries in case anyone still thinks he is fragile.
Look, I get it. I really do. And I’m not “hating” on Kenny Guiton. I will openly admit that Smooth Jazz look ed impressive in his time holding the reigns. Fact is, though, that time is over.
Before this season started, what was the biggest fear all Buckeye fans had going into 2013? Don’t lie, it was that Braxton Miller would get hurt and that it would completely derail the offense and send the season off the tracks. Since that time, we have learned that if something should happen to Miller we have a more than capable guy that can come in and keep things moving forward. It is a relief. It is not, however, something you replace the returning Big Ten offensive player of the year and a Heisman finalist for.
Yes, he was on an island a lot. Yes, the Badgers changed their entire game plan around the middle of the first quarter when they realized they couldn’t run on the Silver Bullets front 7. Sure, there wasn’t much of a pass rush to speak, though mostly because the Wisconsin offensive line has a real problem with grabbing defensive ends around the neck and riding them to the quarterback. It tends to at the minimum slow said defensive ends down. That all being said, Jared Abracadaba drug Roby all over the field all night and likely hurt his draft position.
And from what I can tell, draft position may be exactly what Roby is all about right now. Why else is one of the nations top corners consistently being beaten by at best good NFL possession receivers because he can’t stop himself from peaking into the back field trying to read the quarterback to get an interception. Say what you will about that last statement, but interceptions are what get guys drafted high in the NFL.
If Roby was hurt on Saturday night, as it appeared may have happened early in the first quarter, I’ll give him a pass. But, he says it was not a factor.
Conspicuously absent from the offense on Saturday night was 5th year senior running back Jordan Hall. In fact, he finished the night with 1 carry for 5 yards. It’s odd, seeing that coming into the game he was averaging around 104 yards per game.
There’s been a lot of talk in the first half of this week in the media and on the radio about Hall and his lack of inclusion in the game plan. Urban Meyer made it a point in the post game to say it was a coaching error, not getting him in on some sort of rotation. That I, can handle. It stinks and seems really out of character for a guy like Meyer to not have someone on top of this, but I can handle an error as the reason he didn’t get any touches other than the one.
What I cannot handle are the people calling in to talk shows and posting things on Twitter and the like saying that Jordan Hall deserves to have more carries. Because while in a perfect world filled with chocolate rivers and gumball tress that sounds really nice. However this is about winning football games. And the players who best give you an opportunity to win the game are the ones who see the field.
Now, that all being said, I can’t understand how Jordan Hall is not one of the guys who can help this team win games. He couldn’t have helped having it thrown to him out of the backfield or in the slot? He couldn’t have helped when the Heisman candidate quarterback coming off of a knee injury was running it 22 times? He couldn’t have helped in the mid to late fourth quarter when the Buckeyes were trying to salt away a win and a clearly exhausted Carlos Hyde was running on fumes after blocking and being tackled by Chris Borland all night?
I don’t get it. How can a staff this committed, meticulous and thorough possibly just forget that Hall was standing by idly on the sidelines?
The Silver Bullets showed up to stop the run and did an outstanding job of it. Early in the game it became apparent that the ground attack was not going to get it done for the Badgers. Many wondered how they would react when a team lined up and proverbially punched them in the mouth with their running game. Well now those people have their answer. The Badgers came in averaging somewhere north of 300 yards per game rushing. They got 104 on Saturday night.
Christian Bryant went down on the last series of the game with a broken ankle and will miss the remainder of the season. This is a big blow for the Buckeye defense as Bryant is a seasoned veteran and plays hard. It may however be a bigger blow from the leadership standpoint that he also carries with him. Many players have made a point to mention that CB is their leader on the field and in the locker room.
A few people have brought up and asked about if Bryant can receive a medical redshirt allowing him to have another year of eligibility. On the surface it seems like that would be an instant denial. However if you dig a little further there are some interesting factors that can be used in Bryant’s defense by Ohio State: 1. He missed 5 games in 2010 due to injury, paired with the 8 he will miss this year and Bryant has more than a season gone due to injury. 2. It is still technically before the halfway point, which doesn’t actually mean anything but sounds a lot better than “there were 3 weeks left”. 3. Devin Gardner. TSUN applies for a redshirt for Gardner in 2012 for the 2010 season and it is approved? Anything can happen.
Speaking of Devin Gardner and TSUN, will these people please get their act together and stop embarrassing this league more than Iowa and Illinois manage to do on a yearly basis? They nearly (should have) lost to Akron. They barely escape at Connecticut who then proceeds to get blown out by Buffalo (same Buffalo the Buckeyes whipped in week 1) 41-12. Get it together up there! Oh who am I kidding… I hope they lose every game by 40. This isn’t the SEC, we don’t root for our rival in the name of conference pride.
Wrap it up
It’s another prime time spotlight game this weekend up in Evanston, Illinois against Nerdwestern and the undefeated Wildcats. College Gameday will be on hand in what will be one of if not the biggest home football game in Nerd history. I’m just excited because we get to hear Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit tow the company line and wax philosophical on the SEC every time there is a break in the action. Until next week, Go Bucks!
Metallica track of the week
By now I’m sure you have heard that last Friday was the release in 3D and Imax of Metallica’s first feature film (not including the documentary Some Kind of Monster) titled Metallica Through The Never. It is an epic ride through a apocalyptic nightmare of a narrative that takes place and intertwines with an ongoing live Metallica show. I can’t tell you how awesome it it, but you already knew I was going to say that anyway. For promotion, a clips video with the song Master of Puppets has been released. Have a taste of Metallica Through The Never!