So much has happened since the last time we ventured down the RSB path that I really had to put forth some thought into what I was going to talk about. There are a lot of things to discuss before tomorrow title match-up with Sparty that I want to briefly hit them before Rumblin.
As much as it hurts me to say this, I applaud the TTUN coaching staff for their game plan last Saturday. What’s funny about the plan is that everyone in #BuckeyeNation saw it coming, they just weren’t too worried because it was TTUN and their struggling offense. What most were saying was how easily the Buckeyes were going to roll and those fans couldn’t have been further from the truth. The Game or The Rivalry, whatever you choose to call it, has rarely disappointed in regards to level of competition. As Buckeye fans know all too painfully, the underdog has had the sun shine on its back side quite a few times in this series.
What their coaching staff did, and it’s why most people in TSUN love Hoke, is keep their focus on the prize and that was destroy the Buckeyes season. They came into the game ignored by many, including the Buckeyes defense, and just about put it to them. If not for the gutsy, putting it all on one play, decision by Hoke to go for two, the Buckeyes may have lost in OT and be settling for the Outback Bowl, again. I tipped my hat to a couple TTUN twitter friends after the game, they could feel a little bit of pride for the way their team performed.
As I have said before, I could go on and on every week about Carlos Hyde and what he has done in his abbreviated season. One of the relationships on twitter that I have enjoyed this season has been with Corey Linsley, who last week was named First Team All B1G Center. He is the anchor to that offensive line who has been destroying the opposition this season. Linsley, Jack Mewhort (treated horribly by the B1G all conference voters), Marcus Hall, Andrew Norwell and Taylor Decker have been the best O-line in college football this season and they’ve proven it week in and week out by the road grading they’ve done for Carlos.
Carlos goes out of his way to thank and congratulate his O-line after every game and he should. As talented as a back that he is, if not for the O-line, he wouldn’t just be needing to beat the second level. Don’t get me wrong, I think the knock on him last year about his hitting holes and getting to the next level is more about how much bigger those holes are he’s running through this season. The key tomorrow will be the best O-line against arguably one of the best D-lines in America. I will side with the Buckeye O-line any day of the week and twice on Sunday as three of them will still be playing on Sundays in the future.
At one point during last Saturdays game against TTUN, you could see the looks on the D-line of the Wolverines. They didn’t want anymore, they were beat up and exhausted. They were getting pancaked, rolled and manhandles to a point that with the game on the line, their head coach said “we knew that we couldn’t stop their run game in OT, going for two was an easy choice facing that”. Pretty telling from a coach who had all the confidence in the world in that D before the game. Hat’s off to all og the O-line and especially Patrick Elflein who played for the ejected Hall and played very well. TTUN tried moving Clark and others and stack on top of him and it didn’t work. This O-line has each others backs and it’s obvious.
Okay, I will bight on this bashing our defense too bandwagon. First and foremost, its not entirely about what covers and formations Luke Fickell is putting his defense in. They knew after a short time what the game plane was, and with Curtis Grant still out and no Bryant over top, they were in trouble underneath and that’s where the Wolverines attacked, multiple times. Ryan Shazier is a man-child and his snub by the B1G is laughable, but he canoot be in two places at once. He has to do his primary duty first so for the most part, all that he does is by instinct and reactionary.
That being said, the rest of this defense is young, inexperienced, and for the most part not where Coach Meyer wants them to be as far as talent goes. I admire the staff for not burning even more redshirts that really wouldn’t have helped in the big scheme of things. What this defense needs is to realize they are allowed to bend and not break. They cannot take plays off and that’s really where I believe we were suffering this past Saturday. We may have been in a good cover and because the play went away, we had players staying on the backside for no reason.
Coaching can put players in great position to make a play, but after the snap it’s entirely up to the player to make some corrections and get where they need to be to make a play. The one saving grace(literally) from Saturday was Coach Coombs call of what they were going to run on the two point conversion. Thank goodness for the athletic abilities of Tyvis Powell to make a great read and step in front of the receiver and intercept the ball. And by the way, everybody knew what play they were going to run. It was their bread and butter the whole day.
The officiating crew during this game was pretty much told after the B1G reviewed the tape that they handled the fight perfectly. As a high school official who has had a few of these types of plays teach me lessons at a younger age in my experience, I am here to tell you they handled it poorly. I have a very basic philosophy when it comes to basketball and football, keep things under control so that they never reach that level. What I mean is that how the officials approached the group of players that were clearly trying to incite Dontre Wilson, was slow and not in control.
I realize that on kick-offs the officials are spread out, but the largest group of them were in the vicinity of this play and should have been doing their best to get the seven TTUN players away from the individual Ohio State player. This was taunting at it’s worst and if the B1G and NCAA don’t realize it and make corrections next season, others will get away with it. The bottom line is that if the crew would have reviewed video, which they are allowed to do beginning this year, they would have handled it differently. Unsporting against those who surrounded Dontre would have been the first order of business.
I want to briefly discuss our fans who need a lesson or two in humility. First to the ones who spent the biggest part of last week trash-talking anyone who would listen. Maybe this is a harsh lesson in reality because those players are not the only ones who can provide opponents with some bulletin board material. No matter what you might think about twitter and facebook, it does have an impact on these players emotions and Buckeye Nation provided a lot of that type of material for them.
Secondly, please stop giving ESPN with the ammunition to be successful with the smear campaign. If you respond to their people(Mark May and Kirk Herbstreit) in the manner that you do, you are helping them. When we truly decide to stop clicking on their links and RT’s their stupid tweets, we win. There will be no issues when the contract runs out, you won’t have to follow the Buckeyes there anymore. Just let themspew their hatred, defending the Buckeyes does no good in the long run, it just proves that they are getting what hey want.
Lastly, I leave you with this to caption as you see fit, I have included my choice.