Everything is sort of quiet around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the holidays are almost here. Since hindsight is 20/20, let’s look back on 2012. Who’s ready to rumble?
The 2012 story didn’t begin on January 1, 2012. Of course, so much had already happened up to that point that I would be remiss without first going back to November 29, 2011 when the hiring of Urban Meyer as the next head coach at Ohio State became official. With that, we also have to think back to December 22nd of 2011, the day the sanctions prohibiting the Buckeyes from playing in a bowl game after the 2012 season, reducing scholarships and prohibiting Ohio State from competing in the Big Ten Championship game was announced.
“Gator don’t play…”
2012 started out with a trip to something called the Tax Slayer dot com Gator Bowl where the Buckeyes squared off with? Of course it had to be Urban Meyer’s old team, the Florida Gators. In a game that was quite honestly hard to watch, the Buckeyes fell 24-17. Unfortunately it was a game that didn’t feel like it was winnable in the end despite the mere seven point deficit. The good news from that day was that on the next day, January 2nd the Gators former boss officially took the wheel driving the Buckeye football program.
Anticipation and predictions
We waited all spring and through a long dry summer to finally see what Urban Meyer’s offense with Braxton Miller at quarterback would look like once it actually came to fruition on the field. Preseason speculation saw the Buckeyes picked to win anywhere from 7-10 games. With the Big Ten being in another of its string of down years, it wasn’t too farfetched to think the Buckeyes could be 10-2 or even 9-3. I think the consensus among people closest to the program were that road games at Michigan State and Wisconsin seemed like stumbling blocks for a young team. I think most thought Nebraska at Ohio Stadium would be a toss-up considering all that Nebraska had returning from 2011. Naturally, we all know anything can happen in The Game.
The first quarter against Miami… Read More
Right about now, you’re either getting ready to sit down for an awkward family dinner with that weird uncle, or you’ve already eaten and are letting the tryptophan course through your body… Ah, the Holidays.
Here at tBBC we wanted to take a moment and reflect on the highs and lows from the past year, which will give me just enough time to snag that last piece of sweet potato pie while everyone is reminiscing.
Janelle: Coach Meyer. We knew that the Buckeyes would be better this season, but undefeated going into TSUN week? That far and away exceeded expectations. We knew it was possible, but after last season, I don’t think anyone was sure what would happen this year. He has rallied the troops and gotten them to play with so much heart and intensity. It has truly been fun to watch.
WVa: Braxton and Coach Meyer. In a season that the expectation was that the Buckeyes just be more competitive than last year, they have excelled because of these two. I am thankful for the relationship that they have forged as they lead the Buckeyes. The next two seasons will be very special because the Buckeyes have the best coach and the best player hands down. It’ll be interesting to have the discussion next year, when will their first loss together be?
Gary: Two things. I am thankful for being part of Buckeye Nation. This Nation has the best fans in all of college football. No one is more passionate than Buckeye fans. Second, I am thankful for a great football team that has fought through tremendous obstacles to become one of only two undefeated teams!
Eric: I must say that I am most thankful to have been able to participate on this blog for the last 4 years without having a drastic effect on my real life job. That it has enabled me to drastically improve my writing, improve my understanding of the sports I love, and participate in activities and events that I never thought possible a few short years ago. It may be the kind of activity that causes you to sit around for long hours of the day in your pajamas, but it is worth every anti-social minute.
I’m also thankful to have worked with some of the best sportswriters on the face of the earth here at the BBC. Each and every one of them has been an absolute pleasure to work with. The jokes shared, and the back and forth commentary and discussions we have both behind the scenes and in public are without a doubt some of the most enlightening, engaging, and entertaining I’ve ever had. Thanks guys. I hope to keep doing this with you for quite a bit longer.
Jason: Urban Meyer. Who knows where we would be and what the future would look like if anyone else had been given the job. With Urban we know the future is bright. I’m also thankful for 11-0 and the chance to be 12-0. I’d also like to thank the guys (and girls) here at the BBC for giving me a place to rant each week. Thanks!
JoeL: Jim Tressel putting this program back on the map. I am so excited for him to be back in the shoe on Saturday and I am sure many people have mixed feelings about it, but without him, we wouldn’t be where we are today, we were stumbling against tsun, we were in shambles academically, and he resurrected the program, and while it wasn’t the way we wanted to see him go out, he was able to turn a successful program over to another great coach that I am thankful to be here.
Mali: I’d echo everyone’s sentiments thus far, particularly the pleasure of getting to be a part of this great group of writers and fans. In addition, I’d say that I’m also continually amazed by and grateful for the folks who come by every day and join our party- readers, commentors, facebook friends, and members of the twitterati. We don’t do this without you.
The other thing I’m most thankful for, Buckeye related, is John Simon. And Nathan Williams. Etienne Sabino, Justin Boren, Reid Fragel, Orhian Johnson, Jake Stoneburner, Ben Buchanan, and ALL of Ohio State’s senior class. Their dedication to the program, their willingness to stay and lead after one of the most challenging seasons in the program’s history is something that is rare in the “what’s in it for me” culture in college sports, particularly knowing that there’d be no post-season for them. Here’s to hoping that their final game is the type of victory that they deserve.
Jason joins us again with another review of the roller coaster that was this week’s game:
Have you caught your breath? Did you wake up this morning feeling a little better about yesterday’s Buckeye win? I hope so, because despite a myriad of defensive issues and an offense that at times was stuck in the mud, the boys are 3-0 and looking ahead now to Alabama-Birmingham at The Shoe this Saturday. For as angry as some aspects of the Buckeyes performance made you, you have to admit this one was pretty exciting as a spectator!
Ok, we’ll start with the bad since that’s what everyone wanted to focus on during and at the conclusion of yesterday’s 35-28 win over California. I can’t recall an Ohio State defense that tackles this poorly and takes such horrible routes to the ball carrier on the edges.
It makes my head hurt seeing guys fly to the ball and put a shoulder on someone and expect them to just go down. Football players are taught at a young age to parallel their shoulders, lift their head up, wrap with their arms and drive with their legs. It really is that simple. See what you’re hitting and wrestle it to the ground. Etienne Sabino, Christian Bryant, CJ Barnett and, unfortunately this week, Ryan Shazier I’m talking to you.
And how in the world is it possible that we see these guys chasing running backs from behind just a few yards across the line of scrimmage in the manner that we do? Are they that completely out of position or is it the angle they take to the ball carrier? I have to assume it’s a little bit of both but for the most part it appears to me to be the latter.
A lot of people blew up my twitter account during the second half with comments on how badly Luke Fickell was calling the game. I can’t speak to that, and honestly neither can any of the people claiming his defensive calls were wretched. I can tell you undoubtedly that in the first half he did an excellent job of mixing up his blitzes and keeping the Bears guessing where an attack was coming from. I can agree that, yes in fact it appeared as though they went away from that strategy in the second half. However, it doesn’t in any way indicate that Fickell was calling a bad game. His players were in positions to make plays, the problem is that they were either taking terrible angles to the ball, getting caught in the wash or being blocked.
It’s pretty apparent to me that there are some issues with communication in the back seven. How can a guy like Keenan Allen run free between Etienne Sabino and Chrisitan Bryant while both watch him go by and then chase? This type of communication breakdown has to be cleaned up or it’s going to cost them a game. Read More
As a part of the 2012 season, the Buckeye Bloggers Network is pooling their expertise to give Ohio State fans the most in-depth coverage possible for Saturday’s game.
This week tBBC looks at the special teams matchup with the Miami University RedHawks . Be sure to check out the rest of this series via the links at the bottom of this post!
As the Buckeyes look to start the Urban Meyer era, there will be many changes that fans will experience.
However, the emphasis on solid special teams, a hallmark of the previous administration, will continue under the new regime… and perhaps even be more of a point of pride.
Like the Vest, Coach Meyer has called the punt the most important play in the game. Indeed, the fact that he has taken charge of the Special Forces’ planning and preparation highlights that the man is serious about the kicking game. While at Florida, this was certainly evident- the Gators prided themselves on their ability to aggressively get after the punt and the fact that their return teams were almost expected to score every time the ball was on it’s way.
Instead of being another time to gather a fresh beverage, Buckeye fans will need to stay glued to their seats during the specialists’ time on the stage.
But before we look at what the 2012 version of the OSU Special Forces will be, let’s take a gander at the visitors from Oxford. The RedHawks return a good portion of their specialists from 2011, including punter Zac Murphy and kicker Mason Krysinski.
Murphy, a former walk on who earned third team MAC honors as a freshman, averages 39.1 yards per punt in each of his first two seasons, as well as having a long of 66 yards to his name. He was also responsible for dropping 13 punts inside the 20 last year, but had two kicks blocked in the 2011 campaign.
Krysinski, a 3.98 GPA student, struggled a bit in 2011. To go with his season long 45 yard FG against Bowling Green, he averages 56 yards a kickoff with only one touchback. It will be interesting to see if his numbers improve with the change in NCAA guidelines regarding kicks this season… and no better time to experiment than the first game of the season. He was 2-6 in field goals, and missed four extra points in 2011.
At this point, return specialists have not yet been identified, although the Miami media guide indicates that 50% of the punt return yards and 98% of the kick return yards return for the 2012 campaign. My guess is that, barring a new face deep to receive (Freddie McRae?), we might see defensive back Dayonne Nunley or receiver Dawan Scott awaiting kicks.
The RedHawks coverage team excelled at times last year, holding punt returns to a 7 yard average and kickoff returns to just over 14 yards per attempt. They allowed one punt return for a TD, and scored none themselves.
Ok. Now to the good guys. Read More
Well Buckeye fans, we are halfway home to the end of the 2011 season. Standing at 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the B1G, this year has been some dizzying highs (winning the Sugar Bowl) and far too many lowest of lows. The real question is where the Ohio State Buckeyes grade out for the first half of the season and keys to improvement. Players and coaches will be broken down and evaluated on their performance so far. So, listen up scarlet and gray clad coaches and players. Professor Schmidbauer is here to hand out some first half grades.
Breakdown: Anyone wondering what kind of faith the offensive coaches had in Braxton
Miller got a pretty good idea as to how much last Saturday in Champaign. The play as a whole has been pretty poor sans two games for the Buckeye signal callers. Joe Bauserman’s initial start against Akron was a solid debut for the resident geriatric of Ohio State. Braxton Miller’s first start against the Colorado Buffaloes was a nice debut as well. The rest of the performances have been lackluster, and I think we would all agree that is putting it kindly. Now the team is officially Miller’s and it seems like the Buckeyes can ride him as far as the freshman can carry them, well assuming there is not a strong wind anyway.
Area to Improve: If there is one key to the Buckeye season reaching eight or, dare I say, nine wins, it has to be the passing game. Ohio State proved you can win a game by only completing one pass, but it goes without saying we don’t want to see if the team can accomplish that feat again. Braxton Miller has not been able to consistently make throws in big spots in games yet, and opponents know that. You can believe that a serviceable passing will be a necessity to reach a New Year’s Day bowl game. Read More
We’re hoping everyone has had enough time to grieve, analyze, and recover from the Miami shock. It’s time to find out what we’re hoping to see against the Buffaloes this weekend. Update- We got to be guests on Fox Sports Ohio’s “Wish List” this week… Woot!
First Downs. After last weekend, let’s just start with the basic building block on offense and get some first down. Extra bonus points for sustained scoring drives.
Big Plays. I don’t care who does it, but I want to see the Buckeyes loosen up, gain some momentum, gain some yards, and start having fun on the offensive side of the ball. I want to see some big plays (20+ yards) and some excitement. I realize this request may be a bit greedy after what we saw last Saturday, but nothing will get the offense rolling and the confidence flowing again like some huge plays.
Start Fast. With a struggling offense, playing from behind is the absolute worst thing that can happen. Let’s start fast, get a lead, loosen up and have some fun.
Defense being the defense. With a little help from the offense (gaining first downs to give them a breather every once and awhile), I look for the defense to continue to be good.
I thought the offensive line had a great challenge. It was kind of like one of those you get into a stalemate and you get into it, and you get into it, fortunately by the fourth quarter we won that stalemate. Probably didn’t win it early. Do they feel good about the fact that we didn’t win it throughout? I would hope that the competitor in all of us, we’d all like everything to work all the time, but you could see them on film. They’re a good football team. Especially in the trenches.
I thought they did a nice job of working the safeties down into the box, both run and pass, they tricked us the one time and robbed that little spot route and it was a similar coverage, though, when we threw the corner route behind it for the touchdown, but they got us the first time with it, and that also allowed them to have those extra guys in the box. That has a little bit to do with where the line goes toward where they work up the linebackers and safeties sometimes, but, no, it was — it was a reality, man, that was a tough one.
And now we have a chance to come home, play against an Indiana team that they threw it 64 times last week, 98 plays, you know, those receivers are veterans. The quarterback, of course, is a veteran. Their running back does a nice job in protection, and the amount that they run him, he’s very good at it and he’s a good receiver as well.
Defensively they struggled against a very fast, fast offense that Michigan brought at them. And special teams-wise, their return men, they’ve always done a good job on kickoff return against us and Doss is back there again.
I wish we had more balls. That sounds terrible.
Apologies for the tardiness, the “Fastest recap on the web” seemingly had the same issues that the Buckeye offense did today. These are my quick thoughts; Jim will bring more insight on Monday: