Behind Enemy Lines: Bucks Conquer Berkeley

Written September 16th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye
California Dreamin'

California Dreamin’

In lieu of “Shots From The ‘Shoe” this week, here’s what the day was like for Ohio State fans as the team was on the road. We’ve covered the ins and outs on the field, this is more of a travelogue from gameday.

Seemingly like the rest of Buckeye Nation, I made the trek north to the Bay Area for an amazing weekend of college football. I actually hesitate to call this “Behind Enemy Lines”, as Berkeley seemed to have turned into Columbus west for the better part of Friday and Saturday.

The atmosphere was energized… a gorgeous fall day, the fog burned off around 11:30 or so and we spent the afternoon in sun and temperatures around the high 70s. Even from blocks away, you could tell that Ohio State fans would be well represented in the newly renovated Memorial Stadium.

As you may have heard, Cal is not configured for much “tailgating” in the traditional sense. I guess they’d much rather have another organic chai shop than creating accessible parking that the pre-game festivities would require. Nevertheless, folks found a way.

IMG_8388

On Friday, I’d gone by famous Telegraph Avenue with the wife to do some shopping in Berkeley’s well known music and book stores. I chose to “blend in” by wearing my tie-dyed shirt… Buckeye specific, of course. It didn’t take long for me to get severa “O!H!” greetings, as well as a “F***the Buckeyes!” from a moron in blue and gold. Must have been a Michigan exchange students.

Saturday, it was good to see that someone else had my incredible fashion sense. Read More

What Do You Want to See On Saturday? Cal

Written September 13th, 2013 by Gary Russell II

This week marks the Buckeyes’ first road game of the campaign so let’s see what our staff wishlist look like:

Moar Please

Ken:

  1. Run the Ball – Cal is giving up 5.75 YPC. And it will keep Cal  below their 90-95 plays per game target.
  2. Pressure on their QB –  Come at Goff via stunts, blitzes, whatever. They want to throw and we should break them of this habit.
  3. Mix Up Play Calling with Play Action – Cal’s D is young and relatively inexperienced. They can be had; let’s have them.
  4. No Injuries
  5. A Win
Scott:
  1. Poll Rising – Score 60-70 points so we stop falling in the polls.

WvaBuckeye:

  1. Ball Control – Want to see what ball control offense really looks like prior to Hyde returning. Feed Hall/Wilson/Smith/Ball the rock. Pass when we need to.
  2. Electricity – Simple. Electrify and quiet the stadium at the same time with a KO return for TD by Wilson.
  3. QB Controversy? – Even if Braxton is healthy. We may have a QB semi-controversy   Kenny G deserves playing time but maybe not at the expense of a rolling O under Braxton’s command. If they stumble a little lets see what Kenny does. He’s earned it. Read More

Scripted Takes: Ohio State -vs- Cal

Written September 16th, 2012 by Jason

Jason joins us again with another review of the roller coaster that was this week’s game:

Make The Great State Of Ohio Proud

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!

Fundamental issues

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

Ohio State 35, Cal 28: Urban Meyer Remarks

Written September 15th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

Coach Meyer’s comments following the win over the California Golden Bears, courtesy of Fox Sports Ohio: (transcription provided by the Ohio State Athletic Department)

COACH MEYER:  Thank you all for being here.  The best thing about 3‑0 is a chance to go 4‑0.  And that’s about it.  We’ve enjoyed a win against a very quality opponent, Cal, very good athletes, well coached.

And our guys found a way.  I have been in games before where I thought we were going to lose, where I just kept waiting I thought someone would make a play, I really did.

And to see Devin Smith, having an athletic quarterback to get you out of trouble sometimes, sometimes gets you in trouble.  But what is going to happen is we’re going to have to be throw the ball, become efficient throwing.  We’ve gotten better.  You can take a look at the evolution in the past, what’s it been 12 months, or 24 months, whatever it’s been.

But since Braxton became our quarterback, he’s much better.  But we’ve got a long way to go.  It’s kind of turning into that kind of a world for us right now that there’s a lot of players, people, numbers, committed to stopping the run.

And the good thing is we are developing some receivers.  Devin Smith had a hell of a day, made a couple of great plays.  Philly Brown is a good player.  Evan Spencer is coming along.  Jake had a decent day.

We’re starting to develop a little bit of depth.  And you think about where that was to where it is now.  If this would have happened in April whatever the 7th, they said okay, they would be able to stop the run, I’d say I don’t know; we’d have to figure out a way to score.  And I think we just have to do a good job of finding a way to throw the ball a little bit better.

On defense, bad tackling.  That’s all I know, is bad tackling.  We’ve gotta get that figured out.  It’s time to play Ohio State defense and that wasn’t Ohio State defense at all.

We’ve got to get that thing worked out.  I know it won’t be from a shortage of effort.  We are going to get it worked out and go.  John Simon played hurt today.  Gave a little emotional speech in there.

He had a sore shoulder.  They kept telling me all week, it should be fine, it should be fine; it just didn’t heal as fast as we hoped.  Boy, he just lost it in the locker room as far as just sharing, opening up his soul for this team.

And I’ve done this a long time, man, and he’s as good ‑‑ you mark that down there, can you put a jersey up there or something that says John Simon, because that’s a grown‑ass man ‑‑ excuse my language ‑‑ that’s a guy.

If we have another child I want to name him, what is it, Urban John Simon Meyer or something like that.  (Laughter) can’t wait for that headline.  But that’s how much I love that guy.  I’m not ashamed to say I love him.  Love that guy.  Man.

Makes all of us look in the mirror and say:  Are we doing enough for our team.  That guy, what he just did in there, not to give you too much of what went on in there, but am I doing enough.  When I say I, as our coaching staff, are we doing enough?  Are we doing as much as he’s doing?  No.  We’ve gotta do more.  Gotta do more.  Gotta get you fired up.

And that’s what this great game teaches you.  With that said, great respect for the team we just played and the coach I know, best thing about 3‑0 is, what, a chance to go 4‑0 and get better.  Read More

Across the Web: Cal Bears

Written September 14th, 2012 by Gary Russell II

For this week’s Across the Web feature we visit with our friends from SBN’s California Golden Blogs.  The CGB was gracious to take some time and answer our questions and they even took it one step further for us.  We get the insight from a couple of different members as Kodiak and NorCalNick give us some of their views and opinions.

1. What do you make of last weekend’s PAC 12 success over the Big Ten. UCLA, ASU, and Oregon State all with wins?

Kodiak: Well, as good Cal fans, this naturally gives us a feeling of doooooom. The early reviews would be that UCLA and ASU have upgraded their coaching. Both schools seem to have underperformed relative to their recruited talent lately, particularly UCLA. Oregon State is always a bit under the radar, but Mike Riley does a great job. He might be the best coach in the Pac-12. He’ll have a down year here and there, sure. When he has veteran players, I wouldn’t want to face him.

NorCalNick: I think it’s clear that those three teams have improved immensely over last season, which isn’t a huge shock – UCLA finally has a head coach that won’t allow the talent they have to underachieve, and last year’s Oregon St. squad was unbelievably young and unbelievably injured.

That said, I think the fact that all three games were played on the west coast might have something to do with the clean sweep. Playing at home is always an advantage, but that advantage only seems to get amplified when one team is travelling 2/3rd of the way across the country.

Headed To The League

2. Cal has regularly had a speedster receiver returning kicks. Is there such a player on the roster today that OSU should worry about?

Kodiak: Brendan Bigelow is the designated speedster on kickoff returns. He’s finally recovered from a couple of HS knee injuries. Prior to getting hurt, his highlight films were a bit unreal. We haven’t really seen him unleash his potential yet, but there is plenty of coachspeak hype with how he’s starting to light it up in practice.

The guy to worry about is Keenan Allen on punt returns. He’s not a true burner, but has amazing agility and instincts in the open field for a bigger receiver.

On the other hand, Cal’s special teams units are poorly coached, so it’s all about individual brilliance by the returners and not so much a well-executed blocking scheme.

3. Given that the rest of the Nation only ever hears about USC and Oregon out of the PAC 12, we often have trouble identifying players on other teams. Name a player on each side of the ball we will know about after the and why? Read More

BBN Preview: OSU Receivers -vs- Cal’s Secondary

Written September 13th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

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 Buckeye passing game against the Cal Defense. Be sure to check out the rest of this series via the links at the bottom of this post!

Buckle Up

Coach Herman is new to Ohio State, but I don’t get the sense that he’s one to lean on hyperbole.

So, when he tells his receiving corps that they will be challenged in ways that they have not yet seen, you’ve got to believe that this will absolutely be the case.

Much has been made of Cal’s “unique” defense- a Bear (seriously) look that emphasizes stopping the interior run game. It’s also been highlighted that this philosophy is dependent upon corners and safeties who have the ability to lock their men down for the evening.  Given that Cal has been running this in a conference that can, at times, be a bit “pass happy”, it’s safe to assume that they might just know what they are doing.

And that’s just half the issue.

Coming into this season, one of the concerns that Ohio State fans and coaches each identified was the need for maturity and excellence from the receiving corps.  Part of that was due to the issues that emerged last year- new coach, true freshman sharing time with a professional rocket launcher at quarterback, and an offensive philosophy that emphasize any number of plays as long as they were “Dave”.  Losing their top playmaker for all but two games, and now losing him to graduation, it’s easy to understand why Coach Meyer came into the spring and fall looking to find out who would be the person he could count on.

I get the sense that, although we’re getting closer, they are still looking. Read More

Big Ten’s Reputation Falls on Shoulders of Buckeyes–Again

Written September 13th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

PAC Dominance?

Somewhere, Pac-12 fans are scoffing at the Big Ten.

Through two weeks of the season, the Big Ten is just 2-6 in games against teams from other BCS conferences. Both victories for the Big Ten come from Northwestern.

And week two wasn’t particularly good for Big Ten teams against teams from the Pac-12. Illinois was blown out by Arizona State, Wisconsin was beaten by Oregon State and Nebraska lost a thriller to UCLA.

There’s a chance for the Big Ten to get some of its pride back this week, though, as the conference will put its trust in Ohio State. The Buckeyes will host the Cal Golden Bears on Saturday in The Shoe.

A win for the Buckeyes won’t necessarily save face for the conference, but it will make people feel a little better about the state of the Big Ten.

The Buckeyes (2-0) are coming off a somewhat disappointing 31-16 victory against Central Florida. Cal (1-1) bounced back from a week one loss and defeated Southern Utah 50-31.

The game also marks a brutal two game road trip for the Golden Bears. After they take on the Buckeyes, all they’ve got next week is USC in the Coliseum.

Ohio State, on paper, seems to be better than Cal at most positions and should win this game handily.

However, Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen is a playmaker. On the season, Allen has 11 catches for 136 yards and one touchdown. He could present some serious problems for an Ohio State secondary that has given up several big plays early in the season.

The Buckeyes did get some good news this week, though. Running back Jordan Hall should return to the field, but it is unclear as to how much he will play. And with Carlos Hyde officially out, depth at running back is a huge question mark for the offense.

One player who can’t carry the ball as much as he did last week is Braxton Miller. 27 carries, even for a player like Miller, is too much. Urban Meyer said Wednesday he would like to see no more than 15 carries for Miller.

We will see how that plays out, especially if the game is close. If it is in fact close, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miller have more than 20 carries. This isn’t a good thing in the long run.

Ohio State should win this game. But you may wonder a bit if the Pac-12 has a slight mental edge over the Big Ten early in the season.I don’t think they do, but you can’t argue with the results.

Your turn, Buckeyes. The Big Ten is counting on you. Again.

Silver Bullet Points Has Read The Published Reports

Written September 12th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

Spiral bound and everything!

Another Wednesday, another mainstream media member making less than accurately informed statements about issues they think they understand…

Buckeye 411

  • Hall? Maybe- This week, Jordan Hall was cleared physically to play by the OSU medical staff, but the jury is still out on how “ready” he is- game speed, etc. Tuesday was a testing day, so we may hear more as the week progresses; personally, I’d prefer that he rest and get ready for B1G season.
  • Dodson? Better- Late Tuesday night news broke that Ohio State freshman Kyle Dodson had experienced dehydration as a part of Tuesday’s grueling practices.  The University reports that he is healthy, though, and we will keep you up to date as the situation develops.
  • Injury Updates- Nathan Williams is still banged up, and may be limited this week. Michael Bennett’s groin injury is more complicated than initially thought, he will need further time off to recover (some whispers of a possible redshirt for the sophomore).
  • Bears: One of the points that Coach Meyer emphasized was that normally this week would be a chance to review the fundamentals with the team, particularly given some of the miscommunication that still is happening on offense and defense.  However, the Cal Bears run a defense that Ohio State will only see in this week’s matchup, the famous Buddy Ryan 46 (named after former Buckeye Doug Plank). If there weren’t concerns already about OSU’s ability to run in the interior of the line, Carlos Hyde’s replacements will have to do so against a stout three man front.
  • Consider Yourself Warned- There’s a strike in Chicago that’s getting all of the news these days, but Buckeye fans should be aware of a brewing controversy on campus as well... #TeamGroundCrew
  • West Coast Speed- Cal is a program known for producing great receivers and return specialists, and this year is no exception. In the teleconference this morning, Coach Meyer pointed to Keenum Allen as yet another in the long line of skill position performers for Coach Tedford; given some of the miscommunication in the secondary, this has got to be a concern for Ohio State on Saturday.
  • Greatness Comes In Pairs: Newest Nissan “Heisman House” video is amazing for all the right reasons: Read More
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