It’s almost that time of year with only 44 days until The Ohio State Buckeyes play the Naval Academy in Baltimore.
As I sat and thought about it, I realized it would be a good time to get some opinions from the fans of Ohio State and our staff here at The Buckeye Battle Cry.
I look forward to the comments on the site and the discussion that follows. These articles are some of my favorites as it gets as many Buckeye fans involved that want to be!!!
So without holding the process up any longer I think we need to hear from the Best Damn Fans in the Land!!
Here are the questions I posed to the fans and staff:
Who do you think will be the starting cornerbacks for the Buckeyes when the season starts? Mid –Season?
Ken – Doran Grant and Armani Reeves will be opening day starters. As mid-season starters? I have no idea. There is some impressive talent (Apple, Conley, Lattimore, and Webb) but they are inexperienced. I see the variables as; the play of Grant/Reeves, the development of “youngsters and injuries. Let’s talk the week of the Penn State game.
Jason – Doran Grant and Eli Apple. I’ll say the same two at mid-season. As for why, Grant I think is obviously pretty talented. Apple I’m kind of hoping.
@GrChZebo – I think Doran Grant and Gareon Conley will be the starting CBs to start and end the season (barring injury). Grant is an obvious choice and I think Conley will better fit the mold of the “new” defense that Coach Ash is looking to install. He’s long and very athletic and I think that’s going to tip things in his favor.
Mali – Grant and Apple, and I have no idea about a mid-season change. I’m hoping that any transition at the position is due to excellence and not due to craptastic play and/or injury.
I wanted to talk about some of the talent we have on defense and how the Buckeyes’ new defensive staff will bring the most out of this talented young roster. This will be a two part article as I look at the linebackers and defensive backs.
Before I get into the staff’s new package and way of thinking defensively, I want to say something about our old “bend but don’t break” defensive package. While it was effective for many years, I think it’s just a little too passive with the development of College Football and all the spread offenses the past 5-10 years. With that being said, there is still a place for it, but that would be more for situational uses.
The one issue the Buckeyes could run into is not ensuring the defense has a true understanding of the scheme while keeping it as fresh in their minds as possible, which could turn into a nightmare. This is a good defense to play when the Buckeyes have a sizable lead that does not warrant the old “Pre-Vent defense” (which I absolutely loath).
Under the former defensive staff, our defense (attempted) to limit offenses with gadget plays or a breakdown in the scheme as their only options to move the ball. It was also easy to man up on receivers when you were giving such a cushion to the WR’s. The Buckeyes would just seek a big safety to play as the fifth defensive back, while removing a LB from the field.
That brings me to Coach Ash and his “Walkout Linebacker” role, which will be asked to do an awful lot. Finding this type of player to successfully play this position is going to take some serious evaluating and recruiting. This player must be linebacker sized and will be expected to step out and cover the slot receiver at times.
Needless to say, most linebackers do not excel in coverage, so again this will need to be a special player with speed. I mean if linebackers were that good in coverage, you would see the death of the nickel and dime packages as teams would never get out of their base defense. This position needs a new, much more “Badass” name….I think that would work right there as they will need to be one to be successful.
This could turn into a very big positive for the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail as well. How great of a selling point: if you become a Buckeye, you will be able to compete for the “Badass” position and stay on the field all three downs. If you think about NFL teams and what they are looking for, a “three-down linebacker” is one (see Seattle Seahawks). That is really what it will take to be a high first round draft pick as a linebacker going forward; He must be able to cover as he will be expected to stay on the field for all three downs. Read More
Mike checks back in with part two of his post-spring look at the Ohio State football team, getting defensive this time:
When asked to write about the Silver Bullets, I cannot express to you the level of excitement and overall outlook for our beloved Buckeyes that got me pumped for the passing of summer. This will be an improved and potentially dominating defense that will make us proud as fans.
As far as I am concerned it started with the addition of Chris Ash (DC) and Larry Johnson (DL). These coaches are difference makers at practice, game time and recruiting. The impact is already present as witnessed by over 61,000 Buckeye Fans at the Spring Game.
The scheme employed by Ash will be simple, yet aggressive in the back end of the defense. He will allow the players to use their instincts and athletic ability to make plays on a consistent basis. This will mean more press coverage and much less of the “Bend Don’t Break” mentality we have witnessed in the past.
With that being said I would like to highlight a few players that stand out to me in the secondary heading into fall:
I am very confident in our young players and Coach Ash’s ability to scheme and motivate. Once healthy, this unit is going to wreak havoc on opposing offenses in the passing game as well as run support. We will be a young secondary from day one but very solid and a group that will improve vastly as the season progresses.
The Linebacker group is the most concerning to me as a whole. Read More
We’ve reached the second bye week and the Buckeyes are on a roll. Coming off a 56-0 win at Purdue on Saturday, the Buckeyes are now closing in on the Leaders division championship and a spot in the Big Ten title game as well as keeping pace at the top of the BCS standings. We’ll look into all of it, play out some scenarios and laugh at TTUN. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
Exorcising the demons
Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette on the campus of Purdue University has been somewhat of a house of horrors for the Buckeye football program over the last decade. Losses in 2000, 2004, 2009 and 2011 have made winning at Ross-Ade tougher for the Buckeyes than winning in Ann Arbor.
Those losses certainly did not go unnoticed by the players and especially Urban Meyer and his coaching staff. When warm-ups weren’t looking crisp on Saturday morning, Meyer told reporters he had strength coach Micky Maroti show some fire in the locker-room to wind the guys up just to be sure nobody was taking the day lightly or sleep walking.
When Doran Grant stepped in front of Boilermaker quarterback Danny Etling’s pass on the second play of the opening series of the game and returned it for a touchdown, the rout was officially on and all thoughts of an ambush or even a tight finish went out the door.
The Buckeyes were dominant racking up 640 total yards. We could see this building since around the mid point of the third quarter at Northwestern and it has blossomed into a point scoring machine that is multifaceted and hits you from all angles. Jeff Heurmann had a breakout performance while Nick Vannett also hit pay-dirt in the best day Ohio State tight ends have had since the mid 90′s. Carlos Hyde did what Carlos Hyde does, he ran over around and through people. Braxton Miller was great hitting on 19 of 23 attempts and four touchdowns. And to think: They didn’t even really try to get the ball deep down the field to Devin Smith, Evan Spencer or Philly Brown.
Brax is back and you’re gonna be in trouble
I said last week after his performance against Penn State that I felt Braxton Miller was finally officially all the way back to his normal self. Against Purdue he left no doubt I was correct in that assertion. He kept plays alive with his feet despite only being credited for one carry. He was masterful in deciding where to go with the ball and several of those passes were balls that are typically described as “lasers” or “ropes”. And when you thought you’d seen it all, he scrambled to the left, avoided some defenders and flipped a touchdown toss to Philly Brown all in a space about the size of a phone booth. All in the first half. Read More
There was no bad luck this time around as the Buckeyes pounded the Boilermakers 56-0……….but did our wishes have the same good luck? Let’s check it out:
Ross-Aide stadium has been a house of horrors for the Buckeyes in recent years, but it was as friendly a home they could have found outside of Columbus today. Ohio State rode their momentum from the Penn State game last week straight through Purdue on their way to a 56-0 shutout victory and their 21st straight win dating back to last season. Braxton Miller led the way with a 19/23 passing day for 233 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception. Danny Etling threw a pedestrian 11/25 for 72 yards and an interception in the biggest loss for the Boilermakers to a Buckeye team since the 49-0 victory in 2010 that was later vacated.
Carlos Hyde and Kenny Guiton both had solid days running the football. Hyde picked up 111 yards on only 8 carries, while Guiton gained 98 on 9. Jeff Heuerman led all receivers with 5 catchs for 116 yards and 1 touchdown. Five different Buckeyes caught touchdown passes today, including: Chris Fields, Nick Vannett, Corey Brown, and Ezekiel Elliott. For Purdue, Akeem Hunt gained 23 yards on 6 carries while Gary Bush caught 2 passes for 18 yards. As a team the Buckeyes outgained the Boilermakers 630-116 overall in offensive yardage – the second 600 yard game for Ohio State in a row.
The game started about as poorly for Purdue as they could imagine. Starting with the ball, they did manage to find some running room on the ground. But facing a 2nd and five, Danny Etling tossed the ball straight into the arms of a waiting Doran Grant. Grant returned the ball 33 yards for the first touchdown of the game 57 seconds into the game. Purdue followed that drive with a three and out stopped less than a yard short of the goalline.
Things didn’t go much better for Purdue when OSU had the ball, not that you would expect them to. The Buckeyes opened with the exact same gameplan they opened with last week. The first play was a WR screen on the outside to soften up the interior of the Purdue defense. That was followed by a pass over the middle to the left side where Purdue’s defense had left a massive gap. Jeff Heuerman was the recipient of the gift of a wide open field when the safety bit on the wrong receiver. Heuerman had no trouble taking the pass 40 yards into the endzone to give the Buckeyes a two score lead.
It took their third drive for the Boilermakers to get things unbottled. A handful of good short passes intermixed with solid runs helped to keep the defense honest and the Boilers moving. Noah Spence nearly single-handedly killed what was looking like a promising drive when he charged into the backfield and hammered Etling for a sack and an eight yard loss. Purdue was forced to punt a play later after an Etling pass was batted down under pressure.
We had quite the scare in the first half last week and fans expressed their disdain with the Buckeye defense, but had plenty to be happy about, Like Mr. Hyde. Here are the interactions from fans across twitter from last week’s battle with Iowa!
@JayBuckeye74 -Hyde and Miller with big plays. It’s a tie.
@wvabuckeye – El Guapo TD
@DaveGags12 – Carlos Hyde TD
@The_BBC – Braxton’s Scramble
@osumarchingmom – It’s a tie between Braxton and Hyde.
@JayBuckeye74 – Hyde and Miller
@rkayjay02 – Hyde
@wvabuckeye – Braxton Miller
@DaveGags12 – Braxton
@The_BBC – Guapo
@osumarchingmom – Tyvis Powell
@JayBuckeye74 – Doran Grant
@rkayjay02 – Powell
@wvabuckeye – Powell
@DaveGags12 – Tyvis Powell
@The_BBC – NONE
@osumarchingmom – Basil!!!
@MDotySr - after the tackle on the opening kickoff I was hoping Basil would get some LB snaps!!!
@JayBuckeye74 – Basil
@rkayjay02 – Basil tackle!!
@wvabuckeye – Basil makes tackle
@DaveGags12 – Basil
@The_BBC – Basils tackle
Tried some new hash-tags this week that seemed to be a little fun!! It was intended to mean what was good and not so good about Iowa themselves but I enjoyed the answers!!!! Great job everyone!
@osumarchingmom – The crowd!
@JayBuckeye74 - Doran Grant solid cb, oline beast mode, Hyde and miller hitting stride, Wilson making plays.
@rkayjay02 – good o-line second half
@wvabuckeye – Iowa O-line
@DaveGags12 – O-line
@The_BBC – OL
@osumarchingmom – Defensive Coordinator (has to fix game plan I think)
@jasonMorrowSM – The 85-yard TD pass on 2nd & 20. Blown assignments. Spence has to check TE off the LOS
@JayBuckeye74 - LB play, dline struggled, d playcalling, miller deep ball
@rkayjay02 – D, especially the secondary
@wvabuckeye – tackling
@DaveGags12 – tackling
@The_BBC – LB coverage
Thanks for participating in last week’s “Fan Interact!” Make sure to join us after the game next week!
If a bye week has taught me anything, it’s that I actually pay more attention to my work when we have one! I’m taking the opportunity to combine Rumblin, Stumblin, Bumblin with #tBBCFansInteract this week due to no special guest. Busy lives take away from peoples fun time and I cannot blame them for that. Let’s get started with the fans interaction from the Nerdwestern game which will play right into my Rumblin this week.
#NWTOPPLAY or #NWPOTG
@wvabuckeye - is the spot by head linesman on that play. Had a great look and came in. He knew they didn’t because of Shazier
@DaveEggen40 - braxton finding philly, especially after how he started
@RealBuckIGuy - Hyde.
@The_BBC - Huge stop on 4th and short AND Brax scramble pass to Philly
@Derek2k3 – Hyde
@ErictBBC - Carlos Hyde reach TD
@BleedinBuckeyes – Offense overall
@ConquestNorman – Grant INT
@osumarchingmom - A no brainer…Carlos Hyde.
@wvabuckeye – Hyde
@The_BBC = Carlos Hyde
@Derek2k3 – Hyde
@DaveEggen40 – Carlos Hyde
@ErictBBC – Carlos Hyde
@BleedinBuckeyes – Hyde
@ConquestNorman – Hyde
@The_BBC – Joey Bosa
@wvabuckeye – Doran Grant
@DaveEggen40 – Michael Bennett
@Derek2k3 – Doran Grant
@ErictBBC – Doran Grant
@BleedinBuckeyes – Grant
@ConquestNorman – no defensive MVP, what the $%&$ was that?! Read More