We are 10 days away from kickoff in Ohio Stadium! Can you feel it?! The excitement is real and the anticipation is high for 2013. Let’s take a look at the few things we’ve gathered from practices since we last met and finish our look at the college football schedule from a national perspective as we look at November and December. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
What we know
After a quiet spring and early summer, the suspension total from off-field shenanigans added up pretty fast. As it stands currently: Carlos Hyde will miss 3 games, Bradley Roby a minimum of 1 with potential for more to be added, Rod Smith will miss the opener while Najee Murray and Marcus Baugh are out indefinitely.
The one with the most to lose, in my humble opinion, has to be Rod Smith. Compliments of the stupidity of Hyde not walking away from an enraged “woo girl” at a club, Smith was going to be given the chance to see a starters share of the carries in the opener against Buffalo. There’s no question that Urban Meyer wants to move Jordan Hall all over the field, thus giving Smith plenty of opportunity to tote the rock.
Who knows, if he holds onto the ball showing he’s overcome the little bit of “fumble-itis” he showed last season and chews up 100 yard games in the first three, maybe he makes it very tough for them to take the ball out of his hands and just give the lion share of the load to El Guapo? It’s certainly possible. Instead he’ll have to watch as Bri’ontee Dunn or Warren Ball get those carries and get quality game reps. Now he has to convince Meyer and his staff that they should take the ball out of the hands of Dunn or Ball and give it to him. And if either of those two, or both, look good in the opener, why should they hand Rod Smith the keys to the Porsche especially knowing that one of the offenses leaders is returning two weeks later? Read More
Occasional contributor Jessi returns to give us her thoughts on the upcoming season under Urban Meyer.September 1st of 2012. To most college football fans, it marks the beginning of a football season for their respective teams. To others, it means “redemption” from the past year – a sort of “resurrection” from the ashes of failure into the fire of champions. For dominance, for recognition, and most importantly for pride. This is what most college football programs will focus on this season.
As for Ohio State? Well, set your expectations into “experimental mode” and get ready for the ride of your life. My opinion comes from years of watching Tressel lead at OSU along with the Urban Meyer era at the University of Florida. As an Alumni of Ohio State during the Tressel era, being a die-hard fan through troubled times, I feel that my experiences will help you understand my thought process which gives me my own personal expectations for the 2012-2013 season of The Ohio State Buckeyes.
November 28th, 2011. The Ohio State Football program got the chance of a lifetime. Urban Meyer was announced as head coach for The Ohio State University. This, after Luke Fickell suddenly became head coach and proudly said: “The 2011 Buckeyes will not be compared or contrasted to previous years. It will be about respect, toughness, and being men of action.”
This quote gives me chills, because it is still incredibly relevant for the upcoming season.
With New Orleans and the Buckeyes Final Four appearance rapidly approaching, I thought it would be a great time to re-visit Ohio State’s last Final Four appearance in 2007. The 2007 team was young but their 35-4 record, topped off with a National Title game appearance, showed that you don’t always have to have experience to compete for a national title.
Let’s start by evaluating the roster. Five new recruits joined the Bucks that year led by 7’0, 5-Star, power tower named Greg Oden. He was joined by his Lawrence North high school teammate Mike Conley Jr. Conley was also a 5-Star recruit. The top of the line recruits did not end there. The third addition to this 5-star triple threat was Dayton Dunbar’s Daequan Cook. This gave Thad Matta a great trio but he still added two 4-star recruits in David Lighty from Celeveland Villla-Angela St. Joseph High School and, Junior College Transfer, Othello Hunter from Winston Salem, North Carolina. These five would join juniors, Jamar Butler and Matt Terwilliger and seniors, Ivan Harris and Ron Lewis.
The combination of freshmen, juniors, and seniors would give this team the perfect mix of raw talent, athleticism, and leadership leading to a season opening ranking of #4 in the polls. The Buckeyes began the season by reeling off six straight wins to head into the Big Ten-ACC Challenge 6-0. By this time, Ohio State had shot its way to the #1 ranking and now had a date in Chapel Hill against the #6 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels.The marquis matchup was played in the historic Dean Smith Center in front of a crowd of 21,750. North Carolina featured its own standout in Ty Lawson. The game was close throughout but Lawson and the Tar Heels proved to be a little too much for the Bucks, winning 98-89.
After a wins against Valparaiso, Cleveland State, Cincinnati, and Iowa State, the Bucks took its talents to Gainesville, Florida. The trip to face the Gators was another early season test that Coach Matta knew would prepare his team for the upcoming Big Ten season. This also would be a pivotal game because it would lead to a rematch of these two teams in the 2007 title game. Billy Donovan’s Gators handled the young Buckeyes 86-60, giving them their second loss of the season and also proving that the senior leadership and young talent had a ways to go to mesh and become a championship level team.
Happy 2012! Here’s our version of the weekly wish list for the Gator Bowl… the last Buckeye bowl game for a while.
A Will To Win - This is the first time since 2004 that Ohio State isn’t in a BCS bowl…. With a whole new fold in place for the upcoming season, it’s important to go out and play like you want to win this meaningless bowl. It just sets up momentum heading into the spring and leaves a lasting mark.
Seniors and Juniors Play their Best - Seniors and Juniors, this is the last time you will ever compete in a bowl situation ever again. Cherish it. Enjoy it. Play your heart out like your life depended on it. It might just be another bowl to everyone else, but for you guys– it’s your last chance to compete in the “post-season.”
Run it Up the Gut - As much as everyone is looking forward to new Urban Meyer folds in the offense, I want to see a game like the Illinois contest, where Ohio State runs it a heavy amount. Okay, not that much, but still I’d love to see two 100 yard rushers and some secondary scorers out of the backfield.
Ebner Strike - The Bo Rein most inspirational player on the squad deserves a BIG day on special teams. Here’s to hoping that he gets that against Florida. Read More
The Basics: Tuesday, January 2, 2012, 1:00 PM EST on ESPN2, from Jacksonville. Ohio State (6-6, 3-5 B1G) and Florida (6-6, 3-5 SEC).
It’s really hard to believe that in the history of both programs that the 2006 National Championship game was the first ever match-up between these two teams. This one hardly qualifies as a rematch and it is getting plenty of press about being the Urban Meyer Bowl. Both teams are 6-6 headed into the game and have some similarities after the record but very few. Let’s start with the men in charge.
Will Muschamp took over the reigns from Coach Meyer last December after his retirement from coaching. He grew up in Gainesville and appears to be the leader of the future even after a very sub par season that had National Title expectations. Muschamp has a great pedigree of coaching and more recently was the head coach in waiting at Texas but just couldn’t pass up the Gator opportunity. In his 17th year of coaching he has a defensive background and has had great success as a coordinator posting several top 10 defenses and this years squad is NO different coming in at #9. He has a bright future in Florida and has been left with some great talent as a result of Coach Meyers recruiting efforts.
Luke Fickell is admired by many for what he has done in leading these Buckeyes this season. Tabbed originally as the interim head coach to stand in while Coach Tressel took a five game suspension, he was eventually given the title for the entire season when Coach Tressel resigned. Fickell played for Ohio State on one of the best lines to ever play there and lived in the trenches with Mike Vrabel and Matt Finkes. He has spent all of his time coaching at Ohio State save for two years at Akron. He recently turned down an opportunity to coach the Zip so he could return to his alma mater under Coach Meyer. He was the only person for the job this year and has done an admirable job at holding things together and giving the team a good reason to win this game and finish on a high note before Coach Meyer takes over the next day. Read More
One of those cliche’ phrases that seems to come true more times than not is that “defense wins championships”. It is true that most of the elite teams do what they do the defensive way and that if you choose to dictate what the opponents offense can and will do, you will win. The Buckeyes and Gators aren’t playing for a National title this time, but they are playing for Coach Meyer bragging rights. Which team IS better, his old team that he clearly will always have an affection for? Or his new team that he has always dreamt of coaching and now holds the key to the future of in THE Ohio State Buckeyes?
Let’s get into crunching some numbers about these two defenses. On paper the Gators appear to have the edge. #9 overall in the nation and only giving up 299 yards a game and allowing roughly 3 scores a game is 25th in the nation. Their #39 rush defense has allowed an average of 132 YPG and their pass efficiency defense is in the top 20 at 114. Yardage wise, their #10 pass defense only gives up 167 YPG.
In what has been an off-year for the Buckeyes they’re a ways down the list in national rankings. Overall they have the 24th ranked defense in the nation at 328 YPG. They are right behind the Gators in the scoring category at almost 3 scores a game. The rush defense has given up 142 YPG and comes in at 53 while the pass efficiency defense has been average at 125, good for 48th in the country. They don’t give up the yards in the passing game though, ranking 15th with only 186 YPG given up.