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
The Heisman trophy has been awarded. The Buckeyes are gaining recruits. Buckeye basketball players are shooting hoops. It’s almost Christmas time. Let’s rumble!
On Saturday the Heisman trophy was awarded to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Why did people outside the SEC region vote for Manziel? Yes, he accumulated 4600 total yards on the season. Sure, he won at Alabama. So, let me get this straight: The requirements to be the “most outstanding player in college football” is to have the most yards and beat an SEC “super power”? Being a leader no longer matters. Neither does keeping your nose clean off the field. Leading a team with the hardest schedule in college football to an undefeated season and spearheading a defense that allows ten (10!) touchdowns for an entire season doesn’t matter either apparently.
I should be ecstatic. Apparently having the name Notre Dame attached to yours no longer guarantees trophy’s the way it has in the past. We all remember when Troy Smith won the Heisman in 2006 and being worried that Brady Quinn might edge him out simply because of the name Notre Dame. After Saturday’s Heisman vote, that is clearly a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it’s been replaced by another stigma or fallacy, and that is simply being associated with the mighty SEC. Why do I say that? Let’s be honest: If Manziel plays for Texas A&M of the Big 12 and has his “Heisman moment” Thanksgiving night against the Texas Longhorns, I don’t care how many yards Manziel accumulated, Manti Te’o would be the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner. But because Manziel plays in the SEC and beat Alabama, well, that’s Herculean and should obviously be rewarded.
If you don’t believe me, look at the voting. The southern region of the country ie SEC-land voted overwhelmingly for Manziel. Not really that surprising. The shocker was the amount of folks in the Midwest and East that voted for Manziel. Some surely voted for “Johnny Football” because they dislike the Irish, while others I can guarantee voted for him “because he did what he did in the SEC”. And that’s rubbish.
Manziel was not “the most outstanding player in college football” in 2012, stats be damned. The Heisman has always been an accumulation of stats, team achievement, off the field success, highlight moments and their personal story. With the exception of stats, Manti Te’o trumps “Johnny Football” in every category. But he didn’t win it. He lost to the stigma of the SEC.
How far is this going to go and when is it going to end?
Not gonna lie… got a pretty mellow vibe for this week’s updates.
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.
52-49, the final score on Saturday night in Bloomington, left a lot of people outraged. The game should never have ended that close or ever been that close to begin with. However, due to a set of circumstances that left a lot of people scratching their heads, it happened and we have to move on from it. Let’s start now and officially put Indiana to rest.
Dark Day 3?
Was Saturday night going to end up being labeled “Dark Day 3″? Almost. While there is a ton of finger pointing to go around (officiating being one that deserves a review from some board of something, somewhere) the majority of fingers are pointing firmly at Luke Fickell and his Silver Bullet defense that was shredded for 481yards of total offense by the Hoosiers.
To his credit, Fickell has taken the criticism and spoken openly about the problem. The fact that he is admitting there is a problem is a huge step in the right direction to correcting the mess we watched on Saturday night. But how bad was it schematically that we should level all the blame on Fickell? Luke can’t make any tackles, he can’t take better pursuit angles, he can’t get guys off blockers and he certainly can’t use his shoulders to tackle instead of reaching for ankles or thighs. I’ve made this argument before and after watching what unfolded this past weekend it has to be repeated: Luke seems to have guys in the right spots, they just don’t make the play.
There is this myth going around that Ohio State is playing too much zone defense and therefore allowing these spread offenses to have free run and thus putting poor fundamental tackling players in positions to have to make plays they are not capable of making. It all sounds good except for one thing: They’re not running Luke Fickell’s (or Ohio State through time, in general for that matter) standard 4-3, they’re running Urban Meyer’s variations of it. Those variations appear to demand a type of player on defense that Ohio State, for the most part and certainly excluding the defensive line, does not have on campus yet. It’s what started getting the SEC ball rolling in the early 2000’s: defensive ends that can run like linebackers, linebackers that run like safeties and safeties that run like corners but hit like linebackers.
I’d also like clarification on what exactly the coverage calls are. I know we won’t get it from the staff and we shouldn’t, but if it’s true that they are (I’m not explaining this, so you may want to skip to the next bold headline) in a cover 4 base, then it’s the “one on one” matchups everyone is clamoring for that is actually the problem. My point is: This is Urban Meyer’s defense. It’s going to take time for Luke Fickell to learn to call it and recruiting the players to be on the field to execute it.
For my money, the real reason for concern is that they didn’t step on Indiana’s throats defensively when they had them down. Remember, they were given an 18 point lead and clearly went lax and gave IU the opportunity to get back in the game. This cannot happen against bad teams (see Indiana or even California) let alone some of the better teams on the schedule still remaining (see Wisconsin and Michigan). Against Nebraska, the hammer fell. They were up big and the defense attacked like sharks with blood in the water. What made the lead at Indiana so different? Oh, that’s right, it’s only Indiana. That line of thinking left the Buckeyes fortunate to escape.
Got Your Back Read More
Stay on the Gas. Part Two. Well, it wasn’t the 100 point game. The offense did their best to keep their end of the bargain up, but the defense decided to sleep on the job.
Young Guns. Part ?. We saw quite a few young guns in the defense, which may have hurt us more than it helped. The offensive side of the ball, however, saw very few young guns doing anything productive – beyond Rod Smith’s 6 carries for 40 yards anyway.
Freak Show Coming together. Just About. We got a blocked punt for a TD thanks to Travis Howard. Rod Smith also did a fair job on the kick-off returns. Balance that with a blocked punt for Indiana and a missed field goal.
End the Misconception. Well, we did not manage to end any misconceptions, when we needed just about every point we scored to claim the win in the end. We’ll have to step on someone’s throat in a different game.
Start strong on O, Stay strong on O. The Buckeyes scored the first 10 points, including a touchdown on their first drive. Unfortunately they went into a lull for 10 minutes at the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second before scoring another pair of TDs. There’s still a little on-and-off, hot-and-cold to this offense, though it seems to be improving.
Passing yard practice. We threw a bit more, but only completed 13 of 24 passes. Two of those are special thanks to Devin Smith, who should have had 4 receiving touchdowns on the day. Think of what you could have done by yourself Devin…just think. More practice is clearly called for.
Bring your kids to work day. I couldn’t actually tell you how many of the youngsters on the D-Line made it into the game. Someone else will have to save me on this one.
Nate Williams is out, and Zach Boren has been moved to linebacker. And that’s just what we knew about heading into the game; a matchup that Ohio State dominated until mental lapses and a “never say die” Hoosier team made the contest too close for comfort late.
Since Eric is at a wedding and Tim’s got work, you’re stuck with me for the recap. Buckle up.
Braxton was able to get enough of the passing game going over the middle of the field to keep the Hoosiers honest, and found Jake Stoneburner for an early first down catch on a close call. A pass interference call kept the Ohio State drive alive, and Braxton made a good read on an option pitch to Corey Brown for the first Buckeye score. After a three and out by IU, the Buckeyes took over again and began to feed Carlos Hyde. After one first down, though, the Buckeyes were forced to punt, and IU began on their own seven yard line. The Hoosiers continued to have the dropsies, and IU punted back to Ohio State. Rod Smith reported for duty for Ohio State on their third drive. After a couple of nice runs, Devin Smith dropped a sure touchdown forcing Braxton to scramble on third down to pick up the long first. A couple of times during the first quarter, Ohio State showed a new wrinkle of a “touch pass”- they were unsuccessful in converting, though, and Drew Basil added his third field goal of the season.
Indiana got their first first down of the game, and began to move up tempo. Indiana ran an off-tackle play to Stephen Houston who ran 53 yards for the score, and the Hoosiers drew within three. Heuerman dropped the first down pass attempt, and Indiana was able to feather the option attempt and stop Braxton from any gain. A false start put OSU at third and 15; Braxton was only able to pick up five yards and the Buckeyes punted… and it was blocked by Indiana. The Hoosiers started at their own 17, and gained two yards prior to the end of the quarter. Read More
Offensive Consistency.At times this season, and especially last Saturday against Cal, our offense has looked spectacular and unstoppable. At other times it looks as though they’re impersonating themselves from last year. I want to see the offense have more consistency in their production, few or no three and outs.
Receivers that can catch. This goes along with the offensive consistency. The Receivers need to make catches. Sometimes Miller throws the ball too fast or more rarely just in an awful spot… but too many times a good throw has been ruined by the receiver dropping it.
More ground production from halfbacks. Hall had a solid return with 80 or so yards, but never looked particularly flashy. Hardly anyone else even touched the ball. It was nice to see Miller cut back on his carries and give us hope he won’t be injured from pushing himself on the ground, but someone needs to fill those yards he leaves.
A Defense that tackles. I think I’m going to call the defensive seniors from my undefeated-playoff bound home school Northwood Rangers to see if they can teach our defense how to tackle. It’s the most basic of basic fundamental skills, and we seem to have totally forgotten how to do it. Ryan Shazier is the poster boy for it. He seems more keen on going for the highlight reel smashing hit, than just wrapping up and making sure the guy is down.
Linebackers that live up to their legacy. Boy what I would give to have the likes of AJ Hawk, Bobby Carpenter, Andy Katzenmoyer, or James Laurinaitis back for a few games. These line backers have so much talent and so much potential, but just have no lived up to it thus far. The aforementioned Shazier shows tons of promise, but just needs to tackle!!!!
Consistency. I have yet to see any consistency with this team. They do pull together to get the W but I would love 4 consistent quarters.
Less Wounded Ducks. Braxton has wowed us with his legs. He has hit some timely passes but he needs to cut down on the missed passes and hit the open receivers in stride.
Secondary Still. I’m not giving up on this. There is talent with those D-Backs, now just to show up on game day.