The regular season is over and the Buckeyes are 12-0 for the second year in a row. Their school record winning streak now sits at 24 straight games. After a thriller in Ann Arbor, the scarlet and grey now travel to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship game and a date with the Michigan State Spartans. We’ll look back, ahead and farther forward. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
The Game blues
As much as we all tried to say we expected a tough game, it didn’t seem like many of us actually believed it could possibly happen. I’m no different. After seeing Michigan the past couple of weeks and reading their stat-lines, I felt a blowout was imminent. We were reminded by the Wolverines just what rivalry is all about.
I certainly don’t mean to talk them up or give them much time in this column at all, but credit goes where it is deserved. Brady Hoke had his team ready to play and they performed for him. The Wolverines were not intimidated, they kept the Buckeye coaching staff guessing and turned the Silver Bullets greatest strength against them by keeping the Buckeye defensive line in check for the majority of the game.
The team up north reminded us of several things on Saturday: 1. Never count out your rivals and 2. Anything can happen, that’s why they play the game. Read More
Here we are, another week. Grab your coffee and let’s get right to it.
A bit of a slow week, but not entirely dormant for Buckeye fans. Obviously, I’m referring to Jim Bollman being hired as OC by Michigan State after a quite brief stint as offensive line coach at Purdue. Evidently, Jim thought that he only needed a month or so to get the Purdue offensive line to the standards that we experienced in Columbus during his tenure. Since this chain of events involved Bollman, Mark Dantonio and Darrell Hazell, the Jim Tressel Coaching Tree is in full leaf.
Entering the week, the Buckeyes came off an impressive display of basketball, gouging the Gophers 71-45 in Columbus. Then Ohio State had a truly inspired effort to beat a tough, especially this time of year, Michigan State team, 68-60 on Sunday. On Wednesday OSU had an all too common experience in Evanston, toughing out a 63-53 win over a shorthanded Northwestern squad. There was quite a bit of ebb and flow until about the 3:57 mark, after ‘Zelle Smith’s 3-pointer gave OSU the lead 51-49. From that point on, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots by the Buckeyes ebbed the Wildcats into submission. Read More
After Sunday’s hoops win over TTUN, some shocking numbers and facts were brought to my attention. There is a hiring at Purdue I don’t really understand, we’ve got some quick hitters on recruiting and even some professional sports. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
No. 1? Not in Columbus
Smack dab in the middle of the NFL divisional playoff weekend was a college hoops showdown at the Schottenstein Center between our beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and their arch nemesis, that team up north. The Fighting Stink Rats came into the game at 16-0 and ranked number 2 in the country. After the top ranked Duke Blue Devils fell to North Carolina State on Saturday, TTUN was poised to step into the number one spot when Monday’s polls were released. All they had to do was win in Columbus.
Admittedly, I wasn’t too sure our guys could beat them. After coming from ahead to lose at Dook and getting thumped by Kansas at home and Illinois on the road, my hoops confidence level was somewhere around a 5 out of 10. Of course, this was TTUN they would be playing on Sunday and it was being played at home in front of the Buckeye Nuthouse. It wouldn’t be of “shock the world” caliber, but a win would have been surprising to most considering the Stink Rats had been dominating opponents and looking like it may actually be there season to shine after all these years in the dark.
In a week that was seen as a “meh” on the national scene, it was nonetheless a great Saturday for football. Here’s today’s soundtrack, inspired by Coach Meyer’s comments following the clash with Michigan State.
Well, it may have been the weekend before October, but it certainly was another chance for folks to show off their new costumes.. some for better and some for worse. Let’s start in Lincoln.
Proving yet again that they’re better geared as a soccer kit provider, Adidas decided that the game between Nebraska and Wisconsin would be a great opportunity for all the children of the world to bone up on either their periodic table or their consonants. Huge thanks to our friend Grant at Buckeye Empire for the in-game screencap that you see on the right… it wasn’t quite that bad, but pretty close. Watching the game was pretty traumatic, to be honest… way too many flashbacks… and it shows that this week’s matchup will be another major test for both teams. We’ll obviously have much more on the Cornhuskers this week, but if that’s what “skipping rocks” looks like, it might be a long night in Columbus.
Also in B1G play, the “Meandering Illini” were outfitted with some new duds as they welcomed Penn State to the wind tunnel that is Memorial Stadium. I’m torn on the “matte” helmet look- I really like it, until it gets scuffed. Then? It looks pretty junior varsity… and as a lineman, I can’t imagine a non-scuffed helmet. In the days leading up to this game, you just knew there’s be a lot of paint being traded on both sides; Illinois looking to rebound from their embarrassment against Louisiana Tech, and Penn State looking to rebound from… well… everything. Add the “Illinois sent assistant coaches to Happy Valley” angle, as well as two coaches looking to make a statement in their first conference openers, you’ve got to figure that these teams would look for every opportunity to put a lot of points on the other. Unfortunately for Coach Beckman, that ended up being pretty one sided 35-7 loss. Read More
To get Buckeye Nation ready for the first Spring Game in Urban Meyer’s tenure at Ohio State, the Buckeye Bloggers Network wanted to take an in-depth look at each position following spring practice. Be sure to check out all of the coverage!
The easy comment on the offensive line, be it at Ohio State or nationwide, is that the season will hinge on their performance.
Again, that’s the standard answer, but I have to believe that this year it bodes more true than ever in Columbus. There are playmakers elsewhere on Offense, and the Defense (while thin in places) has the potential to be terrifying for opposing offensive coordinators.
But the Buckeye Offensive Line is a mystery at this point; which was evidenced merely looking at Coach Meyer’s emphases on the recruiting trail beginning last season. It’s not enough that they are replacing both tackles and their four year starter at center. It’s not enough that they are now “loaded” with talent amassed by James “Meh, one guard a year is all we need” Bollman, who annually defined the word “reach” with the recruiting offers he seemed to facilitate.
Nope, in addition to those obvious concerns comes this- the team’s offensive identity is taking a major shift. Gone are the days of “Dave, Dave, Draw, Punt”; we now have an offensive scheme that requires linemen to a) be in top cardiovascular shape and b) pass block as effectively as run block. In other words, there’s some coachin’ to do.
So, if you’re like me (my condolences), you’re incredibly interested in seeing how the anchor of the team’s successes will look on Saturday. Will Braxton’s runs in the fall be designed or out of necessity? Will long runs be due to Jordan and Carlos and Rod and Brionte’s talent, or due to the gaping holes that are waiting for them? Will my summer be spent in quiet confidence or wondering instead how what the record for most “three and outs” by a Buckeye team might be?
Saturday gives us our first clue. Onward.
What will be most different this year than last?
We’ve talked about the tempo and scheme being gently called “the polar opposite of Tresselball”, let’s take a look at the new faces in the new places. First, the team lineups: Read More
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
Well, let’s try to put a bow on this, shall we? Silk purse, sow’s ear and all that… Actually, there’s a lot to be positive about looking back at the team’s efforts against TTUN- and some things that definitely need attention.
Defensive Heart. Depends on who you’re looking at- Shazier played his heart out, and Simon/Hankins were fighting on every play (funny how that happens when you get held). The secondary, though… wow, we’re going to need a tune up before next season.
A worthy offensive gameplan. Throwing the ball on first down? Sweet sassy molassy… what was that? My only frustration is that this type of game plan would have won against Michigan State, Penn State, and Purdue… What took Bollman so long?
A Jake Stoneburner touchdown. Nope- but he was targeted. And we had Fragel sightings again!
Weeping M*ch*g*n fans. Sigh.
Beat M*ch*g*n. Double Sigh. Read More
It’s still the Ohio State/M*chigan game, still the greatest rivalry in all sports. We wouldn’t attack it any other way. That’s what is remembered. We understand that. We know that. Our guys have understood that regardless of what the situation has been in the last 10 years that I’ve been here or even the five years I was here as a player.
When you come here, you know what it’s about. That’s why I’d say 70 percent of our guys are from that 250 mile radius, been grown up, born into it, and know more about what this rivalry is all about than most.
Your Michigan counterpart refers to your employer just as “Ohio.” Have you noticed that, first of all?
…Coach Bruce or Coach Hayes used to not refer to the team up north or whatever that is, hopefully that it’s no disrespect to Ohio University, they are Ohio, but it is what it is.
We might refer to M*chigan in different ways, too. Read More