Keys to Victory: Indiana

Written November 3rd, 2011 by Jim

Eyes on the prize.

Indiana is not a good football team. They have never been very good so that isn’t much of a surprise, but they appear to be particularly awful this year even by their standards.

What does that mean for the Buckeyes? Well, it means that the chances of losing this weekend are very slim, but it also presents a tremendous opportunity for the team.

Rather than looking past the Hoosiers to bigger challenges down the road (aka playing flat), the Buckeyes can build off of an amazing win and continue to work themselves, week by week, into a championship caliber team.

Good teams win games; championship teams win games and get better each week in the process.

The Buckeyes have already done a great job at getting better (with some very large bumps along the way) as evidenced by the results against Wisconsin, but they need to avoid complacency by staying hungry against an inferior Hoosier squad.

Fortunately, I am confident in the coaching staff’s ability to keep the team focused, especially with the very real opportunity to play in the Big Ten championship game on the horizon if they win out.

Jim Tressel always said that Novembers are for contenders, and the Buckeyes are once again contenders in what has historically been a very successful month for them.

The team doesn’t control their destiny entirely; they are depending on Nebraska or Wisconsin (or both) to knock off Penn State to open the door to the Big Ten title game completely, but the chances of that happening are high and the Buckeyes need to prepare each week like they are getting ready for the championship game.

Here are my keys to taking the first step this week. Read More

Keys to Victory: Nebraska

Written October 6th, 2011 by Jim

Do I think the Buckeyes can win on Saturday night? Yes, I always think the Buckeyes can win.

What changes for me is how likely I think that outcome will be. For most games, my level of confidence in a Buckeye victory is very high.

This week… not so much.

The reason for my extreme pessimism centers almost exclusively on offensive coordinator Jim Bollman. His performance last Saturday was the sad culmination of a decade’s worth of built up frustration stemming from his bumbling mismanagement of the offense.

My faith in his ability to put together a coherent, much less effective, game plan was utterly destroyed once and for all, and it is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel while Jim Bollman is still on the staff.

Regardless of what happens for the rest of the season, getting a new offensive coordinator in 2012 is absolutely essential no matter what the head coaches name ends up being.

I still have faith in the players. The Buckeyes have some of the best talent in the Big Ten.

Unfortunately, when the offensive coordinator calls slow developing pass plays that require five offensive linemen to block seven pass rushers while the QB stands in the pocket waiting for receivers to get open 20 yards down the field over and over again; well, talent can only take you so far.

(And as an aside, let me say that the poor pass protection against the Spartans was NOT the offensive lines fault given that the scenario I outlined above was standard operating procedure throughout the entire game. Everyone railing against the offensive line needs to find another scapegoat for the pass protection problems; his name is Jim Bollman and his play calling put the entire offense in a no-win situation the entire game regardless of the level of individual or group performances.)

If Ohio State continues to squander its talent on offense under Jim Bollman’s leadership, the game against Nebraska and the rest of the season will not be pretty.

Here are my keys to the game. Read More

Keys to Victory: Colorado

Written September 22nd, 2011 by Jim

Rocky Mountain High

BREAKING NEWS: Coach Luke Fickell has confirmed that freshman Braxton Miller will be the starting QB against Colorado.

After last week’s performance, the main key to victory this week will be coming down with a strong case of amnesia.

Like a star cornerback who gives up a big completion, the Buckeyes need to move on, continue to play at a high level, and eliminate (forget) any uncertainty that may be lingering in their minds and affecting their play.

Moving the team forward will largely fall on Luke Fickell and the senior leadership. If there hasn’t been enough of them already this season, it will be another major hurdle to overcome.

Momentum has not been on Ohio State’s sideline for two straight weeks and another slow start against the Buffalos will be hugely frustrating for fans and players alike.

Nothing will be better for the Buckeye Nation’s collective football soul than starting fast, gaining some momentum, and perhaps most importantly, having some fun again.

The road to recovering starts this week.

Here are my keys to the game. Read More

Keys to Victory: Miami (FL)

Written September 15th, 2011 by Jim


It all starts up front.

The Buckeyes travel to Coral Gables on Saturday for the first planned test of the season.

On the road for the first time, under the lights, against the always talented (but not always disciplined) Hurricanes, the game will certainly be a challenge.

For the Buckeyes to come away with a victory, they will need to improve across the board following their lackluster performance against the Toledo Rockets last weekend.

The good news on that front is the reinstatement of starting RB Jordan Hall, starting CB Travis Howard,  back-up safety Corey Brown, and the return of suspended guard Corey Linsley.

These players will make the Buckeyes better.

The bad news is that starting LEO Nathan Williams will be out again this week, and his absence will continue indefinitely after getting his knee scoped.

Faced with these opportunities and challenges, the Buckeyes look to earn their third victory of the season.

Here are my keys to the game. Read More

Keys to Victory: Toledo

Written September 8th, 2011 by Jim

Keys to victory.

Coming off a solid all-around performance against Akron, Ohio State and its fans have a lot to be optimistic about heading into game two.

The Buckeyes established a solid foundation on offense and defense to build from as they work to get better each week.

Fans and players can be optimistic, but not overconfident.

The Toledo Rockets have upset BCS opponents multiple times in the last ten years and are a favorite to win the MAC conference this season.

They will be a bigger challenge than the Zips.

At the same time, the usual MAC talent gap still exists, although it is not as large this week compared to last.

However, it is still there and the Buckeyes are clearly the better team.

The Rockets also represent a significant shift in offensive philosophy from the Zips; creating a substantially different challenge for the defense to overcome.

Regardless, if the Buckeyes take care of business, they will notch their second win of the season on Saturday- and in convincing fashion.

Follow me after the jump for the “keys to victory” against Toledo. Read More