Vince Lombardi used to tell his teams that they would strive for perfection while knowing full well they’d never reach it. However, he knew that somewhere along the way in the pursuit of perfection they would end up being pretty good. By defeating (we can say the M word again) Michigan on Saturday, the Buckeyes achieved perfection. Along the way they faced adversity and doubters but still wound up being pretty good!
The Reckoning: Mission Accomplished
The 109th rendition of The Game was more than an opportunity to finish a season unbeaten (only the 6th in school history) it was a chance to right a wrong. Heading into Saturday, the sting from last years game in Ann Arbor was still there. When Denard Robinson broke tackles for a 67 yard touchdown run in the second quarter all the emotions from 2011 came roaring back. It all finally subsided after seeing Carlos Hyde look to the Ohio State sideline and give Urban Meyer and his staff the “feed me” hand motion of spooning food into his mouth with around three minutes to play indicating he was more than prepared to finish off the game and that there wasn’t a thing the Wolverine defense could do to stop him.
Last week I introduced the idea of The Reckoning and wanting payback for the showboat antics, not to mention the loss in general, of the Wolverines in 2011. When Hyde motioned to Meyer and the Blue’s spirit and will had been broken, that indication and only then finally had The Reckoning been achieved. I didn’t want to see the Buckeyes win; I wanted to see Michigan broken and demoralized. It wasn’t until I read the stat sheet that I realized just how broken and demoralized Michigan actually was.
Silver Bullets to the rescue
Much maligned throughout the season, and rightfully so, the Buckeye defense stepped up huge and shut down the Wolverine offense almost completely in the second half. Luke Fickell and Everett Withers made adjustments at halftime that anticipated every move Michigan would make in the second half. They set up the Silver Bullet’s in a position to pin their ears back and fly around. The results were several big plays including sacks, fumbles and the eventual game clinching interception by CJ Barnett.
Early on in the game it’s easy to assume Fickell wasn’t sure exactly the extent of Robinson’s injury. Were they using him exclusively to run or did he have the treat to pass despite the injury to his right hand/wrist? Around the middle of the second quarter the discussions regarding Robinson abilities on this particular afternoon had to be compelling to listen in on. Ultimately the decision was made that in their opinions he wasn’t going to throw it and that they’d live with the consequences if he did. The gamble paid off, they were right, Robinson made zero passing attempts and his runs were completely shut down.
If you asked me before the game, I’d have almost guaranteed you that my vision of The Reckoning would have been realized by the Buckeye offense with an absolute onslaught of points and Braxton Miller dancing all over the Blue defense. I’m glad I would have been wrong as seeing the Silver Bullets intimidate and overpower the Wolverine offense was special and, in a way, much more satisfying. Read More
I wonder what it’s like to play the favorite at home four straight weeks against teams you’re expected to not only beat but beat handily? Does that put pressure on a young football team learning a new system and at some point make them begin to feel confidently complacent yet nervously unsure at the same time?
This is in no way an attempt to make any excuses for the myriad of problems the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes face nor to defuse the complaints being lobbed at them from its die-hard fan base. It’s just a question of mindset and trying to imagine what goes through the head of a 18-20 year old college athlete playing at the most popular university in the country.
B1G a welcome sight?
For the last 5-6 years we’ve had it shoved in our face weekly just how bad the Big Ten has become. Quite honestly, I’m really tired of hearing about it and beginning to not care. If Michigan can’t beat Notre Dame and Nebraska can’t beat an upstart UCLA team in the Rose Bowl and Wisconsin can’t beat anybody, what’s it matter to us? I’ve said it for a few years now and it needs repeated: Just win the games on your schedule and things will fall out how you deserve. Win them all and If you still can’t get in the BCS title game or upcoming playoff, be honest with yourself, look at your schedule and realize it’s likely you didn’t deserve it anyway. Besides, what is Ohio State going to do, leave the conference? But, more on the B1G overall later…
Coming in to this weeks game against Michigan State in East Lansing (ABC 3:30) all the lingering issues from the games with UAB , California and UCF can be put to rest. It’s time to start fresh. It doesn’t mean those problems don’t still exist (tackling, angles, dropping passes etc) it just puts the focus elsewhere. Instead of pounding it in players heads all week about how poor the tackling was, Coach Meyer’s staff can now use it as a tool to sharpen senses and focus on the task at hand: Beating Sparty. As an example: Instead of spending the week repeating the same fundamental issues over and over until they’re blue in the face, Luke Fickell can simply throw in during practice “And if you think you’re going to tackle Le’Veon Bell the way you tackled Joe Schmo from UAB, we might as well not even get on the plane!” Nothing more needs to be said. The message is clear. Get it together or you will fail. Read More
As the season gets closer and closer, this reflection from our friend Janelle gives a good perspective on the tumultuous last season and the excitement that’s been building since November. Be sure to follow her on the old Twitter-machine!
What a difference a year can make.
Last year at this time, we in Buckeye Nation were preparing for a season of unknowns. We were anxious to see how interim head coach Luke Fickell would do after being thrown into the position. We were anxious to see if he would remain our head coach, or if Ohio State would hire someone new. Finally, we were patiently waiting for the NCAA to issue our sanctions.
We had answers to all of our questions by the end of the season. While he tried to keep the team together and produce on the field despite the absence of several key players, Luke Fickell proved he was not yet ready to take on the responsibility of being the head coach of our beloved Buckeyes. The NCAA made us wait until late December, only after we had accepted a bid to the Gator Bowl, to hand out its punishment of a one year bowl ban.
But even all of that was hardly enough to keep Buckeye Nation down after November 28th with the hiring of Urban Meyer. Suddenly, there was excitement among us again. One of the best coaches in the country was going to be leading our Buckeyes. There was finally a brilliant light coming from the end of the seemingly endless tunnel we had been in throughout 2011.
Fast forward to this year and there is more excitement than I can remember in a while surrounding the upcoming season. Even with a bowl ban, Buckeye Nation is pumped to see the 2012 edition of the Buckeyes.
In the past few months we’ve seen a number of examples of the OSU coaching staff reaching out to Buckeye fans in a number of ways. Most impressively was the inclusion of the students in the spring practices, and the active and exciting demonstration of drills with students. It seems to be hallmark of this team to be ever more involved in the larger aspects of the OSU family, and that new tradition took another step forward this weekend.
On Saturday, the Ohio State Football team invited women to participate in a football clinic. The purpose of the clinic was two-fold, to help raise money for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, and to give the fairer members of the OSU fanbase a chance to gain a better understanding of the game. Over 700 women flocked to the event, which was clearly an instant hit.
Luckily for us, close blog friend Margaret participated in the clinic and willingly agreed to talk about the experience and share a few pictures with us.
tBBC: What was the purpose of the camp?
Margaret: The primary purpose of the camp was to raise money for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. So we not only learned football but we also heard from a cancer researcher, dietician and chef from the James Cancer Hospital. In their brief talks they did get the point across that diet and weight control / healthy lifestyle is important to keeping cancer at bay.
Today, Ohio States’ full coaching staff was available for interviews, including the newest members of Coach Meyer’s staff, Ed Warinner and Tim Hinton. These last two, most recently at Notre Dame, have been working with Buckeye recruiting over the past several days, but were only officially introduced and named today- they will also be a part of Coach Meyer’s introduction opportunity at halftime of the Hoosier Basketball game this Saturday.
Coach Hinton is a former Ohio State coach who’s career includes the following (from the press release):
Hinton’s 30 seasons of coaching experience includes 16 seasons in the collegiate ranks with positions at Ohio State, Wilmington, Ohio, Cincinnati and Notre Dame, and 14 years as a head coach at three Ohio high schools: Zane Trace (1987-88); Van Wert (1989) and Harding (1993-2003).
“I have always felt it would be an honor to have an opportunity to coach for and to represent Ohio State,” Hinton said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to work with great people and great coaches at such a wonderful place.”
Coach Hinton will be working with the Tight Ends and Fullbacks- I’m sure Boren and Stoneburner are more than excited.
Coach Warinner doesn’t have previous Ohio connections, instead:
Warinner, who is 50, has coached at seven different schools: Akron, Michigan State, Army, Air Force, Kansas, Illinois and Notre Dame. In addition to his nine years in coordinator positions, he has spent 15 of the past 20 seasons coaching the offensive line. He has coached on teams that have won four national rushing titles, and earlier this season Rivals.com named Warinner one of the Top 20 “hottest assistant coaches” in the nation.
“I’ve always strived to coach in positions where I have a lot of responsibility,” Warinner said. “Serving as a coordinator goes beyond just coaching what my guys are doing. It is a thought process of attacking and moving the ball, and strategies and reading plays. There is a big picture as a coordinator that I am into and really enjoy, and it’s a position from where I think I can make a significant contribution to the success of a team.”
Coach Warinner will serve as co-offensive coordinator and work with the offensive line. Read More
Several Big Ten teams played bowl games today at around the same time, and nearly every one of them struggled . Ohio State joined that club in their game against the Florida Gators, losing 24-17. The Buckeyes valiantly attempted to stage a comeback in the game down 14 with 3 minutes left, but were unable to secure the onside kick with under a minute left. Braxton Miller showed some impressive passing at the tail end of the game, ending the game 18/23 for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns.
This is the first time since 1897 that Ohio State has had 7 losses in a single season, and the first time since 1946 that the team has lost 4 games in a row. It is the first time since 1988, John Cooper’s first season, that the Buckeyes have suffered a losing season.
The Florida Gators started the game with the football in excellent field position. Drew Basil was unable to keep the ball from going out of bounds at the one yard-line off a bounce on the opening kick. The error gave the ball to the Gators at the 40 yard line, where Florida quickly built a big head of steam running the ball to the left edge. Surprisingly, showing an early aggression that they haven’t been able to find all season, the OSU defense managed to respond quickly and force Florida into a fumble.
Boom Herron started things off for the Buckeyes going the other way with a couple nice runs up the middle. The Bucks were also helped by a Florida late hit on Braxton Miller as he was going out of bounds, eventually allowing the Buckeyes to work it down inside the 40. Unfortunately, the Gator defense stiffened and got a pair of sacks to put OSU in a 3rd and 18. Jim Bollman chose to go conservative and run a QB draw, hedging on the punt and the field position battle.
Today’s the day. The Buckeyes finally get a shot at a little payback against the Florida Gators at 1 PM in the Gator Bowl.
Our Buckeye Blogger friends will be joining us at 12:30 pm today to enjoy the game. You should go see what they’ve had to say about it! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Scarlet and Game, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, and Fox Sports Ohio.