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
In an announcement today that surprised no one, Urban Meyer has added former North Carolina interim head coach Everett Withers to the Buckeye Coaching Staff as Assistant Head Coach and Co-Defensive Coordinator (with Luke Fickell).
Withers, who inherited the TarHeels after the tumult from this summer, has a legacy as a defensive backs guru, having coached the position at the college and professional level. From the press release-
Withers spent one year as defensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota prior to his North Carolina position. He also has been an assistant coach at the University of Texas (1998-2000; defensive backs), Louisville (1995-97; defensive coordinator/assistant head coach/defensive backs), Southern Mississippi (1992-93; defensive backs/assistant special teams), Tulane (1991; outside linebackers) and Austin Peay (1988-90; defensive coordinator/defensive backs; tight ends/special teams).
His first unit (at UNC in 2008) – ranked eighth in the country with 20 interceptions, a number that was just one off the UNC single season record.His 2009 defense was among the nation’s elite, ranking sixth in total defense, 10th against the run, 13th in scoring and 14th in pass defense. His 2010 unit ranked fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 30th nationally. Five players off that unit were taken in the NFL draft, including first-round pick Robert Quinn. And this past year the Tar Heels ranked 14th against the run.
As you can probably guess, he’s stoked:
I am excited, and I couldn’t be more excited to be on coach Urban Meyer’s staff at The Ohio State University. Ohio State is obviously one of the storied programs in college athletics. Having an opportunity to work at that university, and as part of Coach Meyer’s staff, is something that you just can’t pass up.
Additionally, after much speculation, it was announced today that coach Mike Vrabel will be retained as a part of the staff. Read More
There has been a lot of debate the last week as to how much the loss to Michigan hurts. Under ordinary circumstances, nobody on either side of the greatest rivalry in sports would want to lose the contest called “The Game.” As the seconds ticked off of the scUM’s first win in seven years over Ohio State, I had an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was a feeling I have not experienced after losing to the state up north. It was pride.
Some say there is no pride to be had in losing, but this was a gutsy performance by the Buckeyes. It was clear the defense needs help. It was evident that Braxton Miller needs to work on his accuracy with the deep ball. The one thing that was most apparent was the Buckeyes have heart too. For 60 minutes in Ann Arbor, Ohio State went toe to toe with one of the more prolific offense the scarlet and gray saw all season long.
Then it was just 48 hours that a Buckeye Christmas came early. Now that we are all in the holiday spirit, let’s talk some season ending issues in the latest Scarlet and Gray Q&A.
After watching Braxton Miller play his best of the season, where does he rate in comparison to Terrelle Pryor? Read More
It lived up to be something that all of us had no idea it could be. The Michigan Wolverines hadn’t made the game “competitive” in nearly 7 years. Yet many Buckeye fans didn’t give this chance the light of day to keep on track with a high scoring offense.
Despite making this the best game of football fans have seen all season, The Ohio State Buckeyes fell short for the first time in 8 years on Saturday in Ann Arbor. Though it wasn’t due to lack of effort.
On the first drive of the ballgame, The Buckeye offense flashed a more aggressive playbook then we’ve seen all year. After completing two first downs through the air, Miller found room on the intended quarterback draw for a gain of 17 yards. Then on 1st down from Ohio State 46, Miller kept threw to a wide open Philly Brown near the end zone for a 54 yard touchdown strike.
After a four and out the Buckeyes would get the ball back looking to score on back to back drives.3 downs later It was Michigan that was positioning themselves to score. On the second play of drive, Denard Robinson used his legs to even up the ballgame on an outside run to sidelines — easily walking in for the first points on the afternoon for Michigan. It looked like we were going to have a back and forth offensive performance in the first quarter.
That’s when it seemed penalties and boneheaded mistakes would set apart these two teams.
After an incomplete pass from the Buckeye 20 to a streaking Philly Brown, 2nd down saw a Zach Boren holding penalty push Ohio State back to the 10 yard line. That was followed by a patented Jack Mewhort offsides penalty. Then after a -2 yard rush from Braxton Miller, it was 3rd down and 27 from the 3 yard line. The freshman hoisted a pass deep from the opposing endzone, but while trying to keep the outside rush from getting to the blindside of Miller, Mike Adams was flagged for holding Ryan Van Bergen, who beat him at the line. Adams did everything he could to make up for the great jump from the Michigan lineman. Holding onto a defender and ripping him down before he can finish though is a penalty punishable by two points and a safety in the stat book.
It was that penalty that gave Michigan their first lead in this rivalry in four years.
Today, the Buckeyes travel to Ann Arbor to participate in the first competitive version of The Game for the last several years.
The Game kicks off at Noon, the LiveBlog will lead off at 11:30.
Go Bucks, Beat M*ch*g*n!
After stuffing our bellies full of delicious dead bird, it’s finally time to ignore the family again and focus on the things that truly matter.
A worthy offensive gameplan. If Bollman comes into this game with his standard Walrusball offense it will be a disservice to the rivalry. The point of The Game is to try to win, not trying to make the other team’s defense look better than they really are.
A Jake Stoneburner touchdown. He finally got one last week against Penn State after not catching one for about 8 straight games. Time to go back to him again. If you want to do it more than once, I won’t complain.
Weeping M*ch*g*n fans. This has been the bandage on the wound that was the Cooper years. Not seeing it won’t rip it off, but it will certainly slow the healing. Yes, M*ch*g*n fans, we still haven’t done enough to you to close that wound. Maybe another decade of soul crushing will be sufficient.
Beat M*ch*g*n. This is the single most important thing we do all year. Go get it Bucks!
Every season, anyone, who has any kind of writing commitment, will tell you at some point you hit a wall during a given season. It is up to every scribe to find what exactly it is that keeps him or her going, but for me, I usually draw my inspiration from on the field performances. I have gone from frustrated to empathetic when it comes to the 2011 season.
There is no question that 2011 has been a tough me for on many different levels. I am not an apologist, but I am a good friend to a man who lost his job that he loved. Compounding all of this was taking on a career that requires me to explain what happened and why things transpired the way that they did. To top everything off, I have had to endure one of the more trying seasons on the football field that we have seen in some time.
With that being said, every season can be salvaged with a win over TSUN this weekend. So, let’s get after a little Scarlet and Gray Q&A.
Ohio State has gotten off to slow starts in consecutive weeks. What is main cause of this uninspired play?
I have to be honest. I never was in the locker room for a pregame speech from the Vest. I have heard they are legendary for the most part, but most of the time I was out on the field before the game kicked off. I know that “getting up” for a big game isn’t based in just an inspirational pregame speech, but the message, whatever that may be, has gone stale.
It appears that for the most part Fickell likes to lean towards tapping into the team’s emotions. But there was a columnist, who covers Ohio State, that pondered how often Fickell could tap that well before it would run dry. I am in agreement that a player’s reaction diminishes to the same stimuli, and I feel like Fickell just doesn’t have a whole lot else in his arsenal. That is not all on him, because I think this is a learned skill for a head coach. If I asked you to go out and inspire the team to play the scUM on Saturday, we would all tap into the emotional side of things. It is just the way most people would do it. The problem is this is only effective for so long, especially when it is the same voice saying the same thing repeatedly.
I place some blame on the leadership on this team. We all love this group of seniors for what they have had to endure and have done so with class. It just seems like after Wisconsin, the upperclassmen were spent. Younger players feed off of the message from their elder counterparts, and I haven’t seen a whole lot of that lately, which leads me to my next question.
Has the senior class mentally checked out for the remainder of the season? Read More