So much has happened since the last time we ventured down the RSB path that I really had to put forth some thought into what I was going to talk about. There are a lot of things to discuss before tomorrow title match-up with Sparty that I want to briefly hit them before Rumblin.
As much as it hurts me to say this, I applaud the TTUN coaching staff for their game plan last Saturday. What’s funny about the plan is that everyone in #BuckeyeNation saw it coming, they just weren’t too worried because it was TTUN and their struggling offense. What most were saying was how easily the Buckeyes were going to roll and those fans couldn’t have been further from the truth. The Game or The Rivalry, whatever you choose to call it, has rarely disappointed in regards to level of competition. As Buckeye fans know all too painfully, the underdog has had the sun shine on its back side quite a few times in this series.
What their coaching staff did, and it’s why most people in TSUN love Hoke, is keep their focus on the prize and that was destroy the Buckeyes season. They came into the game ignored by many, including the Buckeyes defense, and just about put it to them. If not for the gutsy, putting it all on one play, decision by Hoke to go for two, the Buckeyes may have lost in OT and be settling for the Outback Bowl, again. I tipped my hat to a couple TTUN twitter friends after the game, they could feel a little bit of pride for the way their team performed.
As I have said before, I could go on and on every week about Carlos Hyde and what he has done in his abbreviated season. One of the relationships on twitter that I have enjoyed this season has been with Corey Linsley, who last week was named First Team All B1G Center. He is the anchor to that offensive line who has been destroying the opposition this season. Read More
And The Chase Continues…
The Buckeyes and Wolverines met for their annual rivalry tilt in The Game today in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In a game that was a severe departure from the historical battles in this series, the Bucks and Wolverines fought to a 42-41 game that ended with an OSU victory and their 24th straight. Braxton Miller ended the game throwing 6/15 passes for 133 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception, while running for 153 yards and 3 touchdowns on 16 carries. His counterpart, Devin Gardner, threw 32/45 for 451 yards and 4 touchdowns, while running 9 carries for 10 yards and a touchdown.
Carlos Hyde had another history-making day today. His 226 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries counts as the most yards against Michigan of any back in Ohio State history – which puts him above some very prestigious company. This also made for the first time OSU had a pair of 100 yard rushers against Michigan since 1967. On a day with little to no passing for the Buckeyes, Jeff Heuerman led all receivers with 2 catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. De’Veon Smith led Michigan in yards gained on the ground with 57 on 7 carries, while Jeremy Gallon picked up 175 yards and a touchdown on 9 receptions.
This year’s version of the game started with the ball in the hands of the good guys. Things looked good for OSU running the ball with Carlos Hyde up the middle, and the offense was able to work itself into Michigan territory. Unfortunately, a pass thrown behind the receiver, and a sack on first down, helped to stymie the drive. With the Buckeyes punting, it was the first opening drive that Ohio State had failed to score on all season – a quick reminder to throw out the season records when these two teams meet.
Michigan came back with a vengance. Pinned on their own one yard line, it required only 2 plays to put them inside two yards of scoring. Receiver Jeremey Gallon, on second and long, took the screen on the left side, and had enough blockers to find an opening. He was only barely tripped up shy of the endzone by Bradley Roby. On the fourth play of the drive, Devin Gardner ran the option keeper into the endzone for the first points of the game.
Things were looking a little dicey for the Bucks offensively. Miller was struggling to find his targets in the passing game, even though the Buckeyes weren’t throwing much. Carlos Hyde was having little difficulty gaining yardage, but Miller’s running was being reasonably well defended. On another 3rd and long from near mid-field, Miller again went to the long pass. Devin Smith found himself a couple steps ahead of his two defenders, and hauled in the long pass that was a hair overthrown. He managed to maintain his balance enough to fall into the endzone to finally put the Bucks on the board.
There is no doubt the 2013 Ohio State Buckeye football team has all the tools to be something special. Sixteen starters return from last season under the best coaching staff in the nation. This year’s recruiting class adds a speed aspect to the game that was lacking during the undefeated 2012 campaign. The defense returns some of the best play makers in the conference. The offense is led by the B1G Offensive Player of the Year at quarterback. The Buckeyes are ranked as the #2 team in the nation.
Yet one major question still surrounds this team as we head into the first game of the season. Which players will step into the role of team leader?
Urban Meyer knows the answer.
The bottom line to success in 2013 begins and ends up front on the offensive line.
80 starts return to a front five that improved drastically throughout last season. Led by team captain Jack Mewhort, the Buckeye offensive line led the offense to 242 rushing yards per game and 37 points per game. Marcus Hall, Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, and Corey Linsley bought into what coach Ed Warinner was selling.
And now, Ohio State’s run game coordinator believes that this unit is one of, if not the best in the nation.
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
If it’s Friday, it means that it’s time for more bad news.
Devier Posey has been suspended an additional five games by the NCAA for receiving $720 in payment for hours not worked, in addition to “free golf”. Essentially, this means that his senior season will consist of the games against Penn State and Michigan… I’ll bet he’s incredibly glad he chose to abide by his promise to Jim Tressel and return after the Sugar Bowl. Read More
Eric and Joe get together on this week’s radio hour to discuss the trials and tribulations facing the offense following the Michigan State game. They also talk about the latest suspensions and express the frustrations most Buckeye fans are feeling, along with their feelings towards Gene Smith. Lastly, they talk about Nebraska and what the Buckeyes need to do in order to pull off the win in Memorial Stadium.
For the opponent’s preview, Eric is joined by the excellent HuskerDan of HuskerMax.com. They discuss Nebraska, along with their recent addition to the Big Ten and the welcoming committee laid down by Wisconsin.
All this and more on this week’s Radio Hour!
Note: At the time of the recording, we believed Corey “Philly” Brown would be fully ready to play. Currently his status is listed as “Day-to-Day”, and while there is a chance that we will see him on the field, it’s not as certain as we claim in the podcast.
Here’s the long and short of it, as far as we know:
During the investigation into former Ohio State Booster Bobby DiGeronimo’s connection with the charity event that saw several Buckeyes suspended earlier this season, the University discovered that there were student athletes who were working for his company, and that this employment hadn’t been cleared through compliance. Here is a link to the University’s self report to the NCAA: NCAA Docs
In reviewing the paperwork, it became apparent that there were instances of hours paid that differed from the hours actually worked. Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Marcus Hall, Etienne Sabino, and Melvin Fellows were the student athletes in question. The University argued that they were unaware of the additional hours (they did work, and were paid extra), but the numbers, particularly for Posey, don’t support that.
Herron, Posey, and Hall have been suspended for the Nebraska game, with expectations that Posey may be suspended for longer (based on the amount of money involved and the NCAA’s guidelines). These students are currently involved in the reinstatement process with the NCAA, so the actual number of games is still in flux. Fellows has taken a medical hardship, and Sabino has been cleared of these allegations.
DiGeronimo has been dissociated from the University after being a booster for 30 years. You can read the University’s letter here: NCAA Docs
The press release-
Ohio State Update on NCAA Investigation
The Ohio State University Director of Athletics Gene Smith announced today that, as part of the university’s continued investigation with the NCAA to resolve any remaining football compliance issues, violations have been discovered and three football student-athletes have been declared ineligible for the football game this weekend against the University of Nebraska. Those players are Marcus Hall, DeVier Posey and Daniel Herron. The university has submitted a request for reinstatement on behalf of each student-athlete, but it is anticipated that each will sit out at least the game this weekend.
“As we have previously disclosed, the university and the NCAA were not able to finish investigating all of the areas before the university’s August hearing with the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions,” Smith said. “Upon receiving the necessary records from outside parties and conducting a few additional interviews, the university and the NCAA enforcement staff have jointly determined that violations did occur. The violations that have affected the eligibility of these three players relate to their overpayment while being employed with companies associated with Robert DiGeronimo, an individual who was recently disassociated by the university as a result of several student athletes receiving extra benefits surrounding a charity event in February. The university and the NCAA enforcement staff are in the final stages of the resolution of this case, and I anticipate having further information in that regard in the near future.
In addition, Posey was cited for a secondary violation for a round of golf with Dennis Talbott- greens fees around $100.
Smith stated that this would be considered part of the ongoing investigation, and would push back the NCAA’s final ruling and sanctions. He also said that he was confident that this was not a Failure To Monitor or Lack Of Institutional Control situation that the NCAA has reviewed Ohio State’s processes numerous times, and that these issues are indicative of individual decisions and not systemic issues.
What is most troubling, at least for me, is that some of this “work” occurred during March of 2011… while the NCAA investigation was ongoing, and about the time that Tressel’s knowledge of the memorabilia exchange was brought to light.
We’ll update this as it develops.