Summers usually last a long time for me.
As someone who looks forward to Buckeye football perhaps more than any other event each year, the time between spring practice and the start of fall camp is the quietest on the sports calendar.
The lack of football related news to eagerly devour and discuss really makes the days drag on.
If you’re not a fan of baseball (and possibly soccer, they play in the summer, right?) you have to get pretty creative to pass the time.
My usual coping mechanism for the summer slowdown is to withdraw from thinking about sports almost entirely.
It is like going into football hibernation between April and August.
Unfortunately, my current round of football hibernation stretches back to early 2011; right around the time that bad news started raining down on Ohio State and never seemed to stop.
Sadly, the 2011 season failed to snap me out of my hibernation like usual.
Last year is a black hole in my memory and unlike when I was in college, it has nothing (or at least less) to do with how much I drank before, during, and after the games.
My vague and lasting impression from the 2011 campaign is an overwhelming feeling of frustration with the offense and the offensive play calling in particular.
Due in large part to my extreme frustration while watching the games, football as a source of enjoyment was gone and my hibernation continued.
Then Urban Meyer was hired and the light at the end of the tunnel instantly came into view. Read More
It is no secret that Urban Meyer has been less than enthusiastic about the offensive fire power he inherited on Ohio State’s roster.
Meyer has repeatedly said that he is still waiting for someone to catch his eye as a game changer on that side of the ball.
While I suspect that Meyer is serving the dual purpose of motivating the current roster and enticing future recruits with his words, the fact remains that the Buckeyes need to see improvement from the offense and quickly.
The best way to do that is to identify the impact players on the team and get them the ball as much as possible.
Even with Urban Meyer at the helm, that may take a bit longer than we would like to admit, particularly when you look back at last season.
Then again, this is Ohio State and there is plenty of talent to utilize despite the results from last year.
Watching who the offense focuses on in the spring game (or at least what positions are focused on if the starters are split up) will give us a great glimpse at the future stars and game changers for the coming season.
Here is a look at my early top five impact players in next year’s offense.
Receiver was a position that held the Buckeyes back on the field last year. With Posey being out 10 games and the loss of Reed midway through the year, the team struggled tremendously with consistency and production from the position.
As a result, the receiving stats from last season are painful to review.
If the troubles last season weren’t enough motivation, Meyer will also be looking to replenish the position after striking out with Davonte Neal and Stefon Diggs at the end of the 2012 class.
Depending on who wants in, I think the Buckeyes could take anywhere from two to four receivers in the class.
Once again, I like to take a look at what we see in Ohio first.
Overall, this board would look a lot different in the past under Tressel, who would likely have already offered multiple kids in-state.
Talking about running back recruiting has been a nice treat for Ohio State over the past several years given the level of success we have seen.
When it comes to depth, the team lost Herron (graduation) and Berry (who knows) and Hall will be gone after next season- all of which opens up room on the depth chart.
Under coach Meyer, the type of back being targeted could be changing slightly, and not because he doesn’t want a big back like Beanie Wells or Brionte Dunn.
Meyer is looking for two distinct kinds of player, the big bruisers to go along with the backs he can split out wide and play at receiver as well.
There is talk of room for only one running back in this class, but there are guys on the big board that you make a spot for if they want to be Buckeyes regardless of numbers.
Right now there are nine players out there that have an offer- whether they all have a true OFFER or a “hey, are you interested in Ohio State?” offer; only the coaching staff knows for sure.
Here is a look at the players on the board. Read More
With the 2012 class all but over, and signing day come and gone, we take a look at the offensive portion of the 2012 class. Tomorrow we will cover the defensive side of the ball.
In a year when the QB position was down overall nationally, we were able to hold on to a kid that is now one year removed from high school, with a year of prep school at Fork Union under his belt.
Cardale Jones (6’5’’ 220)
- Rivals’ Take – 3*
- Scout’s Take – 3*
- ESPN’s Take – 3*
- Joe’s Take – 4*
I may be showing my OSU bias on this one, but I still remember watching him in the Ohio state playoffs his senior year and being very impressed. His film from Fork Union reminded me of that same player.
Give him a redshirt year and then two more years to sit behind Braxton in Meyer’s system and I see him being able to step in and take the reigns.
He has the ability to throw and run and has the huge body type that is hard to bring down in the pocket. I am really excited about Jones. I am surprised to see all the services have him as a 3 star. If he buys in to Meyer’s system and puts the time in he could be a star. Read More
Braxton Miller and Joe Bauserman are listed as co-starters on the Akron depth chart.
It has been reported that Joe Bauserman will be on the field for the first snap on offense (which I predicted in January), but clearly both players will have their chance to drive, drive on down the field with the men of the scarlet and gray (see what I did there?).
On the surface, it appears that neither quarterback separated themselves during practice, but when you look a bit deeper, the “or” listing is a clear indication of who the best quarterback was during camp. Read More
The receivers are one of the least experienced groups on the entire team. The suspension of Devier Posey compounds the issue significantly.
As young and inexperienced as they may be (and let me reiterate, they are), they are also extremely talented- as you would expect from any group at Ohio State.
It may take a few games to work out the kinks, but if the passing attack starts rolling, these players are fully capable of taking over a game.
The good news is that they don’t need to take over games; they only need to take some pressure off the running backs by giving the defense something to worry about.
At this, they should be more than capable, no matter who the quarterback ends up being.
You are aware of my beef with our O Line this year: Lack of focus, particularly on the one thing that they should always be aware of. The snap count.
Ever since the Buckeyes squared off against the Gators in “The Game That We Don’t Talk About”, it seems that we can’t go a match without at least one false start penalty. In some cases, it’s been a drive stopper that has ended up really hurting them on the scoreboard.
In Brandon Castel’s piece on the OZone, we may have some answers, at least to the current incarnations of this madness-
After the (Purdue) game, center Michael Brewster made some interesting comments that may help pinpoint exactly why the Buckeyes had so much trouble moving the ball against a team that came into the game with a 1-5 record.
“They were running some blitzes and I was trying to make some calls but they were expecting the snap count when I popped my head back up.”
By “they,” Brewster was actually not referring to the Purdue defensive line, but to his own teammates on the offensive line. Even with a bipartisan crowd at Ross-Ade Stadium – one that had more Purdue fans in the second half than in the first – it became exceedingly difficult for the other four or five guys up front to know when they were supposed to fire off the ball.
That might not sound like a doomsday scenario to the average sports fan, but it can disrupt an offense in ways few other things can. Whether it means guys jumping early or late, it has the potential to change the course of entire game.
The snap count is designed to be an advantage for the offense, to help players, especially offensive linemen, get a split-second jump on the defender.
Instead, it worked the opposite way against Purdue.
Interesting. But, just when I thought they had identified the issue and were able to address it, we read this:
“It was a big issue. We didn’t know when Mike was snapping the ball or when he was making calls. A couple guys on the line would be late, including myself,” tight end Jake Ballard said.
Late. Not early (as in “false start”). Late.
Oh well, back to the drawing board.