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Scarlet and Gray Q&A – Urban Meyer and More

Written December 2nd, 2011 by Chris

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

Scarlet and Gray Q&A – Week Twelve

Written November 23rd, 2011 by Chris

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.

The Missing Spark?

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

Scarlet and Gray Q&A – Week Eleven

Written November 16th, 2011 by Chris

What is it about Ross-Ade Stadium? The stadium, with the obscenely big press box, always turns into a house of horrors when the Buckeyes take the field in on Purdue’s campus.

Lots and lots and lots of questions

Whatever you think plagued the scarlet and gray this past weekend, one theory that has been floated out there is the pressure of mistakes from the past. Perhaps exercising the demons of past losses proved to be a tougher challenge for this young Buckeye team. Not to mention the fact that this actually is a fairly talented Boilermaker squad.

As I stated in last week’s column, this was a game that scared the daylights out of me. Ohio State didn’t handle the spread offense the week before, and I figured a better version of that offense would have a better success this past weekend. If you think about it, the fact that the Buckeyes were even in this football game at the end is a small miracle. The fact that the scarlet and gray even had a chance to win the football game at the end was impressive, considering they had no business winning the football game the way they played.

Now that I got that off my chest, let’s get into a little Scarlet and Gray Q&A.

The running game was rather poor this past weekend. Who’s to blame? Read More

Scarlet and Gray Q&A – Week Ten

Written November 9th, 2011 by Chris

Reaching Goals

Fans are a fickle bunch. No pun intended, but there really is no way to tell from week to week what exactly the mood of Buckeye Nation. We are a moody bunch to say the least. I, for one, am normally an optimist. Five seasons inside the bubble that is the Ohio State football program tends to give you a realistic view on life. In the words of a great coach “You can’t ever get too high, and you can’t ever get too low.” The message is one to try and live your life by, but there may be no better week to remember this quote. With that, let’s get to a little Scarlet and Gray Q&A.

Should we be worried after Ohio State’s 34-20 victory over Indiana?

The weekly therapy session that we go through as Buckeye fans is always interesting.  I would be lying if I didn’t do the same thing. That certainly didn’t look like a 1-7 Indiana team that played in the ‘Shoe on Saturday. But it is hard to forget that it still was a team that has only beat South Carolina State this season. With all that being said, Tre Roberson is going to be someone special in the B1G over the next few seasons. He reminds me of Antwaan Randle El, and we all can remember how good he was under center for the Hoosiers.

The biggest concern continues to be the play of the Buckeye secondary. It just seemed like they were out of position a lot the past few weeks. I am sure Jim Heacock, Taver Johnson, and Paul Haynes have been working overtime to try and figure out what it is that is ailing this unit of pass defenders.  It speaks volumes that a guy who is a redshirt freshman has developed into the team’s best cover corner. Bradley Roby has had the honor of guarding some pretty good B1G receivers over the last few weeks. When you consider the gauntlet of AJ Jenkins, Nick Toon, and Kofi Hughes, it is pretty clear that Roby has established himself as the best corner on this team.

The other thing to remember is the youth on this team. Luke Fickell talked all week about how they were doing their best to guard against any kind of letdown. The problem is that is a task easier said than done when it comes to an immature football team. Even as close as this game was it still never had the tenuous feel that games against Nebraska, Wisconsin or even Toledo had this season. Finding what motivates you is something that is a learned trait that can only be taught through experience.  Maybe that lesson was learned last weekend. Read More

Scarlet and Gray Q&A – Week Nine

Written November 2nd, 2011 by Chris

Every player has that defining moment in their career. It is that moment where a player seizes the moment and changes the course of a game, a season, or even a career. Whether it was Joe Germaine’s last minute drive in the Rose Bowl, Eddie George against Notre Dame in the ‘Shoe, or Troy Smith against Michigan in 2004, Buckeye fans have plenty of defining moments to tie heroes of yesterday to that first time greatness was observed.

It doesn’t matter how many times I watch the play, I am still amazed by the touchdown pass that might have salvaged 2011 for the Ohio State Buckeyes.  In an era when freshman are counted on more and more, it was two in Braxton Miller to Devin Smith, that created a moment fans and pundits will talk about for years to come.  It may have been the uniforms, the night game, or Homecoming festivities, but whatever it was, the Buckeyes have changed the landscape in the B1G. With that let’s get to Scarlet and Gray Q&A.

Breaking Away

Does Braxton Miller’s performance against the Badgers mean that he has arrived?

It is clear that the bye week may have had no greater impact on anyone other than Braxton Miller. The confidence that was evident from the true freshman was obvious just a few plays into the ball game.  Sure, Miller’s pass intended for Corey Brown went as a long incompletion, but it was obvious that the pass was an indication that the reservations, present just a few weeks ago, may be a thing of the past. I know Braxton didn’t throw 35-40 passes. He didn’t even throw 15, but it was clear that each week, the coaching staff trusts the young quarterback a bit more.

The pass to Devin Smith provides a glimpse into the playmaking ability of possibly the next quarterback in college football. A friend remarked to me that a freshman doesn’t make that throw. The play is something that transcends years, film study, and playbooks. It is an ability that can’t be taught.  Being a playmaker is an art form that is so organic in a career that coaches know just one thing about: when you see a playmaker, you play him.

There will undoubtedly be some more growing pains for Braxton Miller, but after watching the Wisconsin game, it just makes the choice of playing Joe Bauserman to start the year that much more perplexing. Read More

Scarlet and Gray Q&A- Week Eight

Written October 26th, 2011 by Chris

There are winning games ugly, and then there is what Ohio State’s victory over Illinois was. Four total pass attempts, one completed pass, and plenty of runs made the Buckeyes’ win in Champaign about as unattractive as a win can get.

If Only There Were An Easy Button

The bye week provided plenty of retrospect for the team, the fans, and pundits alike. There is plenty to ponder as we barrel towards the end of the regular season. As unlikely as it might seem, Ohio State still has an opportunity to win the Leaders Division if they were to win all of their remaining games.

That task is not without its pitfalls especially starting this week against the Wisconsin Badgers, who are coming off a 37-31 loss at the hands of Michigan State. If there was an opportunity to knock the boys from Madison off, I thought the best case scenario would be off of a tough loss to Sparty. Since this writer turned out to be Nostradamus on the first part, let’s just see if step number two will come to fruition this Saturday. With that, let’s dive into a little Scarlet and Gray Q&A.

What kind of positive momentum does the win at Illinois provide?

In short, it provides a lot. This might seem like a no brainer but there seemed to be plenty of positive ways to look at the game. Rewind to two Saturdays ago, and you might recall the high winds that wreaked havoc on offensive game plans that day. While there is some room to debate how much the elements affected the Buckeyes offensive game plan, it had to have some effect on how few passing plays were called. Read More

Scarlet and Gray Q&A – Week Seven

Written October 12th, 2011 by Chris

If the great Charles Dickens were looking to write a sequel to “A Tale of Two Cities,” Luke Fickell and the Ohio State Buckeyes might want to add “A Tales of Two Halves” to the realm of possibilities.

The Buckeyes reversed their offensive fortunes of a week ago against Michigan State, and the scarlet and gray marched down the field four times in the first half to put 20 points up on the scoreboard.

Unfortunately after scoring a touchdown on their first possession of the second half, the Ohio State defense gave up 28 unanswered points en route to a 34-27 loss at the hands of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

With another tough road test on the horizon, it’s time once again for a little Scarlet and Gray Q&A.

What was a bigger turning point, Braxton Miller’s injury or Miller’s fumble?

The Turn Of The Tide

I had a caller on the weekday radio show I co-host call Miller’s fumble a Bill Buckner like moment on the football field. It was interesting to hear those two events being compared to one another. While it might seem apt to say that Miller’s fumble had an impact on the game, because it did, I don’t see it in the same light as I do the injury sustained by Braxton in the third quarter.

Was it just me or did anyone else feel like the body language on the field was entirely different with Joe Bauserman directing the offense? It was so clear that there just seemed to be a total lack of confidence by the entire team once number 5 was relegated to the bench with the sprained ankle. Heck, I think even Joe Bauserman was uncomfortable with himself being the quarterback on the team.

Miller’s injury had more than just an effect on the confidence of the team too. It was a rippling effect on down the line. Tons of three and outs meant the defense needed to be on the field a lot more in the second half. Not only that but they were going against one of the fastest offenses in all of college football.

Who do you put this loss on: the offense of the defense? Read More

Scarlet and Gray Q&A – Week Six

Written October 5th, 2011 by Chris

That kind of day

If there was ever a need for a demonstration of Murphy’s Law, Ohio State’s offense against Michigan State might be an apt tool to use. Everything that could go wrong for the Buckeyes did last Saturday when the scarlet and gray had possession of the football.

Nothing went right, and any glimmer of hope that occurred, like the 33 yard pass completion to Chris Fields, was instantly snuffed out before the offense could make anything of it.

With all the on the field issues, the last thing the Buckeye faithful needed were more NCAA issues that crept up at the beginning of this week. With so much unknown, it is time to dive into a little Scarlet and Gray Q&A.

What’s wrong with the offense?

How long have you got? I could write a book this week about what is plaguing the Ohio State offense, but instead I have compiled a list of concerns and ways to fix them.

-Braxton Miller

The first is clearly the Ohio State quarterback spot. Braxton Miller did not look good, and while he didn’t have a whole lot of help, he still did not play well. It is funny how fast fans have turned on the true freshman quarterback.  To go from savior to goat in the less than a week had to have left Miller’s head spinning. Read More