Thursday, September 20, 2012

Postscript: comments & thoughts not in my book

Now that the 2012 season has begun, I thought I would share some of my thoughts and opinions about this current season.
There certainly was much hype leading up to this season as Urban mania has swept Buckeye country. We have one of the best coaches in college football at the Ohio State helm. However, he can only be as successful as the athletes can be on this team. The so-called experts and some of the fans have been so bold as to predict an undefeated season. They seem to forget this is a team that went 6 and 7 last season. I know I am as guilty as anyone for having a rosy outlook on this year. As I stated earlier in my book, the 2011 team could have easily gone 8 and 4 or even 10 and 2 and gone to a BCS bowl instead of the Gator Bowl. However, I believe a more realistic record would be 8 and 4 or 9 and 3.
After watching the Bucks in their first three games, I have been disappointed in the performance of their defense. It was supposed to be the strength of the team with the offense struggling to learn the spread offense. In all three games the defense has given up big plays to inferior teams. A question, are we missing long time defensive coordinator Jim Heacock? Maybe he was one of the previous staff who should have been retained.

On offense they need to develop a strong running game with their running backs. Braxton Miler cannot continue to run the ball as much as has against the non-conference opponents. He will most certainly suffer injuries even a possible season ending injury if he continues to run the ball as much as he did in the first two games. It was good to see him carry the ball only 12 times in the Cal game. However, Jordan Hall didn't look like the answer at running back. Hopefully, this was due to his being a little rusty after being sidelined with a foot injury and missing playing time in both practice and games.

I was encouraged to see a good pass rush in the Cal game, however the sloppy tackling enabled the Bears to make a game of it. Another concern is way too many penalties. The one on Corey Linsley for pushing a Cal player after the play had been blown dead cost the Bucks good field position and killed a possible good drive.

Once again, as the Bucks did last year, they are dropping interceptions that were sure six picks. Bradley Roby had a sure six pick and he dropped it early in the Cal game. A TD there could have turned the game into a one-sided victory rather than ending up as a nail-biter win.

After Notre Dame's win over Michigan State in East Lansing, the Bucks game at MSU doesn't loom as foreboding as it did earlier. It will be the Bucks first road game and they had better cut down on penalties and tackle better or they could taste their first defeat of the 2012 season.

Michigan and Wisconsin appear to have been overrated coming into this season, therefore the Bucks could be the best team in the Big Ten. However, the way the Bucks have played in their first three non-confernce games, maybe this going to be a down year for the Big Ten.

The comments and statements I have made in A Buckeye Remembers are strictly my opinions. Let the chips fall where they may.


  1. Now that my Buckeyes are standing at 10 and 0 a good deal of what I had to say in my last comments on this blog, has changed. Since the latter part of the Purdue the Silver Bullets have returned as the Buckeye defense is tackling better and cut down on the big plays. They still are having difficulty in the kicking department in regards to the punting. When I attended the Quarterback Club meeting back in September I pointed out what I perceived as a weakness in this area. I asked the assistant coach Tim Hinton that night about my observation that Ben Buchanan was taking too long to get his kicks away. I went on to say just like in last year’s Gator Bowl he was going to get one blocked. He replied that he is not taking too much time to punt the ball. The very next week he had one blocked. His reply was someone missed a block and that was why it got blocked. This was his answer when the second punt got blocked. Then in the Penn State game, although the Buckeyes once again didn’t block well, Buchanan took too many steps and practically ran into the Nittany Lion who blocked it for Penn State’s only score of the first half. I stand by my original observation Buchanan takes too long to kick the ball.

    I must say I have been pleasantly surprised at how well the Buckeyes played against Michigan State, Nebraska and Penn State. However their play against inferior teams still puzzles me. There is no way they should have let Indiana make it a close game and they should have never had to come from behind in the last 47 seconds to force overtime before finally defeating a team like Purdue.

    Going up to Madison to play an improved Wisconsin team will be a real test. The last time I was at Camp Randall Stadium in 2003, I said I would never go back there again, and I haven’t. At least unlike the 2003 game it isn’t an 8 pm game. The students won’t have all day to get liquored up. With the return of Etienne Sabino and the improved defense the Bucks should be able to stop Montee Ball the way they did the Spartans Levon Bell.

    That only leaves “that state up north” to end up with an undefeated season and the Leaders Division Championship. More on that game in my next blog comments.

  2. The Wisconsin game was a lot closer than I thought it would be although the Badgers are much better than the record indicates. Playing at Camp Randall is not an easy place to play. One of my fondest memories was the 1954 game when Wisconsin was ranked number one in the country, when they came to Columbus. The Bucks pulled a huge upset, thanks to a clutch interception by Howard “Hopalong” Cassady that turned the game around in the Bucks favor. Hop would prove to be a thorn in the Badgers side as he never lost to Wisky in his four years of wearing the scarlet and gray. AD Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch stated that he wanted to hand Cassady his diploma and be rid of him at long last. Most of those games were close but the Bucks always prevailed even when the Badgers had better teams than the Bucks. In 1958 the heavily favored 13th ranked Badgers came to Columbus and the unranked Bucks played them to a 7 to 7 tie. In the 60’s and 70’s the Bucks defeated the Badgers by large margins. In the 80’s things changed and the Badgers won in Ohio Stadium for the first time 6 to 0 in 1982. The game was played in a downpour of rain. The Badger fans were a happy bunch that loved to party. However, when they started to be more competitive the fan base turned ugly.

    Getting back to this year’s game, I thought the play calling was too much like Tressel ball. The quarterback draw wasn’t working and Braxton Miller has no pocket presence thus he gets sacked too many times as he doesn’t seem to feel the pressure and holds onto the ball too long. They should have run Carlos Hyde more and Miller less. I think Miller is more effective when they roll him out instead of having him in the pocket. In this way he is more of a threat to pass or run. Buchanan needs to punt better. His last two punts gave the Badgers good field position especially that last one when the Badgers had only 90 seconds on the clock and no timeouts. Unfortunately they only had to travel 41 yards. A win is win, but that one was too close for comfort and they had better improve on offense next game or a perfect season will not happen.

    More on that game with the scUMmies in the next comments on this blog.

  3. What a way to finish a perfect season by beating the scUMmies.Thank you Brady Hoke (rhymes with joke) for going for it on fourth and two at the 48. What a great coaching decision topped only by running Denard up the middle instead of wide where he can utilize his speed and elusiveness. My prediction was Bucks 38 UM 14 and it could have been 37 to 14 instead of the final of 26 to 21. If Howard or Bryant had wrapped up their tackles instead of both of them going with shoulder tackles,Robinson would neve had scored with 40 seconds remaining in the first half. When the Bucks had the ball on the four yard line with second and one, why did they have Braxton fading back to pass which resulted in a sack for a six yard loss. Why not let Hyde pound the rock for the first down and then it would have been first and goal on the three yard line. I'm sure Hyde would have made those three with four tries. Then to pour salt in the wounds Corey Linsley snapped the ball over Miller's head and then Basil misses the field goal. After second and goal at the four the Bucks end up with no points. What;s with these high snaps. Linsley had them in the Wisconsin game and then again in the Michigan game. I'm sure this contributed to Miller's running problems in both games. When you have to reach up for the snap it is bound to affect your timing on the ensuing play. Then the Bucks had the ball on Michigan's 10 yard line after recovering a fumble and had to settle for a field goal. If they score from the four and the ten they have 14 additional points instead of the 3 they had to settle for resulting in a 26 to 21 score instead of a 37 to 14 score. I could have added this game to my "What if" chapter in my book. Congratulations to Urban Meyer as he won the first of many future wins over the hated blue. I can't believe some of the media are suggesting that the Hoke and Meyer encounters could be a repeat of the war between Woody and Bo. Meyer is an outstanding coach. Hoke before becoming the coach of the scUMmies wasn't even a ,500 coach. He's a real class act too. Not talking to Meyer before the game and not shaking hands after the game. The scUMmies got lucky last year when the defeated the Bucks 40 to 34 in Ann Arbor. If Braxton Miller doesn't overthrow a wide open Devier Posey the Bucks would have won that game too. It was great to see the 2002 team honored at the game and the way the players and fans reacted to Tressel. He caused a lot of problems for the football program at Ohio State, but let's not forget he won 9 out of 10 over that team up north,won the National Championship,6 Big Ten titles and played in and won several BCS games. That being said, I'm not sure he could have coached this team to an undefeated season. I hope the fans are not setting their 2013 goals too high, but I would have to admit the schedule looks favorable for another great season.