Each week after re-watching the Ohio State game I bring you my take-aways from the game in a little something I call the Buckeye 12-Pack…
The Buckeyes are now 3-2. Almost half the schedule has been played. At this point in the season, you have to wonder if certain areas can be fixed. Weaknesses become areas that other teams target instead of places the team improves greatly in. The two losses were to teams that are better than us, but really aren’t even title contenders. Mediocrity here we come!
No. 1- I have to get this off my chest. (These may be numbered, but they aren’t in order of importance just in case you were wondering.) J.B. Shugarts has made 27 starts as a Buckeye and I swear 127 false starts. How hard is it Shugarts? I’ve played every offensive line position. I can’t remember ever committing a false start. Maybe in practice. You know the count! How in the world does a senior continue to commit these dumb penalties? On twitter it’s a joke- there’s your ceremonial Shugarts false start. But the sad thing is that we not only expect it, we’ve come to accept that he’s going to commit at least one a game. Unbelievable. Ok, I’m done venting on that one.
No. 2- Since I brought up Shugarts, I might as well start with the *cough* offense and the line in particular.
(scratching my head)
Wow. That was pathetic. Way to make Michigan State’s D-Line look like Suh and Fairley decided to join them from Detroit. The worst part is our best lineman was abused. Mike Brewster looked terrible on several plays, including some awful snaps Braxton Miller doesn’t seem to handle well for as good an athlete as he is supposed to be. Ironically, the lineman I thought played the best is the one guy who will likely lose his starting job this week- left tackle Andrew Norwell. I really hope he slides over and takes Linsley’s guard spot.
No. 3- It’s scary how not ready Braxton Miller is. Yes, I was one of the people saying Miller needed to get experience in the first few games and eventually have the team handed over to him. I guess I was making a few general assumptions that Miller could do some basic quarterbacky things. You know, things like field a snap that doesn’t necessarily hit you between the numbers, or take the proper steps on a drop back, or realize that when running out of bounds you shouldn’t stop short of the sideline so you can take a hit. He is so antsy in the pocket you’d swear he had to pee. Miller has no pocket sense whatsoever. He just goes into panic mode when he feels pressure.
I’m really beginning to wonder if continuing to put him out there might not actually stunt his development. I know, the options at the position are pretty limited. But he just looks like a guy playing scared. He doesn’t look anything remotely like the QB that played against Akron. It’s amazing to think that his first game ever might have been the most relaxed and confident we’ve seen him in, but it’s true.
No. 4- We’ve seen Jordan Hall carry the ball from the wildcat formation a few times now. It has been relatively successful thus far. Am I going to call for more if it? Not really. In fact, I have to think that unless you are going to show something different from that formation, like a reverse, an end around or even a pass, defenses are going to start bringing up the safeties a bit and stopping that play in it’s tracks.
No. 5- Despite the offensive struggles, this game could have/should have been tied going into halftime. Second quarter, down 7-0, ball on Mich. St 34 after a big pass play to Fields. MSU sends 6, and the Buckeyes pick it up fairly well, but Miller feels pressure, and instead of stepping up, he runs right into a defender after freezing. Loss of 7. Second and 17. MSU loses another sack because of a personal foul penalty. 1st and 10 inside the 34 again. Interception. Devin Smith had the ball wrestled away, a little under-thrown maybe, but thrown into double coverage for certain. End of threat. If Smith comes up with that ball the Buckeyes have a first and goal. That could have easily changed the complexion of the whole game.
No. 6- Losing Verlon Reed is a huge deal. Reed tore his ACL and is done for the year. Fantastic. Well at least we get DeVier Posey back this week. Oh wait a minute, that’s right- Posey is going to be out a few weeks more. Great.
No. 7- Before we move on to the defense, we can’t let Ben Buchanan off the hook. That was probably his worst performance this season. A couple of short punts this week. Perhaps he has just been that good so far that when he looks average it sticks out.
No. 8- This team has a tackling issue. It showed up again. But beyond the tackling, this team has a serious weak spot. And it is the linebacker position.
Five weeks is more than just a trend. It is revealing a flaw. I’ve busted on Storm Klein here so often that I don’t even feel like talking about him anymore. I have never seen Ohio State have to pull the MLB off the field on passing downs. Unreal. But that’s where the Buckeyes are. Andrew Sweat and Sabino stay on the field and Klein comes off.
There are two really basic things that a linebacker has to do. The first is shed blocks, and the second is make sure tackles. Storm Klein seems to stop and square himself to a blocker instead of trying to go through the block with one shoulder and arm free to come off the block and make the play. Watch him. He plays upright from before the snap. You just can’t expose that much of your body to a block and expect to get away. If you are just trying to plug a gap, then sure stand up your blocker. But it can’t happen at the second level.
No. 9- Has anyone seen Tyler Moeller? Why hasn’t the 6th year man made a big play yet? On a team devoid of leadership, you would think the guy that’s been around as long as some coaches should know the system and game well enough to make something happen.
No. 10- I’m not overly concerned about the secondary. The Buckeyes have been prone to give up yardage through the air for the past few seasons, but tend to tighten up near the end zone. Bend but don’t break I guess. Yes, these guys are young, but they are athletic and actually have some real game experience to them with all of last year’s injuries. Cousins is a veteran a QB as they will face this season, and they managed to keep him in check for the most part.
No. 11- I have to touch on the suspended players, and the ongoing investigation. It really is amazing where we’ve ended up. I don’t claim to have all the facts in the case. I just can’t fathom the mindset that accepts cash for doing no work, especially after having been called to the carpet by the NCAA previously. Great leadership there Posey. Thanks Herron.
No. 12- The Fickell watch continues. With every passing week I can’t help but think Luke is not going to be the coach past this interim period. I do wonder though, what Tressel would have done with this group? I can’t believe that Miller would be starting with the Vest at the controls after what we’ve seen from him thus far. But there is no way Tressel has this offense looking that much better with the same personnel.