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…
This week the 12-pack is coming to you early. A couple reasons for that, first I really don’t want to re-live that game later, and second because we didn’t have a game recap and wanted to give you a place to discuss the game.
No. 1- Missed opportunities. It’s hard to know where to even begin with a loss like that. The botched extra point is the most obvious, but there were plenty more. There was a missed field goal. There were at least 4 opportunities for turnovers that the defense couldn’t come up with, including a pass that flew right into the breadbasket of C.J. Barnett. Penalties killed the offense. OSU has a hard enough time getting 10 yards for a first down (especially Saturday) they don’t need to have to get 15 or 20.
No. 2- Back to reality. The loss all but mathematically eliminated the Buckeyes from contention in the Big Ten championship game. Perhaps we can stop hearing about it now. As I’ve been saying for weeks, enjoy the wins when they come, because this is not a good football team right now. They are inconsistent, young, and offensively challenged.
No. 3- Jake Stoneburner? Remember him? After 8 catches and 4 TDs in the first 2 games, Stoneburner has caught 4 passes. He hasn’t had a reception since the Illinois game. He has dropped a couple since then, and had a circus type moment Saturday trying to catch a deflection and didn’t get it secured.
The problem I have is not being able to see more of the field than the tv camera shows. I have no idea what routes he is running, or who is covering him. I know that on a few occasions the Buckeyes were only sending 2 or 3 receivers into the pattern, which would make it a lot easier to cover Jake. For Stoneburner to be most effective, you would want the defense to have to cover him with a LB, with deep help from the safety. There is a zone in between that Stoneburner should be able to exploit. If we aren’t sending enough WRs into the pattern, then a free safety can shadow the TE, and without a vertical threat, the distance from the safeties and line of scrimmage shrinks.
I think there has to be a way to use Stoneburner effectively though. Without Corey Brown Saturday, he had to be the most dangerous weapon the Buckeyes had in the passing game, and he just wasn’t used effectively.
No. 4- More O-Line woes. Purdue’s defensive line ate up Antonio Underwood. He’s a freshman, so you give him some slack. The coaching staff made a move and replaced him, but it may have been just too late. Braxton Miller was sacked 5 more times on Saturday. Now on a couple of those he should have thrown the ball away, but the pressure was there regardless. Mike Adams won’t be putting many plays from this one on his NFL draft highlight reel.
No.5- Boom. I don’t think Boom Herron is even close to 100% One of things I wrote about him when he came back from suspension is that he always seemed to make the first person miss. That was gone on Saturday. He wasn’t able to run through even a shoestring tackle behind the line. Give him credit for trying, but I don’t think we can base our gameplan around a back with a bum wheel.
No. 6- RB substituions. I still don’t get the thinking behind using Jordan Hall in short-yardage situations. It worked (barely) on Saturday again, but why not let Carlos Hyde have those carries? It just seems like he is built more for that kind of work. Jordan Hall did have a couple of huge plays though. Without his receptions out of the backfield, this game wouldn’t have really been close.
No. 7- Braxton Miller. I have to keep reminding myself that he is only a freshman. While he keeps making huge plays with his feet and improv abilities, he also keeps making some of the same mistakes from week 1. He needs to learn to throw the ball away. There is no reason to take a sack a few feet from the sidelines. Wing the ball past the yard marker. Incomplete and you don’t lose 8 yards. Also, running around in the pocket isn’t the best idea. And when you run forward towards the line of scrimmage, don’t try and wheel around back into the pocket. Bad things happen. Your line doesn’t know how to block for that. Nobody does.
That said, his grit and guts on that 4th down TD pass are to be applauded. Great vision to see Hall, and a well placed pass.
No. 8- Injuries piling up. Haven’t heard on the condition of Andrew Sweat and Hankins yet. I know one thing for certain, this defense is in trouble if they aren’t able to play Saturday.
You have to give Purdue some credit for the gameplan. They were creative in getting the ball to the edge, especially in the first half. I believe Purdue figured they weren’t going to have success inside, especially against Hankins and Simon and so they made the decision to swing the ball to the outside. Without Hankins and Sweat, I think the defense is much weaker inside.
No. 9- Arm tackles. My goodness. The Jekyll and Hyde tackling unit returns. On Purdue’s first drive I counted seven missed tackles. I have no idea what the final number was. Had to be in the 30′s. Just a poor performance from the unit that is supposed to win games for the team.
No. 10- Ryan Shazier. I’ve been calling for him on defense. He is a playmaker. This isn’t how I wanted him to get playing time though, not because of an injury to Sweat. But man did he make an impact when he came in the game. Easily the fastest LB we have. Yes, he made a bone-head play with a late hit on the QB. Another learning situation. But what a future he has at Ohio State,
No. 11- Special teams not so special again. Despite the return of Jordan Hall to the line-up, the return game was non-existent.
No. 12- Helmet stickers. This may seem silly, but I think it tells the story of the season that no Buckeye player has helmet stickers on the right side of the helmet yet. That was game 10. Usually the stars of the team are halfway up the right side of the helmet, and yet this year nobody has even completed the left side.
Bonus no. 13- Devier Posey returns next week. He will impact the offense. In the spring, it was reported that the only receiver having any success at all in practice was Posey. I think he and Miller will have a little instant chemistry. Hopefully he can help stretch the defense and make some plays.