Each week I rewatch the Buckeyes game and give you my takeaways from the game in a little piece we like to call the…
Not a pretty win. Cal ripped off big play after big play. Passing plays of 36 and 31 yards, running plays of 81 and 59 yards. Can’t give up these types of plays and win games consistently. Fortunately the offense stepped up when it had to and got the job done. Alright, let’s jump into it…
1) Poor tackling. Whatever you do, stay away from any replays of this one. It will make you sick. Urban Meyer addressed the issue Monday in his press conference, saying if it continued it would eventually cost the Buckeyes a game. Well, it nearly cost them this one. Luke Fickell added that he laid in bed Saturday night thinking about all the missed tackles. I won’t go that far, but it has been a while since I saw a Buckeye team struggle like this group did.
2) The Deep Ball. Watching the game Saturday afternoon, I was screaming for the Buckeyes to throw a deep pass. You can’t just run and throw 5 yard passes. The field gets very small when you do that and the defense tends to pack the line of scrimmage. Here’s my tweet from 12:42-
At 12:44, Braxton Miller hit Jake Stoneburner deep over the middle for a 40 yard completion. The next play was a 25 yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith. It really isn’t a secret, in the spread offense (or any offense for that matter) if your QB isn’t a threat with his arm, he can’t be as effective with his feet.
3) Defensive LineMEN. Hankins, Goebel and Simon all got sacks in this one. Hankins’ play was outstanding. I hope he stays for the full four years. As good as the line is now, I can’t wait to see what it will be like in two years when Spence and Washington are a bit older, more mature physically and just plain better. This group is going to be special. I’m talkng Finkes, Fickell and Vrabel special.
4) Calling All Linebackers. The announcing crew kind of belabored this point during the broadcast, but it is no less true. We aren’t very good at linebacker right now. Ryan Shazier runs all over the place making plays. He is quick and has a nose for the ball. What we are missing though is that tough, physical, OHIO STATE caliber middle backer. The guy that opposing teams don’t want to run towards. Someone that can shed blockers and fill gaps. You know the lineage. It’s time we find the next one. I do think Noah Spence has the potential to move from defensive end to outside linebacker at some point in his career. It could be a way to get the best players on the field at the same time, as the defensive line seems to be deep.
5) Not Impressed With Jordan Hall. Maybe that’s a bit harsh. He was just coming back from an injury after all. Let me re-phrase that. I wasn’t impressed with the Jordan Hall package. Is that better?
I don’t know exactly what I expected, but I thought the offense would function smoother with Hall in the backfield. He is the type of back that Meyer wants back there right? We heard over and over that he was going to be the Percy Harvin of this offense. Hall didn’t remind me of Percy Harvin on Saturday. He did a pretty good Jordan Hall impersonation. By that I mean he was largely ineffective running from tackle to tackle. He had a couple (maybe three) decent runs. I know. I should give him the benefit of the doubt and be patient. It seems that Urban isn’t impressed enough with Dunn to let him have snaps though. Someone has to take the load off of Miller.
6) What Are You Talking About? Ok, usually these are limited to the players or coaches, but I have to say something here. You may still be my favorite Buckeye of all time Chris (Speilman), but what were you saying Saturday? I think my twitter followers had it right- you were so concerned about appearing to be a homer that you went out of your way to call out Ohio State or the refs.
The holding call which wiped out a Cal touchdown was completely legit Chris. Even though several times in the broadcast you called it questionable or outright said the refs got it wrong. If you don’t recall, the safety was being held by a WR downfield, which kept him from pursuing the ball carrier. Speilman indicated that because the blocker had his hands ‘inside’ that no holding is usually called. Well, that may be the case at the line of scrimmage, but even there when the defender is trying to disengage in order to pursue either laterally or backpedal the blocker has to let him go. Think about a sweep. If the OT is holding the DE and preventing him from turning to pursue the RB it’s obvious and flagged. Same thing can be said in pass protection when a QB scrambles out of the pocket. If the OL keeps holding they will get flagged every time a ref sees them.
That’s the kind of holding that was going on here. You can’t hold a defensive back not allowing him to backpedal or pursue a play towards the sideline. Come on Chris, you should know better.