Each week I rewatch the Buckeyes game and give you my takeaways from the game in a little piece we like to call the…
Buckeye football is back! Can’t tell you how excited I was for the opener this year. Let’s jump right into it-
1) How about that catch? The offense stumbled out of the gate, but in the second quarter everything changed. To be honest, I felt like the first down run by Carlos Hyde started the momentum swing, but the catch by Devin Smith elevated the excitement in the stadium and on the sidelines.
One of the biggest questions about this team and this season is which WR is going to step forward and become the go to guy? I would put my money on Corey Brown, but the offense needs other guys to make some big plays as well. Five wideouts (including Stoneburner) made catches in the game. Add in a pair of receptions for both TE Nick Vannett and FB Zach Boren, and you had a nice spread of the ball. Brown led the team with seven catches, five of which were for first downs or Smith’s TD. I see him becoming the safety net for Miller.
2) Braxton Miller on his way. When we last saw Braxton Miller in a regular season game, there was still a bit of a question mark as to whether he could be a complete QB. One game is not enough to make a decision on this, but you have to feel better about this performance than any of Braxton’s games last season. Miller completed just over 58% of his passes. There were a few misses that were unforced, but for the most part Miller looked comfortable running this offense and putting the ball where he had to.
The one thing we saw from Miller last season is that he isn’t afraid to throw the ball deep down the field. He had success with the deep ball again, completing three passes over 20 yards. If he continues to have success with these deep passes, it opens up so much for this offense. When he gets out of the pocket and has the option to pull it down and run or sling it deep, it puts so much pressure on the secondary. It’s a beautifully designed play.
3) Hand clapping has to go. Watching the ESPN All-Access show, I took notice of the offense’s snap count, especially when they were in the shotgun. Perhaps you noticed that the Buckeyes, like most teams don’t use a hut or hike verbal cue. Many teams use the foot raise from the QB as a visual signal for the center that he is ready for the snap. The Buckeyes used a hand clap during camp, and that carried over to the game. Miller gets into position, makes sure the team is ready for the play, then claps his hands together. A beat later, the center snaps the ball.
Am I the only one that thinks this is a bad system?
If you were a LB on the opposing team, how long would it really take you to pick up on this and simulate that signal, hoping to catch the center off guard? I couldn’t believe Miami didn’t try something like this. Or why not have all of your linebackers start clapping non-stop when Miller drops back in the gun?
4) True freshmen get their feet wet. Noah Spence is fast. I was a little surprised to see the freshman line up without his hand on the ground, but this kind is lightning around that end. In the second half, the Buckeyes started bringing more than just the down linemen, and they rotated the defensive linemen in the game. Spence lined up on both ends of the line of scrimmage. Adolphus Washington got to the QB. Spence also got to Dysert. Bri’onte Dunn got work in, including a TD.
We knew that Meyer would work the kids in. He didn’t waste any time. I think Noah Spence gets some first half snaps next week.
5) Jury is definitely still out on the offensive line. It’s so hard to judge the offensive line based on that game. This is a unit that was not good last year, and has a number of question marks. Reid Fragel made his debut at right tackle, and had a false start called on him. I wondered to myself if Shugarts had somehow left a false start at the position for Fragel to find.
They gave up three sacks, which seems like a lot to give up to this defensive line. It can be hard to block for a QB like Miller who has the ability to move around so much. With your back to the pocket, you have no idea often if he’s in the pocket or not. The last play of the first half was also a little disappointing. Again, against Miami you would expect to be able to get puch enough for Carlos Hyde to get a yard and into the end zone.
Hyde didn’t help himself on that play. There was no reason for Hyde to try and go high on that play. If he lowers his shoulder and plows into the end zone, I have no question he makes it. He allowed a defender to get under his pads and make the play. Yes. I’m nitpicking.
6) Defensive backs bring some heat. One other thing that I picked up from the All Access show was something defensive backs coach Coombs said. To paraphrase, he said if the receiver catches the ball and gets his hips turned, then the Buckeyes have failed in pass coverage. The idea is that you can’t always keep the ball from getting to the receiver, but there should always be an immediate hit. The Buckeyes did that pretty well Saturday.
Yes, Dysert had decent numbers. He threw for 300 yards, and completed 31 of 53 passes. The truth is, Zac Dysert is a really good QB. He put passes on the mark, and several times the Buckeyes were able to separate ball from receiver. Sure, I think there were a few passes that Miami’s wide outs should have hung onto, but they didn’t. Some of that was due to Buckeye defenders hitting them immediately.
Howard and Roby stood out. I love how quick Roby gets to the receiver on those quick screens. Both are able and willing to come up strong in run support as well.
7) So I’m trying to figure out this new rule about helmets coming off. As I understand the rule, if a player’s helmet comes off during a play, that player must go to the sideline and sit out at least a play.
As the Buckeyes were really getting their rhythm together, it kind of hit me- what would prevent a defensive linemen from allowing his helmet to get knocked off in order to stop play for a substitution, especially during a two minute or hurry up type of offense?