Each week I rewatch the Buckeyes game and give you my takeaways from the game in a little piece we like to call the…
The most important thing is always that the Buckeyes handle business and get the win. They accomplished that goal this week, even though it wasn’t the prettiest of performances- especially by the offense. It came at a price though, as RB Carlos Hyde sprained his knee. He isn’t listed on this week’s depth chart…
1) Too many mistakes. This offense needs to clean up the errors. It’s been a long time since I have seen a team have at least three miscommunications in the running game. Braxton Miller’s superior athleticism is enough to get positive yardage against UCF, but won’t against the back half of the schedule. Add in the penalties- 10 for 79, and the 2 fumbles and you have a recipe for an upset.
2) Too much Miller. It’s hard to criticize a team for giving a player 27 carries when he averages over 5 yards per touch. Except when that player is your QB. I know every Buckeye reporter is probably railing on this point this week, but it has to be made. Miller carrying the ball 27 times against Michigan in the season ending game would be acceptable. Against UCF in week 2? Not good.
Obviously Hyde’s injury had much to do with this. The scary part is that Miller should have carried the ball a few more times. He made incorrect reads on at least three read option running plays. One of them was his horrible decision to give Boren the ball when a defender was right in Boren’s face. The result was a fumble.
It won’t get any easier this week. Without Hyde and Jordan Hall, the Buckeyes will rely on true freshman Bri’onte Dunn, and Rod Smith. It seems that Smith has been in Meyer’s doghouse, and his performance Saturday didn’t seem to help.
3) Big time hits. Wow. There were several on Saturday. Howard and Johnson both had them from their secondary positions. But my favorite was the block Corey Linsley laid on a defender chasing Miller out of the pocket. Unfortunately, the same play resulted in Carlos Hyde’s injury, as he was drilled by a safety as the ball arrived in the end zone.
4) Special teamer. Last season, I picked out Ryan Shazier early on as being an impact player on special teams. Not really any credit to me, as he was really wreaking havoc on a unit that was underachieving. This year I’ve taken notice of #25 David Perkins. Like Shazier last year, he is a freshman linebacker that has a nose for finding the ball. He’s making plays. That’s what you have to do on special teams to get noticed and get playing time somewhere else.
5) The passing game. Braxton threw for 155 yards on 18 completions. His longest was 15 yards. Not to sound like a broken record, but we need to see a little more vertical in the passing game. You have to stretch the field a little to loosen up the middle for both the short pass and the run. Corey Brown was targeted the most again this week, and was tied for the team lead in receptions with 6. I like how they are using Brown. Miller seems to have confidence in him, and he is catching the passes thrown his way.
6) Short yardage. This was kind of ugly again, but not as bad as against Miami. The stop on fourth and 1 was a miscommunication or misread. The safety came through untouched and got Miller. They looked much better on Carlos Hydes’ fourth down run. The line got a good surge and Hyde went for 6 yards. Still, the team had made short yardage a point of emphasis last week, and the coaches can’t be happy about the results this week.