Football Midseason Report Card

Written October 19th, 2011 by Chris

Well Buckeye fans, we are halfway home to the end of the 2011 season. Standing at 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the B1G, this year has been some dizzying highs (winning the Sugar Bowl) and far too many lowest of lows. The real question is where the Ohio State Buckeyes grade out for the first half of the season and keys to improvement. Players and coaches will be broken down and evaluated on their performance so far.  So, listen up scarlet and gray clad coaches and players. Professor Schmidbauer is here to hand out some first half grades.

Quarterback

Breakdown: Anyone wondering what kind of faith the offensive coaches had in Braxton

Still Learning

Miller got a pretty good idea as to how much last Saturday in Champaign. The play as a whole has been pretty poor sans two games for the Buckeye signal callers. Joe Bauserman’s initial start against Akron was a solid debut for the resident geriatric of Ohio State. Braxton Miller’s first start against the Colorado Buffaloes was a nice debut as well. The rest of the performances have been lackluster, and I think we would all agree that is putting it kindly. Now the team is officially Miller’s and it seems like the Buckeyes can ride him as far as the freshman can carry them, well assuming there is not a strong wind anyway.

Area to Improve: If there is one key to the Buckeye season reaching eight or, dare I say, nine wins, it has to be the passing game. Ohio State proved you can win a game by only completing one pass, but it goes without saying we don’t want to see if the team can accomplish that feat again. Braxton Miller has not been able to consistently make throws in big spots in games yet, and opponents know that. You can believe that a serviceable passing will be a necessity to reach a New Year’s Day bowl game. Read More

Scarlet and Gray Q&A – Week Seven

Written October 12th, 2011 by Chris

If the great Charles Dickens were looking to write a sequel to “A Tale of Two Cities,” Luke Fickell and the Ohio State Buckeyes might want to add “A Tales of Two Halves” to the realm of possibilities.

The Buckeyes reversed their offensive fortunes of a week ago against Michigan State, and the scarlet and gray marched down the field four times in the first half to put 20 points up on the scoreboard.

Unfortunately after scoring a touchdown on their first possession of the second half, the Ohio State defense gave up 28 unanswered points en route to a 34-27 loss at the hands of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

With another tough road test on the horizon, it’s time once again for a little Scarlet and Gray Q&A.

What was a bigger turning point, Braxton Miller’s injury or Miller’s fumble?

The Turn Of The Tide

I had a caller on the weekday radio show I co-host call Miller’s fumble a Bill Buckner like moment on the football field. It was interesting to hear those two events being compared to one another. While it might seem apt to say that Miller’s fumble had an impact on the game, because it did, I don’t see it in the same light as I do the injury sustained by Braxton in the third quarter.

Was it just me or did anyone else feel like the body language on the field was entirely different with Joe Bauserman directing the offense? It was so clear that there just seemed to be a total lack of confidence by the entire team once number 5 was relegated to the bench with the sprained ankle. Heck, I think even Joe Bauserman was uncomfortable with himself being the quarterback on the team.

Miller’s injury had more than just an effect on the confidence of the team too. It was a rippling effect on down the line. Tons of three and outs meant the defense needed to be on the field a lot more in the second half. Not only that but they were going against one of the fastest offenses in all of college football.

Who do you put this loss on: the offense of the defense? Read More

Scarlet and Gray Q&A – Week Six

Written October 5th, 2011 by Chris

That kind of day

If there was ever a need for a demonstration of Murphy’s Law, Ohio State’s offense against Michigan State might be an apt tool to use. Everything that could go wrong for the Buckeyes did last Saturday when the scarlet and gray had possession of the football.

Nothing went right, and any glimmer of hope that occurred, like the 33 yard pass completion to Chris Fields, was instantly snuffed out before the offense could make anything of it.

With all the on the field issues, the last thing the Buckeye faithful needed were more NCAA issues that crept up at the beginning of this week. With so much unknown, it is time to dive into a little Scarlet and Gray Q&A.

What’s wrong with the offense?

How long have you got? I could write a book this week about what is plaguing the Ohio State offense, but instead I have compiled a list of concerns and ways to fix them.

-Braxton Miller

The first is clearly the Ohio State quarterback spot. Braxton Miller did not look good, and while he didn’t have a whole lot of help, he still did not play well. It is funny how fast fans have turned on the true freshman quarterback.  To go from savior to goat in the less than a week had to have left Miller’s head spinning. Read More

Scarlet and Gray Q&A, Week Five

Written September 28th, 2011 by Chris

“You are never as bad as you look, but you are never as good as you look either. The truth is you are somewhere in the middle.”

It is an old sports adage that has elevated the feelings of a downtrodden team or brought the lofty dreams of a fan base crashing back to reality.

I opened last weekend’s piece saying it would be easy to ignore how bad the Buckeyes looked in South Beach, and it would be easy to dismiss how good the team looked against Colorado.

Reality and perception might be far apart as to how good Ohio State was against Colorado, but the 180 degrees this team turned in a week was an impressive feat.

Sure, Colorado look bewildered the first quarter and half of football. When you play that bad on special teams, it is pretty easy for the opponent to seize momentum and never look back.

As Ohio State rolls towards a showdown with Sparty in the ‘Shoe, it is time to address some of the more pressing questions from Buckeye nation after a solid win.

What should people think of Braxton Miller’s performance against Colorado?

This is one of the more difficult questions that were asked after the game last weekend. The numbers were solid. The freshman sensation had 83 yards rushing and threw for two scores. The touchdowns were some of the few highlights the passing game produced.  Miller was 5-13 for just 83 yards passing. In his defense, however, he was victim of a few dropped passes.

On the surface it is clear there are still some issues in the passing game, but at the end of the day the numbers were tolerable, especially when there were no turnovers by Miller. Even Terrelle Pryor threw an interception is his first start at quarterback. Read More

Scarlet And Gray Q&A, Week Four

Written September 21st, 2011 by Chris

It would be easy to say Ohio State is better than what we saw on Saturday night in Miami. Dismissal of the 24-6 loss as an aberration would make us all sleep better at night.

The truth is there have been few with the courage to say this outright: the Buckeyes are going to struggle.

Is it time?

I am still struck by a conversation I had with another media member before the season about how Ohio State was going to fare on the football field.  He told me he saw four losses on the schedule, and if he looked hard enough he could see six.

Six losses?!?!?!

Crazy as it sounded then and still a little even now, the reality of where Ohio State football is and where people want it to be is vastly different.

The game’s lopsided result has spawned plenty of questions, and until the Buckeyes take to the field against Colorado, there will be few, if any, clear answers.

From the greatest football minds to the most arrogant arm chair coaches, the quick fix for what ails this football team seems to be elusive at this point.

A team with so many questions and so few answers would be bound to struggle. Here is a short list I have compiled, and my best attempt at answering them.

Who should be quarterback?

I devoted almost 1,000 words last week as to why Braxton Miller should be the starting quarterback, and even after seeing his lowlights from the game, Miller should still be the full time starter.

Read More

Playing Safe Is Playing Scared

Written September 14th, 2011 by Chris

QB1?

New writer Chris brings us insight into the quarterback situation in Columbus, with a look back at some previous QB tandems…

There is an old saying that history often repeats itself. When it comes to a quarterback derby, Ohio State’s history is fraught with them.

It became clear with each boo on Saturday from the 105,000 fans crammed into Ohio Stadium that the honeymoon with Joe Bauserman is over. With every errant pass, throngs of scarlet and gray clad spectators wondered when it was going to be Miller Time, well Braxton Miller time.

Whether a change needs to be made or not, the problem is nothing new when it comes to Buckeye signal callers.

Stan Jackson and Joe Germaine duked it out in the late 90’s. Steve Bellisari and Austin Moherman dueled at the turn of the century, and most recently Terelle and Todd fought for the job in 2008.

While the Bauserman – Braxton affair has many similarities to the Boeckman and Pryor battle, this one resembles one that unfolded right in front of my eyes: Troy Smith vs. Justin Zwick.

Read More