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

Silver Bullets Reloaded: Defensive Line

Written August 23rd, 2011 by Jim

J.T. Moore, Johnathan Hankins, Darryl Baldwin

 

After learning that I have viewed open practices and the jersey scrimmage, many people ask me what I think about the Buckeyes . Well, being that I write for this website, I thought I would take all of the thoughts that I share with various people and put them down for all of our readers to enjoy as well.

First up is the defensive line (with linebackers and defensive backs to follow later in the week and the offense next week). Read More

 

It's coming soon.

It has been a long and arduous off season for Buckeye Nation.

The anticipation and anxiety surrounding the August 12th NCAA hearings alone are enough to put someone on edge. How severely will the NCAA ultimately punish Ohio State for its transgressions?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Next up was the resignation of all-time great Jim Tressel and the resulting uncertainty surrounding Ohio State’s next head coach. Luke Fickell is a great defensive coach and an even better Buckeye, but will he be the long term answer to Ohio State’s head coaching vacancy?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Finally, what initially looked like a 2012 recruiting class for the ages is quickly turning into another source of concern for fans. As I have mentioned previously, it is still much, much too early to give up on the class, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a source of stress for the next several months. Will Luke Fickell (or the next head coach) be able to salvage the 2012 recruiting class before signing day?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Clearly there will be plenty of uncertainty and things to worry about in the coming months. If you are like me, however, you are already so sick and tired of worry and speculation that you have entered a state of comatose. Obviously, being in a state of comatose isn’t very much fun, so I have decided to switch my coping mechanism.

While this off-season has dragged on to the point that it seems like it will never end, the light at the end of the tunnel is coming into view and the season is fast approaching.

Rather than worry about things outside of our collective control, it’s time to refocus our energies on getting excited about the football season that kicks off in 65 days.

Here is a list of some things that I am most excited about for this season and beyond. Read More

Spring Game: Players to Watch on Defense

Written April 20th, 2011 by Jim

 

Spring is the time for young defenders to shine.

The Buckeyes have to reload on defense more in 2011 than any year since 2006. If you remember back, the 2006 defense had to replace all time great A.J. Hawk amongst many others. The task was daunting, but players like James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins quickly emerged as the next great Buckeye defenders. A defense full of newcomers helped lead the team to a perfect regular season and a trip to the national title game.

Will Etienne Sabino be the next Laurinatis? Will Travis Howard be the next Jenkins? If anything, the players this season have more experience under their collective belts than the 2006 group did, which bodes well for the silver bullets.

Jim Tressel has received plenty of criticism on offense over the years, but on defense there is not much to complain about. The Buckeyes have been a top ten ranked D annually under Tressel regardless of attrition each year, and this season should be no different.

Here are the players to watch in the spring game who will look to continue the defensive tradition of excellence. Read More

Spring Game Primer

Written April 11th, 2011 by Jim

Excited for football yet?

With spring practice well underway and the spring game quickly approaching, it is time to move from “way too early looks” at each position into some more informed analysis based on practice reports.

[Note: I apologize for not getting to the defensive backs in my “way too early looks”.]

This offseason has been a tumultuous one to say the least. The tattoo revelations leading up to the Sugar Bowl and the resulting suspensions guaranteed a shadow over the off season. The additional news concerning Jim Tressel didn’t exactly make that shadow go away.

Fortunately, time heals all wounds, and cracking pads on the field helps to speed up that process- at least for me. After some time off from writing following the Tressel news conference (which is part of the reason why I didn’t get to the DBs), my enthusiasm for football is back in full swing.

So what follows will not only be a look at the DBs for the first time, but also a review of all of the position groups with some updated thoughts based on news from practice. I apologize ahead of time if this ends up being lengthy.

My rebuttal: FOOTBALL!

My attitude this offseason has always been that no matter what happens, when the Buckeyes take care of business on the field everything else will fade into the background.

Redemption through wins.

Off field BS be damned.

Here is a look at how each position is looking heading into the spring game.

Read More

Way Too Early Look: 2011 Defensive Line

Written February 15th, 2011 by Jim

Two out of four returning starters ain't bad...

Ohio State has been spoiled by some outstanding play in the defensive trenches recently. Whether you look at the incredible depth and experience of the 2009 group or the individual performance of Cameron Heyward and Dexter Larimore in 2010, the defensive line has been one of the primary sources of success for Buckeyes.

Needless to say, the 2011 D-line has some big shoes to fill and some lofty standards to live up to. With significant losses across the board, the defense will be a major rebuilding project in 2011. As usual, that rebuilding project will start up front.

The Buckeyes do return several veteran players (Nathan Williams, John Simon) as well as some young talent that will look to take their game to the next level (Adam Bellamy, Garrett Goebel, Johnathan Hankins). However, depth may be a problem as the two deep will be filled with players that have very little game experience, particularly at defensive tackle.

Then again, compared to 2009, depth may be a concern every season. Re-loading the defense has never been an issue at Ohio State, and the Buckeyes should have no problems finding new stars to replace the old ones.

Here is a run down of the players looking to make some noise in the trenches in 2011. Read More

Regular Season Review: Defensive Line

Written December 14th, 2010 by Jim

In 2009, the strength the Buckeyes was without a doubt the defensive line. They were talented, they were deep, and they were experienced. Those qualities helped Ohio State  shut down the high powered, high paced Oregon offensive attack in the Rose Bowl. It was a fitting end to a great year for the line.

At the beginning of this season, there was little to no drop off in the starting four. Between Cameron Heyward, Dexter Larimore, Nathan Williams, and John Simon, Ohio State was in great shape along the defensive front.

However, depth and experience were a serious concern after losing five key contributors from the rotation. Nothing against the young linemen, but no matter how talented you are, you can’t replace three or four years of experience playing in the trenches in the Big Ten.

In the loss at Wisconsin, it was clear that the defense didn’t have enough gas in the tank to slow down the devastating Badger ground game at the most crucial points in the second half. To put it bluntly, they got steamrolled, and that can be traced directly back to depth and fresh legs along the defensive line.

The good news is that Arkansas shouldn’t have the horses to do the same thing in the Sugar Bowl. The bad news is that Ohio State will need to fill some serious holes along the line in 2011 with players that have yet to prove themselves.

Before I get ahead of myself, here is a look at Ohio State’s defensive line and how they performed in 2010. Read More

Fall Depth Chart Released

Written August 26th, 2010 by Jim

Andrew Sweat is stepping his game up.

Today is full of all sorts of goodies. First the interactive guide, now the newest depth chart has been released.

The biggest surprise is that not only has Andrew Sweat surpassed Etienne Sabino (the front runner in the spring) at strong side linebacker, but Sabino is now listed at middle linebacker.

Another big surprise is C.J. Barnett listed ahead of Orhian Johnson at strong safety. Johnson was also the favorite for that spot in the spring.

Some pleasant surprises from the young guys include Johnathan Hankins cracking the two deep at tackle, Adam Bellamy listed as the primary backup behind Heyward at strong side end, Christian Bryant listed as an alternate at Star, and Andrew Norwell as the primary backup at right tackle.

These moves are clearly a reflection of who stood out during the jersey scrimmage this past Saturday or during fall camp in general. Either way, they give us a good idea of where things stand heading into game week.

Some of the changes could also be motivation for certain players to pick their play up as game week approaches, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see some additional changes by next Thursday.

Football!