Five Things: Michigan State

By Chris Lauderback on October 2, 2011 at 2:00p
Photo: Kirk Irwin / Getty ImagesHoward IsLULZ!

Holy smokes this a bad football team from top to bottom. 

Undisciplined, overwhelmed on offense, lacking a bonafide leader at the controls, and yet to fully grip reality that the young kids should be playing no matter what because the only thing to play for is next year, this team is growing increasingly painful to watch. 

Incredibly, an Ohio State football team has me virtually apathetic. As such, I almost feel compelled to apologize for an abbreviated edition of Five Things but I'm pretty sure you won't mind. 

None of us can feign shock over what has unfolded. That shock is saved for digesting how the final score was only 10-7 against a horribly mediocre Michigan State team. Avoid reality if you must but I thank the god of midwestern football that we aren't facing an SEC schedule going forward. Even with that regionalized gift, there are undoubtedly more embarassing losses to come. 

With that bit of good news out of the way, let's get moving...

HOWARD wr resort and island

For those of you hoping Travis Howard was just suffering from a bit of rust, you might want to put that idea to pasture. 

I like Howard. I really do. Despite the missteps for which he's been punished, he seems like a pretty good guy, on Twitter at least. That said, dude is beyond struggling to live up to the Howard Island moniker. In reality, there's typically an island between he and the receiver behind him. 

B.J. Cunningham is no slouch but he flat out embarassed Howard out there yesterday. There were more than a handful of epic fail plays leaving me scratching my head, trying to figure out why Dominic Clarke doesn't deserve a closer look. 

In the 2nd half alone, Howard whiffed on at least three tackles and on a couple others, his tackling technique was to jump on the back of the receiver who proceeded to drag him for five yards. 

In coverage, besides giving up the 33 yard TD catch to Cunningham in the 1st quarter, he was completely fried on a 52 yard gainer by Cunningham late in the 3rd quarter. Still technically in the game trailing 7-0 with the defense lining up to defend a 3rd and 7 at the Sparty 31, Howard let Cunningham get behind him again and showed little recovery ability as Cunningham raced to the Buckeye 17 yard line. It's worth noting the drive still ended up in zero points as Barnett made a sick play intercepting a ball tipped by Bradley Roby but Howard Island? Plz. 

Two possessions later, Howard received a gift as Cunningham got behind him again on 3rd and 10 from the MSU 44 but Cousins couldn't connect. For the day, Cunningham racked up nine grabs for 154 yards and a score, most of it on Howard. Not pretty. Again. 

the audition continues to go south

Nobody's arguing Fickell wasn't dealt a bad hand. He obviously took over amidst terrible circumstances. 

It's also obvious that he is nowhere near ready to be a head coach at a major program. That's not intended as a slight by any stretch. Any position coach or coordinator is best served by cutting their teeth as a head coach in the relative obscurity provided by MAC programs and the like. The pressure is far less intense and the number of eyes able to spot inexperienced decisions and actions shrinks by the millions. 

Going with the blind faith mentality, I coaxed myself into believing Fickell could thrive as OSU's head coach. I guess that still could be true but not unless he gets a second chance at the helm many years down the road after undergoing major seasoning somewhere else. 

Just 7, maybe 8 games leftHe will be a very good head coach...someday. 

Just like last week, the team again showed wild lack of discipline, cranking out nine penalties for 82 yards. Just like last week, I'll state this falls on the head coach. A lack of discipline can't be another negative factor to contend with especially when a team has zero offensive confidence. Nine penalties, 12 first downs. Kill me now. 

Beyond the penalities, Fickell also put on another horrendous display of clock management at the end of the first half. 

On 2nd and 9 with at their own 38 with about :39 left, Bollman/Fickell dialed up a Hyde run for 13 yards. That took the clock to about :34. Clearly without any plan despite the fact the ball was now at the MSU 49, Fickell inexplicably let another five seconds run off the clock before calling a timeout at the :29 mark. Following a four yard screen to Hyde, Miller was sacked on 2nd and 6 from the Sparty 45 yard line. 

With a timeout left, Fickell let the clock run out without attempting a hail mary in a game in which he trailed just 7-0. The ball was on the Sparty side of the field. How on earth do you not at least line up in shotgun and attempt to throw the ball into the endzone? 

I'm over the Fickell tryout. The day he and Bollman are no longer decision makers in OSU football will be the day the program takes a step in the right direction. I hate to type that about Fickell but I don't know how it can be argued. I know I don't hear Gene Smith arguing it. He's been a ghost. No way is that an accident. 

bollman and the line

The offensive line got its ass kicked. 

There were plenty of one on one matchups in which a lineman simply failed to win his battle. Mewhort and Linsley looked to have awful days and Brewster might have played his worst game in three years. And let's not even talk about the havoc caused by Gholston. That dude flat out owned the line of scrimmage. Now, that's not to say there weren't plenty of times where the line never had a chance because there were more rushers than blockers. I'd also venture to guess the RB's didn't have their best day in pass pro. 

Bollman played right into Sparty's hands failing to dial up any screens to punish them for their over-agression up front. And is there a misdirection/counter in the playbook at all? I feel like we ran at least one draw  before the tail end of the game with solid success. 

Nine sacks. Nine. That's a tough pill to swallow. Though my eyes are watery, let's call it allergies, I think the math showed OSU rushed 39 times for 35 yards though we know nine of those "carries" were sacks resuliting in -64 yards. Minus the sacks, that still means the Bucks ran 30 times for 99 yards. Not good enough. 

And I just want to publicly thank Bollman and Fickell for putting in Baus at the end of the game. I mean, it makes total sense to me to put in the guy with concrete shoes when the MSU defensive line is staging a jailbreak on every play. Totally makes sense. Great move. You should both treat yourselves to Applebees. Okay. I'm rambling. Moving on. 

bradley roby is my dude

Because I have little else to be happy about and lord knows I've been woefully wrong on the vast majority of my predictions over the years, I just want to call out that I was trumpeting Bradley Roby as a future playmaker since Johnny and I saw him at the jersey scrimmage and various practices last year. I struggled to understand how he could redshirt because he looked like he could at least be a factor on special teams back then. He just always seemed to be around the ball. 

Yesterday, Roby was the only DB I saw that stuck to Cunningham with any regularity. Overall, the kid made two sensational plays on balls in the air and managed four tackles including one for a seven yard loss. 

Roby displayed excellent ball skills tipping a pass in the endzone which Barnett neatly grabbed for a touchback. No doubt it was a fantastic play by Barnett but it was set up by Roby's deflection. 

Three possessions later, with Sparty facing 3rd and 4 from the OSU 39 leading 10-0, Roby picked off a Cousins pass at the OSU 20 giving the Buckeyes at least a glimmer of hope with 4:24 left in the game. 

The bottom line is the kid makes plays. He appears, by far, to be the best pure cover guy on the team and as the season has progressed, he's shown a decent ability to provide run support and he's doing it as a redshirt freshman. To me, he's the bright spot on an otherwise ordinary defense by OSU standards. 

welcome back boom, posey and adams

I'm pretty sure it won't make as big a difference as I thought it would a month ago but it will be damn good to have Boom, Posey and Adams back in the lineup. 

Clearly, Adams and Posey are the most needed from a skill perspective. With Hall and Hyde doing a respectable job, Boom's skill level isn't as much of a necessity though I do think he can be a guy that helps Brewster in the leadership department. Though harder to quantify, there's no denying the offense is starved for such traits. 

It will be interesting to see how Boom's return impacts Hall/Hyde. My gut says Hall will still get the same amount of touches but Hyde could be reduced to more of a short yardage guy. 

Up front, Norwell has probably proven he's one of the five best linemen so with Adams set to reclaim left tackle, I'm curious to see what Bollman does. I could see Norwell sliding over to replace Mewhort or Linsley. It might be more of a stretch but I wouldn't be disappointed if Norwell slid all the way over to right tackle in place of F.S. J.B. Shugarts. 

I originally figured Posey's return would be gigantic due to the lack of experienced talent at wideout. With Devin Smith having emerged on some level, at least we now have a solid 1-2 punch. The problem is we still have a true freshman QB that is terrified of throwing an interception. Posey can help if he can get enough separation to be wide open enough for Miller to not be afraid to throw. That also assumes Posey's getting enough reps in practice to build a comfort level with his quarterback. 

Wow. Writing all this sure has me excited for the trip to Lincoln next week. 



Comments Show All Comments

sfgoody's picture

Wow.  THAT was brutal.  I told my 6 yr old on Monday we were gonna get beat, but I did not see that level of impotence as possible. We're a mess, no denying it, and even though some help is on the way, it won't be nearly enough in the short term.  Even though the corn got worked last night, they are going to house us, if for no other reason than to exorcise their angst.  It won't be pretty.  Expect the commentators to do a lot of, 'The youth of this Buckeye club is really showing," or, "We're just seeing a real physical mismatch up front." Gawd, please don't let it be Herbie making the call....

To me, the Illinois game is now the season, the only chance for a turning point.  They are always a tough out, maybe an impossible out this year, but we HAVE TO HAVE that game.  We have 2 weeks to get the Tatters involved and up to speed.  Maybe the gods think we've suffered enough and we get NWill back. (Doubt it). Then we have 2 weeks to circle the horses, expand the playbook (and by expand I mean rediscover the screen pass at a minimimum), build some confidence and hopefully squelch the infighting.  That's what concerns me most.  We don't need factions in the locker room, though I'm sure we already have some. Wisky is a ritualistic sacrifice, unless Russell Wilson goes into witness protection, but, those last four games are all winnable if we can just start righting the ship.  Here's hoping Zooker has just what the doctor ordered....

Our deficiencies are easy enough to see, glaringly obvious to all, but I think above all we need LEADERSHIP.  From the players.  I like Luke, but he's done. There's no 'fair shake' at THE. He's trying his best, but his best isn't good enough. But at the end of the day, he can't tackle, he can't fight off a jam at the line, he can't decide he will win his battle every play.  That has to come from the players, the leading type, and we need them to show up.  Now. Time to circle the wagons fans.  We're down, but not out. We need our boys, but they clearly need us too.





Menexenus's picture

To me, the Illinois game is now the season

I disagree.  To me, the only thing left in this season is the Michigan game.  Our schedule is weak enough that we should be able to make it to bowl eligibility (just barely).  The only thing I care about at this point is the Michigan game.  If Fickell can get a win in Ann Arbor, he'll get a pat on the back by us fans as he heads out the door at the end of the season. 


Real fans stay for Carmen.

DotThei's picture

I'm with you (except the rehire Tressel tag as JT is the one who put this sad offensive staff in place). Our team is poor, the play even poorer, and the coaching an absolute joke. We needed to clean the coaching house, but the timing of Tressel's dismissal meant we were going to have to go through a transition year. My problem with it: Why burn things with Luke, who was a great unit coach? We could have promoted someone else or put freaking Earl Bruce in charge...

This whole season is about the Michigan game now. And, as Ive typed before, what happens when an immovable object (OSU Offense) faces a frictionless, gravity-free vacuum (Michigan Defense)?


WilloughbyBuck's picture

Nicely said - there is talent and we could still see a winning season with the big IF of leaders emerging from the chaos.  This is the opportunity of a career for either a coach or players to step up to this challenge and LEAD - maybe not to glorious victory but to restore some fire and pride.  Tough times will reveal the character of each member team.

Buckeyejason's picture

Nice write up. We knew we'd struggle and lose games this year..but did we think we'd be this bad? No, I doubt it.

QB play, play calling, O-line play, pass rush is just horrific.


6stringSteve's picture

This team will be lucky to finish .500.  

Has Urban Meyer got his coaching staff picked out yet?

Buckeyejason's picture

I feel bad for a guy like Jake Stoneburner. Dude is wasting his talented career here.

feels like every preseason we hear he's going to be a key to the offense and be a top pass catcher...then as soon as the season progresses he's not involved. What a joke it is!


iball's picture

I saw Stoney standing around watching MSU backers crush our.tailbacks instead of blocking on many occasions. What's he ever done to make him so "talented"?

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Buckeyejason's picture

What I meant was that he committed to a school that is known for lack of passes to Tight Ends. He is a big athletic kid that could be tearing it up at a shit load of other schools that have competent O.C.'S.


blazers34's picture

true, but he also committed as a WR, who at the time was determined to stay at WR

Buckeyejason's picture

I hope he does. Because I haven't seen one thing that I can say "Damn, I like the things Fickell has been doing, he's going to be a great coach"

Every fan knows it. Pink slips for Bolman, Siciliano, and Fickell at the end of this disastrous season.


GoBucks713's picture

IMO it starts with the offensive play calling, and ends with this Patchwork POS O-Line just not executing, sprinkled with a dash of the inability to make adjustments which really reverts back to horrible play calling.

I have no idea why we are only down by 7 for most of the game and our line is getting blown up, why the hell are we running 10 yard+ routes? When Hall and Hyde were carrying the ball they were doing a decent job. RUN, RUN, RUN then hit them with a quick slant, or maybe don't put the QB unter center so much to give him atleast a second to get rid of the ball.

Someone needs to motivate this line and get them mean. Maybe in the future we do nothing but recruit assholes on the OL. Maybe find some dirty players, guys that will just knock defenders on their asses. I don't think there are many High School DE or DT that would be afraid of our OL. It's just embarassing.

And it's also embarassing that we are a major program and the last time our QB coach played the position was when he was in HS. He has no college or even club experience.

The ineptitude of our coaches is amazing. It's like RichRod is our coach.

Gene Smith, it is time for you to redeem yourself for your futility and fumbling the last 10 months. Hire a coach that can bring in talented assistants that know what the hell they are doing.

I'll get off of my soapbox now.

-The Aristocrats!

BoFuquel's picture

Great job Chris.

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

sfgoody's picture

One last thought before i purge myself of the memory of yesterday.  Just by way of comparison, quick, name 5 'current' coaches you'd rather have than tress.  You'd prob say, in no order: stoops, saban, myles, brown...? The point being, as fans we need to REALLY take a good long look in the mirror.  We like to say, 'we know Luke was dealt a tough hand BUT...' C'mon folks, that's a big but!  Not to mention losing TP.  Love him or hate him, I'll take the position that he's the most prolific offensive player in the history of the school and you can have the field. Whatever stat you choose, facts are facts. Losing both he AND tress, the way we did, and when we did makes the chaos seem a little more clear.  I mean, do we have more pedigree and tradition than Texas?  They lost a pretty good qb, managed to keep the HOF coach and ended up a disappointing 5-7 last year.  All I'm saying is, we've had an amazing run, we're tanking now.  It's miserable, but temporary.  Take the energy you would like to put into writing Bolls resume and go play catch with your kids.  This too shall pass, and it isn't worth driving yourself insane over.


klfeck's picture

I think I'd rather sell my soul than have Miles as a head coach. How good would Saban or Miles be if not for oversigning??? Exactly.



Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

Conroy's picture

Very very good.

Roger's picture

Evidence of this?

BoFuquel's picture

Jason your starting to sound somewhat like old BOFUQUEL.Only in a more CYA style.Don't worry I won't kick you off the bandwagon,like some ignorant rednecks will want to to ya.

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

btalbert25's picture

That may have been the hardest game I've ever watched out of the Buckeyes.  I know they got the late TD to make it a 3 point margin, but the game felt like it was a 30 point margin.  Cousins was responsible for 3 TO's on his own, and this team still couldn't capitalize.  After watching last night, I'm very affraid of what will happen when Wisconsin comes to town.  

Bish45's picture

Agee on most. Two words; however; pat Fitzgerald! Young guy taking over after a bad situation. Not the pressure of Ohio State bit pressure nonetheless. It I'd a B1G school. Honestly I m enjoying and have enjoyed watching NW play. They are a ton more exciting than Ohio state. How bout mich, ill, n wisky for that matter.
I love the idea of a Fickell Vrabel coached team but Bollman is about 5 years past due to hit the road. There is no excuse foe our line getting eaten up like that and than not having the where with all to dial up some HB screens/ draws/ counters.
Very disappointing.

NC_Buckeye's picture

I'll give you another one - Dabo Swinney. Another interim coach with no previous HC experience.

1996–2001 Alabama (WR/TE)
2003–2008 Clemson (Asst HC/WR)
2008–present Clemson (HC)

Record thus far:
2008 6-2 (took over from Bowden after 3-3)
2009 9-5
2010 6-7
2011 5-0 with wins over #21 Auburn, #11 Florida State, and #11 Virginia Tech.

Swinney will most likely win the ACC this year. Many Clemson fans were wanting him fired after last season. I bet most of them are back on the bandwagon.

btalbert25's picture

I have been a Hyde fan all season, and I have to say after watching him run last night, I feel like he should be the number 2 guy when Boom gets back.  Use Hall in open space but get Hyde touches.  Every play seems like he gets at least 2 or 3 yards.  Hall got stuffed a lot last night.  

Buckeye in Athens's picture

I generally agree with your points of view BT, and it's no different here. I think Hyde has shown that he's consistently getting better. He hit the hole hard and ran like someone kicked his dog. We need that kind of power. However, I also think Hall is a player and needs to get touches too. I think that it needs to be Boom as num 1 and the dreaded "OR" for the number two spot between Hyde and Hall. 

Why aren't we seeing a two back set with Hall and Hyde back there with Braxton?


Buckeyejason's picture

Hall is better than Hyde, Hall just didn't get the room to run yesterday. Line gave him hardly any holes to run through. Hyde and Hall should make a nice one-two punch in 12'.


btalbert25's picture

I guess my point is, Hyde seemed to be capable of getting some nice runs, with that same horrible line.  The line won't change much, may as well keep giving the guy the ball since he keeps getting 2-15 yards per carry.  I think Hall is very good, just seems to go down on contact a lot.  

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

We all knew that Jim Bollman was a joke, but you're starting to see the true depth of his awfulness with his heightened responsibility in Tressel's absence. The man is completely inept. Usually if your assistant coaches are good, they aren't there for long. They get offered head coaching positions by other schools. Haven't seen anyone knocking the door down to offer Jim Bollman a head coaching job. Not that that's the only thing that matters, but it seems like everyone else can see how useless the guy is. I know this team is raw and inexperienced, but there's no excuse for them to be so unprepared. Again, I give the defense a pass here, for allowing 10 points on a day where they were, again, up against the wall for basically the entire game, though there's still some issues on that side of the ball. However, that was to be expected. We expected the offense to struggle, but we also expected them to look like they knew what the hell they were doing. I have nothing against Fickell, at all, I know it's difficult to be thrust into this situation. But there's no way he should be retained at season's end. You come to Ohio State as a proven commodity now, you don't come for a tryout. 

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

Also, how on EARTH is Gene Smith still employed? 

sharkvsghost's picture


swing hard in case you hit it.

Pam's picture

Gene Smith is still employed because he oversees 35 other sports besides football and has an AD that is fully funded.

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

That's fine, but the rising number of misteps he's made with the school's most visible program is simply inexcusable. After the Tressel affair, he emphatically states "Jim Tressel is our football coach," though later he's relieved from his position anyway, when that time could have been spent interiviewing and finding a viable replacement, instead of appointing an interim coach for this year in what could eventually be a lost season on and off the field for Ohio State. And then choosing Luke Fickell, who we can all agree is a solid gent, but a man clearly not ready for the job, is thrust into the head coaching position, with Smith likely having a lot to do with that decision. Unacceptable.

Buckeyejason's picture

Cam Newton with almost another 400 yard passing game against da Bears.

And People said TP was as good if not better that Newton LOL.


Big'un's picture

And on top of this, we've got no one coaching our young QB.

Kurt's picture

I found the final drive interesting.  I was expecting nothing with Baus back out there.  But Bollman put something together.  He abandoned the i-formation with Baus under center, he finally realized that Baus is not mobile and to put him under center is a terrible idea.  Every play of that final drive was from the gun with 3 wide-outs.  He spread the field, and allowed Baus to relatively quickly get the ball out and it worked. 

We were a mess on offense with Tressel, but with him we were a tight, mistake-free team that won games with out immense talent advantages on teams.  Now we're still that offenssive mess without a good scheme but we don't have Tress keeping the talent disciplined enough to win.  Good coaches with a good scheme could get results from Baus.  Good coaches with a good scheme could get great results from Braxton.  We have neither.

Even the defense is hurting now that Fickell is HC.  He can't focus on that side of the ball as much anymore, so that leave more responsibility to Heacock. 

Jdadams01's picture

You're kidding yourself if you think that the last drive was due to good coaching decisions or Baus doing anything well. Sparty went to prevent, rushed 3-4, and backed way off receivers. That is the only reason we completed a few passes. Baus is terrible and Bollman is worse. That guy wouldn't be successful on the high school level, let alone at a place like OSU.

Bring on Urban.

BuddhaBuck's picture

Don't text while driving.

Leanenaud's picture

If there's anytime players should be selling their memorabilia it's now. They need big money for the head coach search. It would be great if they found a new AD first so the current fool in office doesn't have a say in who takes over.

btalbert25's picture

I'm kind of surprised no one has jumped to Fickell's defense yet.  The ENTIRE coaching staff needs to be replaced after this season.  I don't know if Fickell would stay on or be asked to stay on, but maybe the next head coach would give him the DC job if he wanted it.  I do think he'd be great in that capacity, especially if he had the job on his own and wasn't a Co-coordinator, whatever that job is exactly.  It would be a demotion I understand, and the new coach likely wouldn't want his authority to be challanged at all by keeping the former head coach around, but that's the only way I care to see Fickell back next season. 

I get so tired of seeing the team play like crap, then the camera pans to the sideline and Fickell is just gnawing on gum with a blank stare on his face.  Once, just once I'd love to see the guy  throw the head set down, light a fire under someone's ass, show some emotion, hell at this point I'd even take the guy shaking his head in disgust.  I'm not talking Brian Kelly meltdown, or grabbing guys by their face mask and head butting them, just show us some emotion.  

Conroy's picture

The defensive coaching staff is fine as it is.  Whoever comes in next year should definitely try to retain Heacock.  It would be nice to keep Fickell, but I think it's more likely he'll end up somewhere in the MAC (Akron?).

William's picture

I wish that whoever comes in tries to keep Haynes, Vrabel, Heacock, and maybe even Fickell as the DC. The only person that should be kept from the offensive side of the ball is Drayton.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Fuck that. I'll defend Fickell. This guy has been dealt the trials of Job and this fanbase will not cut him one iota of slack.

Oh and admit it btalbert. You've been rooting for him to fail --- FAKEASS BUCKEYE!

btalbert25's picture

You can believe whatever you want to believe, the fact of the matter is, no matter how bad this team is and how bad he appears you'll believe it's fine to blindly support the dude because he's a Buckeye.  I'll never root for him to fail, because that means this team will fail.  Guess, what, this team is failing miserably as is their head coach.  He's done NOTHING to prove his worth at this point in time, and the team appears to get getting worse.  There's no focus, they aren't prepared for games, and they are flat at all times.  They are taking on their coach's personality. 

You keep citing guys like Fitzgerald and Clemson's coach as examples of guys with no head coaching experience as guys who have succeeded, but their programs and circumstances are completely different.  Not to mention 4 and 5 loss seasons are good end results for Northwestern.  At Ohio State, Tressel lost to 2 top 5 teams in the first 5 games and people were calling for his job.  Tressel, the legendary coach who was a proven winner.  Why the hell wouldn't anyone think a guy who has done very little to prove his worth as a head coach wouldn't be getting pressure after his team has had 3 really bad outings in 5 games.  


TallTom's picture

I will defend Luke. I love reading 11 Warriors, but Buckeye fans are spoiled & petulant crybabies.  You don't get more Buckeye than Luke-Columbus born, Ohio Champion, 4 year starter, working way up under 2 HC.  Yet you want to throw him away after 5 games for what Urban the fragile health/basket case?  Before you dump Luke, who really do you want that will come? 

This team is in turmoil but how much did it set him back to have 2 players unsuspended and resuspended before the Miami game and have his youngsters lose confidence. Then on top of it the fairweather bandwagon buckeyes were out in full force yesterday. I was at the game and the only thing more pathetic than our offense was our fan base.  Booing your own team is classless and certainly not going to help the psyche of a young team.  Half of those booing were calling for Braxton 2 weeks ago and as he is struggling, you turn on him. 

How about the quitest 105K getting behind their youg guys and showing some energy themselves. The crowd was weak even before the lackluster play unfolded.  Not noisy, not boisterous, not intimidating. Geez-I saw people leave before half because were too cold, plus nearly the entire West stands between the 30s weren't in their fold down seats WHILE THE TEAM WAS ON THE FIELD to start the second half.  Hypocrites that fille out at the end of third quarter, but probably criticize Luke for not using timeouts in the Miami game.

FAKE BUCKEYES one and all.  I was embarassed to be associated with you and not becuse the team laid an egg.  The biggest frontrunners there are.  Sell your tickets, burn your shirts, and go cheer for Alabama or whoever else is winning because you only support your team when they win.

Give Luke a fair shot before chasing some snakeoil salesman. Let him change the staff and have a real season in place.  Pat Fitzgerald grew into the job, Bielema had growing pains, and Luke can too, if we have his back. 

btalbert25's picture

Just because you are realisitic about this team and coach, no matter what the circumstances are, doesn't make you a crybaby, fake buckeye, negative nancy or WTF anyone else has been throwing around here lately.  I don't believe in booing, even at the pro level I think it's kind of silly, especially when directed at your own team.  I just want to know who gives you and others the authority to call peopel fake buckeyes, when you don't know any of these people personally. 

Some people refuse to allow anything negative to be said about the team.  That's fine, drink your kool-aid.  Just because a guy played for your team, was an assitant coach, and was born in Columbus doesn't make him an ideal pick for head coach of Ohio State.  I rarely see an well thought, valid defense of Fickell.  

Here are the common themes of such conversations.  Someone says they don't like Fickell and they name off reasons ranging from, hating the rotating captains, all the way to in game management.  The responses are always the following: 

He was thrown into a horrible situation

HE IS A BUCKEYE, born in Ohio, played at OSU, coached here

You guys are entitled crybabies who only support winners


He'll be great when he can have his own staff

No where in any of these defenses has anyone pointed to ANYTHING he's said, done, or shown that supports he'd be a great head coach.  Nothing.  No one mentions decisions he's made, or anything about his actual coaching that can pursuade anyone else that he's the answer to the head coaching question. 

Also, it doesn't matter what Pat Fitzgerald has done or Clemson's coach, or any other coach anywhere else.  They situations are all completely different and expectations at all the other places are no where near what the expectations in Columbus are every year.  Even Bilema at Wisconsin.  Also, those other coaches were selected, by a coaching search and interview process.  They weren't thrown into the situation out of neccessity because no one else wanted to take on the job.  Fickell is the coach, because he was the only guy who stepped up and said, ok I'll do it.  

Again, I challenge you and anyone else to please convince me, give me a good reason that you think Fickell is so good.  What in game coaching moves has he made.  Where has he shown great leadership.  Where has he proven to you this year as head coach that he is the best option.  If you all actually would actually give examples and something to defend him that has to do with his coaching, I may be able to be convinced.  Screaming FAKEASS BUCKEYE at me isn't going to do it, and telling me a coach at a school where 5 losses a year is good, is doing a great job, well that just isn't very impactful.  


William's picture

Plus infinity, you win the internet

Jdadams01's picture

This. A bunch.

I like Fickell. Would probably be a great guy to hang with. So is my best friend, but that doesn't mean I want my best friend coaching Ohio State.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Yep, he's doing poorly. IMO if he had the benefit of a new OC or even a decent QB coach things would be different right now. There would still be problems. He would just have a cushion that would allow him to grow into the job. He doesn't have that now. I've resolved myself to the fact that the entire staff (DEFENSE INCLUDED) will be replaced in Dec or Jan.

But let's back up a bit btalbert. Even after the Akron game you were saying stuff like... let's not be hasty in committing to Fickell, if Meyer is available I don't think we should pass him up, etc. YOU'RE A MEYER FAN-BOY! So the fact that Fickell is having problems fits perfectly with how you want things to play out. Rooting against the Buckeyes to succeed is the definition of A FAKE-ASS BUCKEYE in my book.

btalbert25's picture

I said let's not be hasty before he coached a down.  I've said there should be a fair selection process to ensure Ohio State gets the man they want for the job.  I also think that Fickell should be included in that search.  Let him sell what he would do with his own coaching staff and lay out who his staff would be and how things would be different.

I'll pull no punches, if Urban Meyer is out there and wants the job, I want him to interview and get it.  In my opinion the best free agent coach out there right now is Urban Meyer.  I certainly think if he's interested he should get an interview.  My position has been, and will continue to be that if Urban, Fickell, Pellini, and Dantonio want the job, Fickell is 4th on the list in my opinion.  I'm just looking at things strictly as which guy is the most qualified to be the head coach.  Despite who you like or love or where the guys grew up and played football, from a coaching perspective only the others right now rank ahead of Fickell. 

So, again, I have to say you are wrong.  I've never cheered for the guy to fail, as that means the team fails.  I'm not one who is happy to be right when things don't go right.  Bottom line, this is one of the best coaching jobs in America, and we should have one of the best coaches.  Quite honestly, Fickell was probably going to have to take this team to a BCS bowl or something phenominal to keep the job anyway.  Would a real Buckeye scream FAKEASS BUCKEYE just because someone didn't agree with them?

Rooster Buckburn's picture

I agree with the above comment that its all about Michigan now....and trying to get to six wins to become bowl eligible.  Never thought that would be a question - but after yesterday I'm struggling to find three more wins on our schedule.

TatumRuled's picture

As much as I despise Mark May, he is right about this:

Speaking of Ohio State, I can sum up the Buckeyes' offensive performance in one word: pathetic, and I'm being kind. They didn't show up at all against Michigan State. They finished with 178 yards of offense, with 62 coming on the last drive. I don't care how many freshmen are playing or who they're missing. It's Ohio State. It has too much talent to be playing this poorly, and if the Buckeyes don't start playing better, they're going to finish 6-6 or 5-7. 

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum                       

Bucksfan's picture

I honestly don't think it matters if they start playing better.  How much better are we talking?  I don't think even with Posey, Adams and Herron back that this team can beat Nebraska, Wisconsin, or Illinois.  Penn State might be a crap shoot, but it's on the road - not good.  Michigan is on the road - also not good.

5-7 is where my money is.  I seriously can't believe it.  There are no excuses.  These kids just aren't coached well at all.  We've been saying it for years.  Now that the Big Ten has taken a marginal step forward, the lack of football ability instilled by Bollman and the rest of the cronies that have been tenured for the past 10 years is taking its toll.  The O-line is not elite, and hasn't been for about 5 years.  This is what that looks like when you don't have a good system to teach QBs how to play college football.

RedQueenRace's picture

Just an FYI:  Scheduling works out that we get PSU at home again this year.  I think there was a time after they joined where we had to head to their place 2 years in a row but I could be wrong on that.

Nonetheless, it could very easily be an L.

original buckeye's picture

This all starts with offensive playcalling.  Up the middle, up the middle, sack.  Bollman's quite possibly the most predictable, and thus biggest fool, calling any plays in college football.  It was clear midway through the first quarter that the offensive playcalling wasn't working, but there we were in the fourth quarter calling the same ineffective plays.  To say Bollman's clueless is to give him way too much credit.  And Fickell's even worse for not putting a stop to it.  As the head coach, the buck stops with him, and the coordinators are his assistants.  Too bad he doesn't realize it.  The sooner this season ends and these clowns are relieved of their duties, the better. 

O-H-I-Owe-U's picture

Every one reading and contributing to this site could game plan better than Bollman. How crazy is that? Cut him now Luke. He doesn't deserve to spend one more day on staff of tOSU. Do what's best for the program.

tampa buckeye's picture

Beanie did work today.

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

The Houndie decision should be an easy one.

Buckeyejason's picture

Off topic:

Beanie Wells is having a career day vs the Giants. 150+ yds rushing 3 td's.


SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

He actually has 127 rushing yards, but yes, amazing performance. Running like a pissed off dude, that's for sure.

Colin's picture

Jake Ballard also just caught his first NFL TD, REPRESENT.

Buckeyejason's picture

Oh my bad, must be the sinus/cold medicine making me see false #'s. Yes he's playing like the Beanie we know.


Buckeyejason's picture

Ballard just make a sick càtch for a TD. Almost had 2 today.


SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

As awesome as it is to see these guys playing well, it's also a little sad. Ah, the glory days.

Buckeyejason's picture

At least its reassuring that we put talent into the NFL and guys are performing. Once we stop producing NFL talent cough "Notre Dame" cough..than we have major problems.


BuckeyeChief's picture

Great game for Beanie; houndie for sure!

"2014 National with it!!!"

BuddhaBuck's picture

+1 for your comment (houndie).

-1 for fantasy football GM (me). He's sitting on my bench.

Don't text while driving.

BuckeyeChief's picture

I tried to trade for him!

"2014 National with it!!!"

btalbert25's picture

Sadly, I also benched him because the word before the game made it sound like he was going to be inactive, unreal. 

NeARBuckeye's picture

I did the same thing... UGH.

I also tried to trade for him in another league thinking I could get him while he was hurt for cheap... Wrong, I should've offered more, because he's going to highly overvalued after this performance.

argyle182021's picture

Bobby Carpenter had a pick six for Detroilet

BuckeyeCrew's picture

Uhhh.. you'd better think again before calling them "Detroilet".  I think the Lions might actually be "for real" this year. (Especially after their hard-fought comeback against the Vikings last week, and beating Dallas this week)

Nappy's picture

As hard as Tresselball was to watch at times, he always put players in position to play to their strengths.  The offense just looks lost or confused and has zero rhythm.  We've been screaming this for years on this site, but Bollman is completely inept.  He fails to put players in position to use their strengths and the offense as a whole has no identity.  This is not a spread, power I, zone-read or west coast offense. I really don't know what to call it besides miserable.  Personally I think a zone-read fits the personnel better with Brax at QB, but who knows what this staff will decide to do.  Hell Taylor Graham may start next week for all we know.  

I was realistically thinking 2-3 losses this year.  With this offense we may be lucky to see 2-3 more wins.  I feel bad for Fick for being put into a situation like this, but with all the talent we've recruited the past few years there is absolutely no excuse to play this poorly in any facet of the game.  

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

bucknut24's picture

I now see why Tressel called the plays because Bowman is the definition of insanity doing the same stupid thing over and over again expecting a different result.  Clean house.

BigRedBuckeye's picture

Wow. You guys are harsh. I hear the Waaambulance coming to pick you up, Band-Aid your boo-boos, and dab your teary eyes. Jeebus.

Was I aboslutely dismayed with the O-Line and QB play yesterday? Yes. It was dsgusting. The happy feet, the lack of ability to run through his progressions, the 9 sacks...I thought Braxton, even as a back-up, would be farther along than this after spring and fall practice, let alone a month into the season. And the O-line seemed to be playing so well for the first time in years. Yuck. So hard to watch.

But to get on Howard or anyone else on the defense is insane. I thought they played a great game. BJ Cunningham is a big time receiver and he got his, but the D played a very, very solid game the whole way.

Getting on Fickell for failing to through a Hail Mary or what you see as a recurring theme of lack of discipline (note at 5:46 in the 3rd quarter ABC flashed a graphic showing that OSU was 13th in the FBS in penalty yards before yesterday...not too bad if you ask me) is nitpicking imo. He is a defense coach; isn't Bollman the one overseeing the entire offense? Imo, any negative thing said about the defense after yesterday's performance is the response of a spoiled rotten fan base. And only defense-related criticisms (w the possible exception of clock and timeout management, which is not his strong suit), imo, can be attached to Fickell.

Level Bollman and the offense until the cows come home. They deserve it. But Howard, Fickell, and the rest of the defense should not be in the discussion.

Too bad it took Baus 2 series to get warmed up, and too bad Shazier couldn't real in an onsides kick that hit him right in the hands, bc our D kept us in the game the whole entire way. Or think of it this way; with Craig Krenzel behind center, we would have won this game 12-10 on 4 fgs and no turnovers.

And we'll drink to old Ohio, 'Til we wobble in our shoes! 

Rooster Buckburn's picture

IMO the heart of the problem is the offensive line and offensive scheming.  Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas could be their quarterback tandem and it still wouldn't matter.  When our qb's are running for their lives there's not going to be much positive happening offensively.

My issue with the clock management at half time is that you're in a close game AT midfield with a timeout and approx. 20 seconds left.  You don't even need a 'Hail Mary' - just get 15 yards and attempt a FG for crying out loud.  That is on Fickell.

Nappy's picture

Howard got burnt multiple times and hasn't played that well all year.  The defense played great but Howard has been a bit of a disappointment, IMO. 

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

bucknut24's picture

I agree Howard is a liability and they need to play Clarke

tampa buckeye's picture

Why are you all over t howards shit? He didnt cost them the game the oline and coaching did. You want to write about something write about that.

Colin's picture

Howard has given up big touchdown passes in each of the past two games. Our offense couldn't score but he certainly didn't help keep it close.

BoFuquel's picture

Trying to make anything positive out of this situation is living fantasy football A total waste of time and energy. This is 1966 all over,we got through that year and we will get through this year.Good ain't forever, and bad ain't for good.It may take 10 years to recover,but this too shall pass.GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

bucknut24's picture

Look at Howard in the Colorado game and it started there he gave up the 2 scores in that one and then gave up 3 big plays in the MSU game.  He gets lost in coverage and can't recover.  Clarke has proven he can cover.

ohiowhitesnake's picture

the reason Braxton is afraid to throw a pick is because he is knows if he screws up he will be replaced by a 47 year old retired Pirates pitcher! I actually was hoping for a shutout yesterday to drive the "bollman offense" nail in the coffen! I said it once and I will again...promote DRAYTON! it cant be any worse and we know Urban will keep him around. I hope Luke gets a fair chance...even DC, but he has failed to this point. He needs to coach like he played...intense! what does he have to lose? it was already thought he was just keeping the seat warm so go out and coach your ass off! GO BUCKS!! #ALWAYS!

I finally got a set of Gold Pants!

penguinpower's picture

I posted something similar after the Miami game.  I do not normally post (read everyday).  Please read this because this is the problem.  Solve it and we'll be okay.


I am a YSU Penguin OSU Buckeye.  There is a lesson to be learned about Tressel's departure.  When Tress departed YSU for Ohio State he left some of the coaches at YSU.  He took most of the good ones he would need to be successful.  He did, however, leave his Asst. Head Coach (Jon Heacock) and offensive coordinator (John klacik) at YSU.  We figured that since Jon Heacock (Jim's brother at OSU) was an experienced coach with the Tressel system that we would be in great hands..........turns out we were completley wrong.  John Klacik was Tressel's OC  at YSU and we learned that he was just a figurehead in Tressel's system.  The first year after Tress for OSU left we played the two FCS teams during the regular season that would eventually face off in the National Championship.  We lost 23-0 and 19-0 respectively.  The defense was on the field almost the entire game in every single game played in 2001.  Defenses would stack the box and dare us to throw and the OC would just run the ball straight into it.  The D was good enough to allow us to compete in any game.  It wasn't fair for the defense to be left on the field creating turnover after turnover just to have the offense go 3 and out.  You just can't leave the defense on the field for the entire game and expect to win.  The O has to do its job. 

One of the problems is that the coaching fraternity is such a tight knit group it is difficult for coaches to fire their piers.  What happened at YSU is that the new head coach (Jon Heacock) was a successor in Tressel's system.  He didn't choose the coaches.  He inherited them.  Many of the coaches were his friends and piers, (they had worked together for years) and it took several years of bad individual performance for Heacock to force them out of the system.  When Jon Heacock finally got his coaches in the system it was 2006 and YSU made it to the national semifinals.  Those were the kids Heacock landed in his first 2 years of recruiting as HC.  That would be Heacock's only playoff year in ten years.  My point it s that when you don't win now it hurts recruiting.  By the time Heacock was able to get his coaches in there (and he did keep some of them from the Tressel era at YSU) we lost our recruiting advantage because the coach lost his reputation as a winner/champion.  The number of games we lost and way we lost those games tarnished the reputation that YSU had as a football powerhouse in I-AA.  It would have been better for us to have a clean break with a whole new coaching staff.  At the end of the day YSU lost 10 years (But I gained 10 more with the Buckeyes).  YSU did not renew John Heacock's contract in 2010 and Hired Eric Wolford early in the year.  Wolford has brought in his own staff and the Penguins are certainly headed back to the top (likely next year).

I guess my point is that this situation is delicate and we should not trust that the OC can call a competent game.  Tressel WAS the OC.  It was clear at YSU that Tressel clearly made every  play call and developed offensive game plans.  Tress was a QB in college and was a great QB coach.  The OC at YSU was inept and ran a high scool offense and there was more of the same Saturday.  There is no reason we should have lost to Miami or MSU regardless of having all of our play makers.  Missing the big play people did not impact the fact that the Buckeyes could have played a possession passing game.  MSU stacked the box and dared us to thorw.  We should have been running draw, and screen plays to neutralize the blitz.  BM doesn't need to read the D to run those plays.  In addtion, isolation plays would have helped us in certain situaitons and we didn't use the FB.  MSU struggled against Younsgtown State because they spread the field on them.  Some stats to help everyone understand the underperformance of the O.  YSU had 20 first downs and dominated the TOP against MSU.  OSU has better atheletes and should have rolled that team. MSU is  overrated.  Running a spread, which OSU used to do under Tress (when needed) would have completely neutralized Gohlston.  He was a 1 man wrecking crew on our OL.

It was so frustrating to watch.  The coaching situation is a carbon copy of what hapened at Yougstown State.  Changes need to be made immediatley.  I've seen this before and unfortunatley, I had a feeling that this was going to happen.I just thought that it would be different this time.  I thought that we had more coaching talent.  On the otherhand, Tress had Mark Dantonio, Mark Snyder, Jim Heacock  on the staff at YSU so you would think that someone would know exactly how Tress operated.  It is amazing to me that the formula for success is not taught to the other coaches by Tress.  It is really puzzling because you would think that they would learn from him.  BM has the ability to become a great QB, but the QB position is not being developed.   How many times have you seen BM with a headset on when he is on the bench?  He should be walking through the plays menatlly when he isn't playing.  How many times have you seen a coach talking to him on the sideline after a series?  I haven't seen it once.

I had two really big problems with this game.  The first was that we were down by 7 with 38 seconds left in the half and we ran the ball up the middle (So we made a good gain on the play) and then waited 5 seconds to call a timeout.  There is no game management happening.  None, zilch, zero.

I believe that Fickell will learn eventually, but a $65 MM football program shouldn't have to provide the training wheels.


BoFuquel's picture

Thanks for the repost PP I read it the first time, and facts aren't to likely to change.I been a Buckeyes fan sense before Janowicz left The Shoe. This year is the 60th year sense that happened.This thing called college football is strictly a business. Money is the only thing that matters in the long run.I'm not certain what's going down here,but I would bet my last dollar it's a pissin' match between two billionaires.That's the story behind most epic wars, and if the truth ever comes out, it will be pretty close to just that.Collateral damage is part of any war,and we the fans are in harms way.So hunker down and survive to cheer another day,or another year.

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

JLP36's picture

Dumping Fickell will be a huge mistake and Gene Smith will make it.  Let's keep in mind that this team lost not only all of its offensive production, much of it unexpectedly, BUT LOST ITS OFFENSIVE COACHING STAFF ON THE LAST DAY OF MAY!  Between Hazell and Tressel, all offensive coaching was out the door.  With Tressel it was out the door at a time when Fickell did not have the opportunity to do anything about it.  Tressel was the QB coach and called the plays.  Hazell was the only offensive coach not born in a cave.  That left the incomparable Jim Bollman as the guru.

Fickell should be judged on 1. his defense, which though young has been excellent; 2. his team's effort, which has been superb even in the most frustrating circumstances and 3. his willingness to change who is coaching the offense and calling the plays.  He has very limited options there.

The recruiting fence around Ohio is the most basic key to success at Ohio State.  Beware of outsiders who don't understand Ohio State Football!



Maestro's picture

I agree with you. That's why I really hoped they would make an offensive coaching hire in the offseason. Not that I think the Vrabel hire was bad. I think it was a homerun. Give Fickell a chance to hire an offensive staff.

vacuuming sucks

German Buckeye's picture

"Two weekends ago, Notre Dame attacked the Spartan secondary on first down, finding consistent success and explosive gains. The blueprint was there, laid out before offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and the entire Ohio State staff. Attack Michigan State early, avoid the tough rush defense, and give young Braxton Miller a fighting chance. Instead, Ohio State stuck to the same tired script, running into stacked fronts on early downs and then sacrificing Miller to the Spartans on third." 

This insightful comment from our brothers over at OTO.  It's like Bollman and crew didnt watch any video from previous MSU games - I guess our QB "coach" was busy hogging the VCR.... 


JLP36's picture

It is true that no team could have mustered any offense with the penalties.  Every time they did make hay on first down penalties put them at 2nd 10 or 12.  Few teams can cope with that on a consistent basis and certainly not this one with no ripe QB. 

Even with that, this game was at 7 - 0 late into the game (because blocks in the back don't count if the back is wearing a Buckeye jersey).  The stadium was giving up on them in a game like that.  Shameful.



JLP36's picture

Fickell has to take the offense away from Bollman, even if there is no one else to give it to.  It cannot get worse.  If he doesn't do something, he is toast. 

It terrifies me to picture the fate of our football program in Gene Smith's hands.  Bollman is probably a fine man, just not very competent.  Gene Smith's actions over the last year haven't impressed on either front.


SouthBayBuckeye's picture


Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST