Five Things: Nebraska

By Chris Lauderback on October 9, 2011 at 3:10p
Getty Images / Eric FrancisHas one image ever quite captured the state of things so perfectly? (SB Nation)

Staring at the keyboard doesn't seem to be helping much so let's all hold hands and try to get through today's episode of Five Things. 

Up 21 points with 23 minutes to play. Twenty-one. Even then I was definitely still worried a collapse was at least possible. Then it happened. And it sucked. And now we go to Champaign for more pain next week especially if Miller can't return from an injury that helped doom Ohio State's golden chance at an upset last night in Lincoln. 

Seriously, when was the last time you truly hated college football? 1999? Well, there's a new sheriff in town and his name is 2011. 

This week in fickell follies

I should think about making this a weekly segment going forward. 

Guess I'll start with another nine penalties for 75 yards. Throw in about 30 missed tackles and this has to be one of the most undisciplined teams in OSU history. Fickell's group struggles mightily with these basic fundamentals. 

The collapse was aided big time by both of these continual issues. Nursing a 27-20 lead, Bryant completely whiffed on a tackle in space as he refused to breakdown his pursuit and keep his head up. That play was the anti-fundamental blueprint. Instead, he flailed past Burkhead who then raced 30 yards to tie the game at 27 with under eight minutes to play. 

After Bauserman responded by launching a ridiculously underthrown ball for an interception giving Nebrasky the ball at their own 22, penalties crutched the four play, 78 yard game winning drive. On 1st and 10, Sabino stopped Burkhead for a five yard loss but JT Moore was offside, nullifying the TFL. 

CJ Barnett then stepped up, grabbing the facemask of Taylor Martinez at the end of what was already an 18 yard gain. Two plays, two penalties, 38 yards of real estate. Three plays later Burkhead found the endzone on a 17 yard sprint to crush your soul. Those two assisted drives accounted for 14 of the 28 unanswered on Fickell and Heacock's defense. 

The defensive collapse, according to Tyler Moeller, was helped by the Bullets being completely "outschemed" in the 2nd half. Wow. Another week, another player taking a shot at the coaching staff. 

Finally, I wasn't a fan of Fickell opting to punt instead of attempting a 49 yard field goal as the Buckeyes held the 27-20 lead early in the 4th quarter. Bauserman had actually helped OSU move the ball with a 13 yard pass to Philly complementing 16 yards on the ground from Hyde. I would've had to at least try for points there, knowing it'd be a miracle if Baus could ever get them even remotely close t scoring position again. It's a debatable call for sure. Punting does make some sense but I personally would've had to try for points, rain or not. 

Jim Trollman

photo: Eric Francis / Getty ImagesThrowback TE screen was an awesome play call

This dude just loves to play with your emotions. He did add a few new wrinkles this week but ultimately they were far outnumbered by the newly added wrinkles to your furrowed brow. 

Shocking absolutely nobody, Bollman's troop started off the contest with a delay of game penalty. Let that soak in for a second. Of course, that got you thinking you were about to witness a new low in offensive football but Bollman decided to tease you for 2.5 quarters first. 

I honestly thought he did a good job in the first half of mixing up calls and adding some new and effective plays to the game plan. We saw a couple misdirection plays, a draw or two that gained some yards and the throwback TE screen to Stoney for a 32 yard TD and a 10-3 lead nearly caused me to pass out. A perfectly designed and executed play?! 

Fast forward to Miller getting hurt with OSU still up two touchdowns with about 20 minutes left in the game. What the hell was that? We'll talk about Baus in a minute but what on earth was Bollman trying to accomplish? 

With the worst QB in the history of Ohio State football under center - AND A 2 TD LEAD - Bollman proceeded to abandon the run game so he could feature the arm of Baus? That's basically what happened as OSU closed the game throwing passes on 10 of 18 plays. Even worse, it sure it felt like the majority of the routes called were too deep for Bauserman's inaccurate arm to even have a chance. Where's the screen plays to either the RB or WR? How about a crossing route underneath? Something other than a 15 yard out. 

Seriously, how can it be justified that this guy be allowed to even finish the season? I know that's crazy talk in reality but when you consider the increasing likelihood Vrabel will commit felonious assault at halftime of an upcoming game thus bringing even more bad press on the program, don't you at least have to consider it? 

We are flat out bringing a knife to gunfight in the weekly OC vs. DC coaching matchup. Unreal. 

caution: Flying objects may enter the stands

So, I hear OSU is reprinting all tickets to include a Flying Objects disclaimer that will stave off any lawsuits from errant Bauserbombs striking unwitting fans in the stands. 

Overthrow Joe completed 1/10 passes with an interception. His quarterback rating was 0.90. That's ZERO POINT NINE ZERO. You get .8 just for not putting on your jersey backwards. 

He's now 12/40 in his last four games. Hold please. That's 30%. 

The Buckeyes were up 27-13 upon his Bubonic Bauserman's arrival. His first pass was a throw-away on 3rd and 7. Ahh, the symbolism. 

And how about that 3rd and 8 throw on his 3rd series, a 3 and out that setup Nebraska's tying TD? That was quite possibly the worst pass I've seen since I exited the womb which was before the Bellsari era. That ball was literally 20 yards over the receiver's head. 

If Miller can't play next week, what do you do? I know everyone is clamoring for Guiton/Graham but the reality is that the end result will likely be the same, it'll just look a little different. That said, I still think you HAVE to try someone different. There's no question in my mind that I'd just as soon let Jordan Hall play QB before Baus. 

One last note on this ill-conceived Thing. A few of us were talking on Twitter about the Posey situation and whether or not he'd be the first Buckeye to feel a chorus of boos on Senior Day. We were wrong in saying he would, at least if they announce the players alphabetically. 

the silver blanks

Look on the bright side, it would be a total waste if the Bullets were a standout group in a year when the offense is so bad that if you hand selected your all-time OSU defensive team, it still wouldn't be good enough to get this team 10 wins. 

As I touched on earlier, when's the last time you heard a Bullet openly state the defense was outschemed? 

It was astounding to see a group that held Nebraska to 34 yards rushing in the 1st half (1.8 ypc) could be continuously gashed in the 2nd half. They did surrender 10/13 passing but only for 80 yards as they allowed the dink/dunk stuff and consistently brought down the receiver with little YAC allowed. They even started the 2nd half with consecutive 3 and outs before disintegrating right before our eyes. 

I give them a pass for allowing T-Mart's 18 yard TD run cutting the lead to 27-13 since Braxton gave the ball to the Huskers at the OSU 24. You have to expect points will be surrendered in that situation. What happened after that however is a completely different story. 

With Miller injured on the ensuing series, the defense trotted back on the field with the ball at the Nebraska 20. Martinez helped OSU as he fumbled on 1st down putting his team in a 2nd and 17 hole at their own 13 yard line. Nebraska's next six plays went for 8, 12, 14, 13, 4 and 36 yards, all in about two minutes as Martinez's 36 yard strike to Quincy Enunwa brought the Husker's to within a TD at 27-20. 

Bryant was especially awful on the drive getting burnt deep on the post as Howard offered little help with no chuck at the line of scrimmage. Orhian Johnson's soft coverage over the middle on 3rd and 9 kept the drive alive as did Sabino taking an awful pursuit route on T-Mart's short gain before the TD pass. 

Again as I touched on earlier, Bryant again killed the cause two possessions later with the poor tackling effort in space on Burkhead in the right flat leading to the game tying TD. 

The Bullets gave up 144 rushing yards in the 4th quarter. Wonder when that happened last? In the 2nd half, they gave up 229 on the ground at a clip of 7.15 per carry. 

To end this one on a positive, I thought Big Hank battled all night and Roby still looks like he's gonna be a great player at Ohio State. Dominic Clarke got to play some too.

the silver lining

I haven't seen an official word on Braxton as of this writing but his injury didn't look overly serious. Even if by some chance he can't play this week, at least his development this season won't likely be stunted due to this particular issue. 

I thought the kid looked pretty good. The fumble was a tough pill to swallow as the defender basically just took the all away from him but otherwise he showed some growth in response to last week's poor effort against Sparty. 

With Miller under center, the Buckeyes had built a 21 point lead in the game's first 37 minutes. The kid was 5/8 passing for 95 yards with another 91 yards rushing on 10 carries. 

He was solid right from the start as he stepped up in the pocket and hit Philly for 19 yards on 2nd and 12 and eight plays later he coverted a 3rd and 10 as he scrambled for 12 yards helping OSU to a quick 3-0 lead. 

On the next possession, he engineered a seven play, 80 yard TD drive converting two separate 3rd downs with his feet. The first was a nifty nine yard scamper on 3rd and 1, the second a 3rd and 7 run up the gut for 24 yards. On the next snap he found Stoney on the throwback TE screen for a 10-0 lead. Good stuff from the kid on the road. 

He didn't get many chances the rest of the half as Hyde reeled off a 63 yard TD run on the first play of the next OSU possession, Hall was featured on three straight runs on a 3 and out the next time out, then another 3 and out with two Hyde runs and a botched snap after that. 

After Orhian Johnson picked off Martinez at the Nebraska 47 with :15 left in the half, Miller got loose with another craft run, this time a 29 yarder, moving the ball to the Husker 18 allowing Basil's 35 yard FG to give the Buckeyes a 20-6 lead at the break. 

Miller was also solid on the first drive of the 2nd half, a seven play, 47 yard TD march, capped by Hyde's one yard run. Following in incomplete pass overthrown for Fields, Miller moved the chains on 3rd and 9 with a nice 27 yard toss to Philly setting up 1st and goal at the seven. 

With the 2011 season in need of euthanization, it's all about individual player growth the rest of the way and Miller showed some poise backing up his Sparty performance with a decent showing on the road against the #14 ranked team in the land. It looked like a building block to me. That's all we have at this point. 


Comments Show All Comments

Buckeyejason's picture

"Over throw Joe"



madhatterhater's picture

Bubonic Bauserman was a good one Too!

go bucks

Poe McKnoe's picture

It's like Bollman set out to prove his doubters wrong with scripted plays and a plan...then reverted to the only stuff he really knows.

Can't wait for the house cleaning.  New coaches are going to wander in to Columbus and be amazed with the talent that is stockpiled, rotting on the shelves.  We've had a good defense and a meh offense forever.  This combination inexplicably won OSU numerous Big Ten titles and a national championship.  In reality, there have been complaints for many years that our offense needed a superstar at QB to be the bandaid on the hemmoraging offense.  There have been complaints that the defense lacks aggression and no amount of illegal benefits could purchase a pass rush. 

With recent performances, Jim Tressel should be immediately inducted into the hall of fame for performing the miracles he did.  Tressel does share the blame for the current state of OSU football (because of decision making about the Tat 5 and his loyalty to his boys), however.

RBuck's picture

Kinda looks like Tressel was immensely underpaid.

Long live the southend.

Poe McKnoe's picture

Because he was doing 3 or 4 different jobs? Yes.  But he also made the personnell decisions.

original buckeye's picture

I find it amazing that Bollman and Fickell still think Joe B is the 2nd best QB on the roster. That says all you need to know about how little they Know about football and how wholly unqualified they are to hold their respective positions at OSU. The day those two are relieved of their duties will be a good one. I only regret that those two clowns still have 6 games to run the program into the ground in the meantime. To say they're incompetent is to give them too much credit. If either of them cared about OSU, they'd resign tomorrow morning.

awwwwwwop's picture

You are right, if they loved the program they would leave mid season and dump this team without a HC or an OC.  Good plan.  There is a ton to build on from last night. get over it. go bucks.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

theDuke's picture

Go Bucks!


original buckeye's picture

You're right. They've done a phoemenal job this year. Get over yourself.

theDuke's picture

to that i say, GO BUCKS. 


awwwwwwop's picture

we should just fire all of the coaches and let the players figure it out. I don't remember saying that they have done a phenomenal job, I just do not see how them quitting mid year would make anything better. I'm sorry that I don't have a knee jerk reaction to a team that is clearly outmatched talent and experience wise in every game that they have lost.  I watched a really young team and coach make mistakes out of inexperience. Few people in the country expected us to be competitive last night.  Miller played great, Hyde played great. Our QB got hurt and our defense got tired.  It's one game that is going to teach these guys a whole hell of a lot.  There is a lot to build on with this team and I think last night was an encouraging sign of the things to come.  However, I do not see firing the coach and OC midseason as the answer.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Firing them midseason wouldn't be wise, but after the season, yeah, bye-bye.  It was encouraging to see that these guys are capable of playing well, though.  I look forward to Nebraska winning the Legends division, hopefully fucking destroying scUM by like 70 points and taking out Detard.  The Illinois game doesn't look like a guaranteed loss now.

Class of 2010.

BuckeyeCrew's picture

And exactly who are you to judge?  What do you know?  You want Fickell AND Bollman to step down right now? And then what?  The players play backyard football?

Fickell is not up to this, but I am not sure who IS up to this, under such circumstances.  One thing people need to realize:

Coach Fickell has almost literally been put into a mission impossible situation.  Say what you want, but considering that Fickell is a DEFENSIVE-minded guy, and has no input into the offense, and had no opportunity to bring in his own choices on the offensive staff, I think he is doing the only thing possible, which is go with Bollman.

The only thing Fickell could have done differently on the offensive side was demand that B. Miller start from the very beginning.  But then again, AT THAT TIME going with a senior QB who has been in the system for years, seemed like the right choice. And sticking with him, so he could shake off the rust and/or instill confidence seemed like a logical thing to do.

Hindsight is 20/20.  NOW we know that Miller should have been the man from the beginning, but most everyone I spoke to at the beginning of the season was lauding Coach Fickell's decision to go with Bauserman, even after Toledo.

biggy84's picture

Ever hear of Walt Harris or Glen Mason? They would have taken the OC job.

BuckeyeCrew's picture

Yeah.. that would have been GREAT.  Let's give an OC a couple of months to get a feel of his personnel and THEN install a new system.  (As if just because it's Glen Mason or Walt Harris, this learning curve would have been averted)

Genius thoughts there; let's totally go by reputation to determine how fast a coach can turn it around.  I mean, maybe if we fire Bollman now, bring in Bill Belichik, give him.. oh.. let's say 'till this Saturday (i.e. our next game), all will be dandy.

biggy84's picture

They are both here and have been. Mason is very aware of the personnel. He has done color for the games.

awwwwwwop's picture

Walt Harris has not coached at Ohio state since 1996. How is he aware of the system we run? I didn't know this before seeing it on Wikipedia, but it says he had Tyler Palko punt on 3rd down multiple times in a game against nebraska. He would be murdered here if he did that.

Mason has not been a coach here since 1985.  I just dont think the fact that he called a couple of games makes him a suitable OC to come in and do a quick change.  He hasnt coached in 5 years. It would probably take some time to shake that rust off.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

biggy84's picture

We can agree to disagree :)

Buckeyejason's picture

I don't even get mad anymore. Just kinda laugh and say "were cursed this year".

It is what it is. We're not a good football team.

Clean house after the year and that's that.

If 2012 really is the end of the world, this will be our last impression of Buckeye football...poor us!


Buckeyejason's picture

My bad, next season would be our last impression of buckeye football.


baddogmaine's picture

I read some folks defending Fickell and don't get it. Is it loyalty to a guy who once piloted the ship? Fear of being thought mean? fear of change? what is it? Give him that he took over a program without a QB with game experience, without a proven receiver, with some questiobs on defense. But he was taking over a team otherwise assembled by Tressel who, I think it is universally agreed, recruited pretty well. We would have a young team but a team with the parts to grow. After six weeks there has been no growth as a team. The OC seems to have no clue how to best use his players, and the HC seems little inclined to order his OC to do the job. And when plays called make no sense (having JB pass downfoeld generally, and particularly at 2nd and 3rd down at the NE30) the HC has not over-ridden them. He has left timeouts on the board at end of halves. He let NE get the second half kickoff AND get the wind at its back for the fouth quarter (which made a huge difference when deciding whether to let Basil try the FG or not). He was indecisive about who would be QB. And the team was so fragile that when the QB who in week five got us zero points and not many more yards went down the team was so lost without him it stopped playing. What is there to like about Luke as a coach? Like him as a dinner partner, but why do you want him in charge of your million dollar cash cow (and life affirmation for hundreds of thousands of Friends of Brutus)?

original buckeye's picture

Good point about the wind in the 4th quarter. When I was at the game last weekend, I noticed he did the same thing--MSU got the ball in the second half and the wind at their backs in the 4th. It is like Fickell is such an amateur that there are facets of the game that never even cross his mind.

NC_Buckeye's picture

I'm one of the guys defending him so I'll respond.

First off, I don't think there's a chance in hell that Fickell will get a contract after the season is over. I wished this had played out differently because I think he's going to be a great HC someday. Has he made mistakes? Yep. But you guys are picking thru these games with a fine tooth comb. Truth be told these mistakes happen weekly to all coaches -- hell, look at all the mistakes Les Miles makes with game management. The difference is Miles has a sizeable cushion that covers his ass in most of those situations. Fickell, with all of the suspensions, lack of a competent OC or QB coach, players not executing and penalties, plus no QBs or WRs -- well he has had the anti-cushion. Any in-game mistakes (or lack of decision-making) get exacerbated.

I defend him now because I think he's doing the best that he can in an untenable situation. From what I've heard he knows this is his last autumn in C'bus. But he still shows up and he's still trying to win games. That deserves my respect. It deserves your respect too.

I'll leave you with this quote from the 2009 season.

So, you know, honestly, the thing when I read some of them is I feel terrible for them because there's no way they're happy. They've got to be some of the most unhappy people in the world, and I feel bad because we just made them less happy, and I hate to be a part of making someone less happy. I mean, they're already miserable and to make them less happy, I'd feel bad. - Jim Tressel

Tressel was asking us fans to get some perspective. And that is also my advice to those people on here who are ready to tar and feather Fickell.

Baroclinicity's picture

Great post.  Luke is still a Buckeye; he's family.  He deserves some respect.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

sfgoody's picture

Agreed!  Theres at least a part of me that thinks Fick considered the possibility that the season could go like this (it couldn't be a complete surprise), but, it's his one shot right? He HAD to go for it, right?  Ready or not, ideal timing and conditions or not.  And now, he will likely never get another shot at the university he bleeds for.  It's gotta be at least as brutal for him as it is for us spoiled fans. Put your boos away.  Get behind who we got and stop yearning for what 'could be' (urban meyer comes to mind).  I get criticism, and understand expectations, but check yourselves.  First back to back losses in SEVEN years!!!  It wasn't gonna last forever, and those who expected it to are the ones that need the real help. Last night sucked, but it showed me one thing: there's hope for the future at THE Ohio State University. I for one saw some real flashes.


baddogmaine's picture

We're not using a fine-tooth comb. A fine toothcomb is looking at whether a play is run to position a FG on the right or left side. A fine tooth comb is evaluating whether a screen has been properly set up. Complaining that we don't run screens at all and that the HC is ultimatelyt responsible for this is entirely legitimate. Not giving the foe the ball AND the wind is Football 101. Les Miles is The Mad Hatter - he also has his team ready to play every week. He has made some big blunders, he also has gone against the book when it could and did work. He dares to succeed - Fickell is just trying not to fail. And failing at it.

In a way this is like jazz. Improvization seems easy and random, but the best improv is based on a strong knowledge of chord structure and rhythm. You need to know what you are playing against. Les Miles improvs really badly at times, as badly as any big time coach in America. But for the most part he knows what he's doing. Fickell seems to be just riffing aimlessly. Playing *this* note because some book told him that's what he's supposed to do. He needs to know the book; he also needs to know when to throw the book away. He needs to have his own personality that includes both risk and caution, and a fair amount of common sense.

What do you want from a HC? And how long are you willing to wait for the HC to become good enough? I ask again - how quickly do you see Fickell turning this proigrm around, and what do you see in his performance thus far that supports your answer? If the answer is two years, three years, should Buckeye Nation be willing to put up with years in the wildernes out of loyalty to a faithful servant when someone else might have us stronger sooner? Buckeye football is bigger than Luke. Keep him on as a DC, help him get another job somewhere else, but don't leave the keys in his hand.

Unless you think that leaving Bauserman, of the 0.9 QB rating against  Nebraska, 63 overall since Akron (Russell Wilson is 216; #120 is 68. With the Akron game Bauserman is #101 - two spots ahead of the Akron QB), as QB #2 is the kind of bold coaching OSU needs.

rlyle6's picture

I'm definitely in agreement that the D was outplayed in the second half. But how much of the blame do they actually deserve? By the time they got back to the sidelines and took their helmets off, they had to turn around and take the field again. We abandoned the run game, and Bauserman isn't capable of completing a pass, let alone sustaining a drive.

Moeller is a great Buckeye, and I respect him for what he's been through, but this sounds like passing the buck to me. Heacock, Fickell, and Co. are not responsible for the gaping holes that we provided Nebraska. Nor the missed tackles. Let's not forget that it's the actual players that take the field.

I think our defense will keep us in just about all the games that we play, however, expecting them to keep teams out of the end zone when they're on the field the entire game is unreasonable.

Go Bucks!

btalbert25's picture

After Braxton went down, i thought they should've just handed the ball to Hyde the rest of the game.  The dude is a damn good RB.  The only play he got stopped for no gain or a loss was the one play they tried to make him run side to side.  Hall goes down on contact too much Hyde keeps churning out yards. 


Buckeyejason's picture

Hyde was running great. We stopped going to him at let Bauserbum try and win us the game...FAIL#


Bucksfan's picture

Every game is starting to look like when Fickell and Vrabel got Biakabutuka'd.

theDuke's picture

OH GOD. You went there, didn't you. :(


William's picture

A lot of people here are overplaying the whole Braxton Miller injury prone deal. Did anyone see the injury? It was because when he set to plant his foot for the cut, the shitty turf gave way and he rolled his ankle. Jared Crick and Will Compton were both injured because of the turf as well. It had nothing to do with him being injury prone and everything to do with that shitty excuse for a field that Nebraska has.

M tots's picture

For Moeller to be the one criticizing the Defensive scheme is an absolute joke.  He was lost and out of position all night!  It was a lot more about execution (or lack thereof) than gameplanning

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

Agreed. People can make jokes about Heacock never winning "Assistant of the Year" again, but this breakdown had a lot more to do with poor fundamentals than with the defensive scheme. Guys whiffed on tackles and were out of position.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I could buy that they were outschemed if Nebraska had run more than three different plays, pulled some trickery, etc. It's amazing that it was the team that was ahead by 21 points that seemed to abandon its usual offense, while the team that needed to come from behind took no chances and did virtually nothing out of the ordinary.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

theDuke's picture

I do however, feel that I've got a lot more free time this fall than I wished for...


SLVRBLLTS's picture

Thank God for fantasy football and hockey.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

theDuke's picture

at this juncture, i'm pretty sure Bollman himself kinda wants to get fired...gotta be rough for an arctic land/marine mammal to stand this kind of heat.


Hoody Wayes's picture

Keep yer chins up Buckeye fans. We're playin' two bowl games, this year: The Revenge Bowl against Wiscy and Michigan. Go Bucks!

bcWEcouldn'tGOfor3's picture

Wisconsin is on a "Sherman's March to the Sea" campaign against the Big Ten.  Ohio State has no chance. Columbus will be pillaged and burned and our ladies will be taken from us.

Colin's picture
We need to round up all the lumber, canvas, paint and nails that you can lay your hands on, so we can build an exact replica of Columbus 6 miles due east of the actual city. Every building, every store front, every rock and every tree, right down to the orange roof on Howard Johnson's outhouse.
And Saturday, when Bret Bielema and his men come riding in to destroy the real Columbus, they'll actually be destroying the fake Columbus, but they'll think that it's the real Columbus, but we'll know that it's the fake Columbus!
741's picture

God I love that movie.

SLVRBLLTS's picture

"We are flat out bringing a knife to gunfight in the weekly OC vs. DC coaching matchup. Unreal."

More like a spork. Bollman shouldn't have a job. The 15 yard out only works in zone coverage. Bauserman doesn't have the ability to check that at the line of scrimmage and call something with crossing patterns or a screen that can't be stopped by man coverage.

My question is how bad must Guiton be if he can't win the job over Bauserman?

"Because we couldn't go for three"

Buckeye Scottie's picture

Never has a typo been so right on, truly out of hound:


"The fumble was a tough pill to swallow as the defender basically just took the all away from him..."


 I was so pumped that first half, and then Herbie Husker took the all from me too.