Debriefing: UAB

By Jeff Beck on September 23, 2012 at 9:00a
Braxton Twerkin

Awake from your Coors Light slumber, rub your eyes and realize yesterday was not a drill. OSU almost lost to UAB. In the end dragons were slayed, but it took a lot more effort than anyone in Buckeye Nation could have ever dreamed (nightmared?). Read on, digest this information then share it with the world. This is your UAB Debriefing.

Water Cooler Prep (Everything You Need to Know...In One Paragraph)

You were a little late to this one because you figured it would be a blowout, but wow were you wrong. Before you'd even tuned in, the mighty UAB Blazers had forced a Buckeye three and out and blocked a punt for a TD. Mediocrity ensued and at the end of one, the Ohio State Buckeyes were down 9-0 to the UAB Blazers at home. Say that again and see if it sounds any better the second time around. No? I didn't think so. The offense appeared to wake up in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns in a little over five minutes to put the Scarlet and Gray up 21-12 heading into the third. That's when things unraveled. Three OSU punts and one UAB FG later and the Buckeyes were in the middle of a 21-15 dogfight. It took a 71-yard TD drive late in the fourth to get out of this one alive. 29-15, 4-0 and the 400th win in the 'Shoe. On to the next. No one feels good about this.

Heard at the Tailgate (The Talk Before the Game)

"This is finally going to be the game where OSU puts it all together. I can feel it. UAB likes to throw it—can't wait to see us pick it off 2 or 3 times. I'd love to see Braxton get the throwing game going heading into East Lansing."

Heard at the Afterparty (The Deets at the End of the Game)

"Why can't this offense play like they did during the second quarter at all times? It is truly mind-boggling." 

"Is Carlos Hyde coming back next week? Does it even matter?"

"I've never felt less confident about a 4-0 Buckeye team in my life."

"Pass the Bud Light Platinums. I want to forget."

Give That Man a Buckeye Leaf (Player of the Game)

This pretty much says it all.

In Bradley Roby's absence, Doran Grant came to play. A lot of folks will pick Braxton Miller as the player of the game this week (again), but I'm going with DG. The sophomore recorded 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and a game-ending interception. Shockingly, he was able to do all of this without running his mouth (looking at you Christian Bryant).

Get it DoranGet after it, youngblood.

Weekly Snot Knocker (Biggest Hit)

One (and maybe the only) bright spot in the first quarter was Christian Bryant's devastating hit on UAB WR Nick Adams across the middle. Adams gained nine yards on the play, but also lost nine teeth so the gain was a wash for him socially.

Did You See That?! (Play of the Game)

Down 12-7 late in the second quarter, the Buckeyes desperately needed something to go their way. With a drive starting at their own 37, Braxton completed a pass to Michael (Spring Game...Can I Live?) Thomas for 6 yards, followed by completions to Philly Brown for 20 and 25 yards respectively. Then Miller decided to do this.

He hit the circle button:





Jockstraps on the field, broken ankles everywhere and another highlight to add to his growing collection.

When You Sank into Your Chair (The Moment Buckeye Football Disgraced Your Family)

After an abysmal three and out to start the game, the Buckeyes lined up in a new punt formation. Just like they drew it up, Zach Boren was asked to block 15 players at once. Unable to slow the bull rush, bad things happened.

Before Ben Buchanan's foot could make contact with the ball, UAB Safety Calvin Jones was on top of him. The punt was consequently smothered, and WR Nick Adams walked into the end zone untouched. 

This kind of thing is digestible if Ohio State is playing Alabama, not so much when playing Alabama Birmingham. 

Jim Tressel's Least Favorite Moment(s) of the Game

Moment 1: The Blazers caught the Buckeyes napping on the first play of the second half with an onside kick. UAB easily recovered, sending the Senator into a rage usually reserved for Northwestern. The embattled former coach immediately stopped payment on his annual donation to the OSU athletic department, choosing instead to double his contribution to the Boy Scouts of America. In the check's memo line he wrote "Work Ethic" in impeccable cursive. 

Moment 2: After a crucial third down stop early in the fourth quarter of a 21-15 game, Christian Bryant felt the need to talk like a big man and taunt the Conference USA foe the Buckeyes were crushing almost losing to.

Tressel had taken a break from his Band of Brothers marathon to tune in just as the 15 yards were being walked off. He immediately flipped the channel and started muttering something about the Greatest Generation.

What You Texted Your Friend at the End of Each Quarter

First Quarter: (Did not receive a text) Instead, friend called to lament over the Tressel years.

Second Quarter: "3 TDs in 5 minutes and 29 secs?! Where has this been all game/year?"

Third Quarter: "#FaucetOffense It's on, it's off. It's hot, it's cold. Also, did they really work on tackling?"

Fourth Quarter: "Le'Veon Bell, ever heard of him? You will after he breaks 176,458 tackles next week."

It Was Over When

 Doran Grant intercepted UAB Freshman Austin Brown's pass at the Blazer 46, putting this terrible contest to bed and prompting tweets like this:

and this

Bonus Tweets (Let's End on a positive)

This has been your UAB Debriefing...end transmission.


Comments Show All Comments

Shibby's picture

Nightmared, for sure. This game was supposed to be an easy spanking. For the love of God...all OSU had to do was show UP to get an easy 50 points on UAB. Instead they played so mediocre as to make last week's game against Cal seem far tougher than even that should have been...if even UAB had a shot at possibly beating the Bucks (damn, that hurts to say), then the squeak-by over Cal was even more dire than we thought. Leading in the Big Ten and OSU is looking at a serious possibility of losing in Conference games.
I want undefeated this year to upset everyone. Furthermore...I don't want to win by lucky play-reading to eek out a W - I want to win because we found our damn D-line again. I want to win because Miller has options great than two. I want to win because we are the damn BUCKEYES.

"My idea of a good hit is when the guy wakes up on the sidelines with train whistles blowing in his head." - Jack Tatum.

Jeff Beck's picture

Flips chair over, stands on desk yells and applauds with all of Ohio in unison. Rousing speech.

Dougger's picture

Well, we all know The Game's gonna be a good one because neither team can tackle. What the hell was everyone thinking out there?

I like football

Northbrook's picture

I knew we aren't a real good team going into this one but still thought this would be an everybody plays contest. Boy was I wrong. How we gonna stop Bell? And don't say tackling.

blazers34's picture

I know the tackling sucked again, but they worked on it for ONE extra day this week.  Its not gonna change overnight

FROMTHE18's picture

Bell gets 50 carries, 300 yards, 4 TDs against our D. Tim Biakabatuka all over again.

buckeyedude's picture

Did you really have to mention that kid's name? I was at that game, unfortunately.



Menexenus's picture

Loved the "Tressel's Least Favorite Moments" segment!  :-)  Keep those coming!

Real fans stay for Carmen.

gravey's picture

Step back from the ledge.  We're 4-0. This team isn't very good, but that's OK once you take off the scarlett glasses.  They're better than last year, but it's mostly the same team.  Urban may be a good coach, but he's no miracle worker.
Everyone was freaking last week because Cal was supposed to be awful; and maybe they're not.  They played might USC tough yesterday.
UCF and UAB have a few decent players and we've seen this kind of performance against us from mid-Majors for 10 years now.  They frequently play out of their mind against us because it's their bowl game.  Sometimes they get rattled or don't treat us like their bowl game...and do get blown out.
We've had trouble defending the screen for two decades.  Penn State anyone?  We've had mediocre linebacker play since Little Animal left...did we expect that to change over night?  Sabino/Klein were stuck on the depth chart behind some mediocre LBs for several seasons and now both start this season.  Did they raise their game or are they just the last-best options from a horder of big-expectations/poor reality LBs?  Maybe Fick and Vrabel can't coach?
So temper your expecations and enjoy the climb rather than agonize over the fall.

jenks's picture

I appreciate your rational demeanor. I also agree with everything you're saying.
I'd add, the Cal game had me worried; but I was never worried in this game, only dissapointed. For as bad as things looked on defense, they were quite successful in the scoring category (which is the most important). For as bad as the offense looked, there were also glimpses of greatness. It'll come together this year, maybe with a few losses, but as long as we keep winning the majority of games, who cares how it looks (2002 anyone?), especially with no bowl game and poll rankings essentially meaningless this year.
AND, as I saw while perusing the mgoblog forums, things could be much worse (TTUN, Iowa, Wisconsin).

Jeff Beck's picture

I agree, this team wasn't/isn't going to change overnight. However, we are starting to see improvement in some areas:

  • We finally had a running back rush for 100 yards yesterday
  • In a 5 minute stretch in the second, this offense looked deadly

Next week Roby and Barnett are expected to be back as well as Carlos Hyde. The game in East Lansing will be the first this season where both Hall and Hyde will be on the field together (which was the plan all along until the injuries). 

Having both in the formations should provide a wrinkle MSU will have to prepare for sans game-tape. 

With that said, in his post-game presser Meyer stated himself this team isn't where he expected them to be. They've got to continue to get better (a LOT better) if they want to compete in the Big 10. I know it's an incredibly down year, but if you get off to a slow start against Michigan State, Nebraska or Wisconsin it will take more than a good quarter to get back into the game.

SLVRBLLTS's picture

Agree with 99% of your post. Except I think Sabino has become a great outside linebacker this season. Lost some weight, and now he's flying to the sidelines.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

BuckeyeSouth's picture

I have a theory to advance.  In Urbz's quest for work/life balance he has decidedly toned down things on the work side of that equation and is not as motivational as he has been in previous coaching stints.  With the amount of talent on this team we should have blown out all 4 opponents and not have serious concerns about losing each week.  What else would explain our mediocrity on both sides of the ball?

Champions.  Undisputed.  

buckeyedude's picture

You CAN'T be serious. Have you seen Urb on the sidelines during the games?
It all comes down to execution. The Buckeyes aren't doin' it.



chitown buckeye's picture

At some point you have to come to the conclusion maybe we don't have this great amount of "talent" everyone thinks. Talented players make tackles by hitting hard and wrapping up. Talented players understand where they are suppose to be and fly to the ball. Talented players don't drop 5 yard passes on 3rd and 3. Talented players can man up a receiver and not have to play 10yds off. Talented players have a nose for the ball. I think our team is very young and trying to learn things but we are a very immature team on both sides of the ball. Coaching only goes so far before a player has to beable to perform on the field. If your asking me do I trust urban and the coaching staff and their ablity over some .com telling me this player was 4* recruit and is a great player but due to poor coaching he isn't performing. I'll take a proven winner in Meyer over someone telling me this kid is talented. How do you know we have talent on this team? We have a few talented players (miller, Hankins, etc) to me a talented player shows himself whether coaching is good or bad. 

"I'm having a heart attack!"

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Do you mean guys like Q. Pitcock, Bobby Carpenter, A. Schlegel, AJ Hawk, A. Youboty, Donte Whitner, and Nate Salley? Somehow, those guys went from being untalented players in 2004 to talented players in 2005.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Talent isn't just about physical abilities. It's also about the space between the ears.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

My point, though, was that young, inexperienced defenses lacking depth - like the Buckeyes in 04 - can have lots of talent and still miss assignments and tackles and generally look like they can't play. That doesn't mean that the kids on this team will necessarily evolve into a great, "talented" defense. We don't know yet. But missed tackles is not evidence disqualifying potential talent.

chitown buckeye's picture

I understand what you are sayin and I agree everyone can improve. I just get tired of people always throwing around the term "talent" and blaming the lack of production on a coaching staff. Players need to be accountable as well. 
Those guys you mentioned showed something special as a youngster. Getting thrown into big games when injuries occurred and showed a great deal of football IQ. Hawk is a perfect example of why people shouldn't read much into the recruiting star. My point was simply don't say we have talent just because players on the field are highly ranked recruits. Talent to me is the actions on the field. You know when you see young talent. (ie Miller, Katzenmoyer, etc) Guys can improve and become great players but there are some things out there you just can't teach. Guys that have that "it" factor are the guys I classify as talented. 
Another example would be when Carpenter broke his leg early in the Michigan game his senior season. Who stepped in as a frosh and played a great game showing something special? James Laurintis. After watching him in that game as a youngster you knew he was going to be something special. 

"I'm having a heart attack!"

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree that there are certain players who seem to jump right out of the gate as frosh, immediately displaying their high talent levels, whereas other really talented guys might take 2-3 years to really get it together. Katzenmoyer is an example of the former; but AJ Hawk had a rough, up-and-down year in 2004 if I remember correctly. It partly depends on whether the frosh is plugging into a veteran defense or is learning the ropes with 5-6 other frosh/sophs next to him. 

chitown buckeye's picture

I guess it is our definition of talent. How do you measure talent? I can only go by what I see on the field. I think open field tackling is a way to measure a defensive players talent level. I think an individual who makes a high percentage of one on one tackles is a talented indivdual. Players can be coached and told time and time again about wrapping up but until they do it on the field I think one could reserve the right to put into question their talent level.
For the record, I have and will continue to be positive and patient about this young team. Many of my post reflect this sentiment. My original post was in defense of the coaching staff. I grow tired of some commenters acting as if we have national championship "talent" on this team right now and the coaching staff is some how holding them back. I'm trying to Figure out how they have determined we have great talent? It may have come off as a negative post towards this group of players but was not intended too. I am just looking at our players from a realistic standpoint right now. I think some guys will surprise me in a couple of years and I also think some guys will not be heard from again when the right recruit comes in. 

"I'm having a heart attack!"

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Yeah, I realized afterward that you were more sticking up for the coaching staff than questioning the potential talent, per se. Also, as much as I'd like for a good guy like Sabino to blossom into a big performer, I'm afraid I don't see that happening at this point. I agree with others who've suggested that the defense probably won't truly kick it into another gear until some of the frosh (and next year's frosh) start to grasp the concepts and are forcing their ways on the field out of sheer talent and production.
That said, I still urge keeping things in perspective. For example, look at Saban's first year at Bama. That 2007 Bama team probably a bit better defensively in their first four games compared to this Ohio State team, but the offense was worse and that team ended up going 7-6 with a loss to UL Monroe (when they weren't as good). The following year, in 2008, Bama had a shut down defense and won their first 12 games before losing to Urbz in the SEC CG.   

onetwentyeight's picture

"With the amount of talent on this team" we still went sub-.500 last season. There are things called "Youth" , "inexperience", "lack of previous coaching (aka Walrusball)", etc. Freaking Bill walsh or Parcells couldn't solve some of these things in FOUR GAMES. And it's not even like we have an actual, numerically average record of 2-2 either. Which is what ultimately matters, right? 

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

My take on the team through the non-con schedule.
1. Overall team:  Not as good as I thought we'd be, but not a bad team, either.  Its a good, but not very good team.  The Bucks are capable of beating anyone outside of the top 10 and capable of losing to anyone in the top 35 or so.  There are some playmakers, but many more good players as oppossed very good or great players on both sides of the ball.  That can change as the season progresses.
2. On offense:  I don't think there is anything wrong with the coaching on offense or the playcalling.  I've been mostly pleased.  The bottom line is that this offense is young and inconsistent, but certainly has playmaking ability at the QB spot - by far the most important in college football.  This team will be dangerous on offense all year, with bumps in the road.  The offensive line has been pretty good too.  Think about that, we haven't seen them get dominated by some mid-major d-line in the non-con schedule, which was always the case under Bollman. 
Hopefully, the last 1/4 of the year they are humming along more consistantly rather than spordic 80 td drvies in 2:00 time.  That's what I will be looking for on offense.  Guys are still in the wrong position multiple times a game and Miller makes the wrong read too often.  As they get more and more used to the offense, that will improve.  lets see how its working the last quarter of the season.
3. On defense: oh boy, well ... Big Hank has played great, as has Goebel.  Shazier can make plays, but he makes big missess too. Simon's been steady if not great.  Nathan williams has not played well, IMO.  defensive backs are okay, not great, espcially yesterday without Roby. We still see guys diving at people's legs, unfortunately.  I hope, really hope that we get more sound in the open field.   I think we're going to be very good against the run in the Big ten.  Most teams will not be able to line up and run down our throat.  I'm worried more about the passing defense.  I say this with full knowldge that CAL had some big runs against us.  Overall, I think this will be a team ranked in the top 50 in total D, rather than top 10 as we have been accumstomed to. Not terrible, but not great either.
overall, I think this team improves to being a pretty good team by the end of the year.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Nice, fair assessment. And you managed to do that without your hair catching on fire.

Dougger's picture

Agreed. In addition, they could play awesome on the road (wishful thinking), while consistently getting better. And I think the secondary would have done a lot better with roby on the field, and orhian Johnson and doran grant faired pretty well.

I like football

The_Lurker's picture

"Coors Light?" Mental Note, never party at Jeff Beck's house unless it's this Jeff Beck:

bukyze's picture

Love the article!

headina's picture

As terrible as the O is at times, sparty might actually be worse. My guess is 3-0 in triple OT. Go Bucks


nvbuckeye's picture

To begin I have been a Buckeye fan since the 1950s and I have purposely resisted posting to Buckeye fan websites until now.  After watching the team play yesterday I feel compelled to write.
For those of us that can remember, this team is not as bad as the ones headed by the three previous head coaches (not including the 2011 season as Luke Fickell was an interim coach).  1979 of Earle Bruce - sure is was an 11-0 season until the Rose Bowl but is was tough getting to 11-0, especially the win at tsun; dare I go over 1988 with John Cooper, the only head coach in my life time to have a losing season in his first year; then came 2001 and Jim Tressel.  He did beat tsun in his first try but lost the bowl game against South Carolina.  Still it was a nail-biter year through and through.
Now the Buckeyes are 4-0 and winning in nail-biting fashion against far inferior teams.  Halfway through the second quarter yesterday I was thinking the Fickell needed to be replaced by a real DC.  As the game went on I realized it not all Fickell's fault that the defense is not performing to expectations.  The scheme and the players are being out-schemed and out-coached by the opposing players and teams.  They are not better but they adapted better and quicker to the game then the Buckeyes do.
My nephew thinks Coach Meyer is hurting the offense by taking away Braxton Miller's ability to make plays on the fly (run instead of sitting in the pocket), and I agree.  The last 6 minutes of the 2nd quarter are perfect examples of how Miller can change the game when he makes plays on his own.  He can make mistakes but watching him make opposing players leave they undies on the field is exciting.
This enough for my first post.  Comments are appreciated.  db

faux_maestro's picture

I have a feeling the lack of Braxton running is on purpose, they don't want him to get hurt before the REAL season begins.

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

I agree that the staff needs to be committed to running Miller if we want to win. But, I think it really should be limited as much as possible to moving the chains on third downs.  He is a first down machine. And when the offense is really stalled, then yeah, run him a few plays to losen everything up and get a rythm going.  However, I don't think we can have him run the ball 20 times a game, he won't make it the whole year.
I think it is premature to judge the coaching staff in any real respect.  The team has played four games. The staff has put in four game plans and called a grand total of four total games together. This is a new staff, undefeated ain't all that bad while everyone, staff included, gets better.  The offense is worlds better than last year.  The team as a whole is noticeably better this year.  I'm concerned with what they look like at the end of the year. That is when we can say whether the coaching staff did a good job.

Crimson's picture

Thanks for posting for the first time.  I'm glad to see your perspective, because I cringe every time another fan jumps off the ship, screaming to fire the coaches and that our players are terrible.  I think these same people probably have the attention span of a goldfish.  The offense is probably around where I thought they would be right now, if not a little better.  I'm surprised about the defense as well, but I didn't know how much scheme change there was going to be on that side until we started playing games, and it's not like we were a great defense last year.
Your post and the two comments on it contain rationality, and I'm thankful for it.

BeijingBucks's picture

As a small dose of reality, was there any team that Urban walked in and went undefeated?! Always took a season to get his methods fully implemented it seems to me. 
Methinks a dose of patience would not be inappropriate?

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

SLVRBLLTS's picture

I'm glad I'm not the only Doran Grant fan. Would like to see Roby and Grant start at corner. Travis Howard, although the lone senior, gets caught out of position way too often.

"Because we couldn't go for three"