Five Things: UAB

By Chris Lauderback on September 23, 2012 at 3:00p
42 Comments

After writing on Friday that I fully expected the UAB tilt to be the confidence builder the Buckeyes needed ahead of their trip to East Lansing, instead Ohio State played to the level of their competition on the way to an uninspired 29-15 win over the Blazers

AP Photo: J. LaPreteMiller: held without a TD pass in a game for 1st time in 2012

The Buckeyes struggled with consistency in all three phases by getting a punt blocked and giving up 403 yards of offense to the nation's 108th-ish most prolific scoring offense while poorly executing their own offense save a five-minute stretch in both the 2nd and 4th quarters. 

Clearly, this team is doing its best to remind us it only won six games a year ago and that adding a sprinkle of contributing freshmen and some new coaches simply isn't enough to turn things around on a dime. It's a process. And that process will sometimes prove unnerving. 

Still, the good news is that the team gets to try and work out the kinks following a win versus learning from a loss. 

Plus, while going on the road is always a challenge, the Spartans don't appear to be as slightly-above-average as they looked to be on paper before the season began. Added bonus: you'll have more time to get your mind right as the Buckeyes avoid the noon TV time slot for the first time this year. 

Disclaimer: Out of respect for my retinas, I didn't re-watch this one. Out of respect for you, I'm going to keep today's Five Things as short as possible. 

"A Win is a Win"

Except when it isn't.

I hate when I hear fans utter that lazy phrase after a closer-than-expected game that is more the product of the highly favored team stinking up the joint than it is the underdog playing out of their collective minds. 

When I hear/read fans say it, I can only assume they are disgustingly willing to accept mediocrity simply becaue their team played a little less awful than the awful opponent. That type of mindset seems to be more regional so maybe it's the just the years of B1G football causing mental wear and tear. 

That said, it's basic math that with so many fans, how wins/losses are viewed will always be fluid. With coaches though, that's when I hope for a little more consistency.

Typically, Urban's postgame presser will include a positive remark about the fact a win was accomplished and the players should feel good about it. That's fine. They should. They work harder than we do all for the purpose of collecting wins. At the same time, Urban won't hide behind a win and refuse to acknowledge mistakes and deficiencies that need corrected.

With that, I was mildly surprised at what co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers had to say following yesterday's effort put forth by the Bullets:

"I think we gave up 15 points. That's all I give a sh-- about."

I hope that's just frustration talking. The defense really only gave up nine points but I'd be shocked if that's truly what Withers is taking away from yesterday.

Don't get me wrong, the D made some plays as UAB crept to the OSU side of the field but it still surrendered over 400 yards again, generated just one sack against a team that was ranked 115th in sacks allowed, missed another dozen tackles and racked up a few more ridiculously undisciplined penalties while basically being dictated to for much of the afternoon. 

Let's hope Withers and his fellow defensive staffers have higher goals than only giving up nine points to the Blazers and 915 combined yards the last two weeks. 

1st Things 1st

While the defense has taken its share of hits the last few weeks, one key factor I don't think is being discussed enough is how opponents are faring on first down. 

A week after Cal picked up 22 first downs on the way to 512 yards of offense, UAB picked up another 22 first downs, as part of a 403-yard outburst. 

Getty Images: K. IrwinUAB had just one negative yardage play on 1st down.

Too often, the Buckeye defense is settling for being dictated to on first down, often giving huge cushions on the corners leading to way too many 2nd and medium/short situations, which is just one of many factors causing Ohio State to consistently lose the time of possession battle. UAB held the ball for eight more minutes than OSU yesterday, though that is a slight improvement in the 10-minute edge Cal had last week.

Yesterday, the Blazers ran 31 plays on first down. Exactly one went for negative yardage (-8) via a Doran Grant sack late in the 3rd quarter of the drive in which UAB cut OSU's lead to 21-15 with a 34-yard field goal. The coaches can't be pleased that only 3% of UAB's first down snaps went for negative yardage. 

Another nine first down snaps went for no gain - all incomplete passes - meaning the Buckeyes never stopped UAB for negative rushing yardage on first down (11 att) save for one sack. 

Meanwhile, 13 plays went for at least four yards (42%) and nine went for at least seven yards (29%). 

Putting the opposing offense in favorable 2nd down distance is compounding the defense's woes of being unable to dictate anything as offenses have a lot of plays to choose from on 2nd and favorable. 

No matter what Withers says, I have to believe the issues on first down have to be troublesome especially when they come against a Conference USA foe. 

Sluggish Start Returns

After scoring two TDs in the 1st quarter against a serviceable Cal team, the Buckeye offense sputtered out of the gate against UAB. 

Not only were the Buckeyes held scoreless in the opening quarter, they didn't put points on the board until just over six and half minutes remained in the first half.

Ohio State has survived two listless starts in four outings thanks largely to the fact they came against Miami and UAB, but even though the B1G looks to be decidedly mediocre, falling behind early in conference road games can often prove burdensome to overcome.

Getty Images: K. IrwinMiller had just 3 carries in the 1st Half. All on TD drives.

Looking at yesterday, I want to give Herman and Meyer a pass because their plan was obviously to use Braxton in the run game as little as possible, thinking he'll have to carry it a minimum of 20 times next week for the Buckeyes to have any shot of winning in East Lansing because clearly, this offense is stuck in the mud if Miller's not taking things into his own hands feet. 

For his part, Braxton was a dismal 1/5 passing in yesterday's opening quarter but the zero designed runs for him were just as big a factor in the zero point, 42-yard output. 

On cue, Braxton carried it just three times in the 2nd quarter but the results were impactful. His first tote came on Ohio State's fourth possession and 18th play from scrimmage, resulting in a 14-yard gain on what became a 10-play, 75-yard TD drive that cut the Blazers' lead to 9-7 with 6:31 left in the half. 

His second carry came on the ensuing possession, culminating a five-play, 75-yard TD drive with a 12-yard run to paydirt making it 14-12 good guys with 1:50 before intermission. 

Following a Doran Grant fumble recovery at the UAB 32, Miller's third and final carry of the opening half went for 19 yards to the Blazer 13-yard line and Ohio State cashed in two plays later, taking a 21-12 lead into the locker room. 

No question, Herman and Meyer were hoping Jordan Hall or Philly Brown would make a big play early, allowing them to keep the safety shackles on Miller but that just wasn't the case. Hall was decent in the first 15 minutes with five carries for 24 yards and a catch for seven more while Philly rushed one time for four yards and was only targeted once by Miller through the air. 

Of course, as Miller's accuracy improved in the 2nd quarter, Philly was a benefactor, hauling in three passes - all during TD drives - for 11, 20 and 25 yards respectively. 

The Buckeyes expect Carlos Hyde back next week but even with another offensive skill player returning, it's clear the playmaker shortage is putting great onus on Miller and added stress on the staff when it comes to balancing Miller's touches (i.e. health) with the need to move the ball and put up points especially while trying to avoid falling into a hole early. 

Isn't That Special

I was really looking forward to seeing how the Buckeyes would operate on special teams this year knowing Urban was the man in charge of Florida Gator units that blocked 21 punts, eight field goals and a handful of extra points during his six years in Gainesville. 

Getty Images: K. IrwinThis can't be good. 

In fall camp, the Buckeyes even went so far as to name their punt block unit "The Freak Show". 

Through four games, there's no doubt the special units have been a bit freaky. Just not in the way many of us expected. 

Yesterday's train wreck saw the Buckeyes get a punt blocked – at least I assume that's still what you call it even when the punter doesn't have time to even get foot to leather – in addition to extending a UAB drive after running into the punter and finally, allowing the Blazers to recover an onside kick to start the 2nd half.  

The punt block was the most egregious as UAB loaded up one side and sent two guys through the A gap completely untouched, forcing Boren to pick his poison. Outnumbered in the back line, it really didn't matter what he did because as long as the UAB rushers had spacing, the play was doomed. Urban noted the unit was playing without Barnett and Roby but I have to believe there are 10 guys on the roster, even without those two, capable of ensuring Buchanan has enough time to punt. 

As for the onside kick, it looked like UAB took advantage of the Buckeyes playing just a couple guys close to the required 10-yard mark a kick must travel for the kicking team to successfully recover. Good recognition and execution on their part but the Buckeyes just can't allow that to happen. 

Hankering for Positives

Though the game left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, there were still some positives, improving to 4-0 chief among them. 

Other than the W, the most positive thing for me was watching Johnathan Hankins. A week after setting his career high with 10 tackles against Cal, the easy-going, 6'3", 322 lb. junior racked up another ten stops against UAB including a .5 TFL. 

The defensive line has taken a bit of heat for failing to generate their own pressure on the opposing QB but Hankins has done his part. 

Through four games, Hank is tied for 3rd on the team in tackles (25), and is tied for the team lead in TFL (2.0) and sacks (1.0). Those last two numbers are far from jaw-dropping but the spread offenses have had a hand in limited productivity in those areas. 

Doran Grant was also outstanding in his first career start recording seven tackles, a fumble recovery, an interception and a sack in place of the injured Roby. Obviously, the two turnovers were the most easily noticed but I was impressed with how aggressive the 5'11", 188 lb. sophomore approached tackles. He looked steady and aimed low when bringing down ball carriers. 

Finally, congrats to Jordan Hall on the first 100-yard game of his career. He's not yet shown a big-time playmaking ability but he is averaging 5.6 yards per carry coming off a significant foot injury. 

 

42 Comments

Comments

Buckeyejason's picture

This is a one game at a time season, that's what I try and tell everyone. People like to yell 12-0 and say we will beat most teams by 30 points but thats just not realistic with this team. If they look like crap but win evey game, that's fine by me..it isn't a beauty contest..unless we were trying to get computer points for the BCS national title game..which is out of the question this year.

BUCKEYES BABY!

Baroclinicity's picture

Braxton throwing like shit! 
This team looks like shit! Pathetic

I hate to see this offense against a top 20 defense.

If they score again are we officially pathetic? 

I remember when the 2007 team would barely let cup cakes get to mid field..ahh those were the days.

Is it wrong that I kinda hope we lose at this point lol?

And now this: 

This is a one game at a time season, that's what I try and tell everyone.

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but I can't let this go.  The first round of quotes is from the game blog from you.  Now you tell everyone to take it one game at a time.  You can feel how you feel and I won't argue with that, but you can't act like you've been the voice of sanity and balance this whole time.

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

buckeye76BHop's picture

Love this...so you're saying we have a flip-flopper.  I noticed this myself...A LONG TIME AGO! He's a Cleveland fan...that should tell you all you need to know;-)  I gave up on any team from there a while ago (when I was 8;-)

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

Buckeyejason's picture

Love this...so you're saying we have a flip-flopper.  I noticed this myself...A LONG TIME AGO! He's a Cleveland fan...that should tell you all you need to know;-)  I gave up on any team from there a while ago (when I was 8;-

Ed: Please read the commenting policy, thanks... You call me a flip flopper yet you "used" to be a Cleveland fan? Sounds like you are the flip flopping fool. You probably change what teams you root for every year...

BUCKEYES BABY!

buckeye76BHop's picture

I was eight big guy...and I became a Bears fan...at least they've won a Super Bowl.  As far as Cleveland Indians, I was a fan and an avid one...until they tired to become the Oakland A's from Money Ball.  Epic fail so far...I mean no harm J-Bone and you "should" know this.  Not sure what you got edited for but I'd calm down if that be the case.  We're all Buckeye fans and I'm just kidding about Cleveland fans.  My dads one...I bust his balls all the time and he's just used to it at this point.  I called him to laugh when I was 10 and staying at a friends when "the Drive" transpired.  As well as the fumble by Byner.  It's all in good fun...no need to get a roid rage or anything.  

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

Buckeyejason's picture

Fair enough, no need to have Buckeye on Buckeye crime. Need to lower my test dose...jk.

BUCKEYES BABY!

onetwentyeight's picture

HAHAHA the Believeland fans are the best! "We drafted a 26 y/o QB! He'll be awesome!" (2 months later). "WHY did we draft a 26 y/o QB?!!!" 
If any fanbase deserves to be psychotically bipolar, it's them. 

Buckeyejason's picture

I'm not a Browns fan..but I can Definitly be psychotically bi-polar. 

BUCKEYES BABY!

Buckeyejason's picture

Wow, way to be a creepy stalker Baroclicinity. Go check the rest of my commentfr the past that arent pissed off game day knee jerk reactions. This site is not fun anymore with Ed: Don't be a jerk

BUCKEYES BABY!

Baroclinicity's picture

I'm not being a prick, I'm just making an observation.  You post a lot, which is fine, but it also makes you more visible.  Thus, it's not stalking.
You can have your opinions, change your mind, and flip flop-- we all do it from time to time.  But like I said, just don't act like you've been keeping the ship afloat as the voice of reason when comments dictate otherwise.  That's what I had to call out.

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

BME_Buckeye's picture

Pot: Hello Kettle, this is pot.
Kettle: Hey there.
Pot: Your black. 
@Jason: Please tell me this isn't true. I usually read your comments thinking you're one of the few realistic fans without obsurd expectations.

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.

 

Ill_Buckeye's picture

How about Rod Smith getting some run, I really liked how he carried the ball in his few opportunities

Tommy's picture

My #2 jersey was just slightly less embarassing on Saturday.

buckeye76BHop's picture

When I hear/read fans say it, I can only assume they are disgustingly willing to accept mediocrity simply becaue their team played a little less awful than the awful opponent. That type of mindset seems to be more regional so maybe it's the just the years of B1G football causing mental wear and tear. 

This^^^^+100.  I'm still trying to understand some fans comments from earlier on some of these threads at 11W.  I can't understand it...and I'm done trying.  We're not that good and until we win this coming weekend...that's where I'm at.  It's so hard to watch a team so capable of more...barely win and then...people celebrate it like we won the B1G bc OSU's still without a lose.  Wow...all I can say to people who celebrate medocrity (even after last year's 6-7 season).  Better not want that next year because it will matter then...and we better be winning efficiently as well as with asthetics or with beauty as some may say.  It's all about getting better...not just winning over a bottom dweller like UAB.  No one can tell me this team is getting better...bc if you do...you're on crack.  Individually some are improving...but not as a team.  I do believe it's still a team sport or perhaps that changed over the course of a year...I'm not sure.   

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

NC_Buckeye's picture

What is the point of this comment? You're disappointed with the team's performance? Well, golly gee.
Comments like this remind me of all the manic outrage and panic from last year. This need for instant gratification as far as the football team has got to be the absolute worst aspect of our fanbase.
The sky isn't falling people. We've taken 10 different guys with 10 different coaching styles who have never coached together before and are expecting them to create Alabama. And do it with a superstar, a bunch of talented playmakers, and half a dozen players (probably closer to 10 now that I think about it -- nc) whose abilities are suspect (but probably the best we got at those positions.) That is a ridiculous expectation.
How about let's give these guys a chance to see if they can get better? Both the coaches and players. And btw, Withers is right. This defense in spite of its flaws never let UAB get in the end zone on Sat (or even get that close).

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

^Exactly. 
It's kinda funny - before the season, not many people were really expecting OSU to be world beaters.  Now, people are complaining because OSU isn't looking like world beaters.

Class of 2010.

buckeye76BHop's picture

To you both...it's because we almost lost to UAB...???  But I guess I'm overracting.  

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

cinserious's picture

In all fairness, we should look like world-beaters (at least on paper) against a pathetic nobody like UAB. If we don't something's wrong, very wrong. I still hold out hope [pray] its all part of a plan to not show MSU what we really got in store for them.

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

MuraliPatel's picture

Buckeye Nation's willingness to accept mediocrity is why we continued to God up Jim Tressel. Now, Coach Tress delivered us a National Title in 2002 with John Cooper's players and I will forever be thankful for that, but, who can say that they were completely satisfied with a 'play not to lose' approach and instead of taking teams behind the woodshed and beating them by 70? Those schools we were supposed to crush, we'd beat by 4 on a late touchdown.
I can't stand Mark May because of his ridiculous and completely biased opinions, but you have to hand it to him on one thing - when asked why he didn't care for the Buckeyes, he stated that "I have yet to see this team in (after mid-2006) put forth maximum effort for four quarters." That statement may not be fair to the guys who are out there busting their asses for 60 min, but, when you look at the team as a whole and their inability to execute, it rings pretty true. Mental preparation and paying attention for 60 minutes is just as much a part of 'maximum effort' is as pushing yourself physically on every play; there are a lot of the shortcomings are between the ears right now, and it's driving me insane to watch this team squander their talent.
It's 100% Unacceptable.

DetroitBuckeye's picture

More entitled fans, let me be clear on this "WE WILL NEVER GO THROUGH ANOTHER ERA LIKE THE TRESSEL YEARS".  We might win a national title but to those who talk badly about the tressel years, well maybe you should review them.  Unlike other programs we never had a falling out see Texas.  Besides, the back seven of the defense really is not all that good.  The team we will play this week has a much more talented back seven so some of it is personnel.

 
ralEbuckI's picture

Your statement that fans accepting mediocrity led to worshiping Tressel seems to insinuate that Tressel delivered mediocrity.  If I'm reading that wrong, then my apology.  If not, that is just a very uninformed claim.  We all know the resume so i'm not going to post it, but what were your expectations at that point?  perfect seasons and NC's every year?

razrback16's picture

Yeah, Rod really brought some energy when he came in which was great to see!

tampa buckeye's picture

Im a big R. Smith fan.  Only urban can stop him.

AllDay028's picture

I really don't understand the Rod Smith love. He's the most fumble prone back we have and physically he doesn't offer us anything that Dunn and Hyde don't. He's just another cog in the machine. And with the way he's fumbled the ball i'd rather see Dunn and Hyde in those situations.

Buckeyejason's picture

I don't either, people like him because he was a 4 star recruit, top 10 back coming out of h.s. and is big I would guess. I would like to see him carry the ball a whole game against a solid opponent to see what he can do. Probably won't happens though. Dunn will give you what Rod will if not more as a true freshman.

BUCKEYES BABY!

Boxley's picture

Dunn, simply has not gotten the offensive scheme and that is holding him back. All of the offensive coaches, including Meyer have publicly stated that. Smith is just as green, game experience wise, but did ok on Saturday. Remember both of them are third string behind Hyde and Hall. With both Hyde and Hall healthy, neither of those two would see the field except in eat the clock, garbage time.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

Buckeyejason's picture

What a waste of a years eligibility then for Dunn. 

BUCKEYES BABY!

Boxley's picture

The only person wasting his eligibility, was him, not hitting the playbook, and not knowing his assignments when he was on the field. He has plenty of physical talent, he just needs to get the plays down.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

SilverBulletNYC's picture

I liked seeing Rod in there. I wish we would run Brionte more...With Hall and Hyde healthy, a 3-prone running attack (w/ Braxton) is going to be scary (not to mention, dare I say it, we finally have depth at the position).
For us to be successful in the passing game, I would like to see more designed passes to Stoney and more screens to set up the long routes...
Go Bucks!

The South will NOT rise again!

MuraliPatel's picture

I think Bri'note may have played himself out of playing time with the way he performed late in the Cal game and in the game before that, by not knowing the play called in the huddle.

tampa buckeye's picture

can you review my quotes I think I had some real gems this week.

cinserious's picture

Lets keep it civil guys. Since I found this site several months ago, I've noticed how respectful posters are to others despite differences of opinions. Thats why I don't post on Bucknuts anymore(besides the fact they make you pay for information (speculation) ) where people like razrback16 (standing in front of his [dad's] stupid orange 'vette) will call the MOD police on you if he does'nt like what you have to say. In my short time here, I have noticed the same-type immaturity in Buckeyejason and since this site is not "fun" for him anymore, I feel he would be right at home on www.bucknuts.com. Enjoy!
 

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

buckeyedude's picture

You shouldn't make accusations like that, CINSERIOUS. How do you know razrback16 wasn't at a Chevy dealer?

 

 

builderofcoalitions's picture

I love that these are the kind of conversations we have after wins. It's great to be a Buckeye.

Because we couldn't go for three.

Boxley's picture

A well written article with multiple excellent points. I am actually more worried about containing Nebraska quick strike passing, then MSU's' running. but we will all get to see which we are doing worse against soon enough.
I actually was able to switch my one day a week off to Saturday's this year for the first time in four years. Now I get to spend my one day off in front of my TV, writhing in pain watching the inconsistent offense, and unfortunately the consistent defense toil live.
I do believe that if the offense becomes more consistent and stays on the field more and scores more, the defense will improve as they will be less stressed/tired and the opposing offenses will have to take greater risks to catch up on the scoreboard. 

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

whobdis's picture

I agree with BOXLEY about Nebraska..that's the only offense we have yet to face that makes me nervous, We may not win the rest but the other offenses are probably weaker than Miami of Ohio. I think we have figured out why we don't hear much from Withers..his comment is something my wife would say..'Hey..they only gave up 15!".
 

aj99's picture

Everyone needs to calm down. We  don't look that great, true. There's not much we are going to do about it at this point. We do not have the line backers to be great. It's a simple talent issue. W just don't have the line backers to be an excellent defensive team. It's not fair to expect coaches to turn these guys into something they're not. Also, any way you slice it Hall isn't that good and won't make a difference for us- especially between the tackles. Hyde will be back and that will help. Miller is still young but can't throw yet. That will come.  
It's not about accepting mediocrity. It's about accepting the truth. We have the potential to win every game, but we might not because we are deficient in talent at specific places on the field. You don't have to like it but that's the truth. But expecting something that just isn't going to happen is hurtful to yourself.   If you truly expect your wife to look like Heidi Klum, then you're going to be in for a big disappointment. Don't set yourself up for things like that.  Go with the truth.  It's a lot more fun. 

Boxley's picture

I fully agree with your post. I hope that I did not come across as one the many "the sky is falling" posters. This is a young team with a lot of potential. Braxton becoming more consistent in his passing game and will make this offense will fly.
As to all of the negative "fire this guy", "so and so is not worthy of being on the field" type of posts. I leave that tripe to others as it serves no purpose and does not help. Incisive comments on play calling, defensive alignments, tactics in general, with clearly defined rationale, serves all of us better.
We are still 4-0 which is better than all of the other perennial power teams in the BIG are, and 95% of the rest of the NCAA FBS teams. Do we have issues? Absolutely, but criticism without solutions is just non productive.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

buckeyepastor's picture

My 5 Things - 
1.  I expected hiccups and inconsistencies out of our young team (especially in the back 7 and with the wideouts), so I try to stay calm with those things.  Where I have been very disappointed has been the play of the DL not only in terms of results but in terms of their approach.  I love Simon/Hankins/Goebel and company, but we still seem to be reactive on defense, the one place where I expected Meyer's tenacity to really show up most.   
2.  More than inconsistency (which again we could expect), I don't see us making improvement from week to week.   One of the things that I think has been truly great about OSU for the past decade or so was that as a team we got better from September to November.   I still hope that happens with this team from game 1 to game 12, but I'm not much seeing it from game 1 to game 4.    
3.  "Wake up call" We've all thought and hoped the last few weeks would be that.  I'm beginning to fear that the "wake-up call" for this team will have to come in the form of a loss.   
4.  Injuries have really knocked us off our game.   Simon being slowed, Hall being out, then Hyde, then Roby.  We've had some losses in the areas of our game where we can least afford them.   No time off for us to "get healthy" for quite a while, but I do think that these things have affected this young team.   
5.  In spite of 9-3 now seeming far more likely than 11-1, the freshmen who have lined it up for us this year (especially Dunn, Washington, Spence) have been pretty special already.   So the future looks bright.  RIght now, we are not a great football team, but I still see reason to believe that we will earn top 10 or better rankings next year.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

timdogdad's picture

yes we're a work in progress, but i think no matter how much the coach yells to tackle, tackle, run the play correctly, etc,  when you're playing team that you should beat by 40, you just sort of relax.   i know it looks bad but i'm glad we're out of that part of the season.    this  team responded last year after bad games-maybe didn't win, but now in their minds will be.. we're now a road underdog this week-it's now human nature to bring it.   fight bell for every yard.  execute the plays and no mental mistakes.   i'm guessing msu's  confidence is a little shaken   if we're competitors we'll respond.   

Boxley's picture

No matter how bad everyone wants to say this defense and team is, (yes we do have problems to fix) we are averaging 37.75 points per game and are giving up 17.25. Currently we are at a plus 20 points scored versus points scored on us. I believe most teams would love to be in that position.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

JBuckeye's picture

I didn't expect them to rule the world out of the gate, but I do have my concerns. My biggest issue with this team is that they barely show up for the 1st and the 3rd quarter, then play as Meyer said "with their hair on fire" for the other two quarters.  I have to attribute this purely to coaching, where it seems we start off with a Tressel game plan for the first quarter and play not to lose, then we go to a Meyer up-tempo game plan for the second quarter and play to stomp the opposition.  Then it repeats itself after halftime with the 4th quarter being where we realize we need to stop futzing around and put away the game!