11W RoundTable: Nebraska

By David Sokol on October 5, 2012 at 10:00a
Taylor is a girls nameTaylor Martinez will look to run just about every time

We're back for another edition of the Eleven Warriors RoundTable, featuring our ever-popular Dubster Analysts.

This week, we welcome back Jason, Jeff and Ross to discuss the upcoming game with Nebraska and shed a bit of light on last week's win over Michigan State.

As this is another magical moment, let's get it started or as Marvin Gaye used to say, "Let's get it on".

The Buckeyes really proved quite a bit with the win at Michigan State. What was one thing that you noticed the Buckeyes really improved on in East Lansing compared to past weeks?

Jason: Two things, really, and they worked in concert. First was the scheme. Urban went out of his way to congratulate his defensive coaches for the plan they put together to beat Michigan State. Sure, there were a few breakdowns on the field, but the scheme worked to perfection as they limited Michigan State to just 34 yards on the ground.

On top of this, the defensive front turned in their most physical game of the young season. Simon, Hankins, Williams et al were a force early and often and the score and game stats reflect this.

Jeff: I think it's been hammered home again and again, but the play of the offensive line late in the game was incredibly impressive. The line had given up 6 sacks on the season against inferior competition. Then they go up against one of the best defenses in the nation and only give up one. Let's hope that trend continues.

Ross: Soundness in defensive scheme and execution. The Buckeye defensive coaching staff finally seemed to settle on an identity—playing matchup cover 4 on 1st and 2nd down, and then bringing pressure and playing man coverage on third down. Perhaps because they had a defined plan, the defensive players seemed to execute far better. The linebackers and secondary pursued and played their assignments, forcing Le'Veon Bell to run sideways. And then the Buckeyes tackled. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have Johnathan Hankins being unblockable.

Let's talk Braxton Miller. Do you think the staff will be calling his number as much against Nebraska as they did versus MSU?

Jason: Yes, at this point, I think we have to assume that Miller will get 20-odd rushes per game, with the majority of them being designed runs. It's a night game and he seems to come out at night (the first half of the Nebraska game last year, the Wisconsin game...), so I don't think it's a stretch to expect a really big game out of Miller Saturday night.

Ross: Yes. Braxton Miller is going to have the same amount of 'opportunities' (called runs + reads + scrambles) every week. And no I don't understand why this is a weekly question. Meyer's offense is designed for the QB to run the football. As long as Meyer is the coach at OSU the QB will run the football. Then on top of that, Miller is the Buckeyes' best runner. It reduces Miller's effectiveness and contribution to the offense if he does not run at least 15 times. 

As I discussed this week, this offense is limited in its playmakers and the areas it can succeed. But within those defined areas it does very well. One such tranche is Braxton Miller running the football. He is the one OSU player who can create an explosive play at any time, particularly when he gets to the edge. The OSU offense needs Miller as a run threat. That being said, as Meyer said this week, if Miller simply read some of the read plays correctly he would have had 8 less carries. Sometimes he makes his mind up pre-snap, rather than actually reading the play. So if he improves at that it will limit his carries. But I expect him to have 15-25 carries every game.

Jeff: I think they still have to. Simply put, he's the best player in the stadium (no offense Taylor Martinez). He has the ability to take it to the painted grass on every play and Meyer knows it. Last week's injury scare(s) might make Urban hesitant in the early quarters, but if the Buckeyes find themselves down late, you'll see a heavy dose of #5.

What was your favorite part of the MSU game? Least favorite?

Jeff: Favorite part: That last TD pass OHHHHHH that last TD pass! What a beaut. I honestly believe it was the best looking throw of Braxton's career. It didn't have the excitement factor of last year's Wisconsin game (or did it?) but his mechanics and accuracy on that throw were a thing to behold.

Least Favorite Part: Whatever the Buckeye D was trying to do to Keith Mumphery on that TD run in the third quarter. Note to Buckeyes: throwing your body into someone using the Popeye dive technique is not effective. Utilize the two things you've got hanging off your trunk ("arms" in layman's terms) to wrap the offensive player.

Jason: The bomb to Smith is going to be hard to top. It came less than two minutes after Michigan State had seized momentum with Keith Mumphery's touchdown catch and run through Turnstile City and was absolutely huge from an emotional standpoint.

As for a least favorite, watching Miller extend his knee made me queasy, but Mumphrey running through four sets of arms was the low point of the game for me. At the time, I was thinking that Meyer should just put that play on loop for film sessions if the Spartans held on for the win. Thankfully, Miller to Smith happened.

Ross: I found it to be a satisfying victory. Other than the turnovers, OSU played soundly in every aspect of the game. Any time you win on the road against that caliber team you have to be satisfied. And this group is shaping up to be a plucky team, which I think is why Meyer is so happy. So other than my least favorite part—the turnovers...and Braxton looking injured—it's hard to complain too much.

How do the Buckeyes contain Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez and RB Rex Burkhead?

Jason: It's a tall order, that's for sure. In Martinez and Burkhead, the Ohio State defense will face their most potent offense of the year. Although his throwing motion still elicits cackles, Martinez really has improved his passing game, so the Ohio State secondary won't be able to creep Christian Bryant up into the box all night as they'll have to respect the middle of the field.

The D-Line will have to contain 'Braska's weapons

Burkhead gashed Ohio State last season to the tune of 119 yards and one touchdown on the ground and he's off to an amazing start in the three games he's played this season, averaging a mind-boggling 9.4 yards per attempt, so he will be another weapon to keep the Silver Bullets honest.

To win this game, OSU must tackle better than they have tackled in any game this season. A tall order, I know, but I'm hoping the sickening memories of last season's collapse will help on the motivation front.

Jeff: I know Martinez has had success throwing the ball thus far, but I think you still need to stack the box, forcing Martinez to throw and closing potential lanes for Burkhead. This is the game the Buckeye secondary is going to have to shine. The Bucks crowded the line last week against a lesser QB (although if his receivers could catch we might not be saying that). This week they'll be forced to bring more than 4 against a guy who has proven he can sling it around a bit. Howard, Roby and Bryant better bring their lunch pails.

Ross: As I said in my defensive breakdown, continue what the defense did Saturday. Execute an aggressive cover-4 like OSU did on Saturday, with the defensive backs coming up in force support on the edge. That will keep eyes in the backfield for Martinez scrambling. The defense can then pattern match from that and force Martinez to work the ball into tight spots. I do not worry so much about Burkhead—Martinez is the big play threat. So OSU needs to keep him in front of them.

What do you expect the Ohio Stadium crowd to be like? Do you think it will compare to OSU/Michigan in '06 or USC in '09?

Jason: It will most certainly be loud -- Urbtopia, right? -- but I'm not sure it will approach USC '09 level loudness. I'd love to be proven wrong, though.

Jeff: I was there for USC in '09 and I'll be there again this weekend! If it's anything like '09, Nebraska is going to be in for a long night. That game was absolutely deafening. Let's hope it's that wild. Urban's first night game in the Shoe. If the crowd can't get up for that then they should be watching at home. Get. Loud. Columbus.

Ross: Eh, not quite to the same level. Those environments were electric for two OSU teams that fans believed were potential national championship teams against huge opponents. But I do think that fans will be excited that they do not have to watch another non-conference game at noon.

Who is one player that has been quiet for OSU that will have a big game against Nebraska?

Ross: I suppose it depends upon your definition of quiet. I think the Ohio State offensive and defensive lines will be the stars of the games.

Jeff: John Simon. It's his last night game in the Shoe and he'll want to make it count. He's been a force to be reckoned with in the trenches but hasn't made much noise on the stat sheet. I think he gets one or two sacks this weekend.

Jason: Jake Stoneburner. He's been invisible the last two weeks with no receptions and nary even a target, but I expect him to come up big for Ohio State Saturday night when they most need him. Remember, he had that sweet bubble for a 32-yard touchdown last year, so I'm counting on something similar Saturday night.

How many points will OSU score this Saturday and why?

Ross: 31. OSU should have scored that many against Michigan State last Saturday but for turnovers. More substantively, I think that Nebraska will have difficulty accounting for Braxton Miller in the run game with their pattern matching and 2-gap scheme, leading to him ripping off a big day running, with a few big runs in passing downs.

Jeff: I'm predicting 24. Braxton is good for one or two every week and I think the receivers are gaining confidence. Add in a steady dose of Carlos Hyde at the goal line and I think 24 is reasonable. Let's just hope the turnover bug doesn't bite again Saturday night.

Do you think Ohio State is currently the best team in the Big Ten?

Jason: It's tough to say right now. Ohio State hasn't faced a Notre Dame or Alabama like a few of of the other teams in the league have, but there's something to be said for being 5-0. Can you ask me again in a week?

Ross: Yes. Most talent, no losses. I think they are the best overall team regardless of what happens.

Jeff: I think they can beat anyone on any given day in the Big Ten, so I guess that means they're the best team. With that said, this team still has a ton of wrinkles to work out. Luckily they've got one of the best in the biz steering the ship. I've never felt more confident about the direction of a Buckeye team. They're young, they're winning and they've got more talent coming down the pipeline. What more could you ask for? (Maybe bowl eligibility)

Bonus: What are you most looking forward to about Eat Too, Brutus?

Jason: The guaranteed win that follows the tailgate. Eat Too, Brutus is 2-0 against ranked opponents all-time.

Jeff: Finally meeting all of these people I write a blog with. It'll be like meeting a long-lost cousin who you've heard a lot about but never actually seen in person because they were sent off to a Malaysian boarding school to be disciplined Anyone? Just me?...ok.

And the answer of the week:

Ross: Counting how many bar fights Ramzy can perform before he starts drunk dialing Jim Bollman.

Next week, we break down the Indiana game. If you have any questions about that game, feel free to shoot them my way.

Hit me up!



JLP36's picture

In last year's game, everything went real bad defensively late in the game.  A LB had gone down.  They were not playing Shazier at that point.  They were thin at LB.  They sat in a nickel and Big Red just rammed the ball at the outside LB that was not on the field.  Just having a full array of bodies on D should help.  Name the 2 on the edges Simon and Williams and I think that the D comes up big again.  It would help if wide open receivers continue to drop passes against our secondary.  Plays were there for Sparty.


Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I'm still not as sold on our defense.  It did appear that tackling and pursuit angles improved, but there's still a long ways to go here.  Biggest game yet for the LBs, need to to take proper angles and then wrap and drive.  Also, I recall a number of MSU WRs that were open and dropped the ball or it wasn't accurately thrown.  That said, if I had to pick a weakness against NEB, I'd rather it be in the back of the defense than anywhere else.  DL needs to continue to play their game, stop the run, and generate pocket-contain pressure on Martinez. 

Read my entire screen name....

BuckGuy003's picture

Your name is ironic eh?

Alhan's picture

Not so much.  The full name is "Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist".

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

BuckGuy003's picture

ah I cant see that part haha

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Ross: Counting how many bar fights Ramzy can perform before he starts drunk dialing Jim Bollman.

[asks Ross if he means "Bear Fights" or "Bar Fights"]

[realizes it doesn't matter]

[takes battery out of phone]

Ross Fulton's picture

It was completely bear fights. Somehow that got lost in the translation of the roundtable.

QBYBuckeye's picture

A "Davey Crockett" B'ar

New York Buckeye

Run_Fido_Run's picture

A bar fight involving Ramzy is a more realistic entertainment option for DTB attendees (bars don't allow dogs, let alone a 1000 lb. grizzly bear).
To keep things civil, the bar "fight" should be settled by who can eat more Omaha Steaks . . . Ramzy or Larry the Cable Guy.
If the Cable Guy is not available, have Ramzy challenge this guy instead:

If, after losing the steak eating contest, Ramzy acts like a drunken sore loser, and gets into an actual bar fight with L'il Red, I like Ramzy's chances. Ramzy can just keep landing rabbit punches and ducking behind L'il Red, who has very limited head-swiveling abilities and lousy peripheral vision. Or, Ramzy could simply chop block the top-heavy L'il Red's knees, but he must be careful not to let L'il Red land on top of him.     

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Ignorant me, I've now been informed that a bear fight is a mixed-drink.

IBleedSandG's picture

I know Taylor Martinez has made strides to improve his footwork and trowing motion, but he still struggles throwing the ball. If we get up early this time, the end is over.
Here are his stat lines against the two decent teams he's played against.
@UCLA: 17/31 179yds. 54.8 comp% 0td 1int 96.9 passer rating
vs. Whisky: 17/29 181yds. 58.6comp% 2td 0int 133.8 passer rating.
His line against Whisky was alright, but he wasnt very accurate in either game. I'd take our D and our home-field advantage over the Bruins and the Badgers all-day. If the D stops the run, we win, simple as that. 


Boxley's picture

Nice stats. Easily the best two defenses Nebraska has faced so far this year, excluding ours. Their remaining season will be dictated by how they fare against MSU, as they do have a stellar D.
This should be an easier win for us than MSU game was. Home field advantage.

"...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

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

This should be an easier win for us than MSU game was. Home field advantage.

While I agree that our home field advantage will be in full force, NEB is not MSU.  NEB presents several additional dimensions on offense:
1. QB has experience and may recognize coverage better
2. QB can pass at least = to MSU
3. QB can run
4. WRs can catch
5. RB tandem with power and speed at least = to MSU
6. Offensive scheme is not suited for our defense.
Defensively, NEB is not far removed from the Big XII and defending the OSU's offense  is not as much of a novelty to them as it may be to other B1G schools - they played Herman's offense.  So while MSU probably has a better defense than NEB, MSU's defense was not well suited for our offense whereas NEB's defense matches up better in my opinion.  
I see NEB matching up against us far tougher than MSU, despite the home field.

Read my entire screen name....

cinserious's picture

I agree. NEB defense matches up with our offense.
            OSU defense might have trouble with NEB-type offense.
We still have a more magical QB in Braxton and the best coaching staff in the biz, so if we need to pull one out off our A** with the clock running down, I'm confident we can do that.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

So, it sounds like you're predicting a Nebraska victory.
If Ohio State beat MSU by 1-pt, but Nebraska is a "far tougher" opponent than MSU, unless Ohio State can defeat Nebraska by 0.3 pts, then . . .  

Boxley's picture

I would think our defense would be well prepared to play against their offense as Martinez is a lot like Braxton, and vice versa.
That also means Nebraska's D should have seen a lot of Braxton's type of QB mobility as these practice against Martinez every week.

"...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

cplunk's picture

Seeing it, understanding it, and stopping it are very different things. Its possible Braxton would run all over our defense. It is possible to completely understand what the other team is doing and just not have the right skillsets or people to stop it.
I actually think the bigger concern is Abdullah. He's that quick, jukey outside guy we've struggled with. Burkhead is an inside power guy and this defense is built for that.
I think we win this, but it owuldn't surprise me if its fairly high scoring.
I'm hoping our defense takes another step forward like they did for MSU and we win easy.

Grayskullsession's picture

Looking at Nebraska's away record the past several years I am less worried about this game than I was to begin the week. Every quality opponent they faced on the road they were either beaten, or in the case of Penn State they barely won with Joe Paterno being fired before that week.

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Gray Skull, your avatar frightens me.

Not a Cereal Downvoter.  But I will downvote the Serial Trolls who lurk under our bridge.

WiliestBuckeye's picture

I think we beat Nebraska. Assuming we use the same type of defensive scheme as last week, we actually matchup fairly well on that side of the ball. On offense we have Braxtion Miller and an actual offensive coordinator. Remember, we were blowing this team out, on the road, last year before Miller went down and we had to put in He Who Must Not Be Named for the remainder of the game.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

I think the Roundtable would be much more enjoyable if it were like the Dubcast...Hearing you guys chop it up as opposed to reading it would be awesome!  Thanks! 

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama