Beyond the Hashes: Indiana

By Chad Peltier on October 14, 2012 at 12:00p

7 or 481. 

Philly used to drop a lot of passes too.Devin had a weird statline: 2 catches for 106 yards. 

You're likely going to fall into one of those two groups regarding the Buckeyes' performance against Indiana. Some of you will care more about moving to 7-0, while others will wonder how long the winning can continue with a defense that surrenders 481 yards to Indiana. 

Rather than A. being depressed and complaining that we'll lose to everyone else or B. Creating "Fire Fickell or Withers" websites, I think it's important to just accept this year's Buckeye defense for what it is - an imperfect unit that struggles against spread offenses.

But that's ok - the Buckeyes don't need to worry about AP National Championships this year. The defense needs to get in shape for next year and a potential title run. 

The Offense

There are a lot of gun analogies possible with this Ohio State team between the Silver Bullets, the pistol, and the shotgun. While the Bullets may not have shown up, at least the latter two guns were locked and loaded. 

  1D 3D% 4D% Yards  Pass Rush TO Penalty QS Sacks
vs. IU 28 (154) 50% 100% 578(3167) 225(1422) 353(1845) 1(9) 10-91(56-492) .658 2(12)

If not for two Devin Smith dropped bombs and a Braxton Miller interception in the end zone, this team would have cruised to 73 points on offense.

The Buckeye offense attacked a poor Indiana defense that was completely selling out to stop the run and overmatched in the secondary by a combination of inside zone and throwing deep, spreading the Indiana defense vertically. 

Urban said after the Michigan State game that he wasn't afraid to call deep throws anymore, and he backed up his words against an Indiana secondary that could not compete with Devin Smith's speed. 

But it was the ground game that won it for the Buckeyes, with Hyde and Rod Smith running one of their hardest games ever, and Braxton doing his normal thing. Anytime the team averages 6.5 yards per carry and 353 total yards, you know it was a good day on the ground. 

The Clock. The Buckeye offense stayed on the field for almost 37 minutes against Indiana, their longest of the season. While the time of possession battle isn't really as important as most think, the Buckeyes are now averaging over 30 minutes a game, which is close to their average from last season. 

  Time of possession # of plays
vs. IU 36:54 79
Season 30:13 70 (488)
Last Season 30:40 62

The Buckeyes managed 79 plays, 54 of which were running plays. 

The Defense 

Unfortunately, the ratio of total offensive yards gained to total defensive yards given up is now just 1.13. Not so hot. 

  1D Yards Pass Rush TO ToP TFL Sack INT 3 & Outs Opp RBSR Quicksand
vs.IU 26(136) 481(2800) 352(1938) 129(856) 0(13) 23:06 5(34) 0(16) 0(10) 5(20) 50% .628

In general, the same problems keep popping up over and over: 1. Penalties (the Buckeyes lose almost an entire football field's worth of penalty yards per game). 2. Slow linebackers (apart from Shazier) that are forced to cover speedier receivers in the short game. 3. Poor tackling. 

Hyde was full on beast mode. Clearly drank the juice against IUHyde breaks another one

After huge performances against Michigan State and Nebraska in the negative play department with 6 sacks, 13 TFLs, and 3 interceptions, the Buckeyes were held to no sacks, no interceptions, and just 5 tackles for loss.

Part of this has to do with injuries - Nathan Williams was out for the game, Howard and Bryant were absent for different periods, and Sabino is of course out for 4 games - part of it has to do with a surprisingly effective Indiana offensive line (40th in the country in sacks allowed, tied with MSU), and part of it has to do with the Indiana offensive game plan. 

What's interesting is that the Buckeye defense actually had one of their highest numbers of forced 3-and-outs so far this year; essentially, if the Indiana offense could pick up one first down, then they were likely to score. While not quite the same thing as the myth of the "hot hand," this is fairly common for tempo and pace-based offenses - once they get started, they can roll. 

I don't mean to make excuses for the depleted Buckeye defense, but they were just that - depleted - and going up against a surprisingly efficient Kevin Wilson offense. Part of me wishes he was hired by a school that actually prioritized football, because then he'd have a chance to do something special somewhere. 

Player Analysis

Braxton Miller. Braxton could have launched himself into the front of the Heisman race if not for some bad drops by his receivers - I believe there were six in total, two of which were touchdowns. Even without those yards (something like 130 yards of dropped balls), Braxton still had a good game through the air: 

  COMP/ATT % Yards TD INT Rating
Miller 13/24(96/159) 54% 211(1271) 2(11) 1(4) 147.2 (145.3)

While those aren't world-beating numbers, we have to remember that A. We won a game last year where Braxton completed just a single pass, and B. his receivers weren't doing him any favors. At all. 

Braxton forced the throw trying to make a play in the end zone, resulting in his 4th interception of the year. If he continues at his current rate of interceptions, then he'll end up with ~6 on the year, 5 less than Pryor had during his sophomore and junior years. 

Throw Chart
  Into Coverage Uncatchable Throw Away Difficult Catchable Dead ON
Miller 2(11) 3(14) 1(6) 1(25) 6(43) 11(55)
Guiton 0 0 (2) 0 (1) 0 0 (5) 1 (2)

Braxton continued his general distribution of passes - mostly "catchable" and "dead on" throws, with a few more "uncatchable" and "into coverage" throws than normal.

Two things here: 1. Some of his deep throws were beautiful - just perfectly placed so that the receiver didn't have to break stride, just actually catch the thing. 2. While a large percentage of the dead-on passes were short screens, it's very possible to overthrow these (as you'll know if you've ever watched Georgia's Aaron Murray play. 

Also, a shoutout to Kenny G. with the perfect read on the old Meyer shovel pass (which apparently Urbs' wife Shelley called). 

Running Backs. Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith both tore it up against Indiana, running like their lives (and playing time) depended on it. 

  Atts Yards YPC RBSR EX Plays YPC - EX 
Hyde 22(85) 156(454) 7.1 55% (60%) 21,16,29,20,21 2.9
Miller 23(129) 149(931) 6.5 50% (61%) 17,15,18,67 1.7
Dunn (12) (60) - (82%) - -
Boren (11) (33) - (64%) - -
R. Smith 6(20) 40(128) 6.7 60%(74%) 15 5.0
C. Brown 1(7) 12(61) 12 100% (86%) - 12.0
Hall (40) (218) - (73%) - -

Braxton continues his march toward a 1,000 yards, which he should surpass easily next week against Purdue (a defense that allowed Denard to go for 235 yards rushing), but the real story this week is in Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith: both backs ran as hard as I've ever seen them, going for a combined 196 yards. 

While Hyde has always been thought of as the "4-yard consistent" back to Braxton's big play style, Hyde repeatedly broke arm tackles and showed fantastic straight-ahead speed to actually beat Braxton for explosive plays for the first time. While no back was as efficient as they have been in previous games, there were far more explosive runs against Indiana than in any previous game. 

Similarly, Rod Smith showed excellent burst and balance in his limited number of carries. Unfortunately, he also had a late fumble, which probably won't endear him to Urban.

Wide Receivers. Unfortunately, the receivers played like many feared they would during the preseason - dropping multiple catchable balls. 

  Yards Catch Rate
Spencer (70) (5/9)
D. Smith 106(457) 2/5(21/36)
Stoneburner 41(133) 4/4(11/16)
C. Brown 51(403) 6/9(41/54)
Boren  (42) (5/7)
Heuerman (81) 0/1(5/6)
Hyde 27(35) 2/2 (4/4)
Reed (13) (1/1)
Vannett (50) (5/7)
Hall (31) (3/3)
M. Thomas (6) (1/1)

I don't want to harp on this point, because they've been pretty consistent throughout the season, and things would look a lot different if Devin Smith had managed to grab those two big throws.

However, it's clear that Braxton is content going to the top four or five guys on the team (and really just Devin and Corey). Braxton can improve his reads and progressions, but his receivers have to prove they'll catch what's thrown at them too. 

Defense. So the starting fullback, who learned the defense in a week, led the team in tackles. That's all I'll be saying about that.

  Tackles TFL Sacks INT PBU
Boren 8 .5      
Barnett 6       2
Shazier 6 1.5     5
Spence 5        
Goebel 4 .5      
Grant 4        
Klein 3       1
Johnson 2 .5      
Hankins 2 1      
Bryant 2       3
Roby 1       3

It's clear that the defense has some issues, but some individuals need some recognition: Spence, Roby, Shazier, Bryant, Howard, and Boren. 

Roby and Howard were both very good, with the majority of Indiana's completions being the result of short and medium assignments. Roby in particular wasn't really tested, but still came through with three pass breakups. 

Speaking of pass breakups, how about Shazier? While not only leading the team in tackles, RDS came up with 5 breakups on the night (though he was visibly frustrated that one or more wasn't an interception). 

Finally, a special shoutout to Noah Spence. In his first game since the first two where he received significant time, Spence seemed to always be this close to sacking the quarterback, and finished fourth in tackles. The future certainly looks bright with him anchoring the defensive end slot. 


Comments Show All Comments

UncleBuck's picture

Carlos Hyde is really stepping it up. He has had two great games in a row. I think he will split carries evenly or maybe get more when Hall comes back.

Bucksfan's picture

If Indiana didn't drop every pass of the 1st quarter, we'd have lost.

Bucksfan's picture

You know what, people?  Down-voting me for saying this is ridiculous.  49 f'ing points!  FOURTY-NINE.  To INDIANA!  It's a record by a full 8 points!  And those were mostly points scored after that first quarter.  Indiana wide receivers didn't somehow figure out how to get open in the final 3 quarters...they were open from the kickoff, and the defense could hardly keep up.  The drops were typical for Indiana historically, but not the # of open receivers.  If you don't feel lucky that they dropped the passes, I don't know what game you were watching.
Love Brax.  Love Hyde.  Love Rod Smith when he's not Rod Jones.  Love how the O-line is dominating.  I LOVE 50+ points a game.  It's fucking great entertainment to watch this football team.  The defense has me waking up in the middle of the night.  What is going to happen when we find ourselves in a 21-0 hole against Michigan in the first 5 minutes?  Could very well happen.  Then what will the excuses be?  Will it then be okay to fear how this defense couldn't cover their dinner if they had a 10 mile roll of saran wrap at their disposal?
Here's your gif for the defense.

BuckGuy003's picture

Same could be said for us though bud, If we neither team dropped any passes we still wouldve won. we dropped far more important passes than them.

cajunbuckeye's picture

If Smith didn't drop those passes we would have won by more.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

PWLafferty. TBDBITL. TRow.'s picture

If Indiana scored more points than us, we would have lost....... I mean come on, we're 7-0...Beat Purdue

"I'm up there with Chris and Dave Pass, getting ready to broadcast that game, and that band came out of that tunnel, I was wiping tears out of my eyes and all the memories came back." ~Urban Meyer

Type G's picture

Boren stat line... wow.

"No time for love, Doctah Jones!"

BuckinBama's picture

If "if" was a fifth we'd all be drunk!

Chad Peltier's picture

This is a funny comment thread. 

Maceyko's picture

Good article.  I do find it funny that so many people are jumping on the "fire a coach" bandwagon.  Sure we have issues that need addressed and if Meyer feels the need he will adjust the coaching staff in the off season, but right now we just need to keep moving forward. The receiver drops aren't surprising considering where we were not long ago with our receivers.  I'm surprised we are 7-0, but happy we got a head coach that knows what needs to be done and I haven no worries that we will get there even if we continue to struggle this year at times.

iball's picture

typical buckeye fans...bitching and whining while our team is 7-0. a win is a win.

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

OSUBias's picture

Bad game by the defense, but at this point in the season that's who we are: explosive on offense when things are working, sketchy on special teams when we're kicking, great on special teams when they're kicking, and porous on defense. Regardless of whether it is players, injuries, or scheme, or some combination of all of them, that is who we are. A bad defense.
Let's all just accept it. The sky is not falling; we're still going to be competitive in every game, but this is not the best Buckeye team of your lifetime. If, by some miracle and luck, we go 12-0, we probably don't deserve the split mythical AP championship. And even if we get it, it doesn't mean anything since it's a poll just for vanity.
We got the win. It was ugly, it should have been easier, but we got the W. 7-0 with a chance to go 8-0. Enough said.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Come on iball. This isn't like last week where people were complaining for some ridiculous reason about our last TD. We gave up 49 to Indiana. Yes, there are legitimate reasons to be concerned.

iball's picture

who in the world thought we'd be 7-0 at the start of the season?

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

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Very true. But now that we're 7-0, the perpetual OSU fanbase dissatisfaction kicks in.

BuckGuy003's picture

I didnt, but I woulda circled this game as a big victory for us. Backups playing and all. But knowing we already surpassed last years record is awesome

cajunbuckeye's picture

Our fullback tops all defenders with 8 tackles. Does anything seem strange to you iball? Anything? Maybe?

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

iball's picture

yes, and our win total tops all teams in the b10

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

Chris Lauderback's picture

No offense to iball or anyone else but it kills my soul to see people so willing to accept last night's performance on the whole "a win is a win" mantra. 

All I can say is I hope folks that feel that way don't make one single complaint after a loss - should one occur - because any such defeat will likely be the result of past performance foreshadowing you chose to ignore by offering the "a win is a win" line. 

If Urban, the staff or players had that same outlook, this program would be screwed. 

iball's picture

Point taken chris, and you're right, complacency breeds failure.
However, I feel our defensive problems stem from personnel issues rather than coaching. OSU defenders, namely OJ, Sabino , and Bryant have been in position to make plays but have been beaten in comical fashion on many occasions. This points to lack of execution rather than design.
This program has taken great strides since this time a year ago. The defensive line has played exceptionally well. Lets not allow the poor performance of a few overshadowthe unforseen success we've enjoyed thus far. Nor do I feel my opinion influences the drive of Coach Meyer to better this team,

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

Chris Lauderback's picture

I hear you. No question injuries / personnel issues have been a huge reason for the defensive performance. 

At the same time, teaching to tackle is part of coaching though there's no question a lack of talent can keep someone from being able to consistently tackle in the open field. 

As for scheme, I can't pretend to be a D-Coordinator and I'm not hating on Fickell/Coombs when I say this but I do find it a bit odd that all off-season we heard about how the Buckeye secondary was going to purposefully play off guys in an effort to create more INTs (that's worked but at a cost) but then during the season Urban openly questions/criticizes the corners playing so far off receivers. 

It's also a bit odd that we saw the team miss a million tackles often the result of going for strips - something I have to believe they were coached to do - only to have Urban question that technique with the media and announce there would be a change in how that portion of the game is coached.

Then, last night he talked about how he's gonna have to get more involved in the defense. I don't think that's a vote of confidence for his defensive coaching staff. If nothing else, it's a sign he isn't happy with last night's win. 

southbymidwest's picture

The tackling or lack thereof has me confused-haven't they had extra practice time the past few weeks to concentrate on that? Didn't the defensive coaches and players talk about needing to wrap up and focus on the tackle and not the strip? At what point does it sink in to players' heads where it becomes automatic to do so?

d5k's picture

Watch the last touchdown replay focusing on Bryant.  If he just sits for a second then reacts he would make a tackle for a modest gain.  Instead as he seems to do a couple times per game, he sprints as fast as he can straight line at where the receiver was rather than giving any ground at an angle.  Seems like he would be the worst basketball defender ever, giving up blow bys like that.
This is not a coaching issue.  He probably takes good angles in practice I would guess with instruction.  But he gets in a game and just holds down the sprint button and holds the analog stick straight downhill.  He doesn't realize the cushion between you and the ball carrier can be a good thing so you can react to the cut and take an optimal angle where he can never get around you.
note that Bryant is probably our second best db or second best back seven player really behind Roby.  Shazier who is our third best back seven player does this too frequently.  This combines for huge chunk plays given up every game.  But we are playing 4 guys worse than these guys.  And those guys and their backups have had injuries too.  I have confidence these issues can be resolved in the medium term with new players and more development.  But I am confident Fickell isn't telling Bryant to sprint as fast as he can to a spot 20 yards away from where he should to make a tackle.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I hear everything you're saying, but Urbz never seems to give out votes of confidence to any player/unit/coach who is performing below "championship" level. Conversely, when Urbz calls out players/units, he seems to use that more as a motivational tool than sign of his frustration.
When Urbz first arrived, he gave immediate votes of confidence to guys like Simon, Miller, and Boren because they were big character guys who could afford to be praised without it going to their heads. 
But he also went out of his way to challenge several players/units as being "non functional," which have now turned into solid performers - WRs, OL, KO return defense.
Obviously, Urbz had a more direct hand in those players'/units' improving performances - then again, he is one of the best coaches in America for a reason. And Urbz won't hesitate to make changes to the defensive staff in the offseason, if warranted. But being harshly called out by Urbz hasn't been a sign that a guy is done for - and that probably applies to coaches as much as players. He only seems to call out the guys he believes have greater potential, while saying little about the guys who've truly fallen off the map. What he said about the OL and WR was tough love, but it was still love.
Has he even talked about Curtis Grant in the last 10 days or so? I'm guessing that if Urbz was already thinking about making changes in defensive staff, he'd be less critical not more.

andretolstoy's picture

It's a sign that he ain't happy (I don't think anyone is) or it's damage control/lip service for the media to make it seem things are under control when perhaps we're dealing with a depleted squad that may or may not have peaked in talent. Let's face it, the guys that are getting it, are getting it and we're noticing. Are we to believe that they are the only ones being coached?
To be honest, I remember being taught how to tackle in high school where the talent has vastly improved. Even there if you talk like some of these guys you're going to ge burnt.

Maceyko's picture

I agree Chris, but I coach at the Jr High level and have for a lot of years and I can tell you that sometimes you are just trying to win one game at a time.  It's not always pretty and you just try to get the most of the kids that you have.  I think we have some good kids at OSU, but we are still missing some pieces so 7-0 is surprising to me.  I anticipated about 3 losses, but no Buckeye fan can be happy with our D.  No one.

Chris Lauderback's picture

I get that. But at the same time, I doubt you turned a blind eye to the mistakes your team made during a game just because you won. 

I'm surprised OSU is 7-0 as well but I don't think that means we should feel like we can't talk about the shortcomings especially on a defense that has somehow managed to be worse than last year. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree that we should feel like we can talk about the defense's shortcomings. When you, Ross, and other 11W writers talk about them, you're attempting to explain, analyze, "break down" the root causes problems.
In his excellent comment above, D5K surmises one reason for why the Buckeyes are struggling to bring down players in space - his comment was fresh and interesting. He made me think about the problems, not simply grouse about them.   
It's not that interesting - to me, anyway - to read a flat assertion, which then jumps straight to a conclusion: "we suck, fire the coaches." No one disputes that the shortcomings exist. How can they be fixed?

southbymidwest's picture

Thanks you Chad for your measured review of the game. It was one of those games where, even with the win, I felt like I had a hangover after watching it-headache, stomachache, and aversion to noise-the noise being those who are screaming for coaches' heads.
I might also add that when Urban talks and assesses something (be it linebackers, special teams, opponents...)perhaps we need to listen and not dismiss his less than unicorns pooping rainbows concerns as being too negative.

luckynewman13's picture

It looked to me that after our offense scored the last touchdown the defense just checked out of the game. Which, of course, is a huge problem but should be easy to correct now that they got a big scare. I like that scenario a lot more than our d just being all-time bad.
And I hate people who blame the games on the refs, but wtf was that last night? I was outright shocked at some of the post-replay calls they made. But I couldn't watch the game in HD so maybe they saw something I didn't.

d5k's picture

We scored on the drives when smith dropped the bombs.  We could've scored 4 more points from those passes and 7 more on the interception.  Total of 63.  Sorry for getting all math major on this thread.

BuckGuy003's picture

Haha not sure that required a Math degree

1stYrBuckIClub's picture

The glaring thing I just noticed... John Simon is not on the defensive stat line... Everyone has  a bad game, and I know he's been banged up, but I did notice the D-line didn't pressure much at all... Have to wonder what's going on... Perhaps the loss of Nate Williams cause the D to key  on Simon more.... Also noticed Hale got significant playing time (he was in instead of Hankins on the long rushing touchdown)...

southbymidwest's picture

Noticed that too- so perhaps he is banged up again? I'm beginning to wonder how many of the guys are battling injuries that we don't know about. I think everyone was hoping for an easier game against Indiana so guys could get a bit of a break. Sigh.

OSUBias's picture

Personally, I wasn't saying that the team should be happy about the defensive performance, or the players, or the fans. All I was trying to get across was the following: people keep being surprised when the defense plays bad. We have a zillion threads with everyone freaking out after ever crappy defensive performance. 7 games into the season, we are who we are. Yes, it sucks that we're not better on defense. No, I don't think anyone should be happy or satisfied with it. But at least stop being surprised by it. We have more injuries than any buckeye team I can ever remember. We have a new staff with a new scheme. And we have young players in key positions. So we're having a TON of growing pains. Unpleasant, but not permanent. But, again, at this point in the season not at all surprising.
And while you're being upset at the defense, remember that we are unbeaten. And remember how you were (this is a generalization) saying during the offseason that an 8-4 season would be ok, and anything better than that was gravy. 115 or so other FBS teams would kill to have our problems right now.
Again, it's ok to be bothered by the defense. But put it in perspective. We're lucky to be having this discussion while sitting at 7-0.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

WiliestBuckeye's picture

I feel people put too much stock into statistics and past performances. Were not playing the same team each week, or the same schemes each week, or the same players each week. Were not the same team from week to week. Its a different day, different time, different place, and if we win in a different way, that's o.k. No team is perfect, every team has holes, yet much of our fanbase expects perfection.
We have things to work on sure, but so does Alabama. Granted they have less to work on than we do, but they play better teams than we play. Its all relative, and looking at the rest of our schedule, who is better than us? Nobody. Sure we gave up 49 to Indiana, but we won. We won. If you knew Indiana was going to put up 49 on us before the game you would have thought we were going to lose. Last year you would have known we were going to lose.
This was always a rebuilding year. We were not suppose to be undefeated right now. We were suppose to lose at Michigan St., vs. Nebraska, trip up on Indiana, or lose in the non-conference, but we won. Its not our job to worry about how we won since we don't have the power to change anything anyway. You know who does? Urban Meyer and his coaching staff. And for all of you who like to rely on past statistics, Urban Meyer has some pretty good ones. He knows what we need to work on, the team knows what we need to work on, and we know what the team needs to work on. Our deficiencies are not going to disappear overnight. Its going to take time.
Were in a rebuilding year; a year without a bowl or any conference championship game. As long as we get better from week to week, that's all that matters. If we win its just icing on the cake. We just happen to have lots of extra icing. Worrying about how we won is pointless.

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

d5k's picture

I actually think Michigan is better than us and is extremely underrated after their out of conference losses to teams now in the top 5.  I'm guessing it will be close to a pickem spread at our place.

onetwentyeight's picture

Meatchicken is a fraud of a team and Hoke is being exposed for the FRAUD of a coach that he is. .500 record at SDSU, one lucky season in the b1g where they SHOULDVE lost to us AT HOME but for a last second missed bomb. We essentially have Denard 2.0 (aka with half-decent throwing most of the time!!), a 2time NC winning coach, and I am confident we will plaster them at the Shoe. 

Penn St, however, with their sneaky good offensive playcalling and IU-style players, ... worries me. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Your "Hoke is a fraud" theory is a stronger version of what I believed until about 10 days ago. That's when I realized that Greg Mattison is a dirty witch. Okay, technically, Hoke can still be a fraud and yet win because of Mattison and in spite of himself; but unfortunately his staff might not be as fraudulent as I believed.    

onetwentyeight's picture

LOL It's like an actual theory now? I should write up a paper on it or something. But honestly I thought it was just a hunch/gut feeling all of last year b/c they didn't PLAY anybody and yet got all these accolades b/c Hoke is great at media relations/PR and talks a very good, tough-guy no-nonsense game. And then when bama and ND beat them I felt like my hunch was confirmed.
And now wow they beat Illinois by 45. LATECH beat Illinois 52-24, at home, if I recall, what does that even say about tsun? Hoke's only "big" win is still against last year's VTech, which is the same team as this year's VTech, which lost to UC and just struggled to beat Duke, to move to 4-3.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Definitely write about the theory - I would read that. But maybe you can incorporate the Hoke Theory into a cookbook. Maybe it could have like 100 recipes, which would all begin with "Step 1: Render the fat." 

LouGroza's picture

Take Mattison off of that staff and you have lost the franchise. He is the only one worth his weight and that's saying something. Any success, other than getting Mattison there, has nothing to do with Hoke. Standing on the sideline cheerleading during games like the lead seal at Water World doesn't get you much otherwise.

d5k's picture

People probably said that about Tressel and Dantonio.  But if he doesn't do much in play calls he is certainly recruiting well.  I think next 5 years is big 2 little 10.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I guess we'll find out in November, but first let's see how Michigan responds to dirty Sparty. No doubt in my mind, Michigan is better than MSU this year, but Little Brother won't have anything to lose and will be in all-out Nazrduzzi mode for that game. 

Chris Lauderback's picture

Legit question for those suggesting to keep the defense's performance in perspective...Did you think this year's defense would be significantly worse than last years? 

d5k's picture

No but I didn't expect the offense to be this good.  Gun to my head I would prefer this in terms of upside for next year.

andretolstoy's picture

Who here expected that we would be 7-0? Most of  us wrote this season off as a rebuilder, but not that we're 7-0 we're finding little straw men along the way. It's really rather confusing.

CALPOPPY's picture

Nope. I expected the D to be better but thought we'd have some issues. I thought our D would help lead to 4 losses, but that a poor offense, at times, would help. I think it will all be worked out for next year. But I'm usually optimistic. And I think that if we win, I'm usually happy. D is weak but at least the O is better (as has been said by others).

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

Maceyko's picture

Well it is more fun to watch overall, but yeah this defense has to adjust.  Maybe with Urban getting involved this week we will see some different things.  It's not the mistakes as much as the lack of effort at times that bothered me - or at least it appeared that way!

andretolstoy's picture

If anyone believes that Urban is not involved in every single facet of this team, he/she are kidding themselves. He personally coaches the speical teams and they've been, at least' as bad or inconsistent as the defense.
The men aren't robots where you fine tune them and then they start playing. There's more to this than is obvious to us. We think "fire Fickell/Vrabel" and then boom the defense will be clicking. It doesn't work this way. Half of the problem is that our offense is not on the field as long and our Defense is worn out. I think the first two or three games our offense did absolutely nothing in the third quarter (consistent three and outs) and our defense was in most of the quarter. I'm sorry, I don't care how great you are, that's difficult to overcome. Albeit we've had some special defensive teams in the past that handled this.
Another part is injury, and the part we just can seem to understand is that we just may not have the best players at every position. I have a hard time believing that Shazier hasn't been coached, screamed at, put on time out etc. He's just not getting certain things. Past players at the LB position were pretty bright kids. I'm not trying to knock Shazier because he's very athletic, but he's not getting it. Maybe he's not playing in the right position for him? And Fickell's been here for ten years. Am I to believe that he suddenly forgot how to coach, or was he just holding the clipboard for Heacock? Give me a break. He was a crucial figure in those dominant defenses in the past. The fact that he laid an egg last year should be no surprise. Last year and this year do not encapsulate his career - it's just plain irrational to think so.
It's not a matter of just making the 'emotional' speech, screaming and jumping up and down, and then the players magically play. It's not a matter of knowing how to say the right things in front of the media, or making special documentary movies about having an 'angry team.' We may be angry, but we sure aren't clicking as a team, and that my friends falls on the head coach. And no, I don't think we should fire Urban, or that Urban is overrated. It just means, get freaking real about the game or find a hobby.
I can't get over the fact that the big plays on our defense are made exactly where our weak spots are, week in and week out. I can't get over the fact that our Defense looks tired (and they shouldn't be since we all saw them "bring the juice" during the movie.

Bucksfan's picture

Oh, sorry, guys.  I thought there were 3 phases of the game.  I thought it was okay to be a fan of Ohio State's legacy as a LB and DB factory.  So sorry to be completely beside myself that this defense full of top-star recruits is struggling.  Last night's game basically ruined our shot at the AP #1 (you know, where HOW you win is just as important as winning itself).  There is no longer any possible way to convince anyone that this Ohio State defense is better than any of the top-5 teams in the SEC.
It's also not necessarily okay to blame injuries for giving up 49 points to the worst team in arguably the worst BCS conference.  This is Ohio State...this is supposed to be a plug-and-play program that has out-recruited the Big Ten for the last 20 years...including their off year last season.  For example, when Bobby Carpenter went down to injury in the first few minutes of the 2005 Michigan game, who took his place?  TRUE FRESHMAN James Laurinaitis.
We're resorting to a FB to become our leading defensive player...despite the fact that there are highly-touted LB recruits on the roster.  You can't ignore these things as okay or good just because Indiana's defense played worse.
And if you think the offense is going to be able to do this every week, I'd like to introduce you to Geno Smith, or Oklahoma every year, or USC against at least one road opponent once a year.  It's not sustainable. 
You need a clamp-down defense.  It's important.  It has been part of the Ohio State identity since your grandparents were kids.  It doesn't make you less of a fan to take pride in that.

andretolstoy's picture

Hawk and Larinaitis weren't top start recruits - DeAndrea was. This means absolutely nothing.

Bucksfan's picture

Is that what I said?  Even at 3-stars, as a unit they were still probably higher in stars/player than any B1G team.  That only adds insult to injury that the current crop are supposed to be even better!

andretolstoy's picture

Yep - and most of those guys were recruited by Tressel. With everything that happened the last two years, there is a huge gap in the development of this team.

osubuckeye4life's picture

I love the stats Chad keep up the great work!
Can you do some about Special Teams as well? I'm curious about how well the piranahas and freak show are doing this year.

Chad Peltier's picture

Thanks, I appreciate it. I'll make a note about ST and see if there are any cool things I can start to keep track of

Jdadams01's picture

I don't think it's a coincidence that the biggest area of struggle on D is the LBs. Fickell has never had to coach them AND be in charge of the entire D scheme before. Yes, there are injuries, but if none of the 6-8 highly recruited kids behind them are developing to step up, then you have to assume the coaching is not getting it done. Are you really telling me that 2 out of Klein, Crowell, Grant, Perkins, Williams, Marcus, Burger, and Perry can't beat out a fullback? Come on. If the coaches can't get two of those super athletic, very highly thought of players to be functional then I gotta blame the coaching. It's very unlikely that all of those guys "just don't have it".

andretolstoy's picture

Because there is such a huge leap between being a co-defensive coordinator to defesive coordinator.

Jdadams01's picture

I'd say there is. As the Co, you are offering blitz ideas, giving suggestions on the scheme, maybe certain coverage suggestions. As the man in charge of the D, you are choosing the entire gameplan for all three levels of the D, directing 3 position coaches on what you want to happen in that weeks game, calling blitzes and coverages in the game, making snap decisions on who to have in on important plays, and in general the person who gets praise/blame for the D's performance. Big difference. A lot more decision making, responsibility, and pressure.

LouGroza's picture

I have wondered about Withers' duties. He seems to be in the background. He was hrdly shown at all on the all access shows and he doesn't appear to be in the mix of coaches on the sideline. Is he appointed to the pressbox? He is an important man in the process but where exactly?

alust2013's picture

As impressive as Boren's learning the defense and leading the team in tackles was, I agree with other posters here that perhaps we would be better served if one or two of the freshmen LBs would step in for Sabino and get some real playing time and game experience. We don't have a bowl to play for, and as nice as 12-0 sounds, taking a loss and getting guys ready for next year would probably be better for when it matters. That aside, even with the weak defense, one newbie at the LB spot alone is not going to cost us a game.

...and Michigan still sucks.

d5k's picture

From what Urban said, other guys (Perry, Williams, Shazier) were hurt during the all-important Tuesday practice which led to the need for Boren to get reps, and then he out-shined the other remaining guys.  If you practice well under Urban you get in the game.  You play the freshmen if they are shining in practice not if they are struggling to learn the system (which is normal for freshmen).  But like I said in my novel of a post, the guys you would expect to rely on are often the ones giving up big plays by running at terrible angles.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

[looks outside] Sky is NOT falling...
Not saying that I am NOT concerned about our lack of defense, but a few things to consider...things that I have observed atleast (I know, who am I, right?!?)
1) Injury bug is BAD for us right excuse though...
2) Indiana (yes Indiana) actually has a better than average offense, and is a spread offense which for some reason does not suit us well...
3) We seem to play to our level of competition...
4) Michigan State is NOT good (see Iowa game)
[/looking outside at sky]

"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