Quotebook: Indiana

By Kyle Rowland on October 14, 2012 at 10:30a

The scoreboard read 52-49 in favor of Ohio State. But the demeanor and tone from Urban Meyer read loss. While the Buckeyes reached their main objective – winning – the style in which they did so was not of particular beauty for supporters of the Scarlet and Gray. 

It was a long, tiring night in Bloomington for all involved. 

The offense moved the football consistently and racked up yards, though Braxton Miller did have a costly turnover deep inside the red zone. The unfamiliar play of the Ohio State defense is what really bothered Meyer. And not just the 49 points, but the fact that Indiana was able to get 22 fourth-quarter points when it absolutely needed them.

Purdue runs the same style offense that has given Ohio State fits this season. The Boilermakers have recent success against the Buckeyes already, upsetting them in 2009 and 2011. With a fullback now playing linebacker because of injuries, the defense isn’t going to turn into a healthy unit overnight.

The Buckeyes’ version of the Redeem Team is more than halfway to an undefeated season, and with Meyer at head coach and Miller at quarterback, loads of respect has been tossed in the direction of Columbus, Ohio. But a 12-0 campaign could be the item that lifts Ohio State over the top nationally.

But an uncharacteristically Rusty Bullet defense won't be able to seal the deal.

Meyer was nearly speechless when asked about the performance of the Ohio State defense. It looked like a mixture of shock and disgust. The Buckeyes’ defensive shortcomings seem to pop up on a weekly basis now, and it’s testing Meyer’s patience.

“We are not good in certain areas, and we were exposed,” he said. “Spread offenses right now are really exposing us. We have got to get something fixed. I don't want to take anything away. We are 7-0 and we ran the ball for 350 yards and had two guys really haul it running the ball. We have got to get back to work.”

An offensive guru, Meyer said he will be on the defensive side of the practice field more often this week and in the future. It’s all hands on deck to fix a leaky defense.

“I have to get more involved and find out what the issues are,” Meyer said. “I know injuries are an issue. When you take your starting fullback and start him at inside linebacker, you have a little problem. I don't think you can pinpoint one thing right now. I have got to find out. I am going to increase my involvement with the defense.”

Fullback/linebacker extraordinaire Zach Boren led the team with eight tackles in his first game on defense since he was wearing purple at Pickerington High School. Leading tackler or not, Boren was a part of the unit that gave up 49 points, and he owned up to the less than stellar performance.

“At one point in the game we had them down, and we could have finished it,” he said. “That’s kind of been the theme all year. We haven’t really finished yet. We got a little complacent there at the end.

“We’ll get better.”

Cornerback Bradley Roby, who recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown, had even more harsh words for the Ohio State defense.

“Horrible,” is the word he used to describe it.

“Ridiculous,” is what Travis Howard said. “It’s all just based on us doing our job. We have to make adjustments and work on the little things to execute better.”

Said Meyer: “I wish I had the answer.”

The first week of the Boren experiment worked as well as Ohio State could have hoped. Meyer and Boren both said it has the potential to be a long-term assignment, at least until Etienne Sabino returns.

“He jumped right at it and really kind of changed practice on Tuesday," Meyer said of Boren. "He’s an all for one, one for all type of guy. A very unselfish type of move by him.”

Meyer cautioned that Ohio State’s offense has had its share of poor outings, too, this season.

“There have been times when the offense has been in reverse and the defense wins, so we’re a team,” he said. “That’s the cool thing about this, it's a team, and there were some nice things said in there from the heart. We win as a team, and at the end of the day, we're going to find a way to win No. 8 as a team.”

The offense wasn’t much of a problem on Saturday, totaling more than 500 yards of offense. The one-two punch of Miller and Hyde combined for more than 300 rushing yards.

“They started off slow,” Meyer said. “But they came back, and came back in a flurry. The good thing is that I saw possession of time around 36 minutes. There are some real strong positives in there right now. Most important positive right now is that you have a group of players and coaches getting on a plane right now heading back to Columbus 7-0 with an opportunity to go 8-0, and we have to get the 8-0 somehow.”

In a repeat week after week, Indiana defensive back Greg Heban talked about how difficult it is to defend Miller.

“He’s a great quarterback, great athlete,” Heban said. “All week we talked about how we needed to treat him as a running back and not much of a quarterback. When he gets the ball outside the perimeter, even inside the line, he breaks free and he runs. He’s a great running quarterback and we just didn't do a great job stopping him tonight.”

There were so many momentum swings throughout the game, but Miller’s backbreaking 67-yards jaunt for a touchdown may have been the biggest. He huddled up the offense before the play and called his shot.

“You couldn't have drawn it up any better,” right tackle Reid Fragel said. “Braxton said before the play, ‘You guys better block this right now. I’m going to take it to the house.’ He called it, and he did.”

What could have been a bigger play was Devin Smith’s drop of a long touchdown pass in the end zone. After the play Miller turned around and watched the replay on the videoboard.

“That was bad,” said a chuckling Miller in the postgame press conference.

The early booster for Ohio State was Howard’s blocked punt and Roby’s recovery in the end zone.

“Our coaches told us that (Indiana) doesn’t always block guys rushing, so I schemed them up and got outside the guard, and I had a free rush and an easy punt block.”

Said Roby: “That's what happens on punt blocks – it shifts the whole momentum of the game.”

Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson was complimentary of Ohio State and encouraged by his team’s play. But he still wasn’t in the mood to be satisfied with a moral victory.

“It was a real exciting game; it was a little tough,” Wilson said. “We just came up short there. (Ohio State has) a really good team. The way they practice and play is tough to do. They made a bunch of plays on us. They had some points, but we battled.

“That is a good football team we played. I think they do things in great ways.

“Ohio State is doing a great job running the ball. Their pass game comes off of play action, so it’s high percentage and the clock is going to move.”



buckeyedude's picture

That had to be one of the longest CFB games I've ever watched, and not just because the OSU D played horribly. Didn't it go over 4 hours?



The Realist's picture

 Honestly, Luke Fuckell Needs to be Fired.Point. Blank. Period. Sorry! He has to go. Sooner rather than later. I don't wanna hear no bullcrap like " Well its the players... not the coaches" ...And for those people who may say that arguement, Tell me how is Urban Meyer able to get production out of the offense while not having"his" players while Fuckells defense gives up damn near 50 points to Indiana.

NC_Buckeye's picture

If I could downvote that more than once, I would.

buckeyedude's picture

There needs to be improvement(understatement of the year), but no firings until after the season is over, OK?



DetroitBuckeye's picture

You do realize that the players on our offense are MUCH better than the players on defense right.  Might be the worst set of lb/safeties in school history.

onetwentyeight's picture

I don't get this at all. Just last season, the same core group of offensive players was the 'weak link' of the team while (most) of these defensive guys (obvs we've had some losses, but still) were what was keeping us in the game... 

AC1972's picture

No one really did a good job last year, O or D. The record speaks for itself. 

DetroitBuckeye's picture

I think that the offense had a lot of talent last year but just needed some time to grow, plus it was in the wrong system.  Our defense is actually really good when teams try to run directly into Big Hank but get anyone from the back seven in space and it is an adventure.  Notice the huge development from the receivers and the tight ends.  

smithwessonBuckeye's picture

Meyer got lucky with Miller and Guiton as his QB's. If we had had Graham as our QB this team would not be undefeated. We had shots at Andrew Hendrix and Nick Montana and both of those guys went elsewhere. Fick is coaching a D that has great physical attributes but lacks football fundemantals and probably some football IQ. Fickell is not the sole person to blame on D.

JoshAlum's picture

I think you hit the problem on the head. Ohio State recruits extra players because some guys just don't pan out. We knew 2 years ago, Storm Klein & Etienne Sabino weren't going to make it. Didn't Cooper say "if a dog is going to bite, he'll bite as a pup".
We don't have that rockstar middle linebacker that drives everything. Maybe it should have been Dorian Bell, or Johnathan Newsome. But they definitely miss that guy who can make defensive adjustments on the field. 
I think the problem is not with coaching. Whithers, Fickell both have proven success. 
Perhaps the only problem I have with the coaching is why haven't they gone ahead and played freshmen? I know Perry is injured. But Crowell, Williams, Marcus, Burger? get the most promising of them in there and plan for next year. 

Poison nuts's picture

Damn that was a brutal game to watch - high highs & low lows.
The Bipolar Buckeyes! 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

QBYBuckeye's picture

The Boren Identity = Football player
The Boren Supremacy = Heart
The Boren Legacy = Sacrifice
The Boren Ultimatum = Team

New York Buckeye

buckeyeEddie27's picture

T-Shirt!  I'd buy one right now.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

Well, I'm pleased with the record, obviously, and that is really all that matters.  Beauty doesn't matter this year because we are ineligible to play for the title ... so winning in any manner works.  No worries about being jumped in the polls by other teams after an ugly win.
I can't believe what our defense looks like, though.  This is absolutely a bad defensive team, period.  No defense can be this bad without multiple contributing problems - execution, talent and scheme are all to blame on some level.  No fix this year, unfortunately.  I think we simply lack the players to have a swarming, stout defense.  As weird as that is to type, I am starting believe the only fix through recruiting and that might be a while.  And that sucks because we will be a pre-season top ten team if we finish undefeated this year.

QBYBuckeye's picture

The Offense left 21 points on the table, but the defense was embarrassing.  The only bright spot is that Zach will put some heart in that unit, something it has been playing without all season.  I just hope they don't coach the fire out of him like they have with others.

New York Buckeye

zbd's picture

The worst linebacking corp I have ever seen as OSU.  Overrated Curtis Grant and Storm Klein make it easy for any recruit to come in and start immediately. And Fickell should join ex-OL coach Bollman somewhere else.

DetroitBuckeye's picture

We looked like Michigan during the Rich rod years tonight it was pathetic.  The back 7 of the defense is just terrible, not including the corners who are solid.   

Menexenus's picture

Yikes!  "...like Michigan during the Rich Rod years..."  That's a harsh assessment!  Unfortunately, I can't find a way to disagree.  (I want to, but I can't.)

Real fans stay for Carmen.

cajunbuckeye's picture

Night and day difference. When Michiscum played bad (which was often) they got blown out. When the Bucks play bad they still win.

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

DetroitBuckeye's picture

I did not mean throughout the year just in this game.  If you do not believe me look up the Illinois Michigan or Indiana Michigan games from those years.  Just in this game the defense got cut through like butter and they relied on there quarterback to steal the show (sound familiar).  The only difference in this game was Carlos hyde.  Obviously they are much better, I am not talking on the season overall.

cajunbuckeye's picture

I reserve the right to refuse to research anything with Michiscum in the title.

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

onetwentyeight's picture

Yea but RR Meatchicken only looked good OOC against cupcake teams. Every year once the B1G schedule started they would begin to LOSE.
(Knock on wood), we're still undefeated. The "will to win/finding a way to win" despite a porous D should count for something on this team, just in terms of heart/perseverance/character/will, etc insert cliches. 

DetroitBuckeye's picture

I agree that is what I meant, Indiana is a cupcake school.  As I stated above, I meant only for this game.  

Menexenus's picture

Hoosier Daddy, Indiana?
I mean, Hoosier Big Brother?
...Hoosier Opponent who happened to score a few more points than you did???
Oh, just nevermind.

Real fans stay for Carmen.

painterlad's picture

What is the record for dropped interceptions in a game? Just wondering because I think OSU broke the record last night.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

gosolow2000's picture

I was wondering the same thing last night as I watched the game.

aj99's picture

Let's take it easy with the fire Fickel talk. We have a linebacker group that is decimated by injury and is under performing.  Opposing teams realize this, and in the case of IU, it played directly into their strengths. This will be a big issue with Purdue but not so much with ped state and wiscy.  
I'm not convinced that this falls on Fickel. Didn't we get a new linebacker coach last year?  I don't hear anyone calling for his head. If Grant can't or won't learn the defense, then we will continue to be weak and soft in the middle of the d. Just have to get through this year and hopefully beat scum. 

1stYrBuckIClub's picture

I'm trying my best to find the positives in this game, but still am having some difficulty... Zach Boren plays football like a man, and at this point I'm so disappointed in the previous staff for not using him more, it's embarrassing.  Today I'd vote anyone named Boren for senator. Injuries are crippling this team... I read that Najee Murray (done for the season) and Armani Reeves are injured, and how many linebackers were injured at practice Tuesday? Four? No wonder Z. Boren is starting. Devin Smith drops two touchdowns? Get your head right, kid... I love what you can do (because you're from my area), but don't leave points on the field. B. Miller is still growing and learning, but an interception in the end zone? No wonder I drink on gameday... It's like reliving the '02 season with no chance of winning at the end. I have to think a DC is gone after this year (because deep-pocketed alumni will demand it). Have to think Withers goes and Fickell gets an ultimatum on next season (can't lose Vrabel as a recruiter). 

1stYrBuckIClub's picture

@AJ99, Fickell is the LB coach... co-DC + linebackers coach. You can't help injuries, but I'm surprised the big crop of freshman LBs haven't stepped up yet. 

BUCKI06's picture

Favorite quote by far - ‘You guys better block this right now. I’m going to take it to the house.’
Loving the offense right now, but the defense is tough to watch.  A lot of talent, but a lot of holes to fill at the same time.  Bloody Tuesday's going to be real rough this week for the Bucks.
Just glad we got out of there with a W.  Time to take it to Purdue on Saturday. 

"As long as we're keeping score, we're gonna try to win this thing." - UFM