Identity Crisis

By Sarah on October 15, 2012 at 3:00p
67 Comments

When John Hughes wrote, "You see us as you want to see us—in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions", he pinpointed what any teenager knows to be true: people like using labels.

For some, Ohio State is a football school; it doesn't matter how much success the basketball team has had both historically and in recent years because to them, football is all that defines Ohio State1.

You can play "Where's Waldo?" with the Indiana fan in this picture.They had no idea what they were watching.

Indiana, on the other hand, is a basketball school. Their football team might be a year or two away from earning a bowl bid and that would qualify as a huge accomplishment for Indiana, which is why they are a basketball school.

So when Ohio State beat Indiana by the score of 52-49 in football, confusion and panic and outrage set in. How could Ohio State, known for a stingy Silver Bullet defense, yield 49 points to lowly is-it-basketball-season-yet Indiana? Never mind that the Hoosiers gave the Buckeyes a fight last season, or that their offense was ranked 26th in the country coming into the game, or that they run the kind of spread offense that gives Ohio State fits. 

Indiana was going to score points in the game, but their defense is terrible, so they were going to surrender a lot, too. If not for a fluky last few minutes, which included the mangled Ohio State defense mentally checking out and IU recovering an onside kick2, the Hoosiers' point total would have been slightly more acceptable, though still not very palatable. 

After the game, the defensive players were as embarrassed as the fans, who couldn't understand how an Ohio State D could allow anyone, let alone Indiana, to put up almost 50 points and nearly 500 yards. 

But we've witnessed it all season long: this defense gives up big plays, often has difficulty tackling, and unless the opponent plays more of a traditional offense á la Michigan State, it won't shut teams down. That's who this defense is, and it doesn't fit the description of what people consider Ohio State football to be.

And fans are having trouble coming to terms with the Buckeyes defying their label.

When Urban Meyer was hired, change was expected, even giddily anticipated. Although an "Urban Meyer offense" is not the Woody Hayes or Jim Tressel-type of conservative, smash-mouth football often associated with Ohio State, the idea of the Buckeyes scoring in droves was exciting, and the turnaround from last season's comatose offense has been fairly swift and mostly satisfying3

While the offense is a flawed and sometimes inconsistent unit, it continues to improve, unlike the defense. Braxton Miller, ever the dynamic beating heart of the offense, is steadily getting more help from his running backs. The passing game remains a work in progress, but Philly Brown has proven to be a reliable target and Devin Smith, despite the occasional drop, is a dangerous home run threat.

The defense, though, was not expected to struggle as much as it has.

Part of the problem can be attributed to injuries. Against Indiana, Ohio State was without two senior leaders—linebacker Etienne Sabino and defensive end Nathan Williams—and their absence was noticeable. But even when those two are healthy, this defense does not resemble what fans, or the coaches, want it to be. 

In total defense, Ohio State is currently ranked 69th in the country, which is statistically just below average. For Ohio State, however, that's regarded as abominable even if the numbers show that only their 103rd-ranked passing defense is actually what most would refer to as awful.

That's not to say that mediocre defensive performances from Ohio State should be readily accepted, but the unit also can't magically change who it is this season. Still, it's not too much to ask for improvement, which is why in his postgame press conference, Meyer promised to get more involved on that side of the ball. 

John Bender fist pumpDon't you forget about him.

It's that kind of attitude—a refusal to be complacent—that should ease fans' minds.

Meyer won two national championships with top-10 defenses, and as much as he longs to hit triple digits in the scoring department, he also places a high value on fielding an impenetrable defense.

But because people like uncomplicated labels, even if it means being intellectually lazy, comparisons to Rich Rod's Michigan teams, West Virginia, and most of the Pac-12 crept up following the Indiana game.

Two weeks removed from an old-fashioned, Big Ten-tastic 17-16 victory over Michigan State and suddenly Ohio State was the same as every all-offense, no-defense team, simply because they won back-to-back high-scoring games.

Keep in mind, Michigan during the Rodriguez years was, at best, a paper tiger who folded like a cheap suit against any team with a pulse. Ohio State has faced one top-ten defense this season and came away with the win.

The most "successful" Wolverine team Rodriguez coached was in 2010, his final season with the program. That defense, replete with Eastern Michigan-caliber players who wouldn't have been tall enough to go on half the rides at Cedar Point, was ranked 110th in the nation. 

While outcomes like 63-38 and 52-49 are not typical Ohio State football scores on either side of the ball, it's infinitely easier to deal with the transformation on offense. Yet, it's not like the defense has been irrevocably turned into a joke; this is not a permanent change in Ohio State's identity.

For all the criticism surrounding the Buckeye defense—some of it valid, some of it hyperbolic—there is still talent and playmaking ability, which will continue to be the case with Meyer at the helm because he will keep targeting recruits who fit that criteria. 

So far this season, Ohio State, undefeated at 7-0, has been able to make up for their deficiencies one way or another. As Meyer said after the Indiana game, "There have been times when the offense has been in reverse and the defense wins, so we're a team. That's the cool thing about this; it's a team."

And maybe that's the only label that really matters.

  • 1 Don't subscribe to this line of thinking.
  • 2 Appropriately enough, Nick Stoner looked like a hoops player saving the ball from going out of bounds, though I still think his foot was down.
  • 3 In total offense, Ohio State has jumped from 107th last season to 34th right now.
67 Comments

Comments

Matt's picture

Meh, I don't think his foot was down.  Roby was also lazy, unaware, and passive on that play.

RBuck's picture

If the original call was that his foot was down it would have stayed that way. The replay really was inconclusive.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

bhsiba99's picture

Basically, Indiana kept playing and OSU essentially called it a day 4 mins early.  The first onside kick was the perfect example of this ... Roby had a clear shot at the ball, but once it went over his head and seemed to heading out-of-bounds made no attempt at all at the ball. If he would have made at least an attempt at it or tried to block the Indiana player going for ball, would have kept it away from Indiana.  
Though I also agree that the Indiana player's hand was still on the ball when his foot hit the ground and all this should have been a moot issue.

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Something tells me Nick Stoner probably gets drug tested after every game........

ArTbkward's picture

I also thought he looked like a basketball player trying to keep a ball in play.  Maybe that ability is born into Hoosiers.  And I thought his foot was down too.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...
(Also, I'm not a dude)

fear_the_nut70's picture

This is what I think has many OSU fans concerned--fundamentals are lacking.  I see players taking the wrong angles to the ball, not wrapping up tackles, and out of position.  While I saw issues last year and knew this wasn't going to suddenly being a stellar D a year later, I am reminded of the one year turn around TSUN had after letting Robinson go and hiring Mattison...coaching does matter.  I don't know if a two headed monster at DC is a good idea, and it might be that Fickell isn't ready for even this assignment just yet (and I say this thinking there still is a good chance one day he will be a good if not great OSU head coach).  I am not a press the panic button guy and am very grateful to see this team sitting at 7-0 at this point in the season, but if I don't see progress from now until the end of the season on fundamentals of defense, I think UFM must seriously reconsider his coaching selections on the defensive side of the ball.  We can't just keep saying "well, maybe our D just doesn't matchup well against spread type O's" because more and more, that's what teams are running.  Good defenses matchup against good offenses no matter what they run (see The Buckeyes Rose Bowl against the Ducks, circa 2010).

JollyFatMan's picture

I just hope our defense doesn't go the way of TSUN.

How firm thy friendship..

fear_the_nut70's picture

Well, TSUN's D would be ranked # 10 in the country if you didn't count the Alabama game (and Bama might just be that dominate) and they are coming off of a shutout.  Right now, theirs looks better than ours, I'm just sayin'...

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

Say what you want about our D, but michigags d is soft, just like their quarterback...

Sarah's picture

Michigan defenses during the Rich Rod years got progressively worse because he didn't make defense a priority. In no way, shape, or form does that describe Urban Meyer.

fear_the_nut70's picture

Lots of variables, but DC is one of them.  His defenses (albeit against weaker competition) at WVU were pretty damn good.  Many blame d problems at TSUN in that his DC (I believe it was Casteel) would not come over with him. 

Ill_Buckeye's picture

Why hasnt anyone brought up the fact, that historically we dont play well against "spreadish"/mobile QB teams (not named Michigan/Denard Robinson). Yanno kinda like when juice Williams became unstoppable in the shoe, or VY, or Purdue harbor, or Michael Robinson, or 41-14 2006. I believe yes our tackling, and LBs this season are atrocious.. But its always seemed to me that when one of 'those' types of teams are on the slate, we get ripped defensively.. The B10 is getting more spreadish, and the reason (obviously IMO) for our defensive struggles, have not been lack of talent, but dated defensive strategy.
Because really, other than michigan and a game that we had 6 weeks to prepare for with oregon when have we shut down that type of offense?

fear_the_nut70's picture

You know why I discount this, because historical trends generally don't mean shit.  We are coached now by Urban Meyer, a man who is the spread guru.  That means his defense gets to go up against the spread every day in practice.  Now, the hope is that maybe he just doesn't have the talent he needs yet, but I have no idea why not stopping Juice in 2007 has anything at all to do with the Buckeyes defense circa 2012.

Ill_Buckeye's picture

Is urban meyer coaching the defense? Or is luke Fickell carrying on the same Heacock defense? I believe we still have "stars" and "vipers".
This is the same defense, thats why it matters.
Outside of training camp how much are we practicing 1's vs 1's? And do you think the scout team is running our offense or the flavor of the week?

fear_the_nut70's picture

Good points.  I can't say for sure it is "the same defense".  Withers is co-d and Fickell was never the full time coordinator, as Heacock is gone as you mentioned.  Could it be some of the same philosophies, sure.  Maybe once UFM gets involved we'll see some improvement, at least that's what I'm hoping will happen (overnight 180, probably not).

buckeye76BHop's picture

Agreed...that was then...and unfortunately for OSU's defense...this is now.  

"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 

chrisrexOSU's picture

You mean, other than the fact that Luke Fickell coached both units.  He's a nice enough guy, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't the secret to the Silver Bullet defense.  Seems Urban should have kept his former boss, Mr. Heacock around.

fear_the_nut70's picture

What do mean Fickell coached both units?  You mean generically?  Last year he was HC and Heacock was the DC.  Do you believe Fickwell was "really the DC?"  This year he is only a co-DC, so to me, it's questionably how much actual control he has (I have been told he is calling the plays, but I don't know if this is most of the time or all of the time).  Kinda confused by this comment...

NC_Buckeye's picture

Before the 2011 season, Heacock AND Fickell were co-DCs and had been for like 3-4 years. I think Fickell was up in the coaches box originally with Heacock on the sidelines. And they switched places Tressel's last year.
From what I've heard, Heacock was never an option for Meyer. Heacock has been planning to retire for a while now and that's why Fickell was named co-DC. He was being groomed to takeover for Heacock.
Besides... anyone who doesn't like the "bend-but-don't-break" philosophy wouldn't want Heacock anyways. That's his defensive philiosophy. Pagac and Dantonio were the defensive gurus we've had as DCs. They did not use the "bend-but-don't-break".
Meyer could try to lure one of those guys back. ;-) 
But seriously, there's another issue I think should get sounded out a little more. Can a bend-but-don't-break defense co-exist on a team that also runs a no-huddle spread-to-run offense? That was a four-hour game last Sat. FOUR HOURS. That means the opposing offense gets more opportunities to try to break our defense. Wilson totally capitalized on that.

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

I'm not really sure here, but wasn't Chizik (sp?) Urb's DC at Florida? He'll probably be available soon, LoL...

Maestro's picture

Charlie Strong.
Chizik never coached with Meyer.

vacuuming sucks

Max Power's picture

Methinks a reason Urb kept Fickell around was to save recruits and to keep the team unified. Let's be honest, for everything Luke endured for his alma mater, he deserved a shot. But, maybe he just isn't the right guy. I'd hate to see him go altogether but all things must end eventually

Poison nuts's picture

Historically - OSU shut sown the ultimate spread offense against Oregon - 2010 Rose Bowl...

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

Culp's Freaking Hill's picture

Oh, the memories...

Twitter: @conquestnorman

Oben_Where's picture

Because really, other than michigan and a game that we had 6 weeks to prepare for with oregon when have we shut down that type of offense?

Any time they have beaten Northwestern, Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, etc... I see your point. But I think it's easy to say they don't match up well against spread teams when they lose. The problem is you have to ignore all the times they do win. It's not an issue of scheme, it's an issue of coaching and execution.

Ill_Buckeye's picture

I agree with you to a point.. I wouldnt really bunch minnesota in there. But from a talent standpoint we're talking about teams that year in and year out; really compete at the level of a high-end mac-team. With my exclusion of Minny, Northwestern really is the only team we havent had a tough time with. Recent-historically speaking

Buckeye Chuck's picture

A lot of these losses referred to in your post were about more than not being able to stop the spread. We lost to Illinois in 2007 because we threw interceptions and because the Illini got a gift touchdown courtesy of the officials. Mistakes have likewise been behind our two most recent losses to Purdue. The Buckeyes handled Vince Young about as well as any team in the country did during his final two years in college. 
Re the post, I think most fans understand that we really don't have the personnel to be a stellar defense. But I think what concerns some people is that despite having almost everyone back, despite the offense being able to take the pressure off most of the time, and despite having Roby and Shazier in key roles from the beginning, the D seems to have gotten much worse. Also, while we've missed Nathan Williams when he hasn't been in there, he didn't contribute anything to the team in 2011. Indiana's output against the Buckeyes last year vs. this year is instructive. 
I'm not a "fire everybody!" kind of guy typically, but considering Mike Vrabel's lack of anything resembling a decent track record, I'm thinking he might be vulnerable.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Ill_Buckeye's picture

This was a legit response. I was going to write a lot more but, that would be me just trying to be right. Kudos.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Actually, we did better against VY than any of their other opponents in 2005, and it wasn't even that close.  Texas scored 40+ points in every other game that year.  Our offense left Texas in that game, and VY had the chance to be VY, and of course took it.  Purdue Harbor and Michael Robinson weren't defensive meltdowns either - offense could be blamed just as much in losing to PSU in '05 and Purdue in '09 and last year.  Juice Williams was unstoppable in the 'Shoe in 2007, but how'd he do in his encore trip to the 'Shoe in 2009? 
Of course at times we struggled with spread offenses.  Who hasn't?  You might jump to say Alabama, but not that long ago they get Cam Newton'd.  This year, it's been all of the time.  New coaches = different systems and different recruits, so you can't compare too much to what has happened historically. 

Class of 2010.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

Logic wins.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

Bucksfan's picture

7-0 against the nation's 46th ranked schedule is good, but it should not be the basis for refusing to panic when all you see on the horizon is a high flying Purdue, a Wisconsin that finally kicked into gear, a Penn State team that plays tough D, and a Michigan team that looks like a football team again (sorry, guys, but blanking anyone on their schedule, even if it's just Illinois, automatically gives them a fear factor rating).
I know the B1G as a whole is considered by voters and computers to be the worst BCS conference in America.  But that doesn't mean our Buckeyes aren't contributing to that in our own way or shouldn't be concerned about the rest of the schedule simply because of Numero Cinco.
It's one thing not to panic in the first 4 games.  The glaring miscues on defense have been there all year, including against Miami in the first game when we wrote it off to the Redhawk QB being NFL-calibur.  Or when UCF's NFL-laden squad came into the horseshoe and gave the Bucks all they could handle.  Or when the offense disappeared against UAB.  Eventually you have to start worrying.  I think coming up on the last 5-6 weeks of the year is pretty much the only time to start worrying if there is one.  Wisconsin and Michigan are bringing record-shattering offensive players to the table.  
I don't care if we have the 2nd coming of Hopalong Cassady...the defense needs to show up (although, Hop played DB and never gave up a completed pass...so, Hop 2.0, if you're out there...contact Urban Meyer c/o Woody Hayes Athletic Center WD Building 270, 535 Irving Schottenstein Dr., Columbus, OH 43210)

Sarah's picture

I don't think anyone is being blasé about the problems on defense. Most importantly, the coaches and the players aren't. But at this point in the season, you can't expect the defense to be something it's not.

klfeck's picture

At this point in the season is over half way and in the heart of the conference schedule. WE are not talking about OOC games in Sept.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

Bucksfan's picture

That's a good point, Sarah.  I mean, eventually a spade is a spade.

fear_the_nut70's picture

If I read you correctly, and I think I do, you are saying we need to play Braxton on defense!  ;-)

HSBDAWG's picture

Guys the corners are there it is the LB corp. that is strugling to hold there part down and Mr. Fickle for not playing bump or press coverage to slow down passing game. To beat the spread you got to play agressive otherwise be really good at open field tackling which we are not.

buckeye76BHop's picture

Great article Sarah...it's just a shame the defense can't be at least up to par with how the offense is doing.  
I thought the onside kick was a bang-bang play as far as the out of bounds recovery by Stoner (such a cool name too I might add).  
As for all the this and that about speculation from bloggers above...this defense is bad, the coaching at the moment on defense is bad (IMHO), and I don't think there's anything else to say or do until Urban fixes it.  Which is sad that he feels compelled to step in and take over. 

"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 

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I think some of the officials in that game were Stoners.  It looked to me like the guy's foot was down out of bounds, but it was bang-bang.  You'd have to watch the replay in slo-mo to know for sure.  If it were on our sideline, what would've happened if one of our guys saw what was about to happen and batted the ball down out of bounds?

Class of 2010.

Max Power's picture

His foot was definitely down...total botched call. I was watching the game with some family from Bama, who could care less about OSU and they were cheesed at that call.

klfeck's picture

I think whay scares many fans and what Sarah fails to acknowledge in the story is that the defense seemed to be a lot better last year before Urbz came in and brought a bunch of talent with him. The "unexpected" drop off from last year is what is so alarming.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

andretolstoy's picture

Some of you guys seem to know more than the actual folks who hang around the program to report on it; or, at least, you like to think you do.

timdogdad's picture

if the d gets healthy and just focuses on tackling and fundamentals i would say a fair allowance of points would be 21-24 while our offense should score about 42.    maybe the penn state game goes 35-14.   even a touchdown a qtr  is reasonable because there's no reason we shouldn't get past 28 pts on offense.    we may not get to the old d that gave up one td drive and two field goals per game and was top 5 nationally for scoring avg, but just improve to just 20 or 21 per game and we'll be fine.   sure would be fun to win a number games by the same score as tex/okla last saturday.  
 

Jack Fu's picture

According to CFB Stats, OSU is last in the conference in passing D, 10th in total D, 9th in yards per play, and 8th in scoring D. We have a legit bad defense, in the bottom half of a bad conference. That is bad. Bad bad bad.

tennbuckeye19's picture

Not to be Debbie Downer or to look too far ahead, but what makes anyone think OSU's defense will be better next year? Think about this: the defense was okay but not great last year, but was overshadowed by the miserable play of our offense. This year, the offense is much improved and the defense is clearly the weaker of the two.
But the question does become: will the OSU defense be better next year? Do we have ANY reason to believe it will? Think about who we lose next year from our defense: Goebel, Williams, Simon, Klein, Howard, Johnson, and possibly Hankins and Roby. What do you think? Will the defense be better next year? I have to admit, I'm worried, no cliff jumping, but I think there is cause to be concerned. 

Ethos's picture

I think we have some very good and very talented freshman, that need another year under their belts to contribute in a way that Simon and Hankins do.  So from a line standpoint I think our D-line will be just as good as this year if not better.  Our linebackers, god help us.  Our DB's and corners, that may end up being the same as well as not all of those guys are going to leave next year and Meyer has picked up some very good guys, not only this last class, but the upcoming class.

"What do you need water for, Sunshine?!" - Coach Coombs, if you don't love this man, you have no soul.

jrich612's picture

I think we have reason to believe the defense will improve next year because of the talent of the current freshman class and the guys coming in next year. I also don't see Roby leaving. Hankins would be foolish to stay, but not Roby. Yes, we lose Goebel, Williams, Simon, Klein, Howard, Sabino, and Johnson, but we have Washington, Pittman, and Schutt already with the program for the line in addition to Spence who is already playing. Perkins, Williams, Perry, and Marcus all possess more talent than the linebackers they are set to replace, and another year in the system should help the game slow down for them. We have Grant at CB, who has already shown flashes, and Reeves, Murray, and Bogard are already playing on special teams. This was a transitional year, and something had to fall through the cracks. I feel that next year we will see an offseason dedicated to our defense similarly to the way the past offseason focused on offense. 

fear_the_nut70's picture

And I guess that's why I broached the subject of seeing if we could upgrade at DC.  I am not a "fire everybody guy" but I do feel Mattison is getting the best out of marginal talent for TSUN, and that our coaches here are not.  I originally was happy to see Heacock go (wanted a fresh start) but now I'm not sure that was the right move.  I think Fickell is a great recruiter, but possibly in over his head as a co-DC.  Am I the only one thinking this?

jrich612's picture

Judging simply on the fact that the secondary is getting torched the worst of all the defense, I would have to say Coombs has the most work to do. Of course, we all know that it's never that simple. 

tennbuckeye19's picture

FWIW: Coombs is coaching only the corners. Withers is coaching the safeties.

jrich612's picture

Really? I did not know we had a position coach for both the corners and safeties. TY for that info. I guess it changes my previous point to both Coombs and Withers having work to do. 

tennbuckeye19's picture

For sure. I don't know why they divide it up like that, but they do.

Max Power's picture

I've been thinking that all along, I totally respect Fickell for all he has done for our program but he always looks like he is "a deer in the headlights." He's a great recruiter but it seems like he is just regurgitating Heacock's philosophy on D, without Heacock there to back him up. He hardly ever dials up a good blitz. I don't think he is our answer at DC and I hope he doesn't leave OSU, but I can't see him taking a demotion to a position coach. I love ya Fickell, I just don't think you're the man to run the D Urban or OSU expects. Things don't sound good when Urban makes it a point that he will hold a defensive staff meeting and that he will take greater interest in that side of the ball. (something we would have never seen Tress do)

Earle's picture

Thanks for the Breakfast Club reference, I just spent more time than I should have reading quotes from the movie on IMDB.  Need to watch that one again...

Italics are for emphasis.

German Buckeye's picture

Let's just all enjoy this regular season (the only season we'll see) and get prepared to watch games in the mold of Texas Tech or Houston shootouts...defense be damned.  Let's enjoy the offensive fireworks for once and enjoy it when the D gets a couple 3-and-outs and keeps the bad guys off the field enough to for a Buckeye victory. 

nickma71's picture

Woody Hayes and Urban Meyer have something very large in common that is not shared with Jim Tressel. They didn't/don't take their foot off the gas pedal. And Jim Tressel will.

thatlillefty's picture

i was hoping this article would be about tOSU's basketball team... i'm almost as excited for that season to tip off as football.

Culp's Freaking Hill's picture

Though I am excited as well for Craft and the Bouncyhoopers, in no way could the excitment leading to football season be compared to anything.

Twitter: @conquestnorman

BuckeyeVet's picture

As I understand how the practices work - 1. OSU offense goes against the 2nd team OSU defense that is mimicing the defense that Braxton & company will be facing on Saturday. The 1st team defense is going against the 2nd team offense with Guiton, et al. mimicing the upcoming opponent's offensive scheme. Perhaps OUR 1st team defense needs a few weeks of going against OUR 1st team spread offense to get them up to speed?  Just a thought.

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."          - Groucho Marx

 

Et_Tu_OSU's picture

I could be oversimplifying here, but when your starting FB ends up splitting time at Mike, looks like a FB playing LB, yet leads the team with 8 tackles, that tells me the defense is very LB-centric.  Right now, for many reasons, our LBs as a unit are barely competent (forget about good or elite) -- until that changes, I think we can expect more of the same.  I'm not happy about the defense, but I've made peace with where we are and that the situation is not likely to change this year.  Much like playing Miller last year, I think Curtis Grant needs to get tempered in the fire this year for next.  I could be wrong...

"The revolution will be televised."

Max Power's picture

I'm beginning to think Grant's future, if he is to have one, may reside at SAM

Buckeyejason's picture

Not to be Debbie Downer or to look too far ahead, but what makes anyone think OSU's defense will be better next year? Think about this: the defense was okay but not great last year, but was overshadowed by the miserable play of our offense. This year, the offense is much improved and the defense is clearly the weaker of the two.
But the question does become: will the OSU defense be better next year? Do we have ANY reason to believe it will? Think about who we lose next year from our defense: Goebel, Williams, Simon, Klein, Howard, Johnson, and possibly Hankins and Roby. What do you think? Will the defense be better next year? I have to admit, I'm worried, no cliff jumping, but I think there is cause to be concerned.
 
^ This.
could be looking at a lot worse next season...at least the front 7.

BUCKEYES BABY!

SPreston2001's picture

^^^ And we lose Sabino!

tennbuckeye19's picture

My bad. I forgot about Sabino in my OP. That's another experienced player gone for next year.

bassplayer7770's picture

We'll be losing quality players for sure, but I'd hope the coaches will have replacements ready to go before next season.  Some of the young guys who aren't playing much this year still have time to learn.
Losing Johnson at Safety won't be huge, and I'd like to think Doran Grant can step in for Howard.  Personally, I don't think Roby will leave after this season.
At LB, we'll lose Klein and Sabino, but Sabino will be the biggest loss.  I think a younger guy like Perry will be ready to go by next season, and we'll wait and see if a MIKE steps up and earns that starting job.  I still have high hopes for Cam Williams, but then there are plenty of talented guys who will have more time to develop.  Still, experience at this position will be an issue.
D Line is certainly where we'll face the biggest losses.  Williams, Goebel, and Simon will all be gone, and we'll have to wait and see about Big Hank.  Still, we have younger guys like Schutt, Washington, and Spence who are already playing, so they should be that much better for next season.
We start next season against Vandy and Florida A&M, so, hopefully, that will give some of these young guys the game experience they need before facing Cal and then Wisky two weeks later.  In short, it does seem likely there will be some growing pains.  The question is how long they will last.

Menexenus's picture

Hold on a second.  Isn't it intellectually lazy to tell people that you disagree with that they are intellectually lazy?  (At the end of the day, isn't all argumentum ad hominem intellectually lazy?)  Just wondering...

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Sarah's picture

Not when I explained my reasoning for why I thought their comments were specious.