Coachable Moments from the Buffalo Win

By Jeff Beck on September 2, 2013 at 2:30p
Coach Em Up Urban

Urban Meyer is a perfectionist. There’s no denying it. He wants it in himself and demands it out of others. It's why he’s been so successful. Anything less than your absolute best is unacceptable. That’s how Coach Meyer runs his program. That’s also where quotes like this come from:

“When you score 40 points out of almost 460 [yards] or something like that and you’re disappointed, that’s a good sign. And the bad sign is we’ve got a long way to go.”

Just think about that for a second. I mean really THINK about it. During the Jim Tressel era if the Buckeyes scored 40 points and racked up nearly 500 yards in the process you would be giddy. Couple that with the defense only giving up two TDs and you would have been downright ecstatic. But that’s not where the bar is anymore. The promise of an Urban Meyer spread offense coupled with two incredible recruiting classes has taken that measuring stick and propped it up to heights not seen in Columbus.

Meyer knows it, and even embraces it. That’s why he was “disappointed”. The inevitable by-product of a coach who expects as many points as possible is a fan-base that gets upset when those points don’t come on EVERY SINGLE DRIVE. To those people…take a deep breath, relax then really listen to yourself. You’re upset because OSU didn’t score 100 points. My how far we’ve come. 

With that said, there were things that need to get better. Here’s my take on the areas that must improve.

Offensive Line

The Scarlet and Gray were able to rack up 261 yards rushing, but a lot of those yards came via three plays: a Jordan Hall 49-yard TD run, a Hall 37-yard TD run and a Braxton Miller 41-yard rumble. Overall the unit looked average though there were a few variables playing into the unimpressive effort. Khalil Mack will be the best LB the line will face all year. He wreaked havoc on players like RT Taylor Decker, rolling up 2.5 of the Bulls 4 sacks, 9.5 tackles and an interception return for a TD. In addition, the unit didn’t have center Corey Linsley for most of the day playing him only 16 downs in order to get him back to 100%. 

There were positives. Holes were open for Hall for most of the day, and the absence of Linsley allowed players like Jacoby Boren to get valuable playing time. This group will continue to gel as the season rolls on and 4 sacks in a game might not happen again all year.


Its alright DontreYou're alright Dontre. Just hold on next

Cutting down on turnovers will certainly be a point of emphasis for Meyer and his coaching staff heading into week two. The Bulls were able to rack up 13 points on two straight Buckeye turnovers in the second quarter. Freshman Dontre Wilson started the party by fumbling at the OSU 44, then on the Scarlet and Gray’s next drive Miller threw a pass right into the arms of a waiting Mack who showed off some impressive speed for a 47-yard pick six. Fumblitis would strike again in the third as Miller was sacked for a 7-yard loss, and coughed up the ball. Luckily the Buckeyes were able to recover but it stalled the drive and led to a punt. Erase those turnovers and OSU potentially wins 40-7. That’s the difference ball security makes.

Growing Up Fast

According to coach Meyer OSU played 10 new players on defense last Saturday. That’s a lot of youth and inexperience on that side of the ball. At times it showed. Players like Armani Reeves were picked on for the greater part of the day, and when Shazier went down guys like freshman LB Trey Johnson were forced to come in immediately. The good news is, these kids are incredibly talented. The better news is they’re going to play, Urban Meyer doesn’t red-shirt. Meaningful minutes for the young-guns on both sides of the ball only means the team will get better. There will be growing pains, but it’s for the best.


Last but certainly not least, this team simply needs to stay out of trouble for the remainder of the season. The Buffalo game was supposed to be the culmination of one year under the Meyer system at full-strength. Unfortunately because of a few bone-headed decisions, the Buckeyes were missing some key players that certainly would have made a difference.

To start, the return of Bradley Roby next week will be huge. The defense was operating without their best player (the injury to C.J. Barnett didn’t help much either). The absence of Roby allowed Joe Licata to make a number of quick short passes, getting the ball out early and negating the defensive line’s rush. With Roby in, those throws don’t come as easily.

Rod Smith will also return for the second game of the season. Had he been in the contest on Saturday he may have been the team’s primary tailback with Hall working out of the H-back position. However the Buckeyes choose to use the tandem next week, one thing is clear: Smith is a viable weapon that makes the Scarlet and Gray better when he is on the field.

Lastly, Carlos Hyde will return after the game against Cal. We all know what he can do, and his presence will be a calming force, especially in close games where three and four yard pick-ups between the tackles make all the difference. The team absolutely could have used Carlos after the Miller interception. Having a dependable back at times when nothing else seems to be working is something every team craves.

All-in-all the game was a standard opener. There were moments of brilliance as well as head-shakers. That’s why most teams play winnable games in their first week; to work out the kinks. The game-tape will reveal no shortage of coachable moments and that’s how teams get better. The Buckeyes didn’t score 100 points, but they also didn’t have to. They won by 20 and didn’t show much of their hand in terms of play-calling. Exactly what you’d want in a team’s first game.


Comments Show All Comments

Casey_Stidham6's picture

Why didn't we throw the ball to either of our tight ends? Urban was praising them all fall camp and we didn't even use them? I'm just curious as to why we didn't throw to them at all.

Casey Stidham

CC's picture

We did, Heaurman had 2 catches, one for 2 yards on 3rd and 3 and one for about 8 on first.

BenW's picture

Heuerman had 2 catches this game and only 8 all of last year. That's an increase in use. Add to that that nobody had more than 3 catches on the team and I don't think you can really say we didn't use them. 
Plus when the advanced stats come out I bet we'll see that they were on the field a lot. 

scottynoshotty's picture

That last paragraph is exactly what I have been preaching to the people on here who are acting like the sky is falling. Thank you so much

Well i like college and i like football...and im gunna keep doin em both cause they make me feel good!!!

BuckeyeNationProblems's picture

Well you're just so smart. 


scottynoshotty's picture

And you're really good at making funny jokes.

Well i like college and i like football...and im gunna keep doin em both cause they make me feel good!!!

BuckeyeNationProblems's picture

Yeah I kid.. Totally agree with you. 


BuckeyePride's picture

I was curious about the lack of TE play as well. I look forward to the rest of this season. Go Bucks!

How Firm Thy Friendship....

CC's picture

They had 2 catches and they had their hands full with Mack.

Toilrt Paper's picture

For a TE to make a catch the QB must throw the ball to him.

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

Decker did get abused but that kid is going to be a fringe first rounder this year. Think would anyone would have struggled.

CC's picture

He also gave up a sack to another guy, I think his name was Kay. 3 sacks is rough.

OSUAndy07's picture

Decker got faked out by Mack, allowing the other guy to get through

"But I'm tryin' Ringo. I'm tryin', real hard, to be the shepherd"

alust2013's picture

Definitely agree with the last bit. At this point, I'm used to the opener looking a little iffy but still winning.

...and Michigan still sucks.

Casey_Stidham6's picture

I must have missed those, probably making a run to the kitchen for some food. But thank you.  

Casey Stidham

Toilrt Paper's picture

NEVER question unless the entire game is watched

MusicBuck's picture

I do have to say that after hearing how many starters were out, and the Shazier cramping issue, it was actually a better showing than I first thought.
That means that I'm quite excited to see what kind of performances we see on Saturday. Having our other senior safety back, Roby's return, more PT for Linsley, Rod Smith, and (fingers crossed) no cramping should show a markedly improved product against San Diego State.
Love this stuff!

Eine kleine nacht musik.

Toilrt Paper's picture

You weren't aware of all of the players who were missing???

Him1stftballl8er's picture

Buffalo is a seasoned team that finished last season 3-1 with most of them returning. Mack is one heck of a talent, as Urban said, "He would play anywhere in America." An experienced football team against our youth, especially and obviously on D all things considered,I am very happy with 40-20. This year's defense looks much better than last year's group, with so much room for improvement. Roby and Barnett coming back will be HUGE. I am very excited to see the progression of this year's team. How many times did Bosa hit the QB? Curtis made some mistakes, but overall I thought he did pretty well. As far as the offense, as previously stated, we were very vanilla, played an experienced defense armed with arguably the best LB in all of college football, had 2 TOs and a TOD and still racked up 460 yds and 40 points without Linsley, Smith or Hyde. There's alot to be excited about for Buckeye Nation! I can't wait! 

The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools. 

buckeyedude's picture through the nose, out through the through the nose, out through the mouth....breathing...breathing...deep breaths...deeeeeeeeeeep breaths...
I really only see a few fans overly critical of Saturday's performance. Hell, there were even fans passing out in the stands. We have to get that under control. We can't have fans passing out when their supposed to be yelling! Too much on the line here! I'm surprised UFM didn't comment on the performance of the fans Saturday. Piss poor.
I'm excited for next game vs. SDSU. We'll be almost at full strength.
I, along with some of my posse, will be at Dale's in downtown Maumee for the game if any other 11Wers want to hook up. I got the 1st round. 3:30 kickoff. Can't wait.



Northbrook's picture

Christian Bryant still thinks he can make tackles without wrapping up. He has been coached differently for years and apparently isn't going to change. I'd replace him.

hardkorethree's picture

Are you serious?  He graded as a champion and won defensive player of the game.  I will have to side with the coaches here who believe he is a better player than Ron Tanner.  I got frustrated he missed a couple tackles last season, but in my opinion, that is going overboard.

Northbrook's picture

I'm absolutely serious. I happen to think tackling is an important part of playing defense. He's not proficient. He can be a team leader from the bench. Time to send a message.

Toilrt Paper's picture

An urban Meyer you ARE NOT.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great article Jeff!  Good info.
Go Bucks!

gravey's picture

Coachable moments - there are a lot of them in championship seasons.  I clearly remember the Pitt and Rice and some Northwestern / Iowa blowouts from years past - those teams did not win it all.  Last year and in 2002; I think the close calls must have helped the team when the game was on the line.   One wonders if smart coaches allow the team to get nervous once in a while.  Phil Jackson would do that with his NBA teams frequently....let 'em panic and figure it out.

2002osubuck's picture

Herman admitted he got too conservative once we went up 23-0. That would leave me to believe he was staying as simple as possible, not to reveal too much of our offense for teams to study. Just look at Braxton's stats, he threw 15 passes 4 runs the 1st half and 8 passes 13 runs the 2nd half. We went deep early and it paid off probably could've done that all game but Herman will open it up as we get guys off suspension. Look forward to seeing a lot of points this year.

pjtobin's picture

I just got home tonight, from our county fair. After spending a week there searching for signal on my phone , I'm glad to be home. I dvr the game. And will watch it tomorrow. I love to listen when I don't watch. But it's not the same. I want to see how it went down. Thank you all for your insight. After tomorrow I can chime in too!
edit: after watching the game (finally) I can see great improvement in Braxton. He still made a few mistakes. Yet he has much better throwing technics. We had our way with ub when we wanted to. Turnovers and stupid penalties need to not happen any longer. That Mack dude WAS truly a beast. Holy cow. He did it all. I think we have lbs capable of playing that way. Once they are ready. Then look out. It was a great game. Anytime we win its a great game!!

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

buckskin's picture

Jeff, I gotta tell you, I get sick and tired when you make so much damn sense!
Seriously though, thanks for an excellent, reasonable, balanced article.  This will help people step back from that ledge, my friend.

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

I hope we have to complain about 20 point wins all season...