Silver Bullets Not Sweating Opener Performance

By Kyle Rowland on September 2, 2013 at 9:15a
Spence and Co. are on the right track.

Bands, tailgating, organized cheers – they are all great college football traditions. Another is second-guessing and naysayers. It was already taking place before No. 2 Ohio State put the finishing touches on a season-opening victory over Buffalo.

The Bulls, you see, are a MAC opponent. They are paid – in this case $1 million – to come to Ohio Stadium, lie down and leave after a dominating Buckeye performance. But it didn’t go to script on Saturday.

Ohio State jumped out to a 23-0 lead in the first quarter before Buffalo outscored them 20-17 the rest of the game. Cue the hysteria. A closer examination, however, shows the sky is not falling. At least not yet.

The final score shows a close game that should have the nation – particularly Buckeye Nation – on watch. If Ohio State can’t hang half a hundred on the Bulls – and allows 20 points – how can it possibly be in the same breath as Alabama?

One look at the box score reveals the Silver Bullets weren’t all that bad. Buffalo only mustered 258 total yards and 13 points on offense. The Buckeyes also limited the Bulls to 3-of-14 on third down. They averaged less than four yards per play and just 2.1 yards per rush, finishing with 73 yards on 35 attempts.

“I see the framework of a good defense,” said junior linebacker Ryan Shazier. “But I'm still disappointed. My expectations, I didn’t want anybody to score. We’re not trying to allow more than 13, 14 points. I feel like we’re going to get a whole lot better by next week.”

As it turns out, they may not have to after San Diego State’s humiliating 40-19 loss to lowly Eastern Illinois. But Ohio State is still in the early stages of replacing seven defensive starters from an undefeated team, including six of the front seven and the entire defensive line. A rollercoaster-like performance was inevitable.

The Buckeyes pitched a first-quarter shutout in 90-degree weather while being on the field most of the 15 minutes because the offense’s efficiency and fast-paced nature. The weather caught up to them later in the game with cramping, as Shazier missed much of the second and third quarters.

The humidity got to him so bad that he had to be carted the locker room where he received fluids. And Shazier wasn’t the only Buckeye battling the elements. Braxton Miller and Evan Spencer also succumbed to cramps. Interestingly, the pandemic didn’t reach the Buffalo sideline. 

“It's a concern,” said head coach Urban Meyer. “I know our strength staff and training staff work hard on the hydration. And I'm not sure if Buffalo cramped. That's the thing that I keep asking myself.”

Shazier said Ohio State prepared for the weather but still had difficulty adjusting.

“I see the framework of a good defense.” -Ryan Shazier

“Us cramping up and everything, that’s not really acceptable,” he said. “We’re supposed to have our bodies ready for the game. Some guys didn’t do the part we’re supposed to. I feel like I didn’t hydrate enough.”

It was obvious when Shazier was off the field, because he wasn’t making tackles, of which he had a team-high tying seven, and it coincided with Buffalo’s offense moving the football. The Buckeyes only had the services of two returning starters from a year ago: Shazier and Safety Christian Bryant.

Fellow safety C.J. Barnett was out with a sprained ankle – Meyer said he “probably” could have played – while All-American cornerback Bradley Roby served a one-game suspension. Depth and tackling remain the concerns with the defense.

Armani Reeves, who got his first career start in place of Roby, was picked on early and often. Reeves finished with three pass breakups, including one near interception, but he also missed several tackles and had a crucial late-hit penalty.

“It was a lot of throwing at me, a lot of everything,” Reeves said. “I just have to work on my fundamentals. I feel like I’m a great tackler. I just have to not get nervous and not put my head down. I’ve done this since I was in fifth grade.

“I would throw at me too. I feel pretty good. If [Roby] or Doran is out, I can step in. I know the defense inside and out. I just have to do my business.”

Roby was missed in more ways than one. His on-field presence clearly changed Buffalo’s strategy. Even more valuable at times is Roby’s leadership. Because he was absent from the stadium, the team couldn’t feed of his contagious attitude.

“Bradley will definitely make a difference,” said defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. “Not just with his play out there but with his confidence and that little bit of swagger he has. We’re excited to get him back. I know this was a hard day for him. This was part of the growing process for all us.”

The secondary finished with five pass breakups and an interception, by Ron Tanner. Of the seven Buckeyes who played in the defensive backfield, four were underclassmen.

“I think you saw some of the youth out there today,” Fickell said. “[We] started off pretty well and kind of get that little lull in the action. I think we got tested a little bit. We had to react and respond. I'm happy to see that a lot of those young guys kept battling, came back and didn't panic.”

Three true freshmen played on defense – Joey Bosa, Trey Johnson and Michael Hill – as did sophomores Chris Carter and Cam Williams. Bosa, Johnson and Carter each recorded one tackle.

Michael Bennett said he thought the defense attacked well. The unit wants to be perceived as intimidating. With veterans like John Simon, Johnathan Hankins, Zach Boren, Etienne Sabino and Travis Howard heading up the group a year ago, it wasn’t difficult to gain the upper hand before kickoff.

In 2013, they’ll have to earn that recognition. With Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence anchoring the line, it could happen sooner rather than later.

Curtis Grant took a step forward to becoming a contributor at linebacker, finishing with four tackles and showing flashes of being a ball hawk, despite a blown coverage that led to a touchdown.

The bright spot for the defense was a fourth-quarter goal-line stand. The Silver Bullets were determined to keep Buffalo out of the end zone, and did exactly that. The Bulls had three chances to score from the three – twice from the one – and couldn’t manage to break the plane.

It provided a boost for a young unit that is still becoming cohesive on the field.

“We just kept saying, ‘They’re not going to get into the end zone,’” Bennett said. “I think we created some leaders on the defense. We’ve been playing together since spring. We’re starting to jell and respect the guy next to us and know he is going to do his job so we can do ours.”

If mistakes are made, you’ll see the entire defense hold themselves accountable, not one person left out to take the blame.

"We talk about no worries, no names, no blame,” Fickell said. “We’re not a finger-pointing crew. We know that we’ve got some growing to do. We’ve got some situations that we gotta get better at, and it doesn’t matter who’s on the field.”


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o_to_da_h's picture

If the coaches and players are not too worried about the performance than neither am I. They know a lot better what they have than I do. Just get to 2-0! Go Bucks!

From here, went here, love here!

ATXbucknut's picture

I thought the D did pretty well overall considering the suspensions, injuries, and inexperience they were dealing with in game 1.  The only thing really bothersome was Reeves' play.  But Roby will be back next week.
If SDSU's stellar RB Adam Muema is still out with his ankle injury on Saturday I don't see our D being tested too badly. Without Muema, SDSU is one-dimensional.

HandsOfSweed's picture

Truth. If anyone is really worried about the relatively minor issues we have on D, they can always put themselves in the shoes of SDSU's defense. 40 pts? vs Eastern Illinois? YIKES. And they have a hungry, agitated OSU offense to deal with after traversing the continent from West to East. They also have no Khalil Mack. I think this is a recipe for disaster....or an Aztec ritual sacrifice. Or both.

BassDropper's picture

Obviously I must be in the minority, but I think the D played well considering
1. Christian Bryant was the only returnee on that side of the ball for most of the game.
2. The points that were given up was due to the offense turning the ball over and leaving the D in bad field position.
IMO the D is so much better than it was at this point last year...and its not close really. I was impressed by both of the Grants and Joey Bosa. I know a lot of people were looking for that dominating 70-0 victory, but given everything that was going on Saturday I am perfectly content with the showing from the team.
Oh yea, why cant people just listen to Urban...his opinion on this situation is much greater than all of ours combined and he even said himself that the D played well....and as we know, he is the type of person that doesnt hold anything back and will let you know how he really feels.


teakwood's picture

Totally agree here, a lot of first game back/inexperience  they will clean it up

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

“We’re not a finger-pointing crew. 

Too bad you can't say the same about some fans.

I think that loss will help SDSU focus more. Not saying it'll be close, but I don't see a 56-14 game.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Jason Priestas's picture

Any fan freaking out about a game one performance from a depleted and cramping crew is really just letting me know that they don't watch a lot of football.

BassDropper's picture

The cramping was a big issue...and not just for the players on the field. A guy who was sitting in front of me fell over, we all thought he was having a heat stroke, but it turned out he was just cramping up. The EMTs brought him a bunch of liquids to hydrate and he was fine the rest of the game.


Kyle Rowland's picture

Secondary issues are solved when Roby comes back. 

TR's picture

Barnett won't either!

Gulfstreambuckeye's picture

So you think we might see some press coverage?

Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust...but life goes on.

buckeyedude's picture

Thank God for that BASSDROPPER. We can't have any fans crapping up during a game. There's too much at stake here.



Jhesse17's picture

You're telling me that after watching that game you would be OK putting Reeves in the NC if Roby or Grant gets injured? Or that you trust Decker to hold the edge against the Alabama pass rush? That game brought a lot of question marks to the surface in my mind.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

It's Week 1. Ohio State isn't playing Bama on Saturday, or anytime in the near future.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Phoenix824's picture

Did you consider thar Bama' s offense cant get more than 206 yards. All we have to do is stop the return game.

Oh wait. You were comparing our first weeks team to Alabama seasoned team of last year. Nevermind my bad

Jhesse17's picture

I saw the Alabama game. I agree with much of your post, but FWIW I never said anything about their offense. I just picked a random team with a great pass rush to try to accentuate my point.

d5k's picture

Yeah, against week 1 Alabama that was held to 206 total yards against Virginia Tech (who barely had a winning record last year) with supposedly the best WR and RB combo in the country and a senior Heisman candidate QB and needed 2 kick returns to cover the spread I would be somewhat ok with those things.  Bama has more of a frontloaded schedule with A&M coming up so if they don't figure their issues out they won't be in that game in Pasadena.  We have a few more weeks to be ready for Wisconsin.

BammBammRiley's picture

yeah but how about the "crumbles"?

(imaginary sarcasm font applied)

BammBamm is my dog, Riley is my 4 yr old daughter, and THE Ohio state Buckeyes complete the three most sacred loves I cherish

FROMTHE18's picture

IMO, dont blame the fans for having expectations. Not saying the coaches or players dont (obviously they do) but fans should be allowed to criticize a team that really didnt impress. It was difficult watching that game and thinking about all we've been told this off season about improvements, and all the build up and then seeing struggles. Obviously its Game 1, but IMO, things better look better next week, especially defensively or Urban seriously needs to look at the defensive staff and wonder whats going on. If SDSU got held to under 20 by an FCS defense, then this defense, laced with 4 and 5 stars and two All Americans should hold them to under 10. If an FCS offense can put up those numbers on SDSU then our offense led by several award watch-list players and a heisman candidate at QB should put up at least 50. Also, this is at home, in the Shoe. Even if SDSU is more focused, so should we be and I'll be disappointed if this game is within 35 points and we've given up a couple scores.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Football doesn't always work like that.

If Ohio State had lost 40-20, or needed a come from behind victory to win, I could somewhat understand some freaking out. In a "mediocre" performance, Ohio State won by 3TDs, and put up nearly 500 yards of total offense.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Jhesse17's picture

I can't believe this got downvoted. You aren't supposed to downvote a post just because you disagree with it.

mb5599's picture

that happens alot on here. if you don't gush about everything, you are accused of panicing and will be downvoted.  everyone came into that game expecting osu to cruise.  i even remember the poll question about how bad we were going to beat buffalo.  i dont believe hardly anyone had us beating buffalo by only 20.  we all expected the buckeyes would pound them so hard that by the fourth quarter, all of the backups would be in the game.  didnt happen.  elite teams put their foot on the weaker teams throat and they keep it there for 60 minutes.  as of now, this is not an elite team. a lot of improvement needs to happen on both sides of the ball before cal let alone wisconsin. 

Big B

vitaminB's picture

It's okay to be unimpressed when you don't cover the spread at home against Buffalo.

Baroclinicity's picture

Can I ask how old you are?
The reason I ask is that I used to worry about how we looked in games.  On the wrong side of my 30s, I can't tell you how overrated that is.  If it mattered as much as people say or think, we never would have 2002.  That team played down to so many opponents, like Purdue and Cincinnati, and were lucky to come away with wins. We needed a bomb in the last few against Purdue, and Cincy had us on the ropes at home.
I think, as fans, we get caught up in over scrutinizing every play/possession/final score.  Do we have flaws?  Sure.  Did we play down?  Sure.  Are we in trouble?  Nah.
The Raiders of the 70s had it right:  just win, baby.
I do not mean this, in any way, to be condescending.  I've always liked your posts, 18.  

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

BrooklynBuckeye's picture

Cinch was at Paul Brown I believe, but yes. Good point. No offensive td vs psu that year. Needed a int from our starting wr to beat wispy. Ot vs Illinois. Just win, baby.

vitaminB's picture

The Raiders of the 70's didn't have to worry about playing in a down conference.  They didn't have to worry about polls.  They had a playoff.  We don't have that luxury.  We need to win, and win big to stay ahead of Oregon, Stanford, Clemson, Louisville.  It's okay to be disappointed in not covering the spread against a MAC bottom dweller.

Buckeye06's picture

Can we get clarification on the TD that is being blamed on Grant?  Was he in the wrong place or did Pittsburg Brown slip causing it?  It looked like a zone as Grant dropped, but was he supposed to go with that man or stay in his zone?  If Ross could add that into his write up I know I would greatly appreciate it. 
I am happy the young D guys got in and contributed.  You always hope to win by 40+ and have the 3rd string playing in the 3rd quarter.  Hopefully we see more young guys playing more snaps this weekend, to give them more quality snaps

AltaBuck's picture

I was wondering the same thing while watching the game. They were in a zone.    Not sure who had flats responsibility in that coverage

I am Groot - Groot

CC's picture

As my linebacker coach used to say "don't cover space", he was covering space while letting the TE (I beleive it was a TE) run free.
Last year he did this a lot and overran a lot of plays.  This was his one mistake of the game that I saw and I'm glad to see he progressed.
He looked much improved over last year.

rdubs's picture

It seemed like he got caught peaking in the backfield  a bit and didn't even look at the TE coming across.  The other thing though is that is hard for me to believe that he was supposed to be the widest guy on that side of the field after Perry blitzed.

CC's picture

Just watched the play again.  The TE ran a drag right in front of him.  It was clearly Grant's coverage.  You are exactly right, he was staring into the backfield. 
He definitely looked better but he has a ways to go.  His blitzes need help, he tends to run into O Lineman who don't have someone on them while RDS doesn't.  I'm not sure if it's the call or at his discretion where he is blitzing.

SOF_Buckeye's picture

I felt the D did fine, considering some of the positions they were put in due to turnovers. I didn't like the 'soft' coverage, and never have. I won't beat this point to death, especially with all of the injuries/suspensions. I hope it doesn't stay that way over the course of the season. But if coverage is pressed, I think the Spence/Washington effect on pass rush will be amplified.
The cramping also doesn't concern me, and will be history in a game or two. Much promise to this team, and the defense really showed potential. Reever does need work (and/or confidence). I was impressed by Bosa; he will be a beast. My main disappointment on the defense was not seeing Mitchell get any playing time.

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." Woody Hayes

cinserious's picture

Good point on the 'soft' coverage. Next week we have Rad Roby and Doran Doran roaming the sidelines and pressing SDSU receivers. This will allow Spence/Washington more time to destroy the qb. If the Aztecs try to dink & dunk like Buffalo, look out for INTs and pick-6s.

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

teakwood's picture

Watching TV game again if we play any true drop back qbs we will get there the ball was out of his hands by the time he planted on three step drops he threw a ton of 3 yard passes the line can't get there unless they just miss a blck thought the D line looked good especially on the run

b_pbucksfans's picture

.                     .                     .                    .

Jugdish's picture

I was glad to see Trey get some reps at LB but I wondered why Mitchell didn't get to see any action. It has sounded like he looked good and got his striped removed early. Hopefully he gets his chance this saturday.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

d5k's picture

The more interesting thing to me is that we showed some dollar/dime defense on 3rd and long.  That is new and makes all the sense in the world with the depth of the secondary and lack of linebacker depth.  Also we have pass rushers that can get home with a 3 man rush or a "blitz" where we rush 4 (zone-blitz from dollar personnel).  This package will obviously be better with Barnett and Roby both back in there, making Reeves or Vonn Bell or Pittsburgh Brown the 6th/7th DB.  Reeves happened to be matched up with their only decent WR who they targeted a ton, that can't happen with Roby playing the boundary, which also eliminates more of the short stuff with his ability to set the edge on screens/sweeps.
Less worried about our 4th/5th linebacker getting reps considering we probably will rarely have 3 on the field at the same time and are even showing formations with 1 LB.  Hopefully Mitchell can make some plays on special teams though and is ready if C. Grant gets hurt.

Jugdish's picture

I see your point and you make a good observation of what Fickell and the defensive coaches feel also. I still feel it is important to get reps to all who deserve to see action when we clearly had the game in hand. MM will most likely be needed sometime down the road. Was it Earle who said that if a dog will bite, he will bite as a pup.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

CC's picture

You're overlooking the fact that the first line guys are new too.
It's not like we have a bunch of senior John Simon's who can take half a game off and not miss a beat for the next game.

d5k's picture

Curtis Grant needs reps, as he pointed out this is the first full game he has played since senior year of high school 3 years ago.  And it was never really completely in hand until Guiton's TD pass and the defensive stop.  There was probably 1 or 2 series where he could've got in there, but like I said before we aren't running 4-3 that often (really only if the other team comes out with 2 WR) and it is possible if not likely that Perry is the backup Mike in nickel packages.  
I think the fact that Tyvis Powell's name wasn't pointed out a lot is a good sign for the defense by the way, last year it was the nickelback and the MLB who got picked on a ton (when Sabino was hurt and before Boren switched to D).   Might have something to do with Buffalo basically having 1 playmaker, Neutz, on offense.

Jugdish's picture

D5K Remind me to never question your comment. You are right on point. You definitely have the background to make the comments that you do.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

d5k's picture

I also want to see Mike Mitchell, but I think we might have to wait until next year or the year after even to see him a lot at LB.  And that might be a good thing if Grant is beating out a talented freshman.  The guy we did see and I think needs as many reps as possible is Joey Bosa as he is going to play a lot when we get to the games that matter especially with the Schutt injury.

faux_maestro's picture

Was it Earle who said that if a dog will bite, he will bite as a pup.

It was Coop. 

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

bucks15's picture

To my understanding Trey backs up Shazier, and when Shazier went down with cramps it was Trey's position to fill.  Mitchell is Grants backup at MLB and they probably wanted to get Grant experience because of the time he missed during camp.    

pjtobin's picture

I was shocked that Mitchell didn't get any pt. I will be at sd st game. I hope to get to see him play his first play this sat. I think he is going to be a great one once he figures everything out. 

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

Baroclinicity's picture

How did Perry stack up?  Haven't heard much about his performance this weekend.  

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

KingsRite's picture

There are still a few Urban doubters in Buckeye Land... It would have been nice to have blown Buffalo off the prairie but all things considered...we did all right. I still think we might drop in the polls but hopefully not.

“I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved. Well-prepared players make plays. I have yet to be in a game where the most prepared team didn't win.” -Urban Meyer-

RMichaelS's picture

The situation with Reeves is not uncommon:  a very tall, long-armed wide receiver vs. a less than 6ft defender.  All they ever need do is get the receiver behind the defender, toss the ball high & bank the reception.  It's no wonder they picked on Armani all day.  Ditto the soft coverage early on for the same tall, good-hands, wide receiver:  easy 7-8 yards every time.  This is a strategic mismatch every team will look for.  The question is how to defend against it?  I know our defense is complicated, but I wonder if we might have a taller defender to simply play man on man for just this sort of receiver?  The problem will recur.

d5k's picture

There's this dude named Brad Roby that I want to introduce you to.

BUCKSOMIES's picture

I agree D5K, Roby is a game changer. It will also help when our young D-linemen learn to get their hands up more. By the time we get to the BIG games our D should be a very solid unit

d5k's picture

I think Shazier was great in coverage, tipping a few if I recall.  Looking forward to seeing all of our starters in <90% humidity and under 85 degrees.  DT's also were pretty stout but obviously not as disruptive as Hankins was yet.

teakwood's picture

I went to the game, and began to think I missed something with everyone talking about how bad Reeves did. I disagree he had one bad series, where it looked like his inexperience got to him. And some missed tackles which I was upset with but it happens (get over it). This kid got picked on a lot the whole game and was there on every deep ball and did ok other than those spots  I think some of it should be excused as first game jitters (of a true soph playing one of the toughest spots on the field) even on the TD he was there the senior receiver who was bigger just made a senior play. 

d5k's picture

Right, it's not like the guy had 200 yards against him.  He was targeted double digit times (probably ~15? targets) and he had 9 catches for 98 yards.  He's their best player on offense and had 1000 yards last year.  Some of those completions were of the long handoff variety and Reeves got beaten a little some of the time but it's not like he got burned for 50 yard TDs.

teakwood's picture

By the way if there are any fears to be had it should be in Taylor Decker he got punished by every type of rush speed and power rushes by multiple guys and looked terrible in the process. The line actually looked bad at times missed assignments by hall and Mehort. That INT I felt was more on him than Braxton that's a quick hit play he's gotta make that block cause the balls coming out. Am I worried no the offense is strong this year it's there actual game experience and reps for guys will clear things up just like last year. #goBucks I'm with Decker figure it out!!!

d5k's picture

He did have a bad game but Mewhort/Norwell got beat a few times by Mack too.  The intercepted screen pass was Mewhort missing his cut block / anticipation by Mack due to telegraphing the play a bit.

AltaBuck's picture

Mack used perfect technique on the INT. He made an excellent read and protected his legs from the cut block using his hands. Kid looks a little like a young Lawrence Taylor.

I am Groot - Groot


The one thing I would like to see is four quarters of great play (consistent) or at least three where the starters can sit the fourth.  Last year it was a slow start and this year, albeit one game, the opposite .  As for the polls, those are meaningless if we do not go undefeated with the present perception of our strength of schedule.  More on point - I think defense looked fine for the first game - we did not get gashed for a long passing TD as we did so many times early in last season  (44 yards vs Maimi -first game '12).  I would like to see much more pressure on the QB in the coming weeks.  

InHartWeTrust's picture

Do I wish we had blown them out? Yes.  Am I down or concerned? No.
The first quarter is all I needed to see.  After that, hydration became an issue, a couple stupid turnovers/poor executions, and we just got complacent.  To me, that is a GREAT thing to happen in Week 1 when it comes with a 20 point victory.  Now the coaches can get on the players asses about not going 100% every snap.
Roby and Barnett were out = Soft coverage.  When he is back, we will play tighter and get more heat on the QB/stop the short passes.
The D played well, given all the circumstances.  Grant played well, and I stand by him not being to blame for the TD (safety should have flat/buzz/deep when the MLB is playing a middle zone in a trail).
Decker is the one concern I have, but, I am confident the coaches can figure that out and it was probably his toughest matchup.  It can be a good learning experience for him, and from what I have heard, he takes his craft very serious and this will cause him to work harder.  Mack even owned Mewhort on the 6 pick, and I think we are all comfortable with him.
RB is never a concern, but it was good to see Hall perform well.  Once Hyde and Smith are back, that position is golden.  Braxton looked more patient and made some good throws.  He missed a couple open guys, but what QB doesn't?
Wilson gave me a good early indicator.  Yes he fumbled, but freshman mistakes happen, and it's good that it happened week 1 against Buffalo instead of later in a tighter game.  He will be a difference maker.
The O-line had a helluva push with Linsley in there, and Boren got some good reps.
Both Grant's on D pleased me.  The DT's did their job and will only get better, run D was very solid IMO.  The DE's performance in terms of pass rush will spike when we have tighter coverage and more time to get there (not constant quick passes).  Bosa looked great in his first game.
No injuries, valuable lessons learned, and good tape for the team to watch, and a W.  I am comfortable.

d5k's picture

Roby is a huge difference maker.  We run different coverage (quarter-quarter-half) just because of his ability to defend the run while also shutting down the boundary side.  

ibuck's picture

InHart, I hope you are right and that Decker and the coaches work hard and figure it out. I saw only highlights, but from what I saw, it looked like Decker was giving only 2 seconds of effort, rather than 4 to 6 seconds of relentless effort. And it wasn't just against Mack. Maybe he was trying to conserve energy in the heat, etc., but he'll have to do much better next week and thereafter. Hopefully, his play (as well as other Buckeyes) will improve vs SDSU, and onward.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

Gulfstreambuckeye's picture

Watching bama, Oregon, Georgia, Clemson or any other legit top five- top ten team play defense one thing sticks out. They all get pressure on the qb and they all play press coverage with a deep safety.

Ohio state can not and will not get pressure on the qb without playing press coverage. I can live with giving up a big play here and there if it means Spence and Washington can sack the qb or pressure causing a bad throw or a pick. I hope to see more pressure when Roby returns.

Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust...but life goes on.

d5k's picture

Bama plays pattern matching zone defense.  And they zone blitz on 3rd down.  Pretty much a similar style to what we are trying to do.  Buffalo wouldn't drop back and pass on 3rd down.  The easy completions were quick shots to the flat on 1st down, not exactly a pass rush down.  When they did pass on 2nd/3rd and long, we had some successful zone blitzes that got to the QB.  But they were running unsuccessful draw plays on 3rd down so their QB didn't get killed.
Playing press coverage on the outside can also open up some inside screens and outside running plays and swing passes as the DB is easier to block.  Which is why it isn't just simple to say "play press coverage" on first and 10 and second and 5.  Sacks and pressures come on 2nd and 10 and 3rd and 4+.

Gulfstreambuckeye's picture

Oh ya you are right no sacks ever happen on 1st and 2nd down.

Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust...but life goes on.

d5k's picture

They happen when a DE completely wins his battle or if the QB makes a mistake.  You aren't trying to get a sack on a run down if that makes sense but you will get them if your D lineman wins a 1 on 1 battle.  I expect we'll see more sacks when teams aren't content to run a draw on 3rd and 10 though.  

bdegroff's picture

I'm not overly concerned with the cramping. We've had an unseasonably mild summer. Then all of the sudden we have a 90 degree game day with 80% humidity! It was bound to happen. Of course, that doesn't explain Buffalo's lack of cramping issues. However, I'm not seeing any sort of epidemic that is going to derail a season.

bucks_4_life's picture

I haven't been around a computer since the game so I haven't been able to comment on my take from the game. First off, congrats to the bucks on 13-0!! That 1st quarter was as close to perfect as you can get.  The game may not have turned out exactly as some expected but you can see what this team is capable of.  That offense was electric.  I love the big play ability this year.  Braxton may have had a couple bad plays but for the most part looked great!  He's going to be exciting to watch.  I think the only concern I have is with Decker.  I'm torn on this because he didn't look very good out there but then again he was going up against one of the best defensive players in the country.  Time will tell on him I guess.   

The juice is worth the squeeze

OSU069's picture

The defense played fine. We only had one returning starter on the field for most of the game. When Roby and Barnett come back along with Shazier, I think our defense is going to be pretty good. They were put in some bad situations because of turnovers by the offense. I think Doran Grant played very well and Curtis Grant was solid as well. I'm not worried at all.  

4thandinches's picture

I think the outcome was good for our team. If we had beaten them by 70-0 then I could see us getting cocky and a sense of entitlement and not seeing a need to focus and improve in any areas.

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

Toilrt Paper's picture

When does a three TD margin of victory "show a close win"? Would 20-0 sound better?

villagebuckeye's picture

Roby's return means we can get back to our normal schemes.... Put Roby on an island and roll safety support towards Grant
I really think they were playing soft coverage to protect Reeves against the big play

Toilrt Paper's picture

ALSO, how many stunts and blitzes did you see? A vanilla defense against a vanilla team.

Toilrt Paper's picture

My biggest concern was the offense.The first quarter was "scripted". Those plays were run over and over and over in the exact same order the last two weeks in practice. Players making errors were corrected on the spot. Thus the 23-0 score after the first quarter. Once the play calling wasn't following a script, there seemed to be uncertainty.

luckynutz's picture

The defense played well in my mind. I wouldn't say reeves was that bad...we are just used to seeing an all american corner do work on that side of the field. He slipped on one completion, and was a split second late in his break on the td pass. All things that can be corrected with coaching and repitition. I was extremely impressed with bosa...kid is a handful and will no doubt become a big part of what should become a fearsome d line rotation.

sb97's picture

It would be nice if, just for once, people would focus on how much guys like Curtis Grant improved rather than the mistakes he made.  I feel like half the comments regarding Grant were written before the game even started.
We knew going into this game that the D was going to be very young.  There were going to be a lot of mistakes.  And we were going to have to account for those mistakes by changing our strategy (soft coverage).

luckynutz's picture

I wasn't too concerned with grants play. Thought he did a solid job...and has come a long way from the kid who couldn't grasp the defense enough to play last year. He was active, he made some plays and showed a pretty good motor. The play he lost his helmet was good sign. I was bummed by the penalty yes...but I like the aggressive nature of the play and desire to finish it off. I think he will have a solid year....which is what we need from that position. Steady, solid production.

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

We get two key contributors back next week. I think we will see an even stronger unit.

Nick's picture

Only thing I would be concerned about is if Roby or Doran Grant missed a lot of time this season, unless Reeves just had a nervous first outing. 

Bingocat's picture

As a fan of OSU and a even bigger fan of Defense,I know these young men will turn this around and make huge strides to accomplish what goals they have set! I belive these young men will gell better this coming weekend and make bigger strides to become a stronger unit... #54 needs to be back in the Defense mix as well as the Offense mix.....I saw B.Price play in school and he was a tuff son of a b#$%^.....Mind you I know this is college and their are young men like him on the team,but his drive is special.... 

Buckeytrips's picture

Herman needs to take some of the blame for the offense. His playing calling was terrible after the first quarter. He took his foot off the gas and it showed. It looked like the days of old, up the middle, up the middle and lets fool them and run it up the middle. If they are going to recruit weapons then lets us them the whole game. As for Reeves. I thought his coverage was good after 10 yards and out but it is hard to cover someone when the coaches have you playing 10 yards off the ball. If Roby is there he is 5 yards off the ball and a lot of those yards and catches are not happening. They showed what they are capable of doing in the 1st quarter so I am not worried at all. GO BUCKS!!!

buckskin's picture

Most people who were jumping off the ship had waaaaay too high expectations, and that is mostly due to Meyer, though no fault of his.  We just assume we're going to blow everybody off the map because we have the best coach in college football.  We also fall into the trap of focusing on is how good this guy is, or how improved that guy is; it's very easy to forget that we're playing a team that might have some talent also.  I know I got tired of hearing on local radio the whole week leading up to the game that we were going to win by at least 50 points.
End of day - 3 starters out, players sidelined with cramping testing our depth, youngsters all over the field, yet still only gave up 260 yards.  I wonder how many games our 02 title team won by 20 points.

vitaminB's picture

I wonder how many games our 02 title team won by 20 points.

That answer would be five.  The better question would be:  How many times did we give up 20?  That answer is two, including 24 to Miami in OT.

BuckeyeNathan4's picture

Have Faith in Urban.... coach knows what he is doing.... we as fans need to relax....take a breath and have faith in Urban and the coaching staff.... injuries and suspensions will be coming back to play this week.... bring the juice!