In the End, Buckeye Defense Was a Liability

By Kyle Rowland on December 9, 2013 at 9:15a
It was a long night for the Silver Bullets.

INDIANAPOLIS – Rarely has a true freshman defensive lineman consistently impacted football games. But throughout his first year at Ohio State, Joey Bosa has done exactly that. He was up to his usual antics again Saturday night in the Big Ten Championship Game, tallying two tackles for loss, including a sack, and forcing three quarterback hurries. As a team, the Buckeyes finished with eight tackles for loss.

Still, the pressure wasn’t enough to deter Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook. Last week he spoke confidently about his abilities and even said he was licking his chops after watching Devin Gardner torch Ohio State’s secondary. In the end, the reasons were obvious why Cook performed so well.

All year – even dating back to 2012 – the Buckeyes’ pass defense has been the one element of the team that could be pointed to as a potential undoing. As recently as October, Urban Meyer called the unit “very alarming.”

Of the Spartans’ 438 yards against Ohio State, 304 came through the air, which marked a new career-high for Cook and the second consecutive week an opposing signal-caller recorded a career-best performance. He completed 24 of 40 passes and gave the appearance four-year starter relishing the big stage. In reality, he’s a redshirt sophomore who began the season as a third-stringer.

In the aftermath of allowing 400 passing yards and 41 points to Michigan, Meyer expressed not just confidence but certainty that all wrongs would be righted. A bounce-back week quickly devolved into a familiar tale. Keith Mumphrey was the beneficiary of a 72-yard touchdown pass after Pittsburgh Brown took a poor angle, leaping for the ball instead of zeroing in of the receiver. Tony Lippett followed with a 33-yard catch against C.J. Barnett in coverage.

“Disappointed in the pass defense,” Meyer said. “We have to get this fixed. That’s where we’re going back to work.”

The Buckeyes surrendered five plays of 20-plus yards – three went for touchdowns.

“It is what it is,” defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “Guys have to make plays. We have to put them in situations where they can make plays. There’s no finger-pointing.”

Even after scoring 24 unanswered points when facing a 17-point deficit, Ohio State couldn’t sustain the momentum on the defensive side. Michigan State scored its first 17 points in only 21 minutes until the Buckeyes regrouped. However, it didn’t last as the Spartans scored the final 17 points of the game.

“The best thing was our defense really played well for about three or four series there,” Meyer said. “We were able to take the lead. Then we lost it.”

In the final quarter, Michigan State outscored Ohio State 14-0 and gained 174 yards in the process. At the forefront of the success was Cook. The go-ahead drive was a 90-yard journey that reminded many of the Ohioans in attendance of a famed pro football drive that took place on the North Coast.

Contributing to Cook’s prowess slinging the football was the absence of safety Christian Bryant, lost in late September with a broken ankle, and All-Big Ten cornerback Bradley Roby who suffered a knee injury in the third quarter. As soon as Roby limped to the sideline, Cook feasted on his replacement, Armani Reeves.

“Any time you take a great player out, I don’t know,” Meyer said, searching for words. “Armani goes in there and plays. He didn't screw it up or anything. Obviously, take a great player off the field, that's an issue.”

It was obvious Bryant’s injury would be significant, but few could have predicted the lasting impact. Meyer slammed the podium just minutes after receiving the news following Ohio State’s win over Wisconsin, and then stewed over Bryant’s fate for several more weeks. Eight games later, the Buckeyes own the 104th-ranked pass defense in the country, a unit that allowed more than 255 yards per game.

While band-aids could be placed over any lapses the previous 24 games, that proved to be an impossibility against a hungry Michigan State team. The Spartans took advantage of almost every miscue the Buckeyes handed out. Boneheaded pass interferences topped the list.

“Football’s the greatest team sport known to man because it takes 11 guys,” Fickell said. “You have 10 out there and they’re going to find that one guy. That’s why it’s such a special sport. And that’s what we’ve all got to make sure we do a better job of is making sure we all stick together through these adverse situations.”

They have less than a month to figure out a plan to corral Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, a one-time Ohio State recruit that spurned the Buckeyes on National Signing Day in 2009. Boyd has since enjoyed one of the most decorated careers in Tiger history. His name litters the record books.

In 2013, Boyd’s completion percentage is nearing 70 percent with 3,473 yards passing, 29 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Tigers rank 11th nationally in passing offense and 12th in total offense.

Said Meyer, about the Buckeyes: “They’re heartbroken, but they’re competitors.”



USMC11917's picture

Six games into the season you could not tell many fans on here that our defense was going to be a liability because we had yet to lose a game. This is why you identify weakness regardless of the loss column. I am still bitter after that loss and still bitter that our defense has looked Pac12 ish all season long. I love most of the coaches and most of the players on this team but man this defense has got to be fixed.

KLF Buckeye's picture

On the bright side, I think we are all finally on the same page about this defense defensive backfield.

Buckeye-in-DC's picture

"six games into the season"?  heck, after the Michigan game *one* week ago, folks were still in denial about the defense (and echoing LF's "we won, didn't we?" line and sentiment).

Whosisbrew's picture

I think a balanced evaluation is key. Beating Michigan in such thrilling fashion, however sloppy the game might have been, is still euphoric. 24 wins in a row is euphoric as well. That doesn't mean there weren't problems, as we saw last Saturday. And we have to assume they're going to be fixed. Remember guys, this is Urban's second year as head coach of this team. It's amazing that he's been so successful thus far, but there's still much work to do.
Basically, try to view the team objectively and make note of the issues, but don't go too far down the rabbit hole that you become a joyless @$$hole during a 24-game winning streak.

USMC11917's picture

Basically, try to view the team objectively and make note of the issues, but don't go too far down the rabbit hole that you become a joyless @$$hole during a 24-game winning streak.

I don't know if that was a direct reference to me or just a general statement. I can tell you this, I'd love to have some fancy eye-talian sports car that I can't afford. Just because I am driving a 200,000 dollar car doesn't mean I won't bitch about some of its traits if I can't get to the Piggly Wiggly without hitting my head on the wind-er because of a tire/wheel that is out of round.

Whosisbrew's picture

'Twas a general statement.

Poison nuts's picture

'Twas a great statement at that.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

FROMTHE18's picture

my issues: soft zone, poor pursuit, playing the man instead of the ball on long balls, and of course, horrific tackling (the secondary is the last chance for the defense to stop a runner or a receiver should they get to that level). Barnett is solid but wow does Pitt Brown stink. One safety can have a big impact but having another that is basically incompetent, youll be in for a long day.

saevel25's picture

Soft zone is a mentality, not a scheme. Look at Missouri, they play primarily zone. Yet when I watched them against Texas A&M, they broke on the ball right when Johnny football was throwing it. Meaning they understood their assignment, they were playing free of conflicting, and they were reading the QB. Our defense gets back into the zone, but their is no reading and reaction. 
To me it almost seems like, Ok get into the zone, our line will take care of the rest. Yet the DB's need to actually cover the person in their Zone. Its crazy. 

D-Day0043's picture

Sorry about the down vote. Fat fingers - little iPhone. Can someone give an up vote for me?

ScarletGray43157's picture

Gladly done for you, sir.

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

Smanpoint10's picture

Exactly. I don't know how many times I've seen a guy sit in between three or four of our players to catch an 8 yard pass! What are they doing? Is it really that hard to see that there is a guy in my zone and that maybe I should stop him from making the catch

fear_the_nut70's picture

I wondered why Roby wasn't being used to simply lock down the other team's best receiver.  After watching his tackling on Saturday, I now get it.  Likewise, when we went aggressive, Pittsburgh Brown (I believe, that was him, it was # 3 I am referring to) took the complete wrong angle on coverage when he was the only one in deep coverage and we gave up an easy six.  My guess is, this staff knew exactly what our limitations were all season long.

BoFuquel's picture

Only defense can lose a game. That's why most great athlets don't want to play defense. In the end it's almost always a humiliation. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

saevel25's picture

This is crazy. You know Saban is starting a sophomore at DB. Guess what, the kid was so-so at the beginning of the year, now he's flying around the field making plays. There has been no player development at the DB position at all this year. D-line got better, Linebackers got better. Grant picked up his game. Perry picked up his game. The only unit the whole season that didn't get better was DB's. Tells me one thing, the position coach needs to change. Coombs clearly doesn't have what it takes to coach DB's. Coombs was DB's coach at Cincinnati, 
Split G Att Comp Pct. Yards Yards/Att TD Int Rating Att/G Yards/G
All Games 13 483 291 60.2 3394 7 17 16 124.27 37.2 261.1
All Games 12 370 240 64.9 2808 7.6 25 8 146.6 30.8 234
All Games 13 420 267 63.6 2993 7.1 16 16 128.38 32.3 230.2
All Games 14 478 268 56.1 2897 6.1 18 17 112.3 34.1 206.9
All Games 13 493 295 59.8 3302 6.7 15 26 115.59 37.9 254
The Cincinnati defense wasn't't that great against the past. Stats look a lot like waht OSU is giving up, especially in the QBR. 
OSU needs to find a new DB's coach. If this means Coombs has to leave, then that is what it is. Clearly he doesn't have the game to coach DB's at OSU. 

MrWiley7's picture

Great points. For what it's worth, I've heard that Saban personally coaches the DB's on his team.

CincyBuckeye04's picture

Amen brother. Glad someone else had the balls to say it because I think it's pretty clear that the DB play has regressed throughout the year. Losing Bryant hurt no doubt, but you can't say that would contribute to an absolute shit show when it comes to covering the pass. Coombs is ultimately responsible and I see no positive development out of these guys. Everyone loves him for fiery personality (me included), but his coaching leaves me underwhelmed.

Jdadams01's picture

Just a correction: Coombs doesn't coach the DB's, he coaches the CB's/Special Teams. Withers coached the Safeties.
I actually think Coombs has done alright. Special Teams have been very good to great. Doran Grant didn't have a great game (mainly due to his two penalties), but he has had a good year. Roby took the next step last year and has been mostly good this year. I hesitate to blame Coombs for Armani Reeves as we've seen proof that Reeves is small and relatively unathletic. He was outrun by Iowa's 260 pound white tight end. And Burrows showed promise when he was in after Grant went down against Indiana. Also, reports out of practice for Apple and Conley are generally good. Plus, both Roby and Grant have been among the best corners I've seen against the run in the Big Ten. Remember, when a D is struggling with coverage it doesn't automatically mean the CB's.
The safeties, however, have been pretty below average. The LB's (mostly Perry) seemed to improve with time. Corey Brown showed why he was a career backup. Barnett seemed to regress some. And the younger guys at Safety are either being held out because of lack of experience or haven't been brought along enough to pass people in front of them. I personally would have liked to see Tanner get a shot over Brown. I seem to remember a quote earlier this year saying he was the best tackler in the secondary.

FLAMikey's picture

The CB's have regressed considerably from last year, and for the most part, don't even seem to have a grasp of the fundamentals this year. Coombs isn't doing "alright" by any reasonable standard. Even last year we saw confusion, busted coverages, blown assignments etc, that were rarely seen before Coombs took over coaching the corners. And this year.....weakest link every game.

Jdadams01's picture

I guess agree to disagree. Roby was phenomenal last year and was hyped to be the GOAT coming in to this year. He has still been better than almost all other Big Ten CB's. Doran has not been as good as Roby, but I'd take him over half the Big ten.

45has2's picture

If the corner backs are not defensive backs, what are they?

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

CowCat's picture

Coombs coaches the cornerbacks. Withers coaches the safeties.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

German Buckeye's picture

That may be part of the problem then, no continuity, philosophy, whatever.  Maybe coaching differs between Combs and Withers?  All I know is that the Buckeyes have many defensive backs that are playing and have played in the NFL recently and I don't see many on the roster right now.  Coaches can "coach up" all day long but it doesn't mean squat if the actual player can't execute the coaching.  I'd rather take that Tressel 3 star kid who is smart and "coachable" over a 4 or 5 star athlete that can't execute or is unwilling to execute coaching.  

Turban Meyer's picture

I agree.  I think CBs and safeties should be under the same tutelage. 

Yamosu's picture

Every week we made the opposing QB look like a heisman contender.  Then we stopped Purdue and all was saved.  Then we gave up 500 yards to indiana but got turnovers so it was ok.  Then michigan put up 600 and 41 on us but it was just a rivalry game and they played up.  This defense sucks.  They didn't lose us this game, we lost because urban loves braxton and doesn't want to give it to the best player on the team, EL FUCKING GUAPO, but this defense still sucks.
It once again comes to coaching.  We are either not recruiting the right talent, not developing them, or not putting them in position to win.  I don't know what the answer is, but it has consistently been a problem the whole season.

2morrow's picture

Exactly right! Hyde should have had 30-35 carries - GAME OVER - MSU had NO answer for him. MSU was holding teams to 63/yds/game and not one 100 yard rusher all season. Hyde and Mille both surpassed 100. MSU pass defense was good (even with our dropped balls), our running game was far superior to their run defense. OUTCOACHED!

Dublin68's picture

Marshal the running back from Auburn had 46 carries and over 300 yards in the SEC championship game against Mizzou....I don't believe Hyde had only 18 carries....what a shame

fear_the_nut70's picture

This is what is most frustrating to me.  Watch the Auburn-Missouri game, and it was obvious Malzahn was going to run it down Missouri's throat until they stopped it (they never did).  And yet, we used Hyde sparingly, relatively speaking.  I am sure I am not the only one who noticed this, but much of Braxton's running success is based on his superior athletic abilities and NOT his decision making--i.e. he really isn't good at reading the DE on the read option and often doesn't make good decisions on where to run unless there is a gaping hole (sometimes he turns it into a good run because of his athletic talent, but if the d is disciplined, you can't count on that).  There were three times in that game I called QB draw right before it happened including that 4th and 2, and if some internet idiot can do it, you know Narduzzi/Dantonio were all over it. 
Bad offensive game plan plus porous defense = loss to teams with similar talent pretty much every time.

llong83's picture

I'll post this again... "According to, Ohio State has picked up 34 defensive recruits that were four star prospects or better coming out of high school over the last four seasons. You know how many four or five star recruits two-time defending national champion Alabama has picked in that same time frame? The answer is 32"
They arent being coached up....

Buckeyes...or Nothing

fear_the_nut70's picture

I did not know this.  Excellent post, thanks for sharing.

Grey Ghost's picture

That puts things into perspective.  Excellent post.

Doc's picture

We haven't been able to fix the defensive secondary over the past year.  Why do we think it will be fixed over the next 26 days?

"Say my name."

Buckeye-in-DC's picture

i agree.  but to clarify, we haven't been able to fix the secondary over the past two years.  not hating, just observing.

4thandinches's picture

I agree. And if we try something drastic our D is going to get even torched more by Clemson because you need time to practice and put into play. Tajh Boyd should be the one licking his chops.

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

fear_the_nut70's picture

I am looking for an entertaining bowl game, arena football league style (hopefully with the good guys coming out on top).
It will NOT be fixed in 26 days.  This is an issue that will need to be addressed in the offseason, pure and simple.

Maestro's picture

Lots of issues.  The primary one is poor tackling technique IMHO.  Wrap your god danged arms around the offensive player.  Makes it hard to run when someone has their arms wrapped around your legs or waist.

vacuuming sucks

00Buck's picture

It all boils down to the same thing  PPPPPPP (Piss Poor Planning Permeates Piss Poor Performance) My money has been and still is on POOR COACHING........ If you cannot give the kids the tools..... then resign and give someone the chance that can.  Let me ask you WHOM WOULD YOU HAVE RATHER HAD AS DEFENSE COORDINATOR ?   p.s. obviously the problem is NOT on the "O"

Upon this Rock, I build my house....and Let no man put asunder

AltaBuck's picture

The lack of discipline in the secondary, especially the safeties, has been most alarming. If you cannot play as a unit, you might as well not play zone.
I hate to be nit picky but on Barnett's INT, he took a huge gamble unless he was in some type of robber coverage. The TE on that play was wide open deep and it looked like from the replay that Barnett was responsible for that deep zone.
It just seems to me this secondary was more concerned about big hits and INTs versus playing as as unit. I blame the coaching staff. If you cannot play with discipline then you should not play at all.

I have been known on occasion to howl at the moon. - Crash Davis

llong83's picture

I replayed that INT about 3 times over because it was absolutely alarming to me that the corner , who i believe was Corey Brown, COMPLETELY allows that WR/TE streak right past him!!!! He's running free downfield and if Cook doesnt panic(he acted as if he was under pressure and threw the ball rather quick) and waits 1/2 second to throw the ball its a 60+ yd TD!!!
What you said about the robber coverage, isnt played in zone. Its played with man coverage. Watching the play, they seemed to be in zone against that bunch formation. At the snap Barnett immediately jumps down into his zone , which tells me they were playing cover 3...if they were playing cover 3, Brown should have had the deep 3rd as the corner. He back pedals about 3 yds and stops as if he's in a cover 2. So either Brown blew his coverage, which i believe, or Barnett gambled his ass off and got very very lucky Cook didnt torch him.

Buckeyes...or Nothing

Zimmy07's picture

And right after the play you can see Fickell joking with him on the sidelines.  I did not think he stayed within the defense scheme & got very lucky it didn't cost us another TD.
Someone should have blown up at him on the sideline for it, but no, they congratulated him for getting lucky.

llong83's picture

Wow!!! Thats ridiculous...some coaching there...smh

Buckeyes...or Nothing


It doesn't take a genius to know that this loss to MSU is going to sting for many and for a long time.  Hell, I'm seeking therapy on these boards seeing how others feel the way I do, but let's be clear about one thing.  No one is hurting more than those guys in that locker room right now.  
Forget how we have no defense against decent teams - they need to put a BIG MIRROR either in that locker room or on the field at the WHAC when they get back to it at the facility today, and show them that their greatest challenge is beating the person in that mirror.  If they need to take out the aggression and disappointment from Saturday, have a punching bag next to it with the score from Saturday, and give a clear message... 'United We Stand, Divided We Fall' ... Beat Clemson or Bust.

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

RonnyPBuckeye's picture

Not that it matters at this point, but I believe if Roby doesn't break up the interception that was about to happen after Shazier tipped the ball up 24-17, we win going away.  Knocks the ball out of his teammates hands injuring himself in the process, and they kick a field goal and regain some momentum.  Also, did nobody on the coaching staff notice how well Cam Burrows played against Indiana.  I guess Reeves practices better but.  So many things to second guess, it's truly a moot point by now...

otrain2416's picture

Its hard to point fingers cuz it seemed everyone contributed on Defense to a bad game

  • Our safeties gave up 3 TDs trying to jump routes or playing out of position (Barrett 2, Brown 1)
  • Our D line was having trouble pressuring the QB
  • Our team was taking poor angles and tackling bad
  • Our DBs were getting penalties keeping drives alive 
Frankly Scarlet's picture

I don't have stats in front of me, but I'll bet Boyd's season looks eerily similar to our pass D's season. Not...good....

"Buclkle your chinstrap, we're gonna grind meat!" - Woody Hayes  

osuxrow07's picture

Any chance we get Christian Bryant back for the Orange Bowl? Not sure of the extent of his fracture but he has been in a boot for a while (and I'm assuming PT), hasn't he?

Set the Earth Reverberating

osuxrow07's picture

Also, can we acknowledge the sheer number of TV time outs that happened during this game? It was ludicrous. It kept both teams from truly building momentum and it affected the crowd. 

Set the Earth Reverberating

Maestro's picture

Incredibly frustrating, but that isn't changing any time soon.

vacuuming sucks

Barnsey69's picture

Good point, this is something that probably will not change (or get worse) since we are talking about the almighty dollar, but I think it is valid. Probably not an accurate way to measure the impact on the game, in terms of the disruption momentum, but it would be interesting to see what a sample of players and/or coaches think about it. Have to be former players-coaches, so they don't get fined of course...

I am a modern-art masterpiece.

RedStorm45's picture

It was worse than ESPN/ABC for sure.

seafus26's picture

Defense looked like a liability especially after offense went 3 and out or didn't have ball for long, as any D would. It's tough to go through grinding, long drives against a physical offense like MSU and then only get a couple of (real time) minutes of break before our offense forces our tired D back onto the field. We do try and rotate our DL and formation and down and distance may force allow us to switch out LBs but the core of secondary is stuck out there. 

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

AkronBuckeye13's picture

I thought the line did a good job up-front, it's hard to get consistent pressure when you rarely rush 4+. Even if our secondary was average I feel like the D-line and linebacker play could make up for it but the fact that those two groups can't shows me how bad the secondary is.

Grey Ghost's picture

Agree.  The d-line played well.  The secondary made mistakes I would expect to see early in the season.

OSUFlash's picture

Sadly Joe Bauserman would torch this swiss cheese defense and look like an All American out there. How F-ING scary is that????!!!!!


ScarletGray43157's picture

Three weeks of practice is long enough to work some of the underclassmen into playing time.  We know what we have with the current starters in the DB, and we know we can't defeat a good team with a decent passing attack with what we have back there. I'd make an exception for Roby if he can come back, but everyone else needs to be on the hot seat.

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

Smithy's picture

We have got to find a way to beat Clemson. I can't take another year of rolling through the Big 10 with our chest puffed out and then falling flat against good teams. Urban is supposed to fix this.  Clemson is beatable, USC showed how.  Pressure on Boyd.

dcviper's picture

"It is what it is" ?!?!?! Fickell has got to go.

4thandinches's picture

I am so tired of Fickels attitude about this. "Oh well" That's all he seems to say or care about this. Take responsibility for your coaching.

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

scarpenter614's picture

I agree Coombs has to go.  He can talk really loud and loves Ohio State.  That's great, be a fan and buy a ticket.  We are loaded at DB:  Doran Grant was a .96, Pitt Brown was a .95, Barnett was a .95, and we have a lot of talent coming in (Eli Apple, Cameron Burrows, Vonn Bell, Gareon Conley, Jayme Thompson, etc.).  Pitt and Grant are terrible and Barnett is OK.  This doesn't happen by accident.  We can't let Coombs ruin the freshmen and damage future recruiting of DB's.  
Fickell is the LB coach.  He has somewhat more of an excuse than does Coombs, we are thinner at that position.  However, his attitude has been arrogant.  I hope he is eating his words "we won, didn't we?"  Because now when he says "it is what it is" I would say "we lost, didn't we?"  He was a great player but it's time to get away from the Heacock tree.  It's a shame we won't be able to before the Orange Bowl because Clemson will probably put 40-50 on us.  

Jim's picture

The schedule masked the defensive problems.  When you have gobs of offense and continue to win, it is easy to look past the real problems. The Michigan game brought this home in a big way.  While Michigan has had its problems this season, they are not without talent and could easily have won last week. Watching Borges"s game plan certainly helped MSU.  What can you say....MSU has a great defense that stepped up to the plate when they had to and won the game.

Wesleyburgess1's picture

I don't understand why everyone thinks Christian Bryant is the answer. Imo he sucks just as bad as all the other Db's... We need Vonn Bell out there to replace Pitt Brown and rotate Apple and Conley. This way we have depth in the backfield and everyone isn't so tired. Mike Mitchell could also help. We are not in the position to be redshirting anyone... We need them out there right now. GO BUCKEYES!

D-Day0043's picture

What scares me is that Meyer said he doesn't like to red shirt. If you are a red shirt then it means you aren't good enough. If the defense is that bad and these guys aren't good enough to play, then that spells trouble. 

JODO8411's picture

I understand completely and have for awhile now, why so many defensive backs have been recruited, have committed or signed, the last two recruiting classes. Wow! Would Christian Bryant have made a significant amount of difference, to where the outcome would have been different? I guarantee that he would have taken a better pursuit angle than Corey Brown did, and would have made the tackle, during that MSU 70+ yard touchdown reception. I guarantee you, his football awareness would have made Conner Cook question some throws. I would like to think Mr. Josh Perry, for injuring and taking out another difference maker in Bradley Roby, just like he did with Christian Bryant, during the Wisconsin game. Could Vonn Bell, jump Corey Brown, on the depth chart in the next 25 days? These next three and a half weeks of practice, in the defensive backfield, should be a depth chart battle, at a safety spot and a corner spot. Obviously, Roby and Barnett are safe. Plus...........TBDBITL gets to finally gets to face and  beat down that copycat, Clemson band. Bienvenidos a Miami!  


osuxrow07's picture

Except they don't. There pretty much could not be a worse bowl draw for The Best Damn Band in the Land, as the Orange Bowl does not permit marching bands to perform halftime, and instead we will be forced to watch Dierks Bentley. 
TBDBITL gets four minutes at pregame. Barely enough time for double Script Ohio. That's it. Such a shame. The Orange Bowl is the only BCS bowl that doesn't showcase marching bands, and when you have the best band in the country, coming off a phenomenal year of performances and recognition, that really, really sucks.

Set the Earth Reverberating

Turban Meyer's picture

Who would you say the defensive leader of the team is? 
In the NFL, it's often the MLB who calls the defensive plays and makes adjustments.
Who, on this team, does any of that? 

biggy84's picture

The reason for my frustration is quite simple, i'm not used to this. For many years the defense continued to simply reload and soldier on. That has been replaced with excuses for terrible play. The linebacking corps has been nondescript (with the exception of RDS), and the secondary has been atrocious. The entire defense is completely rudderless. This is not, and should not, become acceptable at tOSU. 
Fickell may be a good position coach, but he is not a DC. I think a problem with the linebackers has been Fick focusing on his role as DC, a job he isn't equipped for. Doesn't mean he's not a great Buckeye, just the wrong guy.

buckskin's picture

My thoughts on Fickell exactly.  Including the Buckeye part.  Just like Bollman, I have to wonder how much responsibility Fickell had under Tressel as assistant head coach his last couple of years.

luckynutz's picture

He was also the co-dc to heacock.

buckskin's picture

As far as the secondary goes, we have the talent.  Burrows, Bell, Apple, and Conley should have the opportunity to make an impact next year.  The problem is how they are being taught.  There is no discipline in the secondary.  It takes discipline to stay at home, read your key, tackle correctly, and take proper angles in coverage.  I love intensity, but it must be utilized within a framework.  Unbridaled intensity will get a player out of position very quickly.   If Coombs ability to teach the CB position was equal to his passion, we would produce Antione Winfields every year.  I hate calling out a coach on a website, but the only reason he is at OSU is to shore up a historically bad recruiting area for the Bucks.

Patriot4098's picture

I don't blame Fick. Moreso Withers. I'd like to see him replaced with Heacock at co d-coord.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

Squirrel Master's picture

sorry, I feel totally different. Had to take the rest of the weekend to let the anger fade but,
this game was solely on that 3rd and 3. Down 27-24 and you don't run Hyde either 3rd down or 4th down?
As I have always said pertaining to Manziel as a heisman candidate, the defense has been bad all season, the difference is the offense not making plays when it counts in loses.
How does Herman not run Hyde!!!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

llong83's picture

I feel you boss...but you cant on one hand say its not the D's fault and the next sentence say they've been bad all year??? You are right about the 3rd & 4th down calls, those were huge mistakes. But the D is just as much to blame for this game.

Buckeyes...or Nothing

BuckeyeVet's picture

I would love to see Coombs re-assigned to just special teams coach. Hire a new CB's coach. Then I would take a hard look at what to do with Fickell (sometimes things look different on the inside of an organization), and replace Withers. But then I'm a pretty good armchair QB, too.

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

D-Day0043's picture

Totally agree. He may be stretched too thin doing double duty. It's obvious that he can't do both. I think Meyer is just trying to let people do their jobs and not take on too much.

Madaris32's picture

Why are people talking about Christian Bryant like he's Mike Doss, Donte Whitner, or Malcolm Jenkins or something.

Ivan Madaris

Jdadams01's picture

He wasn't as good as those guys, but he was a stabilizing force in the back end. Plus, he was a consistent commodity who was levels above Brown. Every Secondary needs an leader and we lost ours.

73buckeye's picture

I'm not aware of another case where one coach is responsible for the corners and another has the safeties. Working as a unit and knowing exactly what the other guys responsibilities are as well as yours is key. How can two coaches be efficient getting 4 or 5 or 6 guys in the backfield to work together as a cohesive unit. Maybe Coombs needs to coach special teams. His hair on fire style may fit better with that unit better than one that needs a good blend of intensity and precision. These guys are the last line of defense. If you can't depend on them, you are screwed., no matter how well the line or line backers play.  


RedStorm45's picture

Holy crap...look at the last four games.  31 PPG and 476 yards allowed.  Against "juggernauts" Illinois, IU, Michigan, and MSU.  Absolutely terrible.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I have to agree that there's been way too much talk about Christian Bryant. You're not going to have injury-free seasons, and I don't think one could argue that the Buckeyes were especially unlucky in that department this year. A program like ours should not have been crippled by the loss of a good, but not All Big 10-level, safety.
I do wonder, though, if the game might have turned out differently if Roby had been on the field for that go-ahead drive. That was a tough break at the worst time.

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

llong83's picture

This is alarming and someone has to be accountable. If its Fickel, then its Fickel, but SOMEONE has to be held accountable...
"According to, Ohio State has picked up 34 defensive recruits that were four star prospects or better coming out of high school over the last four seasons. You know how many four or five star recruits two-time defending national champion Alabama has picked in that same time frame? The answer is 32"
"The most points an Ohio State defense has given up in a single season is 297, which took place in the 1989 season under defensive coordinator Bill Young, as the Buckeyes managed to come away with just eight wins on the year. Under Fickell, the silver bullet defense has given up a total of 277 points thus far in the 2013 season, and they still have one game to go. Therefore, the team is just three touchdowns away from giving up more points than any defense in the history of the Ohio State football program"

Buckeyes...or Nothing

llong83's picture

Does anyone realize we gave up 49 pts to Indiana last year????

Buckeyes...or Nothing

jayt's picture

but did we win though?  did we win?  
It is what it is.

llong83's picture

Had i been at Fickles press conference....

Buckeyes...or Nothing

D-Day0043's picture

Bush showed some agility ducking that shoe. I wonder if he has any eligibility left? We need some help in the secondary. Lol!

German Buckeye's picture

Hey Bush could play D back for us, see how quickly he gets out of the way of that thrown object? 

VarsityClubPintGlass's picture

I'm not sure who to blame but Urban will figure that out after the Orange Bowl. In hindsight it's pretty clear to me that Urbie is still having doing his best with what he walked into, which was a complete mess.
I have absolutely no doubt that whatever is going on behind the scenes with the secondary is a management/coaching issue. It just has to be. Whether it's Fickell, Coombs, I don't know. But when Urban finally has time to address it I expect we'll see major improvement next year and perhaps someone gets fired.
Football teams like OSU are big organizations and a certain amount of delegation is necessary for them to keep running. Just like every organization I've ever worked for, when that breaks down, it takes a while for it to get fixed. You can't stop everything to do a 180 even when you have identified there is a problem. It's frustrating but that's just the way it is.
It's too bad we lost to MSU and I was bummed yesterday about it. But after thinking about it I don't want that secondary to be anywhere near Jameis Winston.  What's more that FSU defense is just about as good as MSU's. Better we make the NC when we have all our shit together, which should be pretty soon.

Bucks777's picture

Agree 1000%, Winston would probably put 70 on the board against our defense (DB's).  Sad to say but when you look at the teams we played this year and see what their c+ QB's did to our Defensive secondary it is only common sense what Winston would do with his Corp of receivers!
So a Blessing in Disguise possibly!!!  I think so..  I think he puts up 4 TD passes, and 1 rushing TD  against Auburn's "D"
2014 Starts Today, Go Bucks!!!!  12-0; with a national Championship 13 months from now.

fear_the_nut70's picture

We have debated this all year and it was our overwhelming concern.  Illinois should not have hung 35 on us.  At times we could not even slow a TTUN offense that had looked completely incompetent.  Finally, Connor Cook may one day end up a fine college QB, but he isn't a 300 yard passer against a good D at this point in his career (he looked completely overwhemed just a week prior against Minnesota, a good team, but one that isn't pulling the kind of talent we are).
This offseason will be very interesting.  I really like Fickell and Vrabel (who I see as a package deal) for their tireless work (at least on the recruiting front) and Coombs for his energy.  But there is no denying that at times this defense was a dumpster fire, and there are far too many 4 and 5 star guys for it to have been this bad.  I have no idea if any recruits (like a certain Georgia linebacker) coming here is dependent on any of these three assistants staying, but one has to wonder at this point if ANY of them will be here next year.  UFM has a couple of rings, and he knows that a dominate defense is the foundation of any championship team, so one has to think some changes are on the horizon.  Do we lose or get recruits because of it, that is the interesting part to me...

dallavise's picture

In all honesty, our defense needs some help, but...... if our offense plays like they can last week, we still win that game.  Fault goes to both sides of the ball.  My heart breaks for Carlos Hyde... he was a wrecking ball, and he deserves better from our coaches. 

fear_the_nut70's picture

You are right, but can you honestly say you would have liked our chances against Florida State?  Or even our chances of slowing down Clemson?
If what you are saying is that we can win when we can score 35 or more points, that's all good an well until you play a good defense, which is what happened here.  As the old adage goes (and I am sick of hearing this), good defense usually beats good offense.  There is something else at work here, and that is our identity as Buckeyes--it has always been based on the Silver Bullets.  I could live with our D not being as dominate as it has been in the past (which will probably be the case to some degree when you run a fast paced offense and score so quickly), but will never be satisfied with how bad this D has been at times this year, even if it is "good enough" most games.

lax20's picture

The problem is Urban has to grow a set of balls.  The play of the back seven has been atrocious with the exception Shazier.  Shazier arrived a man and he continues to be that stud.  Our weakness was supposed to be the Dline, but it has been our strength.  Like any CEO hard decisions have to be made concerning personnel.  Meyer has to clean house on the defensive side excluding Vrabel.  Withers, Fickell and Coombs should be released and start looking for other opportunities.  If not, Urban may be looking for employment.  Nobody said being head coach is easy and Urban knows that better than anybody.

dallavise's picture

That's a little over the top... UFM isn't going anywhere, and he doesn't have to.  He lost a game.  He needs to make changes, for sure, totally agree, but everything else you said?   C'mon...

lax20's picture

Not really.  This is not a make or break coaching this year or next couple of years, but given the quality of recruits and the poor showing on defense, the future would be highly questionable.  The next hurdle will be if this lack of defense continues, the recruits may decide to go elsewhere to gain the skills needed to compete.  The advantages of being proactive far outweighs being reactive.  Right now, Meyer's in a reactive mode.

fear_the_nut70's picture

That is way over the top.  It is completely insane to even talk about firing a coach who has won 24 of 25.  Who are you hiring to replace him, God? 
Get a grip please.

Buckinthemiddle's picture

From what I can see, it's plain and simple. Defense does not come down to a bunch of stud individuals. OSU has at least as much if not more talent on defense than any other team in the country based on recruiting. Michigan State took a bunch of 3-star guys and turned them into the best defense in the country. After watching that game it was extremely clear to me that defense comes down to coaching, and how well that coaching allows them to play as a cohesive unit.
If Fickell is still there next year, then I would really have to doubt the direction Urban is trying to take this program.

"I'm in favor of it" - John McKay, on the execution of his team.

fear_the_nut70's picture

Here is where I am at: lets say we look to hire some new assistants on defense.  Who realistically is out there that could replace the current staff (the next rising superstar like Tom Herman was at Iowa State)?  Any ideas?

lax20's picture

Ron Vanderlinden left Penn St. for unknown reasons.  He was the D coordinator at Northwestern under Gary Barnett in the years they won the B1G and coached Pat Fitzgerald.  How good have Penn St LB's been?  Jim Grobe of Wake Forest resigned due to the inability to recruit at a school with high academic standards.  He did alot with no star talent.  Coached Ohio U in the 90"s.

ChazBuckeye's picture

I haven't read one comment and here's the reason.  I think this Orange Bowl can go either way and I didn't want any other opinions/comments to deter what I'm about to purpose.
 1. OSU and Clemson go back and forth and the Buckeyes win a close one that is VERY high scoring.  2.  Or, OSU gets the hammer from Clemson and EVERYONE in the media will be saying, "See, we said OSU was overrated, frauds, or play in a weak conference."  And on and on and on.  
Personally, I think they'll be hungry after losing the B1G championship.  However, it could easily go the other way due to the disappointment, as Urban pointed out.  Let's hope his addition about being competitors will surface and OSU takes care of business.  But you'd have to be blind, deaf, or dumb not to see that Clemson could really exploit OSU's secondary (and I mean easily.  MSU's wrs aren't like Clemson's.)

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.


Scenario 1 doesn't buy us much in the national narrative if we win by a close margin, since everyone is expecting our Defense to be better off sunbathing on the beach than playing in the Orange Bowl (so that they at least would have a better excuse for not showing up)... BUT right now, IMHO, we have more to lose than gain in the Orange Bowl due to the negative press by 'expert analysts'
If we lose, the level of damage would be stronger than what we gain by winning.  Winning can be explained away (eg, 'Clemson isn't an SEC team - look what FSU and SC did to them', etc) to keep the negative narrative alive.  Losing, on the other hand... I better stop before I throw something at my screen at the thought of it...

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

Zimmy07's picture

“It is what it is,” defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “Guys have to make plays. We have to put them in situations where they can make plays. There’s no finger-pointing.”

I'm sorry but I'm going to finger point.  It's the DC's fault that a safety would be so stupid to try to jump an out route when the corner on his side had blitzed.  You deserve a finger right at you for that, Luke.

stantmann's picture

I've been saying the same thing all year. Every game, the opposing coach sees how the previous team(s) expose a Buckeye secondary, and find holes all over the place. Every game, OSU vows to fix it, but they don't. Seriously, it is time to scrap the zone, it is not working. Either Withers is not smart enough, or the players don't respect their coach enough to listen to him (or study enough). Go man to man against Clemson, we know the guys have talent, and if you get burned, big deal, they would score against that zone anyway.

fear_the_nut70's picture

I commented on this above, but if you go man to man and Roby continues to miss tackles...bam, touchdown.  Or you put Corey Brown man to man on a receiver and he undercuts the route badly with no over the top help...bam, six more points. 
Things to consider, that's all I am saying.  To play man to man, you have to have guys that can play on an island and tackle, and we may not have enough of them (why we don't, that is the real root of the problem as far as I am concerned).

bigbuckinky's picture

Carlos Hyde sure was polite when they interviewed him after the game.  He should have said: We would have won if only they would have given ME THE BALL.  MSU couldn't stop him but Meyer and Herman sure did.  Sorry to see you go Carlos in this way.  You deserved much better for all your hard work.

German Buckeye's picture

Carlos has one game left, lets see him get 300yds and 4 scores vs Clemson.

GregB's picture

As much blame as the defense deserves for its breakdowns, I put most of the blame for the late 3rd and 4th qtr turnaround on the offense.  2 possessions where they started at midfield or better following onside kick and block punt and they dont make a first down.  The D needed a rest and the O gave them none.  Its a team sport and the O was gone for the 1st and 4th qtrs.

JacksonHoleBuckeye's picture

Totally agree. Defense definitely deserves the attention but our offense and our OFFENSIVE PLAY CALLING is what cost us that game.