Why the 2014 Buckeyes Will Be Better than the '13 Edition

By Jeff Beck on January 24, 2014 at 11:30a
63 Comments
 

After the Buckeyes lost the Big Ten Championship many among Buckeye Nation believed the 2013 team squandered the Scarlet and Gray’s best chance at a title run in the near future. On the surface it’s hard to blame them. Gone is all-bulldozer everything, Carlos Hyde as well as the entire offensive line he was running behind. On the defensive side of the ball the Silver Bullets lost a couple of studs in Bradley Roby and Ryan Damn Shazier.

While there’s no denying solid pieces are leaving a team that went 24-2 over the past two seasons, I believe the best team of Urban Meyer’s Buckeye tenure is just an offseason away. Here’s why.

Braxton Miller

After his performance over the last two games of the season, many have been quick to write Miller off as a good but not great Buckeye quarterback. These individuals have their reasons (well sort of). Over the past three seasons, Miller has shown a tendency to revert back to a run-first quarterback as the schedule wears on, he’s yet to lead the Scarlet and Gray to a B1G championship, and he hasn’t won a bowl game. On paper, it’s hard to get past some of those knocks.

Big EdThe return of Ed Warinner will be huge for the 2014 Bucks

But I’m here to tell you fans calling out Braxton need to re-evaluate their evaluation. Simply put, it’s unfair to analyze his three seasons in a vacuum. Coming in as a freshman, Braxton was never supposed to start. He came in, played admirably and lost a Gator Bowl under the tutelage of a video coordinator while carrying a team decimated by sanctions on his back. In 2012 Braxton finally got the quarterback coach he deserved but was forced to learn a new offense in a single offseason. 

We all know how that panned out. Of course, even with an undefeated season, the Buckeyes couldn’t compete in the post-season so once again…no B1G championship…no bowl win for Braxton.

In all fairness, 2013 was the first season Miller had a chance to achieve greatness on a scale outside of the B1G...and he got close.

2014 will be the year he does it.

He’s a two-time Big Ten offensive MVP, has won two straight Chicago Tribune Silver Footballs, is 500 yards and one TD away from being the Buckeyes’ all-time leader in total offense and scores, and is 11 wins away from being the winningest quarterback in Ohio State history. This will be his third year in Tom Herman’s system, he’ll have the best group of WRs he’s had in his career and he’ll be hungry to prove doubters wrong while trying to punch his NFL ticket.

2014 Braxton is going be the best version of No. 5 we’ve ever seen.

Defensive Line

The Buckeyes lost defensive line coach and boss-hog recruiter Mike Vrabel then went out and found someone that may be even better to replace him. That’s no knock on Vrabel. The guy is a Buckeye through-and-through, is young and has proven himself on college football’s biggest stage. The defensive line was the lone bright spot on the defense last season and much of that is thanks to Vrabel’s abilities.

But Larry Johnson is next level, folks. While he doesn’t have the Super Bowl rings to flash in the living rooms of targets, he’s widely regarded as one of the best recruiters in the country. As good as he is at planting flags, he’s even better on the practice field. With 18 years of experience he’s developed techniques that produce results. At Penn State he coached seven first team All-Americans including six first round draft picks. In total, fifteen defensive linemen received first-team all-conference nods under Johnson's tutelage.

With the Buckeyes, Johnson is inheriting a group of young blue-chipers who appear to be one year ahead of schedule. It’s hard to believe now, but heading into the 2013 season many believed the defensive line to be the unit’s biggest question mark. As aforementioned they became the defense’s biggest asset with unexpected surprises like Joey Bosa leading the way.

The 2014 edition of the boys in the trenches might be the best we’ve seen in years. They’re all coming back and the depth of talent at every position will be incredible. Coaches will tell you it all starts with the players up front. If that’s the case, the Buckeye defense will be starting off on the right foot.

Secondary

It’s not going out on a limb to say the 2014 edition of the secondary couldn’t possibly be worse than the 2013 unit. While that would probably be true even if the Buckeyes fielded a group of newborn babies, I’m here to tell you the 2014 squad will be markedly improved.

To start, the departure of Pitt Brown, Bradley Roby, C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant will clear the way for some of Meyer’s stockpiled talent to see the field. Players like Vonn Bell, Eli Apple, Gareon Conley and Cam Burrows have been chomping at the bit to prove their worth, while incoming 2014 recruits like Damon Webb and Erick Smith will push everyone to get better.

There will be a sense of urgency for this unit in 2014 and leading the charge will be new co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach, Chris Ash. Ash will be primed and ready to prove his worth on the staff. He’s a proven winner who stresses fundamentals (which seemed to be lacking during the majority of 2013) and a fresh presence on that side of the ball will open up a healthy competition among a group of incredibly young and talented players.

Ash should be able to teach the new guys from the ground up, while (hopefully) removing a lot of the older players' bad habits. Looking at you Doran Grant and Armani Reeves.

All-in-all I don’t see this unit going anywhere but up next season. A welcome relief for everyone involved.

Ed Warinner

Last but certainly not least is the return of offensive line coach Ed Warinner. Warinner interviewed with Army in December, but ultimately remained with Meyer’s staff. This may have been the biggest Buckeye offseason story that nobody is talking about.

The Scarlet and Gray are losing their entire offensive line. The unit was arguably the strongest on the 2013 team. They cleared holes for Hyde and Miller I could have gained three yards running through. They were a phenomenal group and they were a beast of Warinner’s design. In the ten years before his arrival Buckeye fans were forced to watch way too many premier offensive line prospects serve as kindling for Jim Bollman’s bonfire of sadness. Seeing the extreme lows made Warinner’s arrival that much sweeter. He coached the blue chips into everything they always should have been. Seeing him leave in the midst of a complete offensive line re-build would have been devastating.

Instead, he’s back and he’s got plenty of talent in his meeting room. I think Warinner will revel in the challenge of recreating the success of last season, and I think he can do it.


The 2013 Buckeyes were good. The 2014 Buckeyes have a chance to be great. Braxton Miller is primed to have his best season in the Scarlet and Gray, the defensive line should be one of the best Buckeye Nation has seen in years and the coaching staff (old and new) is eager to prove the chase is real. Watch out for the 2014 Buckeyes. They might just surprise you.

63 Comments

Comments

bassplayer7770's picture

One step at a time; is it Spring game time yet?

DeepSouthBuckeye's picture

71 days away!

Loving all things Buckeye from SEC country in Alabama.

"How firm thy friendship....O-HI-O"

brylee's picture

"But I’m here to tell you fans calling out Braxton need to re-evaluate their evaluation."

Calling out all fair weather fans among us...  You know who you are!!!
OBTW...Fickell is still here.

D-Day0043's picture

Calling fans "fair-weather" because they aren't sold on Miller? Some people are willing to take off their scarlet colored glasses, be objective, and tell the truth. Miller is a below average passer. No descent team is scared of his arm.
He's 0-2 in the biggest games of his career. Could say 0-3, but we will give him a pass on the Gator Bowl. 
I sport scarlet and gray loud and proud even living in the heart of $EC country the last several years. You think I like getting in to it with these ignorant hillbillies down here? Even some women try to start fights. It's ridiculous. I get tired of hearing these gloating mouth-breathers call us the "suckeyes." I love the Buckeyes, but I will call it how it is.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

+1 HS
brylee's picture

He’s a two-time Big Ten offensive MVP, has won two straight Chicago Tribune Silver Footballs, is 500 yards and one TD away from being the Buckeyes’ all-time leader in total offense and scores, and is 11 wins away from being the winningest quarterback in Ohio State history.

He is also listed among the favorites to win next year's Heisman.  Tough not to see scarlet even when taking off the scarlet colored glasses.

D-Day0043's picture

So how many conference championships and Bowl wins have all of those stats and awards gotten him? Zero... Stats and awards don't mean squat.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.

osu07asu10's picture

I think this team goes as far as the offensive line can carry them.  Give Braxton time to throw and open holes for our young backs.  I think the rest is there but it is going to start and stop with the O-Line.

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

bassplayer7770's picture

OL - This is the biggest question mark, but I do believe in Warinner to coach them up.  I wouldn't be surprised if they struggle a little early on, but they'll get it together during the season.  I think Decker, Elflein, and Boren will start, and the big question marks are who will start along with them?  Dodson?  Lisle?  Underwood?  Price?  Trout?  Jones?  Knox?
WR - We now have so much young talent at this position, I feel like it's about time for them to prove they're a force to be reckoned with.  Corey Smith?  Marshall?  Thomas?  Clark?  Dixon?  Samuel?
RB - Again, some quality depth here, although I expect EzE to be the primary RB.  Still, the competition should be fierce.
QB - I fully expect Braxton to be more consistent.  He was fantastic mis-season 2013, so I'd like to think he can do that consistently.  I think the competition for the backup will be fierce, but my gut feeling is Barrett will win that spot.
DL - Exciting young players with a new coach.
LB - Again, we need some of the young talent to step up, but the depth keeps improving.  Perry may be a lock, but I think Grant will be challenged.  Mitchell?  McMillan?  Johnson?  Williams?  Booker?
CB - I think Doran and Armani will need to be beaten, and I do still feel both can and will improve.  Still, I think Apple, Conley, and others are going to make it very competitive.
S - Bell, Powell, and Burrows.  That sounds like quality to me, and there will be some good depth building behind them as well.  Plus, they have a new coach to prepare them.
I'll be curious who calls the shots on D, but I'm optimistic it will greatly improve.  I feel confident our coaches will have our guys prepared and ready to play.

mobboss1984's picture

Nice breakdown. Hopefully Dodson gets his shot on the o-line. Barrett will be a star, guaranteed due to the fact that our wide outs should be great. The D-line will be stout, and the DB's will improve. Armani needs to be a safety BTW. Mitchell needs to play, along with Johnson. Raekwon can definitely rotate. Jalin needs to play as well, he is too talented.

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
Bruce Lee
 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I don't think the Sept. 2014 Buckeyes will be as good as the Sept. 2013 Buckeyes. The Oct. 2014 Buckeyes probably won't be as good as the Oct. 2013 Buckeyes, either. But I am confident that the Nov. 2014 Buckeyes will be better than the Nov. 2013 Buckeyes. 
Fortunately, the schedule sets up well for the 2014 team to make it to November unscathed.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I don't think the Sept. 2014 Buckeyes will be as good as the Sept. 2013 Buckeyes.

I disagree with that. Last Sept, Ohio State did not have Braxton for most of the month.

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

Oyster's picture

They had Guiton instead.  I'll take Guiton and a veteran line over what is coming in next year during Sep.  It's gonna take a few games for that unit to gel.

+1 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

We don't really know how good they were because it was against SDSU(who turned out to be Ohio State's best OoC opponent), Cal, and FAMU.

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

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Good points, but I was thinking along similar lines as Oyster:

  • The OL will take time to gel
  • The WR unit will be more dynamic and talented, but probably won't be as consistent in Sept. 2014 as they were in Sept. 2013
  • The defensive players and/or pre-existing defensive coaches will be learning Ash's principles and style of leadership, etc.
  • They'll have a handful of very talented, but raw, kids playing at 1-2 of the LB spots and 2-3 of the DB spots
  • They'll be experimenting with the RB rotation
  • Etc.
Furious George 27's picture

Valid points, but what is funny is that 2012 proved that they can overcome most of that. They got an OL that under performed in 2011 and learned a new offense in less than a year.... I am not really concerned about the offense. The defense was bad last year and lacked the leadership they had from Simon and Boren. The main question is the D, but I believe they built depth at LB and the secondary to be better.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

W-burgbuck's picture

Agreed, though I'm not so worried about defense as long as who ever is calling it changes it up from last year. There is going to be an abundance of talent on that side of the ball and the competition for pt will elevate their performance.

The offense on the other hand will go how the line goes and will be much improved if Braxton can find a safety valve he is comfortable with when the heat is on. I really think if he can find a fail safe receiver 2014 will be next level. Think Gonzo or Santanio with Troy or Krenzel with Jenkins.

If Braxton had a Gonzo type player to bail him out when Clemson brought the farm the Orange bowl may have looked different...

W-burgbuck

W-burgbuck's picture

Schedule actually worries me, yes we should be favored and win every game but almost every week they will have to bring their A game. Definitely have to play week to week, plus getting beat up week one by a dangerous Navy teams chop blocks just to turn around and play VA tech is a little concerning.Not a lot of top 25 games but a lot of trap games. Way it's gotta be with the playoffs and I look forward to better competition can't play the Georgia Southern or App states as appetizers anymore. Yes that was a poor attempt of gouging Freds quarry kids and florida.

W-burgbuck

2morrow's picture

Couldn't agree more - especially Warriner - have never been worried about the offensive line. Guy can coach! Looking forward to seeing our defense especially with LJ as line coach and LF coaching linebackers only. We could take a HUGE step forward.

andretolstoy's picture

I don't even think our OL is that big of a problem. Decker, Elflein, and Boren are proven. That's more than half of the equation. I'm stoked.

mobboss1984's picture

Correct! These guys are ready!

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
Bruce Lee
 

Thomas's picture

Having one of the best OL coaches in the country doesn't hurt either. They will be just fine.

Scarlet_Buckeye's picture

I completely agree.  While Decker was absolutely TORCHED by Khalil Mack in game #1, I think he progressed quite nice over the span of the season.  Decker might not be as good as Mewhort (in fact, he likely won't be as good as Mewhort was last season, next season), but I still think Decker will be more than serviceable.
Call me crazy, but I actually think Elflein will be an improvement over Hall.  I was very impressed with the little I saw of Elflein.
And while Boren might not be as good as Linsley was, I can't imagine he will be terribly worse (especially given Boren's pedigree) - and that's not to say that Linsley wasn't good; rather, just saying I think Boren will be fine.
So... if Baldwin and/or Dodson can step up, I think the OL will be pretty much on level with last season's, likely just a short notch below.
 
RB... it's stupid the kind of depth we have at RB (aka insanely deep / good). I know everyone's looking at Eze, but don't count out Rod Smith.  Honestly, if he can fix his fumbling issues, I could honestly see Rod Smith LIKE (not as good... but like) a 'Carlos Hyde' type back.  Real talk.
 
QB will be QB.  Braxton will be Braxton.
 
The WR can't be any worse than they were last season; especially towards the end of last season, when many (cough::Devin Smith::cough) were GHOSTS, aside for maybe Corey Brown.  I look for this group to take a HUGE improvement step forward, and think they will be much improved.
 
DL will be filthy.  Another year under the belt for Joey Bosa, Noah Spence, and Aldolphus Washington, and Michael Bennett will be a HUGE plus for the play of our DL.  And that's not even mentioning the phenomenal play that we saw from Jamal Marcus in the Orange Bowl.  There's no question the DL will be the calling card of this team next season.
 
And finally, that brings me to LB + Secondary.
 
Okay... the last two seasons, my Michigan buddy has absolutely busted my chops about our LB depth.  Each year I've been able to confidently tell him "I'm not worried about it."  We had Ryan Damn Shazier, and that's about all we had; but that was pretty much all we needed (aside from the Bowl game loss to Clemson and Big Ten Championship loss to MSU).  He couldn't believe what I was saying, but I kept telling him... the lack of depth would cost us at most 1, maybe 2 games, and going into the beginning of each of those respective seasons, if you would have told me OSU would have lost only 1 or 2 games, I would have been perfectly fine with those seasons.  Now... OSU didn't lose a single game in 2012, so I was proven right (it wasn't a problem -- in the sense of, it didn't cost us a game), and - again - I was proven right in 2013, as we only lost 2 games (granted, I anticipated it being 1 regular season loss and maybe a Bowl game loss).  The fact that we rolled into the end of the season undefeated and then loss consecutive games (the B1G Championship and a BCS Bowl game) made that sting hurt a little more.  Nevertheless, I'd still say the LB depth was "fine" (due to the astounding play of Shazier masking a lot of the problems).
So... why do I preface all of that?  Because I'm absolutely WORRIED about our LB depth this season.  There's no Ryan Damn Shazier returning... there's no one that proved they were "blooming" last season... there's simply a *big* fat mystery mark looming over this group.  I would love nothing more than to see one of Spence/Marcus move to the LB group, but I'm not crazy of losing the pressure those two would put on the QB.
Say what you want, but Curtis Grant has been a HUGE disappointment. Every time I watch the kid, he's completely lost in pass-coverage.  Trey Johnson and Cam Williams haven't shown anything special.  This group, IMO, is in a WORLD of trouble, come next season.  And sadly... I don't think we'll have the talent at the next level (i.e., the secondary) to 'cover up' the LB's imperfections.  Even if all-world-recruits like Mike Mitchell and Raekwon McMillan are able to step-up and play, that's still asking a lot of two very young players.
 
Which takes me to the Secondary...Gone is Christian Bryant, and while that's a big loss, it ain't really that big of a loss, because we played almost the entire 2013 season without him.  Gone is Barnett (that will hurt), but I'm confident we can find someone between the group of Tyvis Powell/Vonn Bell/Cam Burrows to replace him.  Losing Corey "Pitt" Brown can only be an improvement.  Ughhh was he hard to watch.
That leaves the corners.
Personally, I say good riddance to Bradley Roby - what a disappointment he was last season.  Yeah he was phenomenal the season before (and that led to such high - maybe even absurdly high - expectations for him last season), but damn he was torched much of 2013.  It was pretty obvious to me (at times) that Roby just simply didn't want to be out there.  I have no problem acknowledging that Doran Grant had a much better season than Roby did, and I forget who it was, but someone actually posted/created a thread that had numbers that even supported the claim that Grant had a better season than Roby did in 2013.
So, in my opinion, we'll be more than okay with replacing Roby.  Personally, my bet is on Gareon Conley.  I was shocked at how *BIG* Conley was at corner out there.  I really like him to man the other position opposite of Grant.  As far as depth... yikes... I fear it's going to be pretty shallow, but who knows... Reeves looked promising during many of those H.S. All-Star games/competitions, but there's no denying that he did look too slow last season for the position.  I always hate putting positions (even if they're backup positions) in the hands of true freshman, but maybe Damon Webb, Marshawn Lattimore, Curtis Samuel, or Erick Smith can step-up and man the backup position(s).

HotSauceCommittee's picture

I agree with a lot of your post, but not the Trey Johnson line. Kid saw the field as a true freshman and played pretty decent. Unfair to say he hasnt shown anything special. I expect him to start or be the first guy off the bench this season and play well.

Furious George 27's picture

Johnson didn't play much because he was Shazier's back up. I think OSU has started to build depth at LB these last two classes which may have been the bigger issue. With the young talent coming in and that redshirted last year will only be good to push Perry and Grant to get better.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

ChazBuckeye's picture

"The 2014 edition of the boys in the trenches might be the best we’ve seen in years. They’re all coming back and the depth of talent at every position will be incredible. Coaches will tell you it all starts with the players up front. If that’s the case, the Buckeye defense will be starting off on the right foot."

This was my favorite part!

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.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

The LB play will also be key.  While we lost a multi year starter and arguably the best player on the defense from 2013, the 2014 team may benefit from the extra year of experience to Grant and Perry, assuming they are the starters.  Lose one great, gain experience at two positions.  One could argue that this year we didn't need a GREAT player on defense in 2013, we just needed players to fulfill their responsibilities on each player.  At the very least, I hope the 2014 team is solid in this respect, which could go a long way.

Read my entire screen name....

Run_Fido_Run's picture

That's a great point: they lose a single great player in Shazier, but they probably upgrade at every other spot (2 through 6) in the LB depth chart. If Grant and Perry both make strides, and if one or two of the young pups are ready to make plays, the gains outweigh the loss.

jbirmmd's picture

Very good analysis.  I think your prognostication has a big time chance to be proved right, but we need a couple of other things to fall into place as well. 
1)  The LB unit has got to start becoming play makers.  We can't have a vacuum in the middle of the defense like we've had the past three years. 
2)  The expected rise of EzE and at least one play-maker on the outside. 

southbuc's picture

Perry is going to be very good I believe if he is able to continue to progress in his ability to make reads and cover tight ends.  His speed is close to RDS...and he is much bigger....

kdogg72's picture

Very excited for 2014, I feel like Urban hit two home run hires. I was thinking about all we lost but when I look at the athletes replacing them I am like my gosh. I know our offensive line will be a worry but I feel like we arguably have the best offensive line coach in the country. Our defense frankly, can't be any worse. I blamed Fickell a lot this season but I trust he was not the problem our he would have been replaced. In Urban I trust and I look forward to the 2014 Buckeyes. 

Nashville Buckeye's picture

Why will the 2014 edition be better than 2013? 1 word- Defense.
The offense may take a small step back with the young OL, but as long as the defense improves, I don't see any reason to not compete for a NC.  Talent is definitely not an issue!  
The defensive improvement will carve the path to the NC this year, and respect will be restored to TOSU!
 
 
Go Bucks!

Jabba the Hoke's picture

Defense should be better. I wouldn't mind seeing the offense slow the pace just a little. There were times when they'd hand it to Hyde 3 times in a row for 5-10 hard earned yards a pop, then he would be gassed. Keeping the no huddle and just taking a few more seconds between snaps would still accomplish the goal of keeping certain defensive packages/ players on the field, but give our guys a bit of a breather. Also a bit more clock control, couldn't hurt the defense.

WOLFofOHIO's picture

i think we will make improvements..to what degree im not so sure. if braxton can get healthy and improve and the secondary can make plays, the skys the limit..its a wait and see game..time will tell

 

there is no greater joy than watching Michigan get slammed. in anything

brylee's picture

i see what you did there...

BuckeyeStrong1993's picture

Have you guys forgot about Devan Bogard . The kid is a stud look for him to step up as well.

GoBucks!

bassplayer7770's picture

I'm sure I've forgotten a few players (like Worley), but I haven't forgotten that Bogard has had season ending injuries in his first two seasons.  I hope he fully recovers, but that remains to be seen.

OSUFlash's picture

All we need is to have an Urban Meyer offense clicking on all cylinders and a Jim Tressel Silver Bullet defense in 2014 and playoffs here we come!

osuflash

BuckeyeJ's picture

I am sure that the simpler schemes and fundamental techniques Ash will teach I think we will be better off on that side of the ball. Def upgrade in run/rt stopping LBs (2-6).  

Bamabucknut's picture

IMO
Until Fickell's role is eliminated or reduced to just coaching linebackers....we will get a 4th year of failure. He is over his head with responsibility for the overall defense, and defensive play calling.
We don't need a coach who openly stated he needs the off season to figure things out.

blocko330's picture

bamabucknut I couldnt possibly agree more and was waiting for someone to just come out and say that - - Can you IMAGINE 75% of last years offense with our 02 defense?  I'm not worried the slighteset bit about O line, Rb's, Braxton, etc... We just need our D to be stellar (sounds elementary), but I just can't help but refer to our last championship team. 
I love Krenzel to death for the ship but he's no Troy Smith, TP, Braxton, shit even Kenny G.  I know we had a couple stellar offensive players that year but it was THE DEFENSE!  I could care less if we only score 17 pts a game next year, just as long as we're only giving up 16.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

- TruthTeller

Jabba the Hoke's picture

FIRE FICKELL!!!

sorry no sarcasm font on my phone

blocko330's picture

HAHA - Your pic is 11W GOLD!

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

- TruthTeller

ibuck's picture

Last August, I was concerned about whether the D was any good, and there were very optimistic expectations for tOSU, including some sports media types (Hello, Herbstreit) saying they'd play in Pasadena, either in the Rose Bowl or the NCG. 
It turned out the D wasn't good, and scrimmaging against them made the O look better than they actually were, as demonstrated when they played vs good defenses, despite big numbers vs a weak schedule & B1G. And the play-calling wasn't as unpredictable as we all hoped, nor was the passing game stellar. 
So here we are in the off-season, again letting expectations run wild. (OK, OK, that can be fun.) But I'm taking a wait and see attitude. The O-line might not be good, Braxton's passing may not improve or he may miss games due to injury; inexperienced receivers may run wrong routes, not break free or may drop passes; play calling might continue to be somewhat predictable; LB & DB play may be not so hot, at least at first, and tackling may be an issue—again. And the less-intense Urban Meyer might not live up to his legend, and may resemble, dare I say, John Cooper.
Yes, the Buckeyes could be pretty good—if everything breaks the way we hope. I hope tOSU kicks ass next year, but what are the odds of 3 straight undefeated regular seasons? So I'm not going to place unreal expectations on the Bucks and then piss and moan when they don't meet them. I will continue to root heartily for my alma mater and hope they fight to the end. Go Buckeyes!
 

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

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

bigbill992001's picture

"Yes, the Buckeyes could be pretty good---if EVERYTHING breaks the way we hope."  Emphasis mine.
But, then, 25% of D1 teams could say the same thing.    Here's hoping that after 2 yrs, Urb can field a legit D and the Oline can get it done against good teams, unlike last yr. when that much hyped Oline got their asses handed to them the last 2 games.
GO BUCKS!!!!!!!!!!
 
 

ScarletNGrey01's picture

The feel good read of the day!

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

buckeyejonross's picture

It's probably impossible to be worse on defense.

"You might as well appeal against a thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war. War is cruelty, there is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over." -William T., Battle of Atlanta, B1G.

D-Day0043's picture

I hope you're right.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

HotSauceCommittee's picture

I have said this before. Imagine how many more points, yards and highlights our offense would have had if our defense was able to hold teams to shorter drives last season? Imagine Hyde with 5 more carries, Dontre with a few more touches and Braxton with another 10 passes and/or 2 or 3 scrambles? If the D would have even secured a few series of 5 or 6 play drives and then forcing   the opposing team to punt our offense would have racked up an impressive amount of yardage. Basically, another 5 minutes worth of possession time. This would have also led to players like Eze, Rod Smith, Ball, etc. getting more touches.

Crumb's picture

I like the love for Coach Warinner, he deserves it and will have another good offensive line ready by September.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

D-Day0043's picture

I think he is the most valuable assistant coach on the staff. He is one guy we can't afford to lose.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

Blackbeards Delight's picture

The Offensive line will be NICE! Just look at who they will have to block in practice everyday. Not to mention the competition at every spot, this goes for receivers and db's as well. Competition, new coaching, and two losses? There will be more juice this offseason than at Brady Hokes breakfast table. Cue the juice gifs. Let's take the CHASE banner down and put up a new one,  2014 National Champs! Ok let's start with BIG champs and take it from there.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Bitches.

- Me

 

Furious George 27's picture

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

Buckeye58's picture

I have read repeatedly on this and other websites the comments regarding the poor performance of our pass defense (as it applies to the second and third level, LB's and DB's).
As a veteran HS coach I can tell you all, while we did not have elite athletes at all of those positions the lack of productivity was most definitely not caused by a lack of talent. The type and number of athletes on the OSU team are plenty good enough to be productive. It was by and large coaching related.
I don't like "co" anything in football, but I realize egos and compensation packages get involved at that level so I'll let that go.
I am glad to hear Coach Ash is of a keep it "simple and aggressive" mindset. I can go the rest of my life without seeing another of our corners look back at the safety and "play the air guitar" as he calls the G-darn "banjo" coverage. It is a pro concept and we are not pro's, so just get rid of it. It is a scheme full of adjust on the fly and automatic reaction that creates "paralysis by analysis" and we all know what happens to a defender in doubt.
Hopefully we won't try to outthink ourselves this year and just let the god given talent play out.

AKA Li'l Woody

Gametime's picture

But I’m here to tell you fans calling out Braxton need to re-evaluate their evaluation. Simply put, it’s unfair to analyze his three seasons in a vacuum.

This I disagree with respectfully; To be fair there was a lot of hoopla about the genius of Tom Herman, the QB guru work of George Whitfield and so on.
Braxton had two years in the system, two years of tutelage from Herman, an offseason of tutelage from George Whitfield and mind you, the last two QBs to win the Heisman were redshirt freshman.
(Now of course, they're from the south and have year around football and all that, but they were much better passers than Braxton was in high school also.)
Still, these young guys have proven that throwing early in your career can set you up for an easy transition into college ball as they're able to recognize nuances of game and exploit them more: TOUCH throws against specific coverage, throwing to receivers covered in tight man when their backs are turned to the QB, timing routes, back shoulder throws, check downs, manipulating the pocket, true scrambling, etc, etc.
Some people can say it was the WRs, but we don't know how much we can blame them. Even on wide open routes we saw constant over-throws, under-throws, and no touch when it's needed. 
For his sake, I hope Braxton blossoms, but it'll take a lot more than a Troy Smith-esque season to win the Heisman next season, especially with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariotta coming back.

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

Colorado Johnny's picture

Braxton has or is very close to his ceiling. Would I love to see a Troy smith type of improvement in the passing game? Yes, but it's just not gonna happen. The James Clark's of the world will have to wait another year. Downvote away. Couldn't care less

D-Day0043's picture

He has no touch at all on his passes. Everything is a 90 mph fastball. He isn't good at going through his progressions. I have seen plays where 4 receivers were open and he couldn't make up his mind on any of them and he would take off and run. He doesn't throw anyone open either. He's loose with the ball. He often makes the wrong read on the read option. His mechanics have regressed at the end of the last two seasons.
Yes he rips off a dazzling run once or twice a game, but for every great play he makes he screws up 5 routine plays. At this point he is what he is. Honestly I think he handcuffs the offense because Herman is limited in his play calling and he has even admitted to not trusting the passing game.

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D-Day0043's picture

This team will go as far as Braxton's arm and the passing game takes it. Defenses do not respect his arm. Good teams will continue to load the box force him to beat them with his arm just like MSU and Clemson until he shows he can be a consistent passer. 
Herman better get over the generic play calling this year and start using all of his weapons, or defenses are just going to key in on Miller and take him away. He hasn't spread the ball around since the Cal game. 
The defense is what it is. They are replacing most of the secondary so it is going to be up to the coaches to field an adequate unit. 
Honestly I think it is going to be a couple more years before they are set to make a title run.

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Bengaljim's picture

Who do you guys think will be the starting LBs next year?

W-burgbuck's picture

Mitchell, Grant, Johnson to start the year but I feel Kwon has a lot of drive and will be a special player, may supplant Grant earlier than expected. Also with our depth and so many being close calls on who should start I believe you will see a lot of players rolling in and out. Perry, Berger, Booker and possibly Hubbard will see significant playing time.

W-burgbuck

seafus26's picture

Ed Warinner coming back is huge. We produce great OL talent and are finally seeing it on the field and the kids not maxing out or even back sliding under Warinner. On the other hand I still question QB play in our area. Why are we still having to work on mechanics and the whole concept of the forward pass so much with these kids? I sit a flip through channels starting this last year and see a walk on true freshman pushed into starting duties for Texas Tech and the kid is winging it all over the field without the ball touching the ground. I still say its much to do where they are from. Take today for instance, drive around , I believe Dayton area, where Brax is from and count the kids outside playing catch. I'm not sure where the example Tech QB is from but it'll be at or near 70 degrees again today in Houston and each neighborhood park packed and kids at in multiple front yards on my street throwing the rock. We should not be having this much trouble throwing the ball at this point of his career.

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

seafus26's picture

Or drive by Brax's HS and see who all is throwing instead in their football indoor practice facility. They don't build those type facilities back home. The NFL draft and such is showing these benifiting kids playing year round football in other areas. I'd like to see us concentrate getting players from those regions and hit the ground running with them instead of having to instill stuff that should already be there during their entire tenure at OSU. Talent is certainly not an issue with Brax, but reps over his life is to be a modern QB

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!