What Can We Really Expect Against Illinois?

baddogmaine's picture
November 1, 2012 at 2:18p

On paper this is the best in the B1G against the worst. This should be a complete, total mismatch. And yet . . . The 2012 Buckeyes have faced several other teams they were much, much better than, and only played dominant football in the second half of the first game of the year. As much as any other "top" team the Buckeyes have played down to the level of the competition. The first half of Miami, most of the next three games in their entirety, IN, PUR, all of those were closer than the relative skill levels of the players should suggest. The quick excuse has been that the team is not as good as it is going to be, that this is a year of over-achievement. But the offense exploded for 63 against a Nebraska defense that is not that bad. If we could do it against the Cornhuskers what happened against the Boilermakers? We held a decent PSU offense in check till the game was out of reach, and while the Nittany Lions play more of a pro set than some of our other competition that should not fully explain how we gave up 49 to Indiana. I suggested that the team was not as well coached as Meyer was being given credit for - this was roundly rejected, though a team that is still letting defenders come in untouched to block a punt and looks as uncertain as we do on on-sides kicks in the ninth game is not demonstrating total  attention to detail by leadership. We are 9-0 and we are the only ones who are, but if those 9 games have taught us anything it is that putting money on a particular OSU result this year is not a good investment.

I don't think this will be close. Of course I said that about Purdue too. But I really don't think this will be close. However, I do think the score will be closer than some are predicting. On the negative side I'm not ready to give this team the bnenefit of all doubt after one complete game. I expect that IL will do something to make our defense look bad, I expect that the stupid penalties we did not stop even in the Penn State game will crop up, I expect that Miller will force a pass that a defender will hold on to, and I expect that the systemic problems we have been having in almost all phases of special teams have not suddenly been corrected. I don't think these will account for a lot of Illinois points but I think they will account for some.

The big reason I don't expect a blow-out is because I think - I hope, actually - that Meyer no longer values them as much as he did earlier in the year. Were we not on probation and were fighting for bowl position we would want to impress voters and bowl officials and television executives. As is, we can win our last three games by one point each and we will have maximized our potential. AACC without Robinson lost to Nebraska. Wisconsin without Stave lost to MSU. Ohio State without Miller would be no sure thing against either scum or Whiskey. And definitely would be no sure thing if Guiton is not better prepared than he is now. Meyer saw against IN that when we start choking we need EMTs and he's not going to fool around if the lead is under 20. But I think - hope - that if the lead gets to 25 in the second half that Miller will be sat down to save wear and tear on his body and give Guiton the reps. If Miller plays the whole game and we win by just 25 I would consider this another under-performance even if that covers the spread. But if we win by 20 and Guiton gets in more than a full quarter I would think it a game well played.

Of course Meyer might choose to try for that 100 points he mentioned earlier in the year. This is a game where it is theoretically possible.  I think that would be a terrble decision on his part but it could be in character.

So what's the feeling? Keep the peddle to the metal? Pure destruction even with subs? closer margin but better preparation for the future? and though I don't see it as likely it is a possibility: closer margin than we'd like despite our best efforts? 11W asks people to just gives numbers in guessing scores. Here's a chance to do some analysis.

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BrewstersMillions's picture

I am reminded of a quote from the classic film Eurotrip. Specifcally, the scene where the English Soccer hooligans see the French man after getting off of their bus and Vinnie Jones' character lets loose with one of my all time favorite movie lines....
"Let's give that nancy a fuckin' good kickin'.
I fully expect OSU to give Illinois an effin good kicking.

hodge's picture

See for me, my favorite Vinnie Jones line is from Snatch:

And the fact that you've got "Replica" written down the side of your guns...And the fact that I've got "Desert Eagle point five O"...Written down the side of mine...Should precipitate your balls into shrinking, along with your presence. Now... F*** off!

Now, the full scene is some of the best writing I've seen; but it's a wee little bit foul to post up here in the friendly confines of Eleven-Dub.

buckeyeEddie27's picture

also appropriate......little Brick Top for ya.

Do you know what "nemesis" means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by an 'orrible cunt... me.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

BoFuquel's picture

Kick'em in the growin' season.GO BUCKS!

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

cajunbuckeye's picture

MTV's Bully Beatdown is all I'm asking for. Illinois plays the part of the bully and tOSU stars as the MMA fighter. The opening kickoff sails, and the Buckeyes beat down the Ill for 4 quarters. Thats good clean fun!

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Northbrook's picture

I'm hoping this game will be a major step in the maturation of Brax as a QB. He needs to shake off early game nerves and settle down. The Illini, a week off with some quiet talks with coaches and some good practice will put him right to address the hated badgers and wolverweenies.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

A 56 point win by Ohio State would be nice.

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

Poison nuts's picture

Baddog - Can I ask you a question or 2 - do you like Urban Meyer & what he's done so far? Are you glad he's coaching at OSU? These can be short answers or long ones, but I was wondering if you, generally speaking, like what the man has done while here.
Btw - to answer your question - I'd love to see us win by plenty & have Guiton get some reps. I disagree that Guiton isn't prepared though. I feel very comfortable with him as our QB although the gameplan would change a bit.   

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

baddogmaine's picture

There is clearly improvement on the field, and recruiting is incredible. Having said that, I think Meyer is getting more free passes than the team play actually justifies. Our special teams play, which I understand to be Meyer's personal responsibility, has had major problems - three blocked punts, not knowing how to cover on-sides kicks, giving up the fake punt to Purdue, a couple of long kick returns by the foes, and not great kick returning by us (#52 nationally in punt returns, #79 in KO returns). The team continues to commit penalties that are not from trying too hard but from not thinking hard enough (defense should NEVER line up off sides. Jump the count sometimes OK, but lining up offsides is not OK). Our passing defense is still #107 in the country, and some of that is injuries and some is teams passing more than running on us, but 107 does not reflect well on the HC. On the other side our pass offense is #102. Part of that is relying more on our run - if we can get the yards on the ground we don't need to pass as much; and since our passing efficiency is #57 we are doing average at passing when we try. But we've seen our passing game - do you think it is where it should be? Meyer doesn't.  Miller was thrown into an impossible situation last year but though that did not give him experience with a sound game plan it did give him experience performing in game conditions, yet nine games in this year we still can not count on him completing passes throughout a game because, in Meyer's own word, Miller "panics." Even against defenses that are so packed in the air game should be available. Who do you want to blame for this? And though we are 9-0 we needed a miracle to beat Purdue; we needed a score with two minutes left to beat CAL; we beat UAB by only 14; we gave up 15 points in the last three minutes to IN to cut the final margin to three - and how confident were you before that last on-sides kick? Good teams have close games, but our results in games we should be winning easily suggest a team that is not as well prepared as it should be.
If all you see is a zero in the loss column then you are ecstatic. If what you look for is soundness in fundamentals; development; always concerted effort then there are reasons to think that Meyer though good is not -at least this year - deserving of being mentioned in the same category as Saban, Stoops, Snyder, which is what we thought we had hired. Muschamp's team went 6-6 in the regular season last year too, and this year is 9-1 against a MUCH harder schedule than we've played, and his team has looked better doing it. What this means to me is that we have every right to celebrate the improvement over last year. But at the same time we can and SHOULD BE holding Meyer accountable for what needs to be better. Not YOU'RE FIRED accountable, but WE'RE WATCHING YOU, MEYER accountable. That is my position.
Kenny Guiton went one of 2 with an INT in 2010; did not throw a pass last year. He went 5 of 9 and ran 5 times for 14 yards (2.8 average)  in mop-up time against Miami (OH); did not attempt a pass in the next five games, though handed off correctly when asked to. Completed his only pass against IN and did not play against PSU.In his first series against PUR he was 2 of 5 for 11 yards and an INT that should have been an INT. So what you are basing your confidence on is three nicely thrown balls on the last drive and OT versus Purdue, and a TD pass that tied the game in regulation but that actually was not well thrown, and on replay looks as if it might have actually hit the ground and been incomplete. This is not a bad performance by a back-up, but it is not a record that tells me that he is ready - that he can beat the WIS and AACC defenses when they stuff the box and dare him to beat them with the pass. Why did he get no experience in the 63-38 romp over Nebraska? add that to my criticisms of our head coach.

Poison nuts's picture

I'm sorry - I asked a question & you answered...fair enough - but damn dude! What would you expect to see? Instant perfection? You spoke of Saban, Stoops, & Snyder - men who went 7-6, 7-5, 1-10 in their first years at their respective schools. Thank God people waited another year or 2 for those men to build their teams...Meyer is undefeated. Is that all I see? The record? No - I see the problems too. But I won't let it get in way of seeing that something is being built right before my eyes. I'll repeat that -SOMETHING  IS BEING BUILT. I'm not a football coach. If I was supposed have coached - I would have - but instead I take pictures for a living....meaning, I don't know as much about the game as men who've dedicated their lives to it & have won multiple NCs. So at the end of the day, to me, it really does come down to wins & losses. I like to think I'm an educated man about football, but I wouldn't have the stones to come on here time & time again complain about how OSU wins games. By the way, that catch by Fields at the Purdue game - that was certainly a catch.... Are you hoping for a loss? - Because if that happened - you would be right, or would then be able to say 'I told you so' & would validate some of these hyper-critical assessments you've made.
But what if we go undefeated? Or even 11-1? Is that not a major accomplishment? Would that not be a good sign? Was the game against PSU not another step forward? Anyway - good luck to you man - & please, I'm only responding to your response to me. I do not want to do a war of words. I never want that. If this comes off as an attack - I apologize, but it just seems strange that you would be this upset, or this critical (or however you would describe it) of the HC at this point in time...

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

jthiel09's picture

Meyer should fire the special teams coach.


jthiel09's picture

And before anyone comments or down votes, YES, I know who the special teams coach is. It was meant to be sarcastic.


Earle's picture

Funny (original) comment, but if you have to explain it, it kinda loses the effect.  A few downvotes is the cost of good sarcasm.  Upvote from me anyhow.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

jthiel09's picture

There are a lot of people that I've talked to be it friends / co-workers who are Buckeye fans that don't know he coaches special teams ... how this is possible I don't know. They claim to watch the games every week but I seriously doubt it if they don't know that.
After I posted my explanation I realized I should have let it run it's course, Earle you are correct. I've learned the error of my ways.


baddogmaine's picture

OK, but even as sarcasm it shold mean *something*. I say clearly that I do not think Meyer should be fired, so you're not scoring points against me. But what do you, JTHIEL09, think about Meyer's coaching in light of the not subjective but objective problems OSU is still having on special teams after nine games? Do you think Meyer is doing an all around brilliant job and special teams are as good as they possibly could be? Are special teams too unimportant to be a focus so Meyer hasn't focused on them, and as soon as he does they will immdiately improve? I was asked how I feel about Meyer's coaching this year - what do you think, without sracasm?

jthiel09's picture

It isn't my place to say he needs to do this or he needs to do that. My place is to sit in the stadium, on my couch or wherever and enjoy watching the Buckeyes. As a football coach I thoroughly enjoy talking to people / parents who think they know what they are talking about when they try to say what we should be doing. It is something that has always happened and always will.
Do I think he's done a great job? Yes, for what he was handed and how this team has responded to adversity every week for the most part it is impressive. Some of these situations, ie the Purdue game, are a prime example of his staff and their mentatlity that the players have apparently bought into.
His coaching style is one people generally like or dislike. It was that way at BGSU, Utah and Florida. When you are trying to do different things with the offense, defense and special teams (especially in your first season) you will have mistakes. Not every team is perfect all the time in every game.
Do I care that he leaves players in late in games that potentially could get hurt? No, you don't play football to "not get hurt" you play to win the game. When you play to "not get hurt" that is when you get hurt. Do I care that he scored a lot of points on teams? No, it is the opposing teams job to stop you. It isn't a game where we should be mindful of the other teams feelings if we score to much. If people want that go watch something else. Yes, in my opinion, he's done a great job and will continue to do so given his record at every university he's coached at.


baddogmaine's picture

It isn't my place to say he needs to do this or he needs to do that.

Well maybe this is for another blog but what is the purpose of Eleven Warriors if not to discuss with fans what the team is doing well and less well?
There is this suggestion that Meyer is the expert and we're not qualified to comment. Maybe not from you but from others.  That is true only to a degree. I can't fix cars but when I start driving away from the garage and discover that the lug nuts have been left off one wheel I have every right to say that *on this occasion* this garage really blew it. And when something repeatedly goes wrong the garage may win awards but I'm looking for new mechanics.
I never said that there is anything necessarily wrong with scoring 70 - what I have said and will continue to say is that scoring 70 with the starters left on the field increasing the chances of unnecessary injury to the most valuable players and insufficient game experience for subs who might be needed later is not good preparation for the future.

When you play to "not get hurt" that is when you get hurt.

What does this mean? A player who has been taken out of the game is 99+% less likely to be injured than one on the field. We could likely increase our offense in any one game by having Miller carry it 30+ times. But in the long run that will hurt the team because Miller will wear down even if he doesn't suffer an actual injury; and other players will not be involved and won't get better. You play to reduce likelihood of *unnecessary* injury to Miller because in the long run that is healthier for the team.

jthiel09's picture

When you worry about something other than the task at hand you aren't focused and when you aren't focused that is when accident's/injuries happen.
If I'm putting lug nuts on a car and I'm trying to watch The Price Is Right and someone just snagged the showcase showdown for a trip to Hawaii, a Jet Ski and a hot tub I might forget one or two lug nuts. And when something like that happens it is becuase I'm not focused on what I'm there to do. Rather I spent all my time worrying half about the lug nuts and the other half why Drew Carey isn't as good as Bob Barker, that's not doing you job properly.
Much like coaching in my own experience, if I spent more time worrying about making sure my kids aren't getting hurt every single snap I'm pretty sure I'd slip up and make a few mistakes be it on offense or defense that could have been avoided.


baddogmaine's picture

C'mon. Coaches plan both for the game at hand and for the long term. They can and must do both things at once. This is not asking Meyer to follow his stock portfolio at the same time that the game is being played out - it is expecting Meyer to know what his objectives are before the game starts, and making sure that some objectives do not get completely sacrificed to others.
At this point you are not debating just me - this is the 11W staff report on the IL game.

Entering the bye week, there is nothing the coaches would like more than to only play the starters a portion of the game, allowing them to get extra rest. The Buckeyes are also interested in developing depth, and while it can be done in practice, nothing can replicate game reps.

I think your position that using the starters to run up the score whenever possible does not have a lot of informed support.

jthiel09's picture

I would think, with most coaches, the goal before the game is to get valuable snaps for a young and developing quaterback (or any player). So it would seem to me that Braxton being in a game and getting that valuable playing time is a "long term" idea that they have. Just because keeping him in, or other starters, late in the game isn't your idea of "long term" doesn't neccessarily mean it's wrong.
In a perfect world do I wish Braxton could be out by the third quarter and letting Guitton get valuable reps? Who wouldn't. But as with most of the games this season, minus the Nebraska and Miami games, they have been relatively close that allow Miller to get valuable snaps to help him develop. Seeing as how he's our future for the next two seaons after this year I'd say that's a good game plan.
As far as that last comment let's not begin to start putting *typed words* into someone's mouth. What I did say was that I don't care if he leaves players in late in games and (separate statement) if the score gets high so be it. Both were meant to be separate from each other not combined like you so eloquently did. But it's okay I forgive you.
Enjoy the game.
Go Bucks!


Oyster's picture

The only thing Coach Meyer needs to remember is that the punt is NOT the most important play in football.
No disrespect was intended for Coach Tressel in this post.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)