Northwestern's view of our Buckeyes

ExpatBuckeye's picture
September 30, 2013 at 2:17p
50 Comments

A couple of starkly different evaluations of our offensive and defensive units over on the Northwestern board but the 2nd one was interesting:

Courtesy of Stormmaster at Rivals' Northwestern football board:

More realistically, here's a more accurate breakdown of Ohio State's units:

Offensive Line B+
This is FAR from "the worst OSU OL" (that would have been two years ago).  #74 is a mauler but can get beat off the edge in pass pro.  The left guard and center are also both borderline All-B1G, probably 2nd or 3rd teamers.  The weakness is on the right side, though #79 is improved.

Quarterback A
For all his phenomenal athletic ability, Miller still struggles with reading the read option.  His passing is much, much improved but he looked hesitant running the ball against Wisconsin.  If he's still not healthy enough to break one of those electrifying runs this grade might be a B+

Running Backs A-
Ohio State is loaded at running back with both power and speed options.  #34 is big back with speed. #2 is shifty in the hole and experienced.  The true freshman #1 is going to be a star but plays loose with the football.

Wide Receivers B-
A lot of good, reliable players at wide receiver some that can get you a first down and some that can get deep occasionally.  But no one stands out as great route runners or home-run threats.

Offensive Scheme: A
OSU rivals Northwestern and is a notch below Oregon in their ability to threaten the field sideline to sideline and get mismatches on the field that put the defense in almost no-win situations. Ohio State has a slight edge in overall speed however.

Defensive Line B
This group is inexperienced but deep, relentless and solid #97 and #8 are both disruptive off the edge but not stars against the run.  There are no stars on the interior line and they aren't spectacular -- but they are effective at getting a push inside.

Linebackers B-
This group was probably a C before the season with #10 having all-B1G potential but everyone else being almost non-existent.  They get a small bump in grade because Curtis Grant has shown up the last couple games at MLB and may end up being a solid run stopper.  But against Northwestern he may not be on the field much as he struggles in pass coverage.

Secondary B+ (with an asterisk)
Don't be fooled by Bradley Roby's bad night against Abbrederis.  OSU schemed to stop the run and put Roby on an island nearly the whole game.  Roby is still the real deal and a future 1st rounder.  The other corner isn't as physical but excellent in coverage and the safeties have been physical, sure tacklers, not prone to giving up big plays.  The unknown is that one starting safety #2 was lost for the season at the very end of the Badger game.  The list of possible replacements is deep because OSU can go six or seven deep with talent but no one knows yet how the new starter will show up.

Defensive Scheme: B
OSU isn't a dominating 3-and-out defense yet.  They progressed from suspect to excellent last year as the season went on and they seem to be following the same path this year.  The defensive line gets better every week and are going to soon be very very good which will raise the entire defense.  Right now, power running teams are going to match up better against OSU's defense than spread teams because they are fast, deep and talented.

Special Teams: A-
Ohio State has been vulnerable in defending the return game in the past and has shown some moments of weakness in defending kickoff returns this year.  Overall, however, special teams have improved across the board with more attention from coaching and better talent among underclassmen.  The kicker is reliable inside about 48 yards and experienced.  Kickoffs generally reach the goal-line with some hang time but one in 4 or 5 comes up short and returnable.   Their new Aussie-rules punter mixes a big leg with a variety or quick-kicks and end-over-end rollers to great effectiveness.  OSU has given up almost nothing in the way of return yards on the punt this year but blocking a punt against them is not out of the question.  Kickoff and punt returns have big play potential but OSU tends to opt for sure hands over home-run potential.

How to beat them:
Northwestern needs to be patient on offense and keep the OSU front seven off-balance.  They need to mix an effective and varied run game with short, quick passes.  If the offense gets behind schedule with penalties or negative plays, they are going to struggle mightily.  OSU's defense hasn't tackled at a high level and Northwestern's playmakers have a chance to break some big gains.  On defense, the Wildcats can only hope to contain OSU by keeping them off the field, first and foremost, but also keeping the game in front of them -- coming up and tackling well in space.  Braxton can get impatient with the short passing game and he's not yet the runner he was last year.  OSU's backup plan will be to pound Northwestern inside and that actually is the best hope because it will shorten the game and give Northwestern a chance to get some turnovers and outscore the Buckeyes.
 

Comments

luckynewman13's picture

"Wide Receivers B-
A lot of good, reliable players at wide receiver some that can get you a first down and some that can get deep occasionally.  But no one stands out as great route runners or home-run threats."
He's not the best Buckeye receiver we've ever seen, but Devin Smith has certainly proved himself to be a "home-run threat". How many 40+ yard touchdown has that guy caught the last three seasons?
"Kickoff and punt returns have big play potential but OSU tends to opt for sure hands over home-run potential."
At this point in the season, "sure hands" is not the way I would describe Philly Brown on punt returns. 
 

Nick's picture

Agreed especially with Philly surprised they don't Smith or someone else back there by now, he has muffed more than 5 that I can remember off the top of my head. 1 per game is way too many.

SPreston2001's picture

I agree Philly has muffed a few punts and im no longer confident in him returning punts.....

buckeyefanatic's picture

The "no home run threat" comment jumped out at me too.  I guess that isn't exactly what they are saying but I feel like we have a number of guys that a threat to get behind coverage and/or do damage YAC.  (but what do I know - admittedly little more than the average fanatic)  I don't have the ability to judge pass route running ability based on what I see.

How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.

Kindell's picture

You can't scout the Buckeye D-Line right now and not mention Michael Bennett.  Ask Wisconsin if Bennett is unspectacular. 

theDuke's picture

^so much this. I will write a handwritten letter of congratulations to Fitz if he sends Venric (?) up the middle more than 7 times. 

theDuke

yrro's picture

I was thinking the same thing. Spence has looked good, but Bennett has been spectacular.

Breakawayspeed's picture

Purple cat-scratched glasses.  Sounds like they have nothing to fear.  We know better.

Toilrt Paper's picture

Scarlet colored glasses wearers not happy unless all As are given. 

steveoz49's picture

From the sounds of things, Northwestern has this game all sewn up.  I'm not even sure why the need to play the game.  But just for shits and giggles, I say we play the game anyways.
 
Hey Northwestern.... there's an old saying  "careful what you ask for"
 
Karma!!!!!

teddyballgame's picture

I like the cut of his jib...objective analysis.

bedheadjc's picture

Remarkably so, I thought. Not sure why others think it's unrealistic.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Ditto. There are a few nits to pick but overall it's a very sober assessment of the Buckeyes.

buckeyefanatic's picture

Agreed with all of these statements.  I could nit pick on the home run threats issue but I thought this was a solid assessment.

How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.

Borrowed Time's picture

I pretty much agree with his analysis, maybe bumping up the D-Line to a B+/A- because from what I've seen they've been solid

OldColumbusTown's picture

I would honestly say that is a pretty good perspective, coming from an opponent's fan/fan site.  They may not give quite as much credit to some of the more "unsung" heroes we all know about on this team, but otherwise it is pretty fair and balanced.
With all that said, I think the talent disparity is still pretty wide between the two.

lippertini's picture

The guy has clearly been watching and knows his stuff more or less.  
In addition to the comments above, I'd also add that he is shortchanging Bennett on the DL a little, and he mentioned Bosa but not Washington.  We'll see what he says after this weekend ;)

NoVA Buckeye's picture

Basically, Northwestern's plan to win is to play perfect football and to keep Miller healthy... GOT IT

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Knarcisi's picture

And for us to run up the middle ... to create turnovers?

Toilrt Paper's picture

Only if running up the middle A LOT with Smith and Wilson

Bucks Forever's picture

Umm. click on the link and this was one of the grades for Shazier:
#10 needs serious work and has a helluva time getting off of blocks. Only playmaker is #14.
What games do these guys watch?

BED's picture

OSU rivals Northwestern and is a notch below Oregon

LOL

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

Boomcat's picture

I'll let him go with the second comment, but we rival Northwestern? What is this guy on?

Nick's picture

I think he means in offensive scoring, PPG. Which I believe is similar.
OSU - 48.2
NW  - 41.3
So within a TD or so, but we haven't played many second halves this season so that number can be deceiving. I will admit I haven't watched any NW games this season so I don't know if they have played many second halves either but I will guess they have.  

gobucks96's picture

All in all, not a complete terrible review from an opponent.... Wouldn't expect them to give us too much credit, until after the game..

LeftCoastBuck's picture

Stormmaster is an OSU fan. Here is the next post on their site from "Klemman"
 
"Stormmaster, from an OSU fan that's a pretty good and fair balanced analysis. The one slight change is when looking at the receivers. Define home run threat. Devin Smith fits the bill if you are talking about throwing the deep ball. His average TD catch is plus 40 yards. If you are talking about taking a short pass in space ad getting YAC, that has been missing. Cory Brown has some potential for that, as well as putting Dontre Wilson or Jordan Hall lined up on the outside or as an H-back."

"To crush the Wolverines, to see them driven from their stadium, and to hear the lamentation of their fans" Conan the Barbarian (paraphrased) on "what is best in life."

BED's picture

Klemman is the OSU fan.  He's praising the objectivity of Stormmaster, an NU fan.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

LeftCoastBuck's picture

Good catch....thx

"To crush the Wolverines, to see them driven from their stadium, and to hear the lamentation of their fans" Conan the Barbarian (paraphrased) on "what is best in life."

southbay's picture

Everyone lay in lots of beer, munchies, etc. because it may be a long one with all the NW "injury" timeouts.
The bombing begins in five days.

Nick's picture

Reasonable outlook, but I don't think they can come anywhere near stopping our offense. Their best hope is a monsoon and to play 11 in the box. In that scenario, I still think we win by 14 or more. 

southbay's picture

As of Monday afternoon the weather forecast for Saturday night in Evanston is clear and breezy, 50 degrees.  Sounds like a perfect night for some football.
They can still play eleven in the box if they want to.

Hovenaut's picture

I'm not doing the math to work up a proper GPA, but I'd say from the looks of things OSU makes the Honor Roll with those marks. 

I am not the Last Dragon, therefore I do not possess the power of the Glow.

CCatanzaro's picture

3.333.  Not quite Dean's List, but hell, from a school like NW, that's pretty solid!  I hope the Buckeyes win by 40, with three or four bombs to multiple targets.

Dairy-fed intellect and pure, unhinged sass.

 

Seth4Bucks's picture

I'd like to see where he ranks his own team in all those categories before I really jump on him. But some of those seem a little low.

FitzBuck's picture

RB less than A+
WR at B-
otherwise hard to argue.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

BTBuckeye's picture

My breakdown of Ryan Field Ohio Stadium West on Saturday Night: 60-70% Buckeyes Fans
 
 
 

OurHonorDefend09's picture

And I'll be one of them. 5 days.

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

otrain2416's picture

If we can pack the house over 1,000 miles away at Cal I can't imagine what we'll do at Northwestern

buckeyedude's picture

Overall, I think this was a fair assessment of the Buckeye football team at this point, if you're not wearing S&G glasses.

 

 

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

I'm more interested to know what Coach Meyer's grades are for the team at this juncture myself. As tough and direct as the man is I doubt his grades are as high as these so keep that in mind. Of course, he also says what he says to get his players fired up and it works, too.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

SaltyD0gg's picture

Ohio State has a slight edge in overall speed however.

I can only hope they're suggesting that OSU has a slight edge in speed over Oregon and not NW. It's laughable to think that OSU would only have a slight edge in speed over NW.

Pain of Discipline
Pain of Regret
Take Your Pick

LeftCoastBuck's picture

Venric Mark is their speedster! A 4.35 guy....
As for Ohio State
Bradley Roby 4.31
Dontre Wilson 4.33
Braxton Miller 4.35
Ryan Damn Shazier 4.39
Mike Mitchell 4.39

"To crush the Wolverines, to see them driven from their stadium, and to hear the lamentation of their fans" Conan the Barbarian (paraphrased) on "what is best in life."

JasonR's picture

Seems pretty fair to me. My only gripe would be saying the interior DL are unspectacular. I think "#63" has been pretty spectacular. And Devin Smith or Philly (take your pick) are definitely home run threats at WR.

BuckeyeMark's picture

"OSU's backup plan will be to pound Northwestern inside and that actually is the best hope because it will shorten the game and give Northwestern a chance to get some turnovers and outscore the Buckeyes."
Let's hope our plan is NOT to let the Ghosts of Tressel and Bollman take over the playcalling and run the inside repeatedly.  Saw some of that Saturday night...  ENOUGH WITH DAVE!

JKH1232's picture

Dave is a solid play that gains yards, controls the ball, and wins games.  What's wrong with, you know, winning?

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Seems many of the posters on that thread have sipped one too many purple dranks!

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

It's actually a pretty solid analysis of the team.  I don't agree with all of it, but I'd give it a solid B+.

Class of 2010.

Humbuck's picture

I'd like to see his grades for the NW team. 
I don't disagree with the OL and QB assessment, however if you give Miller and "A" it is hard not to give the RB's an "A" as well. 
B- receivers is kind of funny.  I would expect he has to give NW a D if the scale has us at B-.  It isn't an "A" unit but I'd safely go B+ without much argument from any of the defenses who have had to face it this year. 
Bennett and Washington are interior linemen quite a bit of the time.  I think they are pretty special to this unit.  The variations and depth of this DL are impressive. I only hope NW's OL thinks they will have it easy in the trenches... Overall his defensive assessment isn't far off.  I especially agree with the notion that like last season, this year's unit will get stronger as the season goes forward.
Special teams, I think he needs to bone up on Meyer's stated kicking strategy.  Urbs instructs his kickers to do certain things.  We haven't kicked off to anyone who is a return threat this year so he tends to ask that the ball be sent to the corner inside the 5 yard line. He likes our odds of keeping a returner from hitting the 25.  When he wants it non-returnable he asks for it to go deep and it does.  Leg strength isn't the reason we've allowed returns. 
Punting is looking very good right now.  Cameron has the ability to place the ball where we want it to go.  Against a great returner like Mark we can expect those kicks to be put where he will not get much chance to return them.  3 return yards for the season, pretty solid kicking. 
Game plan assessment.... If NW loads the box to stop the run we go to the edge and torch them there until they trickle back out then we send Hyde into a softer middle.  If he can consistently get to the second level and maintain a 6+ ypc day I fully support giving him the ball 25 times and letting him chew up yards.  If Herman calls this game with a wide open playbook I think we can make the NW defense look really silly a la Nebraska last year. 
 

buckeyefanatic's picture

>> (RE: Braxton) His passing is much, much improved but he looked hesitant running the ball against Wisconsin.
I thought so as well.  To me that means he probably isn't 100% trusting the knee and maybe rightfully so.  Just appeared to be a little more stiff than what we are used to.  Not sure "hesitant" is the right description because when he decided to run, he did it for sure.  Just wasn't with the usual fluidity?

How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.