6 Points & the Takeaway from the Orange Bowl

Kurt's picture
January 4, 2014 at 11:12a

1. I think Fickell is the guy everyone is piling only because he's the face and name we know.  I think for all we know the struggles could very well lie more in the lap of Withers, but we don't know him, the camera never shows him, so we don't blame him.  Fick studied under Heacock, he was integral to some of the best defenses of the Tressel era and I disagree with the calls to fire him.  With Withers leaving I think the move should be to ditch the co-DC thing and put Fickell in charge 100%.  If we continue to struggle then I'll stand corrected.

2. Additionally on the defensive side of the ball we were playing with so many injuries and so much youth that no one should've ever expected our defense was going to win the game.  In fact, in some ways they played above my expectations by forcing a few really huge turnovers (int's & safety).  We cannot forget about those plays because they absolutely kept us in a game we didn't belong in.  This unit lost a lot of seniors from last year and will certainly be better next year and the following.

3. Credit to Swinney/Morris for coming up with a smart gameplan!  They knew they would have to pass because we can stop the run.  (as for the 1,000 screens, we were in a lose/lose scenario. bring tighter coverage to line of scrimmage and a 10 play 80 yard drive gets shrunk to 1 play because we'd get burnt over the top).  They went away from our defensive strength took what we were giving.  That's smart offensive gameplanning/adjusting. 

4. If only Urban/Herman had also come up with (and adjusted to) a great gameplan!  We wasted far too many possessions (several 3 and outs) because we tried to pound Hyde into 8-man fronts!  Clemson came to this game to stop our run and it seemed Urban/Herman insisted 'no no, we're going to run right into that for 3 yard gains.'  It was Tressel/Bollman-like lunacy at times.  When we did pass the ball we slashed their secondary for huge gains - because their numbers were in the box.  We needed to be throwing the ball downfield, putting pressure on their secondary to respect Braxton's arm and our WRs/TEs.  Throw to set up the run!  Had we done that then we could've pounded them with big doses of Carlos Hyde as the game wore on.

5. Our special teams, particularly Johnston is incredible.  Everyone should be incredibly happy with the game he played consistently putting Clemson back in their own end.

6. The hurry-up spread offense is new to Ohio State fans.  We're all much more accustomed to 13-9 bruisers.  The hurry-up power spread offense has an affect on the defense as it will be on the field more.  Now in this game it was interesting because we had both teams employing very similar offenses.  All you need to do is look at arguably the best defensive minds in college football.  How did Saban and Smart handle Texas A&M, Auburn and Oklahoma (all teams that operate hurry-up spread offenses) this year?  It's nearly impossible for even the best defenses to stop.  It's exciting football!  The scores are big, turnovers are crucial and you rely on your offense to continue putting points up.  And finally one of the biggest factors is that wears defenses down physically and emotionally. So while we're so eager to get our defense back to the days when we only gave up 9 points per game, it simply may never happen as long as we operate with a hurry-up power spread offense.

The takeaway for me is that the defense was up against a top-notch offense (far beyond the level of a Michigan State or anyone else we'd seen this year) and they did what they could given the tough injuries and general youth.  And again, don't forget about the game saving turnovers they created.  In a game in which we were outgained in total yards by 150 yards we only needed 6 more points to win the game.  Our potent offense should really be able to come up with scoring 6 more points and I'm certain Urban and Herman know that.


Jonnferrell's picture

Well thought out points, Kurt.  6 points.  That we really should have gotten.  Nice post.

"I miss Brady Hoke."

DefendYoungstown's picture

The hurry-up spread offense is new to Ohio State fans.

It's been 2 years now, it's not "new" any longer.

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

DudeNick4's picture

Great points there Kurt. I do agree with you regarding Fickell 100% in charge, but that might limit who Urban brings in to replace Withers. Regardless of what happens this offseason I think this team will continue to improve throughout the spring and fall. I'm excited for next year. Some of these seniors will be missed but it's going to be a microcosm of what's in store for this team under Meyer. I'm pretty confident the passing game and the defense will improve next year. 

st pete bch buckeye's picture

Disagree  with gettting beat deep with press coverage.  Is a 2 yard pass harder to complete then a 40 yard bomb?  I thought other then the coverage blown on the vonn bell on #2 the safety deep help was good.  
Next year everyone back this d will be really good. Bosa beast,  vonn bell beast, spence beast,  J MARCUS freakin beast!!!   If Brax comes back look out.

Statutoryglory's picture

Finally some sanity.  This does not resemble the Yahoo comments section any longer.

AAStagg's picture

How you can be in favor of giving the defense over to Fickell 100% is beyond me.   I think you and I must have been watching different teams these last 3 games.  You're willing to blame the safeties coach, who's leaving, rather than the guy who's turned the Silver Bullets into mush over the last three seasons.  And the players he supposedly teaches, as their position coach, have been an enormous disappointment post-Tressel as well.  
To me the question isn't should Luke be the sole DC, it's should he be retained as the LB coach.  At any rate, I doubt very much that you'll get your wish for a 100% Fickell-led defense.  The new guy Urban brings in will likely run the show.  And that's a good thing.

Keep calm.  It's only a game.

Kurt's picture

We can hand it over to someone else, but the culmination of my 6 bullet points above is that it may make little to no difference.  Our team is built around a prolific offense that must be very aggressive in its playcalling and gameplanning to score a ton of points.  We won't be winning games 13-9 anymore.  What cost the game last night was that the offense couldn't get 6 more points.

Actorjonnyb's picture

what planet are these Fickel supporters on?? Last night there was no coaching going on at all. Dabo almost laughed at the lack of adjustments by our defense, so he kept doing the same thing.
He  has had 3 years and zero success. I love the guy but 600k buys a top notch coordinator.


Actorjonnyb's picture

what planet are these Fickel supporters on?? Last night there was no coaching going on at all. Dabo almost laughed at the lack of adjustments by our defense, so he kept doing the same thing.
He  has had 3 years and zero success. I love the guy but 600k buys a top notch coordinator.


Drew's picture

Nice post. Would you please contribute to powerspread.net! :)
My Comments:
1. You are on the right track. Let me add:
We can know something about Withers with a little research. He's a great recruiter -People Coach - and may make a great Head Coach, but he's always had problems scheme wise. Certainly, Withers wasn't a good match with Fickell in that respect.
I would also add that Fickell went beyond what Heacock was doing at the end of the Tressel reign. My research during that time led me to believe that more aggressive mix of coverages and zone blitzing was much more due to Fickell. Again, this isn't in Withers playbook. He would have fit better with Heacock's passive schemes. 
I don't like 2 DCs either, but this may work with the right guy. And Coaching Schemes are evolving so rapidly that Fickell may need some help. We all need some help. haha. BUT we have to get the Defensive Staff all on the same page in one unified direction with a simple scheme. This allows our players to flourish and fulfill their talent. All this falls on Meyer. I'm sure that's what he's looking for in the new coaching search. 
2. 100% TRUE. I thought the first half stunk! But the 2nd half we played smarter schemes and fundamentals. Just a bit better - but it made a differnce. Now, imagine if we really make improvements! We are not as far away as many may think. Again, I think Urban is well aware of all this.
3.Morris is a Brilliant PS Coordinator. Simple as that. He made some mistakes, I feel, but way more brilliant maneuvers. 
As for the Bubble Screens. They weren't as simple as they looked. DECEPTIVE simplicity. Watkins was all over the field. Even on the sideline for breathers. There were little TWEAKS in design everywhere. Some designs NO TEAM COULD HAVE STOPPED. Including the NFL. Morris is a master and Herman/Meyer struggled to keep up.
4. Power Spread is Aggression, Variety, Balance. "Go where they ain't". Very simple. Go back and watch what Morris does. For the most part. Then look at us. 
I really think Meyer is holding Herman back. I've seen better game plans/play calling earlier in the year and last year. AT times Brilliant. Even faking the jet sweep to Brown and using Hyde in pass pattersn flooding the sidelines late in the game were brilliant designs.
HERMAN HAS GOT IT! Meyer needs to let him use it.
5. Cam is amazing. But what happened to the innovation after the first part of the year? Swing Gate (Buffalo game) would have been perfect - without Miller - for the 2 pt conversion. And more innovation in the return games. For god's sake lets use our speedy guys to the max! Same as the Offense - too conservative once the Big 10 Schedule started. 
Meyer was King. Now students have passed the master.
6. Right on cue - true again. And again I say - Meyer has some work to do. On his own concepts and ideas. On all 3 phases of the game.
He was the Master during the 00s. But his aura was already starting to wane a bit at the end of his Florida run. Now his disciples are doing absolutely amazing stuff. Above and beyond what Urban, RRod and the NW team started. 
Urban is definitely smart enough. It's not just about schemes. But in all phases I hope he's reassessing his beliefs before he hires a new coach and starts dictating to the other coaches the direction we are going to go. Especially before they start teaching it to the players.
Possibly, Urban has already done all of this. We don't know, since one month is certainly not enough time to tweak the direction of the team.
Urban is a legend. The staff is full of great coaches with experience. We have great talent and recruiting. Just some tweaks are all that's needed to beat these new age gurus. 
Of course, Malzahn going to Clevland would help. haha. 
I wonder, did he ever copy Urban or RRod's stuff directy back in the day?

njclebuckeye5's picture

Great post. However, I would not call our special teams incredible. Johnston certainly is, but our return game is not. No big ones from Dontre, and the drop by Philly. 

Lobs it to the endzone... Touchdown Devin Smith!!

mtgerken's picture

After Urban took over special teams we have been lights out! But someone new needs to monitor the defense. It can't be Urban. We need someone to step up!! Im assuming Fickell will move to Withers job and we will hire a new DC. We will never get the crystal ball with that defense, and you know its not the players because the young guys played lights out in the bowl game!

"Because I couldn't go for three!"


Haybucks's picture


If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain