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How confident are you that Ohio State will fix its tackling problem before Saturday?



Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Nervously optimistic.

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

cplunk's picture

I feel like we've done our worst with outside runs, misdirections screens, and short passing. MSU is more of a straight at you rushing team, and that's kinda where our strength is. Their QB might not yet be good enough to nail all the short passes we like to give up, which means the middle won't open up as much.
their are definitely tackling issues for us, but I think this game plays a little more to our strengths than the ones we've played to far, even though MSU is a better tam than who we've played thus far.
I'm nervously optimistic.

cbusbuckeye's picture

This. As long as Dantonio doesn't have a shifty back that can get to the edges hiding somewhere, I think we will be ok. Bell will gain some yards, but I think goebel and Hankins bottle him up for the most part

Phoenix824's picture

Agree,   I don't think Maxwell can beat us.    We control Bell we control the game.   

Nappy's picture

The formations we'll see this week will probably require more three LBs sets on the field for us, meaning more Klein/Grant.  While I'm optimistic we can improve on the tackling, I'm not thrilled with the idea of seeing either MLBs get more minutes.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

buckeye76BHop's picture

My reasoning for choosing not confident, but thinking there's a chance is due to them not figuring it out in the last two games.  It's really not that hard...don't dive at their feet , hit them high, and for the love of all that is holy WRAP UP!  They better get it figured out tomorrow and Wed. or it may be a long day.  MSU is way better than the last four teams OSU's played.  I'm not sure why everyone has this idea that MSU sucks...they had a couple let down games and lost one of them (so did OSU but luckily we won both games).  You can bet they'll be ready...I just hope OSU is too.  

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

Haybucks's picture

I vote the same for the same reason plus somehow new and substitute QB's seem to have our number.  This puts the onus on the DB's and we all know how they wrap up.

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


buck-I.8's picture

I was talking to my dad about this yesterday: The three teams that hurt us on the ground played a very similar style, as cplunk mentioned. C-USA is a conference with a lot of the same types of teams. They rely on counters and misdirections, outside runs with scat back type quick players, and screens in space. Cal is the same way, with weapons like Bigelow and Sofele. 
MSU will run up the middle a lot, and basically just challenge the D to stop him. I think, since he's not super quick, it'll reduce some of the need to be perfect with the angles, and the D will be able to swarm better.
That being said, even if they pursue Bell well, if they try to arm tackle, it'll be Boise state 2.0. If we stop them from establishing a ground game, Maxwell has to do it himself, and I don't think he's doing any damage unless he has the advantage of a successful play action.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

@Buck I.8... I agree with you on the types of offenses we have faced to this point.  I believe MSU will be more a run it down your throat type team, but we have to be able to stop all offenses no matter what they run.  There aren't too many spread offenses in the B1G but we need to be able to compete on a national stage and not just against our conference.  We all hope to be winning titles in the coming years, but in order to do that we are going to have to defend each different style of offense. 
With that said... I believe we will be better this week against MSU as long as we come in and play our game.  We have to be healthy too.  Hopefully everyone who is banged up a little can heal this week. 

Enzo's picture

I've seen the way the OSU defense tackles this season. Yards after contact are guaranteed and Bell excels at breaking tackles. One other thing, Shazier might have had 14(?) tackles against UAB, but I counted at least 4 or 5 times that he missed horribly on an open field tackle. These kids just aren't making plays.
If this continues I don't see Fickel and Vrabel coming back next year. 

Doc's picture

I agree ENZO.  The defense is like a sieve.  Labia Bell is going to run threw us like Sherman threw the South.  I'm not confident at all, but feel Sparty might sparty themselves out of this one.

I'm hiding baby and I'm dreaming
I'm riding down your moonlight mile

Denny's picture

But without those two how will we make all of our bro jokes :(


Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

There's no way he gets rid of Vrabel... He might be the hottest recruiter on the staff.  I could see him letting Fickell go if this continues but not Vrabel.  We still have 8 games left. Let's see what happens the rest of the season.  The only way I see them getting rid of those guys is if there is a stud coordinator in the SEC that wants to join the staff.  Otherwise, they will probably be back.

OSUBias's picture

I actually think this is a really interesting microcosm of whether or not Urb can trust his assistants and not micromanage. You can see him cringe over on the sideline when we have these schematic misfires. I'm curious to keep tabs on whether or not he continues to let Fickell and Withers do their thing, or if he is going to start injecting himself into the decision making process more on that side of the ball.
The other thing I'm wondering about is whether or not we care more about the yardage than they do. Obviously they care about the missed tackles and guys being in the wrong spot or not playing their gap/lane correctly. But thanks to Ross we know that the weakness of our defensive scheme is the short flats (where all of the screen passes go) and the decision making of the safeties (hasn't been great, from my pedestrian viewpoint). So maybe they are ok with the yardage from passes into the flats, and they'll just keep working the safeties to make better decisions/reads? Who knows, but it did strike me as interesting that Withers basically "poo poo'd" the question about how many yards they gave up to UAB with a "we gave up 15 points, that's all i care about."

Shitter's full

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I think behind the scenes Urban is meeting with coaches telling them they need to get it together, but I'm not sure if he would fire them.  Especially if they continue to win.  The offense is stagnant too and Urban is hands on with the offense.  I think if you fire guys after one season it looks bad and shows tension within the program.  Now if they are terrible next year when we should have a shot at playing for a title then there could be some changes coming.  Right now Withers and Vrable have too much momentum in recruiting. 

JKH1232's picture

I don't think that Sparty is really set up to take advantage of any tackling problems with OSU- I think that our D-Line will tend to get off their blocks and plug gaps, and it'll be a lot of gang-tackling.  Sparty's QB doesn't have the stuff to make us pay for cheating up and I don't think they have an outside recieving threat to really make us pay with WR screen plays.  I'm sure they'll try a number of things, but their strength plays into our strength, more or less.

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

I feel a lot of the lack of tackling can be blamed on the complete lack of any press coverage whatsoever.  WR's are given so much cushion to make a little slant or hitch , and therefore are already in open field.  Open field tackles are always more difficult to make.
Also, wasn't Travis Howard supposed to be good?  I expected more improvement compared to last year.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

hodge's picture

Completely agree, the zone coverage is absolutely infuriating me.  Put two corners on the line to jam the receivers, keep your safeties back in a deep zone.  It's painfully apparent that our linebackers are going to need another offseason to master zone coverage.  It's not very hard to design a gameplan based around attacking the 5-7 yard pass because the corners aren't pressing and the LBs can't cover that mid-zone.

cplunk's picture

The lack of press coverage is likely a direct result of the coaches lacking confidence in the safeties. If you don't feel your safeties make good reads, you can't press your corners because they'll be too exposed.
Playing off the WRs gives up the short pass (and lots of yards), but prevents the multitude of big play touchdowns that result if your corners get beat right at the line and the safeties are in the wrong places.
If the coaches had more confidence in the safeties, I have to think we'd see more press coverage. Roby, Grant and Howard are all solid corners.

mitchjacobsen01's picture

Not confident, but there is a chance.  Like most of you already said, this game plays to our advantage a little.  I think by the end of the season, we'll have ironed out many of the flaws of this team.  Going into next year we'll be full of momentum and primed for NC contention.

Squirrel Master's picture

Nervously optimistic! Fickell and co. would be wise to stack the line, force Maxwell to throw and stuff Bell. I think MSU is currently playing very one dimensional (kind of like OSU was last year when MSU beat up on them) and really isn't a huge threat to score 35!
I am actually more optimistic about Braxton vs MSU's defense! MSU seems to be getting little pressure on the QBs. Big if would be if buckeyes Oline can block MSU for all 4 quarters! If so, Braxton will eat them up! I am also a big believer in revenge games, MSU punked Braxton and Co. early last year and I think Braxton has some payback in mind!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I hate to jinx things, but maybe the MSU pass rush took an even heavier loss when Jerel Worthy left than expected.
If I remember correctly, last year when announcers and cfb "analysts" heaped praise on Worthy, it was mostly as a run stopper - i.e., the stereotype that that's what 340 lb DTs do . . . eat up space and clug the running lanes.
Well, maybe Worthy's impact on the pass rush was more significant than the experts realized. If he was constantly collapsing the pocket, he was delivering QBs to the DEs. 
MSU is still a shutdown run defense, of course. But (fingers crossed) hopefully the loss of Worthy is forcing their DEs to work a little harder and exposing their flaws.

OSUBias's picture

Our defense this year constantly reminds me of what Urban said (albeit about the offense) during spring drills (paraphrased): "You've got 10 guys doing it right and one guy doing it wrong and it's the worst thing you've ever seen in your life." We seem to always have one guy who is either in the wrong place, or in the right place and missing the tackle.
Agreed on the fact that our secondary giving them a 10-15 yard cushion certainly doesn't help matters any. When those guys come up for run support they just don't get there until 5-6 yards downfield. Are we that worried about getting beat over the top? Are our guys that slow that they can't run with WR's? Is this the product of the base defense strategy (Ross?) of the Cover 4?

Shitter's full

painterlad's picture

I think mindset plays into this weekend. When you are in the back 7 and are facing smaller but quicker runners, you tend to want to deliver the knock-out blow because, in your mind, you think you can simply knock them down. When you know you are facing a tank like Bell you know you need to hit high and wrap up, and that arm tackles and flinging your body about won't get the job done.
Therefore I am optimistic about slowing down the Sparty run game.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

tennbuckeye19's picture

Wait a second, we have a tackling problem? I haven't noticed this being an issue. I might have to watch a little closer next game. 

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Nervously optimistic is like the perfect choice for me in this poll.  What someone said about zone coverage above being too soft - I agree that's a big factor in the issues.  Also, I think these guys need a challenge.  A "we need to play well to win" type of challenge.  It seemed like there wasn't a lot of energy and the guys were bored.  I'm no psychologist, but I got a sense of boredom there.  Teams certainly have managed to all of a sudden play 50 times better one week than the previous week, so we'll see.  Bell may get 100-120 yards, but if he starts getting to 150 and such, look out.

Class of 2010.

Kurt's picture

Not worried.  What MSU does on offense is pretty 1-dimensional right now - I think they always are, but even more so with young qb.  We'll probably be able to afford extra men in the box to stop the run and force Maxwell and the receivers to come up with some plays.  From what their results are currently showing, they haven't proven they can do that.

Colin's picture

Not confident at all but fortunately Bell isn't fast enough to do what these previous runningbacks have done against us. Now him grinding for 3 yards up the gut every play isn't out of the question so I guess it's up to the D-line to finally show up (that excludes Hankins... <3 Big Hank)

DCBuckeyeFille's picture

Although the play has been less than stellar, I want to avoid going chicken little. Having the bowl ban in place, I think this might be an opportunity to experiment and develop players, with no real consequences.  There are a ton of true freshman playing. There are multiple coaches experimenting with balance (Urbs, Fickell/Withers sharing DC responsibilities, etc). I also wonder if they didnt try some of this out against "lesser" opponents, but are going to show a better aptitutde for the fundamentals once the B1G schedule begins. (Let's hope).  Lucikly, we're still at 4-0 despite all of this!

TheHostileDwarf's picture

Not confident, but thinking there's a chance. I think Braxton will put enough points up on the board for us to eke out a tight, but ugly victory. 24-20, good guys.

YtownBuck13's picture

Although the play and tackling of the Defense has been a little concerning thus far I think you also have to look at the types of offenses the Buckeyes have played through the first 4 games of the season. When you watched the games what did you primarily see? That offenses that are playing against the Buckeyes are running primarily out of the spread formations. These offenses do that to get their players/athletes in space where it is more difficult to make an open field tackle versus filling a gap. I think as we move into B1G play that we will see a major improvement in this area simply because of the Wisc/MSU/Neb type offenses.

Kurt's picture

Agree.  MSU is very conventional, there are plenty of blueprints out there to stop their I-formation offense.
Although Nebraska is a power spread offense unlike MSU and Wisconsin.  Actually most of the Big Ten is spread.

onetwentyeight's picture

I will say this: the one thing this defense HAS done well is stopping the inside run. Hank & co. have done as well as you could hope for in this department. Sparty rarely gets Bell on the edge and all that outside stuff, so I don't see him in space beating our guys like way that Cal speedster did. Their lone offensive strength corresponds nicely to our lone defensive strength. I say we stack the box and let Maxwell beat us down the field! 

AGL's picture

I would say 50/50 , is it time for John Simon  to line up @ MLB  ?  Coach Fick said he could play there.  Don't see Simon playing DE @ next level,  he would be a brute @ MLB. 


tampa buckeye's picture

Great Idea and you could get one of your best 11 on the field in spence or washington at end depending on which down it.

Buckeyes125's picture

That would be sweet. I don't think he needs to have to much lateral movement vs. MSU. They are gonna run up the throat, not to the outside. I just think we should get the best 11 players on the field.

Jeremy91's picture

Simon at MLB would be sweet.

"Do not pray for an easy life. Rather, pray for the the strength to endure a difficult one" - Bruce Lee

William's picture

Simon has nowhere near the lateral quickness to play MLB.

Jeremy91's picture

Maybe not, but he's fast enough. Plus he'd be one heck of a run stopper. And he'd definitely do a better job than the MLB's playing right now for Ohio State.

"Do not pray for an easy life. Rather, pray for the the strength to endure a difficult one" - Bruce Lee

Ahh Saturday's picture

Proper tackling requires FOOTBALL speed.  This is not to be confused with running fast in a straight line. It comes from the quick recognition of what the offense is doing, an immediate understanding of what your responsibility is given what the offense is doing, and then taking the shortest route to get where you need to be to stop the offense from doing it.  There are very few players on our team right now who can do all three of those things. With young guys like Shazier and Grant, there is still hope that they'll get it, but time is running out on some of our other guys.  Tackling is football, and if you're not tackling, you're just running around on a pretty green field. 

4dorr's picture

I just want Ohio State to beat up PSU, their fans are getting very annoying.  PSU has won 2 garbage games in a row and they act like they are an elite program.


btalbert25's picture

I don't see why everyone is so worried about MSU.  They aren't that good.  They lost to Notre Dame, didn't dominate BSU, and struggled with Eastern Michigan.  I know the Buckeyes haven't looked great, but neither has Sparty.  They have no offense outside of Bell.  I don't think Ohio State blows them out, but I think Ohio State will win this game.   Nebraska on the other hand..........

Run_Fido_Run's picture

We can't put too much stock in computer models, especially only four games into the season, but the FEI model - which one of the better ones - still has MSU 12th. Of course, FEI has ND 3rd and Boise 22nd.
I, too, am kinda bullish on ND because they finally have a legit defense.
I think MSU is a better team than Nebraska and it's a road game.
That said, I think the Buckeyes defense probably matches up better against the MSU offense right now than it will against the Nebraska offense and they're catching MSU's offense at the right time. As long as they don't turn it over multiple times, I'm guessing the Buckeyes only need to score about 20 points to win this game.
I'll like their chances, even though fundamental handicapping would actually give the edge to MSU, because I do believe the team will play much better this weekend.

Jeremy91's picture

ENJOY YOUR SHUTOUT, SPARTY! Not really though, I'm nervously optimistic. I think Braxton is going to win this game with his arm, but will use his legs to pick up key 3rd downs.

"Do not pray for an easy life. Rather, pray for the the strength to endure a difficult one" - Bruce Lee

kr66osu's picture

Normally I would say "They have a terrible QB, they have no chance", but this defense inspires no confidence in me.
However, MSU is so one-dimensional I don't think we'll lose to them. You can't put all of the weight of an offense on the RB, it just doesn't work.  He can rush for 200 yards for all I care, and we'll still have a good chance of winning.

chitown buckeye's picture

I agree with most on the idea MSU plays into our defenses strengths. It seems as if it has always been that way in the past. Once we get to smash mouth, in your face football, OSU tends to be much better. I'm feeling more and more confident about this game as the dys/hrs tick away.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

southbymidwest's picture

I just don't want to be watching through my fingers, chugging pepto, and turning the channel because I can't stand it. 

bukyze's picture

I agree.  I have a feeling 1/2 the lining in my stomach is going to be gone by the end of the game.

RC's picture

I think the more traditional style offense will help our tackling.

DetroitBuckeye's picture

I do think that Bell is going to gash the buckeyes.  However, that doesn't mean that they can't win as Bell is there entire offense, I think he runs for 250 and the buckeyes still win.