TTUN gives it all for the Incredible Hoke, but the loss of Clark hurts their defense. Buckeyes are in control by the end of the 2nd quarter. TBDBITL puts on a helluva halftime show. Defense/special teams score 1TD, with 3 total TDs for JT. TTUN gets a garbage time TD to close to 38-17. The sun shines in Columbus as the team sings Carmen Ohio.
Three biggest surprises:
1) That there are so many "ORs." I would have thought things would be a little more settled. Basically every posiion that was undecided a week ago is still undecided.
2) Schutt or Bennett at DT.. No knock on Schutt, but could this mean that Bennett has a health issue we're unaware of?
3) Johnton as holder. Given that you want to be able to fake the kick (a la last year's "swnging gate"), isn't it more typical to have a quarterback or at least someone counted on to be able to run the ball (Jalin Marchall perhaps) in that position. Either Urban is writing off that possibility, or intends to telegraph it with a subsitution... unless the Aussie has shown something that allows him to play that role. Interesting, but not likely to have an impact on theoutcome of this game.
There seems to be incredible depth at most positions, in many cases with little seeming to separate 1st & 2nd string. With the loss of Braxton, it seems to me that the (next) most indispenseable Buckeye is Tyler Decker. I've heard very little to suggest that there is anyone "this close" who could step in should he go down. And if Baldwin is our next best tackle, then moving him from R to L would weaken two positions. Although Baldwin didn't win his job until fall camp, I hadn't heard of the type of battle for the position (from Lisle, or Farris, or Dodson) that we've seen at guard or center. Given that the responsibility tackles (esp the LT) have in protecting the quarterback, when we have the experience back there, I would be terribly concerned to have to run someone else out there to play tackle. Or perhaps we just haven't heard the good things happening with the backups.
I think there are not 12 but 13 scholarship OL practising this spring, including Hale who just transferred from DL. Theoretically, there are adequate numbers before anyone else shows up. Why the comment about depth? First, I'm sure the coaches won't feel comfortable until they have a solid two-deep. It's pretty much par-for-the-course to lose one guy for the season due to injury, so you really want 11 or more guys ready. Hale certainly is not ready... yet... after just 6 practices. Jones & Trout certainly aren't ready as freshman. I'm guessing, given that I haven't previously heard any specific positive comments about them, that Brown, Dodson and Lisle aren't ready either. So if 6 of 13 aren't ready, that would leave only 7 candidates for the 10 (or 11) you'd want to fill out the two-deep... at this time. I don't doubt that the comment about needing the new arrivals is as much a pscyhological ploy to spur on the "not yet ready" guys to improve, because if they don't, they COULD be supassed by this summer's arrivals. Remember, though, that most of these guys have two years under Coach Mick and two years of Warinner's coaching, which will likely put them ahead of anyone arriving fresh out of HS in the summer. Will they all make it to where they can contribute by the fall? Probably not, but I think some will.
Will we have a 2013-caliber OL? I doubt it. But it's clear that the coaches think they are ahead of where they were in 2012, and the 2012 OL ended up pretty good, just not yet developed to what they would become in 2013. We lucked out that year because the top 5 guys were healthy for the full year, and the fifth spot became solid only by having a newly-converted TE beat out a true freshman. There really was no one ready behind them. It sounds as if not only are our penciled-in starters ahead of the crew two years ago, but that we may (I said "may," leaving the real evaluation to the coaches) have at least a few backups futher along than the 2012 crew. No one has... yet... claimed all the two-deep spots, so we DO... at the present... have depth issues. I trust Warinner (and Marotti) and therefore Meyer, to have a solid OL, with depth, ready for the fall - equal to or better than the 2012 OL, if not at the 2013 level.
I think that a most important step is hiring one top-notch defensive secondary coach. I've checked around, and that's what other college teams seem to have (or at least those with top-notch defenses), rather than a safeties coach and a cornerbacks coach. That also solves the problem of Coombs' not getting the job done with cornerbacks.
I get the impression that Meyer wanted Coombs on staff for recruiting and motivational reasons, and carved out "cornerbacks" as a responsibility to give him a position group, and to try to help out Withers in the backfield. I don't think it worked. Leave Coombs as special teams coach (we did see improvement in this area with him in charge). Perhaps give him some other title-responsibilities ("recruiting coordinator" is a title many college teams give to a coach; or perhaps a co-position coach). Let him be a coach "at large" as a motivator.
Although there have seemingly been problems at linebacker of late, Fickell really has shown in the past that he can produce good ones. He has some new materials to work with. He should stay to work with these young players.
Defensive coordinator? Was Fickell in over his head, or were there problems with a scheme negotiated between him and a "co-" that could be ironed out by placing responsibility in one person's hands. Even if he was calling the plays, perhaps he was limited in what he felt comfortable calling by a dysfunctional defensive backfield. If this is what Meyer sees from the inside, then perhaps Fickell staying as sole DC may work. If not, then the new defensive backfield coach need to be someone who can be THE defensive coordinator, even if Fickell retains a "co-" title. He's been a loyal Buckeye.
I think the BIG issue is fixing the defensive backfield, under one first-rate defensive backfield coach. Whoever is then DC then has a chance to succeed.
2014 O line will not be as good as 2013, but could easily be as good as in 2012, which we all thought was good until we were spoiled by 2013. Decker, Elflein and probably Boren will be solid. Price, or possibly Ferris if he returns to offense, should provide the solution at the other guard. Then, as was mentioned by Buckeyebartt, we need one of Baldwin, Dodson or Lisle to step up at the other tackle. And then there is Underwood. If Warinner stays, I'm not all that worried about the unit. By the end of the non-conference schedule he should have them performing together at a high level. There's an outside chance that one of the incoming freshman could contribute, but I don't think we need to count on it (fortunately).
Remember where we were at this point two years ago. We had two linemen (Mewhort, Norwell) or maybe three (with Hall) we had much confidence in, and beyond that it was wide open. (This year we have Decker, Elflein and maybe Boren). We had a tight end converting to tackle to compete with a true freshman for right tackle, and no one really at center. They started the spring horrible as a group, and wound up being the strength of the team by the end of the season. This year we don't have great depth, but I'm confident that we have at least a couple guys out of the limelight developing under Warinner and Marotti who should be ready to complete effectively in the fall.