That's awesome! I expect no less from a rivarly. Alright, Buckeyes -- you're up.
I would be equally hesitant to write off Cardale Jones. He's a fantastic athlete built to withstand some of the punishment that Braxton has experienced. His passing skills seem to be at least the equal of JT Barrett though JT may be the better runner.
Although I know everyone is impressed with JT's speech and leadership, it all comes down to decision-making. Who is going to be able to make the right reads on the option and who is going to make the right decisions in the pocket? I don't think we've seen enough yet to say JT is the lock for "heir apparent" and everything else seems just to be hearsay.
Personally, I'm rooting for Cardale to be like another overlooked QB from Glenville who came in NOT the heir apparent and did some pretty good things here once he got the chance. People forget that NO ONE liked Troy Smith compared to Justin Zwick when they started out either.
It's going to take a couple years to get the depth of talent we need to be consistently great. CJ Barnett (bless him) came in with an aggressive mentality but was writing checks his body physically couldn't cash. But he never had great awareness or cover skills.
I think the coaches need to A) start considering moving some of the stockpiling offensive talent to defense and B) re-evaluate the kind of kid we recruit in the defensive back seven. How many times did we hear Urban lament the lack of "home run hitters" on offense? Where are those guys on defense? Even Christian Bryant, for all his leadership, is no defensive All-American-- just the best (excluding Shazier) that we had. Don't get me started on Bradley Roby. He's been my favorite player the last couple years but this year I feel something was missing in his ... preparation.
I've got high hopes for Doran Grant and even Vonn Bell but they don't jump out at you like Bosa does, like Shazier does. Who else is a star in the making of the current LBs and DBs?
Instead of spending so much time deciding who is the next Percy Harvin, let's spend a little more time finding the next Ryan Shazier or Donte Whitner or Antoine Winfield.
Nothing in the documentary struck me as "new news", nor did I find it biased. I did think they should have covered the smear campaign by Clarett after he was kicked out and also thought they should have pushed more on Gene Wojciechowski on his reasons to slant his story toward the "one and done" angle. How does he feel now about his role in turning a lot of OSU fans against Clarett? I think the documentary also didn't reveal that Clarett lied on the police report about how much was stolen from his loaner car.
I felt then and I feel now that Geiger was unnecessarily vindictive in his "prosecution" of MoC's violations. Anyone that saw his presser where he berated the reporter for asking for the details of Clarett's transgressions saw an angry, vengeful man.
Reading the reactions from OSU fans and others is particularly interesting. Just as everyone judged Clarett in 2002-3 through their own particular bias -- I think everyone still judges this documentary with that same bias. It's amazing to me how many people felt that "Clarett blamed everyone else" in it. I might have to go back and watch and count how many times he said "It was my fault, I screwed up."
It was also particularly interesting to me to watch the documentary and think about how much Tressel must have been shaped by those events when it came to the mistakes he made in the Tatgate scandal. If MoC never gets ostracized and goes to jail, I wonder if JT goes to such great lengths to protect his guys (particularly TP) after the FBI notice and Cicero email.
Excellent article Ross. My view falls at both ends of the argument. It seemed when Braxton came back from injury, he really struggled at times when he felt passing was his only option on pass plays. I started to wonder in those 2 games is Braxton could really be a pass-first QB. But once he got healthy and was a threat to break a long run, he almost seemed more comfortable throwing the ball (if that makes any sense). Conversely, at the end of the season, when weather prevented him from effectively passing he again seemed really frustrated.
Braxton has a lot of areas to improve with another year in college. Not only, does he need to improve in his overall drop-back passing game but also he seems still to lack the "instincts" on reading the read-option and to know when to scramble and know when to throw it away.
When things go badly he seems to think he has to call his own number every play and he can't do that in the NFL.
How do you count all those as "quality wins" for Baylor?
If Texas Tech is a quality win, so is Iowa. If Kansas State is a quality win, so is Penn State. Texas is on par with Michigan. Wins over Wisconsin and Michigan State will be equal to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
I think Mark May is getting to you.
I thought Oklahoma could pass the ball effectively. No?
That was horrible.
The good news is Ohio State strengthened its position in the AP poll -- narrowing the gap by 32 votes vs. #3 Clemson and widening the distance between them and #5 by 61 votes.
The computer rankings should be interesting because several of the teams ahead of Ohio State lost. People think that Ohio State's weak remaining schedule will only make them go further down in the computer rankings and that's not true. There are still quite a few teams ahead of Ohio State in the computers that can't go unbeaten (because they play each other) so Ohio State can only go up in the computers if they keep winning.
Ross, it seems like our blitzes this year aren't as effective as in years past. I can recall a number of occasions - especially against Wisconsin - where we brought extra rusher(s) and the QB still had time to find someone open on a long-developing route. Have you noticed anything we're doing or not doing that's causing us to be so vulnerable even when we bring pressure? It almost seems like we get about the same amount of pressure rushing four.
Curtis Grant seems very good against the run and lost in pass coverage, either not getting a redirect on a receiver in front of him or not getting back into his zone in time to recognize the play (or both). Is he a lost cause in pass D or do you see some improvement? Anyone else stand out that could take his place?
Kyle, are the full evaluations available for the general public to read? I would love to get a link to the full documents. Thanks!
At this point every year, everyone always thinks that there will be three or more undefeated AQ-conference teams at the end of the year and it almost never happens. In the BCS-era, it's only happened once. Mark it down, an undefeated OSU gets into the BCS championship game over any one-loss team -- even one from the SEC.
Historically, it's been very unusual to have more than two undefeated teams. And only once has an undefeated team from a legitimate BCS AQ conference been snubbed -- Auburn in 2004.
Yes, the point was that at 31-14 the game was effectively over. To me, it's just as easy to look at that as the final score since OSU's strategy was simply to run out the clock after that.
True. But not to win, to tie. Wisconsin would not go for two in that situation. I think you'll find that the percentage of success go 90 in 90 is pretty small. OSU was one first down short of a perfectly executed end-game.
I think you and I would have bet money that the Buckeyes manage one first down in the final drives when they really needed it. I think there was some thought that Braxton was still Braxton running the ball when he was clearly not.
Thanks for the correction. I edited the score in the post.
My argument remains the same, however. With a 17-point lead there was no reason to take a risk - the game is effectively over if we don't make a mistake.
A loss was never at risk. At best, Wisconsin would have to drive 90 yards in under 90 seconds (with no timeouts?) to tie. Smart tactics by the OSU coaching staff for the taking the air out of the ball. Winning tactically is no less impressive.
Stranger still is I think they play in the summer so isn't he joining the team mid-year? Good luck to Troy now as I try to figure out what channel the CFL is on.
I wish I was as confident as you about the weakness of the opponents on our schedule. I can't remember the last season we consistently blew fools off the field - especially conference fools. I hope this is the year.
Dublin, your inability to read is even more painful. I didn't write watching Braxton is painful. I love watching Braxton play. I wrote that watching him run the read-option without the "read" part was sometimes painful.
Apologies that my post wasn't the unconditional, polyanna "we rock" reply you were hoping for. But it wasn't at all negative. Can't wait to see how much Braxton improves in those areas this year.
Can't wait for the season to get started but I can't help but feel that there are still questions to be answered on offense:
For all of Braxton's talents, he was downright painful to watch sometimes "reading" the read-option last year. It appeared often that he pre-determined his decisions on the read, especially in critical moments when he called his own number just about every time. How much improvement will we see this year in that area?
- We all hope we never get into a situation where we have to come from behind late or score fast but how much has Braxton improved in his ability to read the field in the passing game and throw an accurate ball down field? And when he gets flushed out of the pocket how will his decision-making improve on whether to tuck-and-run or keep looking for a receiver (and take a sack)?
I want to hope for the best but we've seen in the past that some of the hoped-for, expected improvements don't materialize. I can't even dare to imagine how good #5 will be if he fixes these two things -- scary good!
I don't know if you'll get a chance to read this but I think I can lend you one man's opinion that attended BOTH Ohio State and UCLA. Just FYI, I also am a big 11W reader but this is literally my first post because this is the first time I felt I may have a helpful opinion to share.
I also grew up in Ohio as a Buckeyes fan and enrolled in OSU partly because it was affordable and partly because of an opportunity to play a non-revenue sport. After two years and a half years of not getting on well with my coach I decided to look at other schools. I had a buddy that went to USC out of high school and I went to stay with him for the summer to check out some schools out West. I wasn't at all impressed with USC -- bad neighborhood, bad social scene if you weren't Greek and I just didn't feel I had the money to fit in. I got an invite to take a look at UCLA and went over a day early to check it out. It was love at first sight.
The campus is beautiful, not very spread out and exactly what I dreamed a perfect campus to look like. There was a mix of races (I'm a minority) so it felt like it wasn't just rich kids. Westwood (especially back then) was a picturesque little town inside the big city that was totally convenient and I saw Bruce Willis the first day I set foot there. What more could you ask for? I was walking to class in short in December. And let's be honest - the girls are hot. Nothing against OSU girls but UCLA had some really hot girls. UCLA was also a much better academic choice for me and, generally, (depending on your major) was more prestigious than Ohio State.
I spent 3 years at UCLA. Attended every football game and most basketball games. Got my degree. Lived and worked LA for 3 more years after graduation. And you know what? I still call myself a Buckeye and I am as big a Buckeye fan as there is. Why? Why not a UCLA fan? I get asked this all the time because people assume I graduated from Ohio State.
First of all, there is very little enthusiasm for sports at UCLA. Football games are played way off campus, you take buses to get there and the students get there notoriously late and leave early and even when they were there it was a half-packed, half-hearted stadium even though the team was doing very well. There also too many other things to do around LA. I remember struggling to try to find friends to go to games with because there was the beach and so many other fun stuff to do. It honestly felt like a commuter school.
Also, UCLA's compact, convenient campus looks amazing but it has its down sides. Everything is mega expensive. Even with the nice stipend for rent, we were packed into tiny apartments near campus or living off campus and getting parking tickets every week because there is literally NO place near to park. I think I spent more on parking tickets than food. So many other negative go with the placement of the campus - it was a super pain every single day. I can elaborate more but it'd get really long.
I don't know if you want to pledge a fraternity or not. UCLA was very much split between the academics (minority mostly, like me) and the partiers. Almost all of the social scene at UCLA is around the Greek system so if you want that, you should pledge. Ohio State has a nice balance. Being in a fraternity is awesome but even if you're not, there's plenty of social life outside 15th Avenue.
But 100% the biggest reason is that people in LA are much more shallow and rude. It's a way of life. You'll notice it when you first go out there and it will surprise you. But then you get used to it -- like seeing Lou Ferrigno at the grocery store or Robert Downey at the gym. You start getting used to the dude at 7-11 acting like you are doing HIM a favor buying something or the people that won't ever slow down to let you change lanes EVER. In fact, you'll never notice it again until you go home and you go out around a bunch of people and you think that everyone there is so nice you can't believe it. Image is everything there and people you think are your friends are just there to help their image and not people you can count on. It sounds cliche but Ohio State friends were just more "real". You'll never notice that on a campus visit where each school shows you only the bright and shiny. But in the end it's about what you take away from those 4 years and that's true for life friends.
After you graduate, Buckeye fans are a united family wherever you go. We are united around our teams and the great times we had together at school. UCLA alums ... I hate to say it but I never find them. In all the cities I've lived, Houston, Tampa, San Jose, Denver, Miami -- you can move there one day and the next day you can hook up with 300 or 400 Ohio State fans to watch a game. I've never once found a UCLA "bar" or alumni get together. Ohio State fans treasure the memories of great games and great rivalries (I can't even imagine how much more that would be as a football player). UCLA ... nothing - almost no enthusiasm. Rivalry with USC, I guess but even then the stadiums were half empty whether we played at the Rose Bowl or their place. But it doesn't come anywhere close to the year-round atmosphere at Ohio State. (Are there 10 UCLA football web sites? Or even 5 busy ones? IDK honestly)
I hope any of this helps you in your decision. I don't regret the education I got from UCLA but i wouldn't trade my two and half years at OSU for 20 years at UCLA. I guess UCLA is that hot ass chick with big &^%$ ... that you just ache for. But she ended up being kinda shallow and superficial and two months later you can't remember her name. Ohio State is that beautiful, clean cut girl your mom would love with a heart of gold (and a rockin' body under those clothes) that would never even look at another guy because she's yours forever.