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TomD


Member since 13 January 2014 | Blog

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Comment 25 Feb 2017

Two FSU recruiting insiders CB Taron Vincent to the Seminoles immediately after his recent visit to FSU and you're ready to throw in the towel?  My, my.

I'm sure that Coach Johnson will continue to vigorously recruit the young man because he would be an excellent fit into an already very good defensive line, along with Aeneas Hawkins, if he chooses to become a Buckeye, too.
 

Comment 24 Feb 2017

OK, I'll take the bait (I may very well regret this), but I'm pretty sure that one of the first things that Coach Meyer, and the entire coaching staff does at the conclusion of the season, as a foundation in preparation for next year, is to study a rather detailed statistical analysis of last year, intentionally prepared by the support staff.

In order to assess how best to go forward, it would only make sense to perceive where one is and where one came from.  No?

Comment 24 Feb 2017

If you look at the overall season stats from CFB Film Room, the only aspect of pass protection that Billy Price had a major issue with in 2016 was penalties.  In 426 pass blocking snaps, he was attributed with 9 penalties/50 yards, and led the offensive line in this area.  The offensive line was called for 29 penalties over 13 games in pass protection in 2016.

Otherwise, in those 426 pass protection snaps, Price was attributed with 8 QB hurries, 4 QB hits and 3 QB sacks.  This works out to a 96.5% pass protection rating, meaning that on 3.5% of pass protection snaps was he responsible for a hurry, a hit or a sack.  Generally, a rating above 97% is considered very good, so 96.5% is not a bad rating.  By contrast, Isaiah Prince scored a 90.8% pass protection rating, which means that in rough 1 of every 10 pass protection snaps, he was attributed with either a hurry, a hit or a sack.  That is not good.

In addition, Billy Price was a member of the #1 rated offensive line in the nation in 2016, of the 128 FBS teams, with respect to run blocking.  The 2016 Buckeye offensive line was top 10 in the nation in each of the five sub-categories calculated with respect to run blocking, so the unit as a whole produced very well and there was no apparent weak link in the offensive line with respect to run blocking.

Whether Price should move to center in 2017 is a separate issue, but, apparently, the coaching staff believes that this is the best move given the returning starters, the coaching staff's perception of Price's performance and capabilities, and the other offensive lineman on the 2017 OL depth chart.  It is absolutely true that Price will have to improve with respect to reducing the number of penalties attributable to him, his one glaring weakness in 2016.

Comment 23 Feb 2017

Buckeye, I know I'm coming to this conversation a bit late, but does the ideal 1-technique DT have to necessarily be a "big" guy, 300 lbs or more?

Can strength, both leg strength and upper body strength, substitute for size in some instances?  Pure size is the obvious way for a 1-technique to clog the middle and take up two offensive lineman, but couldn't a somewhat smaller, quicker DT, who is very strong, serve that position, even in a way that makes him more valuable as a defensive lineman.  The ultimate key isn't so much size as it is pure, physical strength.  This means that, more than size, physical strength development is the key to developing an elite 1-technique DT.  He should be spending lots of time, perhaps more than most other players, specifically in a tailored strength and conditioning regime.

Or is it a fact that, since offensive lineman are getting bigger and bigger, some in the 300-325 lb. range, this almost requires a likewise 300+ pounder?  Would a survey of the elite 1-technique players in college and the NFL provide any insight into whether the "size is paramount" narrative is in fact true?

Comment 22 Feb 2017

What is particularly impressive about MIke Weber's accomplishment last year . . . going over 1,000 yards . . . is that he wasn't even the team's leader in rushing attempts . . . J.T. Barrett was, with 205 rushing attempts to Mike Weber's 182.  In those 182 attempts, Weber averaged 6.02 yards per carry.  6.02.  This is very impressive for a first year back.  And as an aside, Curtis Samuel gained 771 yards on only 97 rushing attempts, a 7.95 yard per attempt average.  Overall, the Buckeyes in 2016 gained 3188 yards rushing on 583 attempts, an average of 5.47 yards per attempt and scored 33 rushing touchdowns in 13 games.  Ohio State's rushing offense was ranked 11th in the nation, with 245.2 yards per game, very near Coach Meyer's goal of 250 yards per game.

In addition, the Buckeyes were #2 in the nation of the 128 FBS teams in Opportunity Rate (with 48%), the percentage of carries (when five yards are available) that gain at least five yards, #2 in Power Success Rate (with 84.6%), the percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown, and #6 in the nation in Stuff Rate (with only 13.4%), the percentage of carries by running backs that are stopped at or before the line of scrimmage.  This speaks even more to the overall rushing effectiveness, including the rushing blocking performance of the offensive line.

IMO, J.T. Barrett must run the ball much less in 2017, not lead the team with 35% of the rushing attempts, as he did in 2016.  Mike Weber, and those behind him on the depth chart, are very capable backs who need to be utilized more.

Comment 22 Feb 2017

TBIRNBRICH, you are absolutely right.  While the Buckeyes were 58th of the 128 FBS teams in terms of sacks per game, they were 6th in Total Defense, 19th in Rushing Defense, 5th in Red Zone Defense, 7th in Passing Yards Allowed Per Game, 3rd in Team Passing Efficiency Defense, 3rd in Scoring Defense, 5th in First Downs Allowed Defense, 11th in 3rd Down Efficiency Defense and 16th in 4th Down Efficiency Defense.

As you said, the Buckeye defensive line was much more of a disruptive unit than a sacking unit, and the overall effectiveness of the defense is demonstrated by being top 20 in the nation in all 9 Defensive rankings, other than sacks per game, and top 10 in 6 of the 9 rankings.

Whether this is actually true or not, some have commented in other threads that Coach Johnson, and the defensive staff, puts more of a premium on defensive lineman playing contain and disrupt, rather than going all out for sacks.  Obviously, this defensive strategy worked very well in 2016, as demonstrated by the impressive defensive rankings -- all 9 defensive rankings top 20 in the nation -- even in the absence of a lot of sacks.

Comment 21 Feb 2017

Yes.  Jackson Carman is the #7 rated player in the nation in 2018 according to the current 247Sports Composite Rating, the #1 OT in the nation, and the #1 player from Ohio.  Adding depth and elite talent on the OLine, especially at OT, MUST be a (the) top priority.  Making Jackson Carman a Buckeye, the top 2018 Ohioan at a position of clear importance, must be priority 1A.

I would add that the need for an elite, 1-tech DT is another top priority for this class, and Taron Vincent, who has expressed an early, serious interest in the Buckeyes, should be priority 1B.  As you said, keeping Emory Jones is very important, but, in terms of getting new commitments, in my mind, Jackson Carman and Taron Vincent, the #10 player in the nation in 2018 at another position of high need, impact and importance, are both #1 priorities.

The glory usually goes to the guys at the "flashy" positions:  QB, RB, WR, CB.  Championships are won with the guys on the OL and the DL. 

Comment 19 Feb 2017

OSU1978, thanks for that additional info.  I went back and looked at the 2016 game-to-game passing rating and was somewhat surprised to see such a wide variability over multiple games, with (1) "good" games (>160 passing rating) vs. Bowling Green, @Oklahoma, Rutgers, Nebraska and @Maryland, (2) "middling" games (100-160) vs. Tulsa, @Wisconsin, @Penn State, and Northwestern, and (3) "poor" games (<100) vs. Indiana, @Michigan State, Michigan and Clemson. 5 pretty good passing games, but not against one good defense,  4 middling games, and 4 poor games.  Consistency in the passing game  in 2016 really was a top issue, especially passing against any defense, that quite literally, had a pulse.

I have to believe that a significant portion of this stems from the fact that, especially later in the season, defenses all too often knew what was coming, single-mindedly prepared for that in the game plan, and the Buckeyes rarely, for multiple reasons, challenged the opponent's pre-game scheme.  That, perhaps, is most frustrating of all, especially with a program with the caliber of talent that this team has.  Player execution was undoubtedly a factor, but I continue to believe that the offensive coaching, especially in the area of in-game adjustment, was primarily responsible.  New staff will, hopefully, correct it.

Comment 19 Feb 2017

OSU1978, thanks for your response.  I would certainly agree that season stats do not tell the whole story.  It is virtually impossible to get at the whole story, purely using numbers, on any given issue.  At some point, experience and instinct, especially from an experienced and capable coaching staff, using the numbers at hand, will be used to make an ultimate evaluation.  But season stats, and stats generally, do serve as a sound starting point, for seeking answers as to what/how to improve.

Season stats serve as a kind a baseline, and then, as you have done, this can be further broken down by looking at individual game stats, and different elements of the passing offense, such as stats pertinent to QB performance, OL performance and WR performance.  It is quite true that, against more elite defenses, the 2016 Buckeye offense struggled more, and the reason for this is multi-faceted: coaching effectiveness both pre-game and in-game, player execution, and the opponent's preparation and execution.  But the place to start is with numbers, broadening it out to include game, unit and individual stats, with the objective of determining what happened and providing a basis for improvement.

The primary purpose in my original comment was to introduce the element of passing rating into the issue of the effectiveness of the passing game.  While the Buckeye offense has generally struggled to produce passing yards, it has, most years of Coach Meyer's tenure, been relatively efficient when it has thrown the ball, but not, as you pointed out, sufficiently consistent.  It is clear that the passing offense needs to improve, both in terms of the quantity of passing yards and, as you pointed out, game-to-game consistency. 

The changes in the offensive coaching staff this year are, I believe, an excellent start.  The player talent is there.  It needs to be coached up.

Comment 19 Feb 2017

Ohio State Passing Offense (of 128 FBS teams)

  • 2016 - 44th Passing Rating, 81st in Passing Yards per game, 213.9 YPG
  • 2015 – 39th and 100th, 188.8 YPG
  • 2014 – 2nd and 52nd, 247.1 YPG
  • 2013 – 10th and 90th, 203.3 YPG
  • 2012 – 47th and 105th, 181.5 YPG

Under Coach Meyer, the passing offense has always been much more “efficient” than it has produced total passing yards.  When the Buckeyes throw the ball, they have been more productive overall than simply considering total yards per game. 

During the national championship season, Ohio State was 2nd of the 128 FBS teams in terms of passing rating, which is a combined measure of passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and interceptions, although they were only 52nd in terms of passing yards per game.

In Coach Meyer’s five years at Ohio State, the passing offense has never had a passing rating below 50th -- and twice, in 2013 and 2014, been in the top 10 nationally -- but only once, in the national championship season of 2014, had a yards per game ranking better than 80th of the 128 FBS teams.  One could argue that what counts, ultimately, is the efficiency of the passing game, the passing rating, although there should be every attempt to increase the passing yards per game, to the goal that Coach Meyer himself has set – 250 yards passing per game, along with 250 yards rushing per game, while keeping the passing rating high.  This is exactly what happened in 2014, 264.5 yards per game rushing and 247.1 yards per game passing, while ranked 2nd in the nation in passing rating.

And many teams pass for a lot of yards, but those yards don't necessarily translate into points or wins, while high passing efficiency generally does.  Passing rating is, in this sense, more important than total yards passing per game.

Comment 16 Feb 2017

Actually, in the 2016 game at Penn State, the Buckeyes had 19 first downs to Penn State's 13, 413 total yards to Penn State's 276, 168 yards rushing to Penn State's 122, 245 yards passing to Penn State's 154 and a time of possession advantage of 37:19 to 22:41.

The late-in-the-game special teams miscues, especially the blocked FG returned for a touchdown, in addition to 8 penalties against the Buckeyes for 45 yards, while Penn State only was called for 1 penalty for 5 yards, negated a relatively dominate performance, up until that time, by the Buckeyes against Penn State in 2016.

Comment 16 Feb 2017

Buckeye, in support of your point about the Buckeye defense giving up few big plays, Ohio State ranked 8th in the country of the 128 FBS teams in giving up the fewest long scrimmage plays of 10 yards or more, with only 143 such plays in 13 games.  They were 2nd in the nation in giving up the fewest long scrimmage plays of 40 yards or more, with only 4 such plays in 13 games.

While there may not have been many sacks -- the Buckeyes ranked 58th in the nation, with 2.15 sacks per game -- the defense was, for the most part, very disciplined and that minimized giving up the big play.  Next year's defensive line, with respect to sacks, should be much better and, as you said, that will take pressure, especially early in the season, off the Buckeye's relatively inexperienced secondary.  It is not unrealistic to expect that by mid-season, if not sooner, the 2017 defense will clearly be the best yet of the 2014-2017 teams, with a more experienced defensive line leading the way.

Comment 14 Feb 2017

Isn't this one of the primary reasons why so many continue to be dismayed about the inability to land DTs such as Marvin Wilson, Dexter Lawrence, Rashard Lawrence and Neville Gallimore?  There is a unique blend of size and athleticism that is needed for an elite 1-technique defensive lineman and few lineman possess them both.  There are many more defensive lineman who are talented and sized in a way to be effective 3-technique defensive tackles, not so many defensive lineman talented and sized to be effective 1-technique defensive tackles and the Buckeyes have not recently been able to recruit a "true," elite 1-technique.

Taron Vincent may finally be the elite 1-technique the Buckeyes have been looking for who is leaning toward the Buckeyes.  If that is so his recruitment for 2018 should be very close to task #1, at least on the defensive side of the ball.

Comment 02 Feb 2017

Let's include punt return (and kickoff return) as part of the offense.  It is an initial step in establishing field position for the offense.  But punt return is more important than kickoff return, because the Buckeyes, due to a dominant defense, typically receive a lot more punts than they do kickoffs.  Buckeye opponents punted 83 times in 13 games in 2016, almost 6.5 punts per game.  27 of those punts were returned, about 2 per game.  Buckeye opponents kicked off 50 times in 13 games, and 28 of them were returned.

Treat the position of punt returner as if it is as important as any other key offensive position.  A team that aspires to the national championship should not rank #105 of the 128 FBS teams, as the Buckeyes did in 2016, in this critical aspect of initially establishing field position.  [As a comparison, the Buckeyes ranked #13 nationally in kickoff returns, in terms of yards per kickoff return.]

Identify the key elements of an elite punt returner.  Both fast and quick, with excellent hands, who is fearless in catching a punted ball, very often in traffic, where he is going to get hit very hard, sometimes in a stationary position.  He must be fearless, but very aware and capable of securing the ball.  He might even be a defensive player, as defensive players, especially defensive backs, tend to relish contact, while possessing good ball skills.  Just my thoughts.

Comment 01 Feb 2017

You're absolutely right, next year looks like it will be a very good year at DT/DL.

Good chance the Buckeyes land Taron Vincent, Aeneas Hawkins, Austin Fontaine and Matthew Jones, even if the Buckeyes are currently recruiting Jones to play on the offensive line.  Those are four very impressive young men.  Verdis Brown and Leonard Taylor, among those you listed, would also be excellent additions.

2018 will be a very good year for Buckeye recruiting.

Comment 01 Feb 2017

Any of the 2018 Ohio prospects, currently lower rated, say 3-star, who are players that the Buckeyes would want to look at very closely?

It is a challenge of recruiting to find that "diamond in the rough," the player who might not stand out at this point, but will make an outstanding college player.  In a sense, it is too easy to go after the most highly-rated recruits, but, especially with in-state high school players from Ohio, the coaching staff should be on the lookout for players who, right now may not be highly rated, but may develop into excellent players.

Comment 30 Jan 2017

In the 2017 class, according to the 247Sports Composite rating, the Buckeyes secured commitments from 5 of the top 7 players from Ohio, the exceptions being Lynn Bowden, an Athlete who was not, apparently, high on the priority list, and Sean Clifford, a Pro-Style QB, who was not the target QB for the Buckeyes in 2017.

As long as the Buckeyes get the top Ohio players they want, who are good fits for the team, and continues to recruit well nationally, the Buckeyes will have top rated classes.

Comment 29 Jan 2017

Sexy Beast, mostly for Ben Kingsley's riveting performance, one of the most underrated actors ever.

Other Kingsley films to see, IMO, Gandhi, House of Sand and Fog, Elegy, Transsiberian, Searching for Bobby Fischer and Schindler's List, which everyone must see, but only once.