WildBear Buckeye's picture

WildBear Buckeye

Member since 08 December 2011 | Blog


  • SPORTS MOMENT: Rushing the field after the 1994 OSU-Michigan game.
  • MLB TEAM: Cubbies
  • SOCCER TEAM: Arsenal

Recent Activity

Comment 07 Oct 2016

I have to say, I've gotten extremely spoiled by Urban, so I fully expect to win every game. The only time I begin to worry is when a game gets tight and the team is sputtering. Last year was hard ...

That said,

Indiana: 10/10 Buckeyes can only beat themselves, and they'd have to try pretty hard. Last year I wouldn't have been this confident, but they're firing on all cylinders right now. The only question is whether it's the expected blowout or closer than expected.

Wisconsin: 9/10 OSU offense is >> Michigan's offense, and defense is just as good if not better. JT's experience and grace under pressure negate home field advantage. Wisconsin, like every good-not-great team, doesn't have the depth. Their D gets winded and OSU pulls away in the 2nd half.

Penn State: 10/10 OSU's run D is probably weakest aspect of D overall, so Barkley may pick up some good yardage. But PSU doesn't have the defense to even come close to hanging with OSU's offense. A 3-TD or more win, but PSU might score a little more than we'd like to see

Northwestern: 11/10 NU has exactly 0 chance of winning this game. Burrow, Victor, Mack, McCall all get a bunch of snaps. Williams and maybe even Hausmann get in.

Nebraska: 9.75/10 Better than Penn State, not as good as Wisconsin. Home game. Nebraska's chances aren't exactly 0, but not far off.

Maryland: 9.75/10 Don't know much about Maryland so far, so I'll give them a non-0 chance.

MSU: 9/10 They are wounded, but that can make them dangerous. Game against Michigan will tell us a lot about whether they've given up on their season. On the other hand, OSU will be looking for revenge. I expect them to brutally beat Sparty into submission.

TTUN: 7/10 Harbaugh has taught them how to win when the going gets tough. Their D is very good, but primarily against the power run. They also don't have the depth to keep up with OSU's stable of weapons. Receivers are good-not-great and Speight has already shown himself to be shaky at times. Close early while Warriner et al figure out what works against the D, but pulling away in the second half. I expect Speight to be picked at least once.

B1GCCG: 10/10 This team won't be denied the playoff at this point.

Semifinal against Clemson: 8.5/10 Clemson is good, but doesn't quite have the horses. OSU will be looking for revenge. Watson gets his, but they can't nearly keep up with OSU scoring.

Final against Alabama: 6.5/10 This one is really hard because I don't think we have a good gauge on Alabama yet - are they dominant or not? Ole Miss had them on the ropes, but couldn't finish. They probably won't be challenged enough the rest of the way for us to really find out - not like OSU will be with Michigan. I think OSU is more dominant, and for once there would be no talent differential. I think Urban gets just a little more out of his guys, especially with Saban and Kiffin bitching at each other.

Comment 22 Sep 2016

I actually don't think USC is quite the job it's cranked up to be. Yes, LA sells itself to recruits, a bunch of whom are local anyway. But it's a HUGE distraction, both for the players and for the fan base. LA fans of all sports are notorious for only showing up when the going is really, REALLY good. Even during the Carroll era they routinely failed to sell out the Coliseum, much less now. As a program, they're competing with successful pro franchises in multiple sports right in their own city in addition to UCLA, which is not THAT far behind USC. None of Ohio's pro franchises can come close to competing with OSU. Michigan's closest competition is MSU. Alabama's closest competition is Auburn, and it doesn't look like both can be highly successful at the same time, at least not for long.

I'm guessing this amount of distraction is a major factor when big-name coaches consider the program. Carroll was very well-known for his loose style, but most really successful coaches control the lives of their players down to the minute. Think Urban and Saban. You can do that in Columbus and Tuscaloosa, but recruits don't come to LA to live that kind of life.

Comment 20 Sep 2016

This is very interesting, thanks for posting it OP! Would love to see more of it around here.

Why does this play seemingly always end up with a JT run when called not at the goal line? There is an undefended safety (#31) who might go after the QB, but in that case Noah Brown is 1-on-1 with an over-matched CB. If he can stay a step ahead of him and JT can deliver the ball before getting hit by #31, it's a TD regardless of field position. More likely #31 is much farther away from the LOS in that case, providing deep coverage support. The other safety is probably back there too. Now, the Baugh can release for a bubble screen after his initial block, Brown can still try to beat his cover man for a big gain, and to the right, for example, Dontre can block the up man (the one he blocks in the play as it's run), Dixon can block the CB (#7), and Samuel can hook around Dixon, catch a pass, and run. Run option, either up the middle or around the left side, is still available to JT.

This does require 1) good decision making, and 2) fairly accurate throws from JT. But do they really trust him so little that they seemingly call a QB run 80% of the time or more? Or is that up to JT, and that's what he decides to do? Given how quickly he seems to select the run option, I'm inclined to think it's the former.

Comment 19 Sep 2016

I don't think it's simply a question of will he throw vs will he run - he'll do both. It's about what you do when you MUST have a handful of yards, and in this offense it's clearly a QB run out of an empty backfield. Hey, it's better than the "plow your RB into the line for +/- 1 yard" play out of the I, right?

Comment 19 Sep 2016

I'm worried that we saw with Cardale last year what this offense looks like without the QB being a constant threat to run. For whatever reason, even with JT it's still not a pass-first offense. Maybe it will be with Burrow or Haskins, but not now. If you effectively eliminate JT as a threat to run, drives start stalling out too often. It's almost like the QB run takes the place of a high-percentage, short-yardage slant pass.

We saw this last year - if they didn't pick up 7 or so yards on 1st+2nd down, 3rd down often didn't go very well. That's because in that situation it's a passing down, and the offense simply isn't built to pass when every one KNOWS you're going to pass. And no matter how good your rushing attack is, you're going to end up with two consecutive low-gain plays. So they basically HAVE to pick up 7 yards on 1st+2nd down. And with all the athletes and all the clever ways to line them up and run them, all of those remain change-of-pace plays. The most reliable way to pick up 3 yards - essentially the bread and butter play of the offense - appears to be spreading the field with an empty backfield and letting the line + JT pick them up for you. You almost always get the yards, but you also almost always get JT hammered.

I really don't see how this changes in the short term. After last year Urban isn't going to risk the season by letting the offense sputter for too long, and the QB run out of an empty backfield is the safety blanket. Maybe as the line continues to gel they'll throw in more complex blocking schemes, which may allow running more clever runs from a JT+Weber backfield, while still lining up 4 out wide to keep the box relatively empty? If they can make that formation look like a JT running threat, it might increase the effectiveness of Weber running and take the pressure off JT. You still have to run him regularly to keep up the threat, but you can try to do it when he's least likely to get hit hard.

The key seems to be picking up yards on every play. So far they've been very successful at that except for the first half of the Tulsa game. If I'm not mistaken, we started seeing a lot more JT runs after that, even when already ahead by a comfortable margin. In the scope of this season, I think the trick will be to pick up yards against weaker opponents in other ways, limiting the overall number of hits JT takes. In critical games, like MSU, Mich, CCG, and the playoffs, it's essentially unavoidable. Any time the offense sputters against a weaker opponent it becomes unavoidable as well. So ... don't sputter?

Comment 17 Sep 2016

Both Colorado and Ole Miss simply abandon their last possessions and head to the locker room? Not liking the direction this is heading.

Comment 10 Sep 2016

I'm guessing he's been told to think thrice before taking off because they absolutely can't afford to have him get hurt.

Running game is struggling even though I don't believe Tulsa is particularly selling out to stop the run. That's on the O-line. Work in progress there.

Comment 07 Sep 2016

For comparing sets of things (like conferences, for example), where the things can be ranked within each set (by number of players drafted, for example), I find it really informative to look at "Nth best" plots. A guy at mgoblog does this for recruiting classes. OP, do you think you could put together a chart like this for conferences? I'm sure we'll see that SEC really sets itself apart with teams ranked 2 through 5 or so. They simply have way more teams than any other conference that take winning seriously.

Comment 06 Sep 2016

Still confused about the decision to take Jahsen Wint AND Rodjay Burns. No matter how many secondary players were lost to the draft last year, what are the chances these two will ever contribute in any meaningful way, Burns' pick-6 in the most garbagest of garbage times notwithstanding? With many former highly ranked recruits ahead of them on the depth chart, and now with a number of top-100 recruits coming in right behind them, it seems like one or both are destined for a transfer in a year or two. In the mean time, they barely even provide depth. What's the point?