Maybe, I don't remember the order in which that happened. But I think the state of the current recruiting class speaks for itself. Something doesn't seem to be quite right.
Jeremy, unfortunately I'm reminded of one of your own confessions from Confessions, Volume II, the one about Vrabel. I think it would be very hard to argue that so far this recruiting class is meeting the lofty expectations set by the previous two. Is there nothing to worry about here?
There are a number of elite players, but they don't play in a vacuum. When a whole unit has elite players, e.g. OL + TEs + RB last year, it's a monster. Receivers can't appear elite if the passing game is severely crippled due to the QBs limitations. DL is exclusively elite players, but there was an unbelievable drop off in quality behind Roby and Shazier in the backfield. That's two thirds of the D. Unless the DL sacked the opposing QB in under 3 seconds, he was usually able to complete a pass. There was no such thing as a coverage sack for two years.
Now backfield is stocked with elite talent, but they are at most true So. Even if they would have been contributors on an otherwise experienced D, they can't make up an elite D by themselves. Not in the second game of the season anyway. If you want to blame someone for the defensive disaster last two years, you have to start with Tressel's recruiting.
I think people WAY underestimate just how much of a black hole Tressel left for Meyer in the secondary and at LB. No, Tressel never had units as bad as the last two years have been, but here are ALL the DBs he recruited between 2008 and 2011:
Travis Howard (2008), C.J. Barnett (2009), Pitt Brown (2009), Dominic Clarke (2009), Jamie Wood (2009), Christian Bryant (2010), Jeremy Cash (2011), DerJuan Gambrell (2011), Doran Grant (2011), Ron Tanner (2011).
That's it, in 4 years. Pitt Brown was a huge bust, Clarke had a behavioral problem. Do you even remember Gambrell and Wood ever seeing play? Ron Tanner is the genius who got a 15 yard penalty on an egregious late hit on Saturday. He's seeing play for the first time as an RS JR, backing up a true SO. Orhian Johnson came in as a 3* ATH in 2008 ... and pretty much played like it. Four solid contributors in four (!) recruiting classes: Howard, Barnett, Bryant, and Grant. Same story at LB.
Meyer's entire tenure he's had 2 real stars in the D backfield (Roby, Shazier), 7 reliable-to-acceptable upperclassmen (Howard, Sabino, Klein, Bryant, Barnett, D. Grant, Orhian Johnson), 1 complete bust (Pitt Brown) and 1 near-complete bust (C. Grant), a bunch of Fr/RS Fr/So who were either huge liabilities or couldn't/didn't even play (Camren Williams, Perry, Perkins, Najee Murray, Powell, Bogard, Tanner, Reeves), and a bunch of guys whose name you would barely recognize. That's 9 acceptable players in two years for two units that have to field at least 7 players between them for every defensive snap. Almost any sub is a huge liability.
So when you complain that "Meyer arrives and D instantly takes a nosedive", please remember that it takes years to develop players and that everything Meyer has had to work with came from Tressel.
You win as a team and you lose as a team. A defense shares the blame unless it gives up 0 points, in which case it's hard to lose. But I think if you asked who did their job and who didn't, the reasonable answer is that the D did almost everything that you could reasonably ask, especially given the incredibly inexperienced secondary. On the other hand, offense had WAY too many 3-and-outs and, together with the kicking team, left at least 10 points on the field, and that's if you count a 40-yard FG as no gimme, which I think you should. But even there I'm not saying someone really dropped the ball. The OL is made up of inexperienced guys who mostly should be career backups, given their talent level. It's fine to insert one of those guys into your OL if you have to, but you can't have a functioning line made up of them. Barrett is a gifted QB with a bright future, but it's his second college game, and he's playing it with THAT line. The RBs have to run behind that line. Wilson, Marshall, the receivers all have to get the ball from that QB behind that line in order to do something.
I can't even blame the coaches for their preparation or play calling. These are the plays you call with this line and this QB. And you play this soft in the secondary when it's made up almost entirely of guys making their first, second, or third career start and didn't have any substantial PT before that. It doesn't matter how talented those guys are. The problem goes back to recruiting OL, QB, DB, and to some extent LB during 2010-2012. You can't have an RS freshman and Cardale Jones as your only options when your injury-prone star QB goes down. This is what you get.
bench grant for mcmillan. don't sit him for a stiff vet like we did with bell last year.
Grant hasn't been nearly the disaster this year that Pitt Brown was last year. He had a good game last night. You think a true frosh MLB is going to be much better in coverage, no matter how highly rated he was coming in? Did you know that Grant was the #2 recruit his year? By all means, bench a senior captain in favor of a true frosh because you haven't had a chance to be disappointed by him yet.
do we have a TE? why do we bother rercuit them?
Seriously? Did you not see Stoneburner and Heuerman last two years? Did you know that TEs are also asked to block sometimes, since they line up on the OL? Did you know that the regular OL is a disaster and that Barrett needs all the protection he can get right now?
man I miss Tress. guy got royally screwed and now they are going to pay players. what a freaking hose job he got.
Ahh, now I get it. You can't even be happy when a better coach falls into your lap after the already-pretty-good-coach is fired (sorry, retires or whatever) and promptly wins 23 straight games with the very mediocre team the previous coach left him. Do you see what's happening in the rest of the B1G? You want to trade places with Sparty fans right now? How about another B1G team? How about Texas and Florida?
Or maybe you forgot the Florida loss, the two USC losses, the LSU loss for that matter? You're not happy with Barrett, Collier, and the mysterious "Burrow", fine. Tressel recruited Miller - do you think he could have gotten more out of him than Meyer did? Would he have turned Miller into Tom Brady? He didn't with Pryor, who only won as much under Tressel as Miller did under Meyer and was also very flawed. Oh, and Tressel left Meyer a disaster in the secondary and at LB, but I'm sure he would have kept all those 50-30/60-40 wins to much more respectable 24-17 type scores.
1) What BadOwl said. Unlike last year, nothing was given away last night. The D was all over them all night long. Brewer played lights out and their scoring drives started at their 35, 39, 42, and OSU's 43.
2) What Hydeyokids said. Did I mention the secondary has 5 SO/RS FR in the 2-deep, three of whom are starters, in the 2nd game of the season? This will be a great D and, with this OL, the team will go as far as this D carries it. And I'm betting that will be pretty far.
I agree that the D played well and I can't believe so few people agree with me. The problems on 3rd down were entirely schematic, not like the constant missed tackles of the previous two years. And it makes sense that they wouldn't press incredibly hard with SO and RS FR DBs. VaTech capitalized on this particular weakness very well, Brewer played lights out, as did several of their receivers. Very impressed. And yet the D still held them to several three-and-outs and didn't make any bad mistakes. Not sure where all the pessimism comes from. I think as Apple/Bell/Conley/Burrows/Powell (ALL SO or RS FR in the 2-deep!) come along over the course of the season, with Grant and Reeves providing experience, Ash/Fickell will use them more aggressively and the D will become lights out.
My thoughts exactly, especially since I think this OSU team will become very very good as it gels during the season. An early loss to a quality opponent isn't the end of the world. I'll be rooting for VaTech for sure.
The offense is sputtering in a way that's very similar to how it sputtered the previous two years: a defense good enough to stop both the inside and outside run games makes the offense beat them through the air. But Miller was such a bad passer that almost the entire passing playbook couldn't be used, even in his 3rd year as a starter! Now you have an RS FR and you have serious OL problems on top of that. You're surprised that the ball doesn't get to skill position players in space enough, or that the power running game isn't what it was with Hyde and last year's line?
Believe it or not, I think the shortcomings stem from recruiting problems, despite all the love heaped on Meyer for recruiting, NOT from play calling problems, at least not major ones. In fact they do pretty well with the serious personnel issues they have at QB and on OL. And personnel issues are recruiting issues. You could see this OL disaster coming in 2011: behind stellar 2013 seniors would be 3* and 2* (!) 2014 seniors (Baldwin, Underwood, Hale). The 2012 OL recruiting class was already too late to fill in all those holes, unless they were all home runs. As it turned out they're progressing fine, if not spectacularly, but that's not enough to fill the giant talent vacuum. Three of those guys are starters now, which is a lot to ask on OL of two true JR and a RS SO. This is primarily a Tressel/Fickell recruiting problem, but Meyer didn't help matters by only getting 2 OL in 2013. This is the biggest problem on the team, as far as I am concerned. But QB is something of a problem too. There should be a serviceable JR/SR backup on roster whose only job is to get the ball to all that talent on short slants. Think Tommy Rees.
Theres no galloways, glenns, bostons, sansabaughs, gonzales, ginns, holmes, etc.
How would we even know if there are Galloways/Glenns/Bostons/Ginns/Holmes? Has anyone been able to deliver deep balls consistently enough for a deep threat receiver to break out? Philly Brown, Devin Smith, and Heuerman did pretty well when they got the ball, which wasn't terribly often. You can't have star WRs when you don't trust your QB to throw to them.
Theres no hawks, laurinitis, carpenter, shaziers, katzenmoyers
Oldest of Meyer's recruits are true JR/redshirt SO, and he barely had two months to recruit for that class. Perry is starting and not stinking up the joint, even if he's no Hawk. Curtis Grant has come along from embarrassing bust to a good, if unspectacular MLB. We were all excited about Jamal Marcus until he got himself kicked off the team. Darron Lee is a SO starter, Booker and McMillan are true frosh - what do you want from them? Hawk, Laurinitis, Shazier were a contributors at most his frosh year, I don't think carpenter was even that. Katzenmoyer is possibly the best LB ever at OSU, a once-in-a-lifetime talent, AND he had upperclassmen Vrabel, Fickell, Winfield, etc around him.
no robeys, jenkins, winfields, allens
Again, Meyer has the upperclassmen Tressel/Fickell left him and his own SO/FR. You have complaints about Bell, Apple, Tyvis Powell? They played well, or at least fine last night - it's not their fault the scheme was soft enough to allow all those short yardage completions on 3rd down. And you can't blame the coaches either for not wanting to put their talented SOs into positions to make bad mistakes and give up TDs on 3rd and long.
And don't get me started on last year, when the entire LB corps and secondary were Tressel/Fickell guys. Judge Meyer's D by how this one plays at the end of the year.
Nope, but I DO think it's something of an indictment the of Tressel-era philosophy on D and of late Tressel-era recruiting, specifically DBs and, to some extent, LBs. If you think back to all those embarrassing losses to Florida, LSU, and USC, the defensive shortcomings looked very much like those of the past two years: great play by D-line negated by soft secondary that constantly gives up 20+ yard passes. This was true in the "Game of the Century" win against Michigan too - remember the score? This is the indictment of the philosophy - the secondary has been way too soft basically since Gamble left. But toward the end of the Tressel era recruiting fell off as well (maybe because the best DB recruits noticed that DBs weren't being used very effectively by Tressel's staff?), resulting in a less talented secondary with all the same philosophy/scheme problems. The dual 5* busts of Dorian Bell and Pitt Brown didn't help. Now they're giving up 30+ points to Cal, Northwestern, Illinois, and the dumpster fire that was the Michigan offense last year.
Not sure to what extent Fickell is at fault and not sure why Meyer hasn't moved more aggressively to make the secondary more, er, aggressive. They are obviously recruiting DBs VERY hard, so they see it as an area of need. And I think we are just now starting to see the results on the field, but it will take more time. I do expect big things from the D by the end of the season.
Tressel may have made sure he had Jenkins, Ginn, and Posey, but that didn't prevent his teams for suffering a string of incredibly humiliating losses. Has the number of dropped balls somehow gone up under Meyer/Herman since the days of Tressel/Walrus? For that matter, have you been unhappy with the scoring in the Meyer era? I don't think that's been the problem.
I'm not exactly a Delaney apologist, but I think it's too convenient to make him out to be the problem. His job is pretty much that of salesman. He can't make the boards/presidents of member institutions commit more resources to their programs. He can't prevent them from making asinine hires and can't make them spend on coaching staffs the kind of money better programs spend. And he can't make the fan bases demand more. If Michigan and Penn State continue to sell out their seats despite their piss-pour play (by the supposed standards of those programs), if the conference in raking in cash through the BTN, there can't be much of problem, right?
It's time for the institutions in this conference to make up their minds: do they want to play elite college football, or do they absolutely refuse to do what it takes to play at that level? There's no shame in choosing the latter. Once upon a time Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were football blue bloods, but they decided that their way of doing things is more important to them than keeping up with the best.
I'm still holding on to the belief that if this team had a few more games under its belt BEFORE it played VT, the outcome would have been different.
I completely agree. Last night was a weird game in general. The score looks bad, but truth is OSU was driving to tie the game before the last pick-6. It didn't look at all like the helpless Bauserbombs (I still feel bad for that guy) of 2012. It looked like they rushed the prep, as they had to, and because of that a potent offense is misfiring badly. But I actually have a lot of hope for this offense, IF the O-line can protect Barrett.
By the way, I think the D, despite giving up 28 points, played well, except one area - 3rd and long. Again, I think this is because they don't quite trust their young DBs not to over-commit and give up a huge play, so they don't let them press (yet). VT was excellent at exploiting this with receivers camped out right at the 1st down marker. Well that, and Brewer pulled some amazing passes out of his a**, several of which would have been interceptions against slightly more aggressive DBs. I know there's been a lot of complaining about the D giving away 3rd down conversions, but I actually don't think they gave away anything - VT came and took it. VT O played very well last night, and the D still had them bottled up most of the time. I think by the end of the year this will be a VERY good D that has OSU winning 14-3 kind of games against good opponents.
Actually, it's exactly armchair QB, no more. Just watch a lot of CFB :)
I'm not ready to blame Herman because I think the passing playbook has been basically taken out of his hands the entire time he's been here, first by Miller's chronic lack of development as QB, and now by the fact that a talented RS freshman was unexpectedly thrown into a starting role two weeks before the start of the season. I bet by the end of this season we'll be happy with the progress of the passing game - much happier than we ever were with Miller.
That said, this is what I don't get after all of last season and this season so far:
Yes, almost the entire passing playbook was and is unavailable. Yes, you only trust your QB to throw passes that are very unlikely to be intercepted if they aren't on target. And obviously you're trying to get the ball to your skilled players in space, which is why you do these passes behind the LOS which pretty much amount to long hand-offs. But clearly good defenses are catching on to this and your skilled talent keeps getting tackled for loss or no gain right after getting the ball. This was frustratingly obvious against both MSU and Clemson last year. So why not draw up plays where the skilled talent lines up at the LOS instead of behind it and the pass goes forward 5 yards instead of backwards? Yes, it won't be QUITE as safe as the long hand-off, but those are losing you yards anyway! Make them quick passes that require no decision making. Now every completed pass at minimum gets you 2-3 yards instead of losing 2-3, still with the chance of being broken for a big play.
Receiving corps is definitely in transition. There isn't a Gonzales/Sanzenbacher-type possession receiver right now. The tight ends could fill that role, but with the current state of the O-line they are needed to block. I think Wilson and Marshall are the future in this area, but they're not quite ready for the glue-handed possession receiver role yet, especially Marshall obviously. Plus you need a QB who can reliably deliver the ball to such receivers in at least moderate traffic, and OSU hasn't had one of those since ... Troy Smith probably. In fact, I think Barrett has a brighter future in this dept than either Pryor or Miller, despite all their prodigious talent.
I think this is a personnel issue. Toward the end of the year last year it became apparent that Miller stopped progressing as a passer, which basically took away the entire passing dimension except out routes, which is to say it took away almost the entire passing dimension. Against inferior talent, as you said, it didn't matter - Miller ran circles around them and Hyde ran right through them. But against a D that could take away the ground game, both the power version with Hyde AND the finesse version with Miller and the backfield passes to D. Wilson, etc., the lack of a passing dimension became severely exposed. Couple that with a nearly non-existent secondary, and you get what we saw against Mich, MSU, and Clemson. Not a pretty sight.
And while the symptoms looked eerily similar against VT, I think the underlying causes are quite different.
1) Barrett is incredibly green. It's not surprising they make the passing game as simple as possible for him. It didn't make sense when they did the same thing for Miller, a multi-year starter, but it makes perfect sense with Barrett. In fact, it looked yesterday like they already trust him with passing as much as they ever trusted Miller. I think this is a very good sign and I think the future with Barrett looks incredibly bright. Last night he showed that he can scramble well too. He won't need to scramble nearly as much as Miller if he can become a QB in command of the full passing arsenal: long, short, out, over the middle, in traffic, etc.
2) O-line is major problem, this is a fact. Some of us saw this coming at the end of the 2012-2013 recruiting season, when only two O-line recruits came in. Last year's line was going to be stacked with veterans. This year's line was going to be inexperienced AND would consist of players who came in with much lower rankings. At the time the reaction was mostly "but Roby was a 3*! Stars don't matter, coach 'em up!" But you can't expect to replace a line with 4*+ average ranking with one with a 3*+ average ranking and not take a step back, even without considering experience.
Moreover, this is the one and only area where I've been concerned the entirety of Meyer's tenure. There's been a plethora of talent brought in for every unit, EXCEPT the O-line. I don't know what the problem is, but it just doesn't seem to be happening. Think about how many stud O linemen passed on OSU just last year. And this is incredibly troubling, because none of that explosive skill position talent (D. Wilson, Jalin Marshall, etc.) can do anything if the O-line can't give the play time to develop. Nor can even the best running backs do much if they're always met in the backfield. I hope my pessimism is unfounded, but right now I'm worried not just about the immediate future, but long-term.
Herman rarely used the middle of the field with Miller. That is not what he does. He has been calling the same plays since he has been here.
I would argue this is because Miller had the same problem Barrett has right now: poor decision making in the passing game. With Miller it was a chronic, multi-year problem that was incredibly frustrating. With Barrett there's every reason to hope it's due to inexperience and will get much better with time. He already looked as poised in the passing game yesterday as Miller ever did. Yes he missed a lot of passes, but that will come with time. Herman/Meyer aren't afraid to have him throw the ball like they were with Miller. So I don't think this is on Herman, or at least I'm not ready to say "he just doesn't do that".
Quite possibly. And maybe he was happy to be at OSU building up his resume, but really wants to coach in the NFL. I'd just like to see an explanation, because right now it looks like possibly the best position coach, possibly the best recruiter (at least among assistant coaches), and the guy, along with Fickell, with the strongest OSU ties just up and left for an equivalent position somewhere else. That doesn't happen without a reason.
Besides being unpleasant news, this is a real head-scratcher for me. Given Vrabel's stated love for OSU, it's hard to see how this can be anything other than the outcome of dysfunction/falling out/unpleasantness among the defensive coaching staff or between the defensive coaching staff and Meyer. That, even more than Vrabel's departure by itself, really concerns me. If it's bad enough that an outstanding coach and recruiter and OSU lifer decided to leave, Meyer has his work cut out for him in cleaning up this mess.
On a happier note, I find it hard to believe that this is the last we've seen of Vrabel at OSU. Can't wait for him to return.
Urban Meyer...I'm honestly starting to believe Braxton's passing ability may be holding them back.
Yep. I think this could have been a championship team with either a better defense or an offense that doesn't rely on QB draws or 20+ yard pass plays to pick up 3rd and 8, but not without both.
he can't seem to execute the concepts necessary to run Urban/Herman's offense at an elite level
I think this is the key. He's a spectacular athlete, but he's not a quarterback. At least not a good quarterback. He forces the coaches to simplify the playbook too much.
Terrible loss, for all the reasons we feared going in - a helpless defense.
Why the bitching about Tom Herman? He does what he can with a quarterback who's really an ATH. He has an arm, but he can't make reads. You really think an OC hasn't heard of a screen pass? No, but he's had to simplify the passing concepts so much that there's nothing left.
But in the end it doesn't really matter because with this defense eking out a win over this Clemson team was about the ceiling for this OSU team anyway. Win or lose here, defense has to take huge strides to compete for the NC.
So tear into Philly Brown or Miller if it makes you feel better, but realize that none of that matters with this defense. There is a systemic problem and until it gets fixed OSU won't be in NC contention.