Welcome back. Here’s a little of what’s been going on beneath my hat this week.
And We’re Back
Finally, football. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the long, dark offseason (which I will always remember as the season of 1,000 quarterback threads—and I am likely understating that number). But what a great way to start the season, with a chance to avenge last season’s only blemish on a national stage in prime time. It looked like a great college football atmosphere, and kudos to the Hokies for making a game of it—for a while. And those road whites looked awfully sharp, by the way. Love the prominent gray stripes on the sleeves.
There was a lot of talk leading up to the game about who would step up in the absence of the suspended players, and I was glad to see a number of guys demonstrate Ohio State’s depth of talent. Sam Hubbard didn’t make any forget Joey Bosa, but was solid throughout, Curtis Samuel looked like he’s ready to break out, and some guy name Miller played, too. I didn’t remember him from last year.
Number The One, Braxton Miller announced his return to college football in typical Braxton Miller fashion, making every else look like they were going in slow motion, and showing the world his own sublime version of the Hokie Pokie, in which he turned himself around, while Virginia Tech defenders shook it flailed all about like so many drunken wedding guests. I can’t wait to see Braxton’s interpretation of the Haka. I’m so glad that Alabama didn’t want him.
You have to love a game where no matter where the little white ball lands, you win. I really thought it was going to be JT at QB, but after watching the game, I agree that Cardale was the right choice for Virginia Tech. He was the best bet to even out the numbers game that VT was trying to stack in their favor (and in the box). I thought Cardale was very effective running the ball, which was the most important thing in this weeks game plan. Decision making on the zone read and in the passing game continues to appear a little iffy to me, but I have to keep reminding myself that this was only Cardale’s fourth (!) game as a starting quarterback. But can I just say how much I love JT Barrett. I mean, if my daughters were older, I’d want him to marry one of them. I loved to see how locked in he was on the sideline, how he was the first to congratulate Cardale after a great play, even though you know it had to be killing him to sit. The Buckeyes couldn’t have made a better choice for one of their captains. And of course, when he finally got his chance, he executed the offense flawlessly. It’s good to be a Buckeye.
Not So Special Teams
If there was one area of Monday Night’s game that I was unhappy with, it was the special teams play. A fumbled punt, a kickoff out of bounds, a missed FG, and another kickoff broken that saved from being broken by a tackle by the kicker, even Cam Johnston got into the act with a bad punt when the Buckeyes were backed into their own end of the field (gave me flashbacks to the Sugar Bowl).
I know that the coaching staff likes to kick it into the corner and let the “Piranhas” feed, and I love a great hit on kick coverage as well as the next guy, but I just get this feeling that someone is going to break a long return against our kick coverage unit, and I hope it’s not in a close game. Don’t we have someone who can just kick the ball out of the end zone, for crying out loud? I hate it when teams do that to us think it’s demoralizing for a kick returner never to get a chance to bring the ball out
And can we please give Braxton a shot on punt returns? Maybe the staff is trying to keep him healthy, and if that is the reason he’s not back there, I guess I can live with it. My best guess for having Zeke back there against Tech is that the coaches new the game plan called for limited carries for him against the Bear, so they wanted to get the ball in his hands more. I love Zeke, but I hope that experiment is over. And I have to say that my heart is not looking forward to seeing Marshall back there again.
TL;DR – football is back, gray stripes forever, Braxton can dance, love me some JT,
special teams (#FireCoombs).
On to Hawaii…not literally, unfortunately, but at least we have Walt’s game poster to look at...