First off, I would like to apologize if this has been specifically addressed elsewhere in the threads - I may have missed it as I was not around 11w much yesterday or last night.
I see so much talk about the LB's, the secondary, and playcalling (especially for running plays), but after watching Ohio State play through the first half of the season, I think I have finally put my finger on the root of their issues - and surprisingly it is something URban himself harps on ad-infinitum, although at this point it is approaching 'definition of insanity' levels. This is, quite simply, the least disciplined team I have watched under Urban Meyer at Ohio State, and the numbers back it up. It isn't just penalties, however; it is knowing your assignment, holding your block (except the WR's, they've been great at this), and quite honestly just beating the man across from you. It's drops, it's poor angles, missed tackles (UGH! Hello, 2013 defense) you name it - this team does it. If not for a talent and depth advantage, we would be looking at a 4-2 team right now, and we won't continue to get away with that as injuries take their toll, and the schedule tightens up in November.
The purpose of this post is to have a discussion about what can be done to fix these issues, as they clearly have not been properly addressed by the staff yet this season. The first suggestion that comes to mind is to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid), and that applies particularly to the defense. Schiano has a penchant for calling lots of 'exotic' blitzes, twists, stunts, and all sorts of complicated things during a game. The result of these calls are sometimes getting a TFL (see: final play of the PSU game), and sometimes giving up a long touchdown when the secondary or LB's become confused as to where they are supposed to be, and who they are supposed to account for. A huge contributing factor to this confusion is the youth and inexperience we still have on that side of the ball, and honestly, it's a shame that the staff hasn't seemed to take this into account. The poor angles and missed tackles could similarly be attributed to just being a step slow, which stems from indecision on reads and keys before, at, or after the snap - due to a complexity overload. We have the athletes, keep it simple and keep it in front of you.
The other area that is very concerning to me is the offensive line. There were many times during the game yesterday where I hung my head in shame because the offensive line had just gotten completely embarrassed on a routine outside zone call, or with a stupid holding penalty (damn you, Shugarts!). I think I remember in 2014 the offensive line went the ENTIRE SEASON (regular season at least) without a single holding penalty called against them. While that level of play may not be possible, keeping those to a limit of once per game would be a great step in the right direction. I understand that defenses have begun to blitz on most downs and that it is not always the fault of the offensive line when we run the ball for no gain, but these are just the instances I keep noticing. There are times even in pass protection that the line just looks awful, with pass protection being their strong point! Couple these issues with the quality (prepared to step into a game) depth there being the worst on the entire roster, and you have a real issue on your hands. Perhaps it's because they are on average so much larger than their opponent defensive linemen that it has become a leverage issue, or perhaps their footwork is just a beat slow, but something has to change there as well. FWIW the TE's have looked great as blockers this year, even though they catch more flags than they do passes.
What do you think?