The Situational: Protect the Patient

By Ramzy Nasrallah on September 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Sep 15, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Austin Mack (11) catches a pass against TCU Horned Frogs cornerback Julius Lewis (24) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

©Tim Heitman | USAT Sports

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TCU threw absolutely everything it had at the Buckeyes.

It opened with tempo so brisk, ESPN's production could not keep up with the gameplay. Nearly a full quarter transpired before the guys in the truck realized that if they kept switching to sideline shots of Gary Patterson sweating like a pimp in church between plays, they would continue to miss snaps. The SEC's football network wasn't prepared for that kind of speed.

Ohio State's lowlight was losing its best player to an uncalled and weaponized hold. There were breakdowns and lapses all over the field throughout the victorious evening. Passes dropped. Assignments missed. Passes dropped. Coverages in shambles. Passes dropped. Blocks whiffed. Passes dropped. Passed dropped.

Last week we said:

TCU may end up losing, but it will play its ass off for the duration.

The Horned Frogs did both of those things. Let's get Situational!

THE RUNDOWN: WEEK 3

11. KNOCK KNOCK

who's there

MORE LIKE SHOVEL ASS

DRE'MONT JONES

Dre'Mont Jones who

DRE'MONT JONES WASN’T GOING TO DROP TWO PICK-SIXES IN ONE GAME, SILLY FROGS

10. Let's recognize linebacker Pete Werner for creating the hostile work environment for TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson that led to Jones essentially taking a handoff and Ladanian Tomlinsoning to the end zone, flipping the game in the Buckeyes' favor. Salute, Pete.

Malik Harrison also captured a game-sealing interception! And we've now reached the end of linebacker highlights in a game where one of Ohio State's historic and proud units participated in a big neutral site W - while absolutely showing its ass.

9. Mike Weber only averaged 3.6 per carry, but J.K. Dobbins' 18 opps for a buck twenty-one brought the Tote average up above five per carry. LET'S GO TO THE CHART:

THANK YOU FOR RAINBOWS: WEEK 3
PASSING GAME CREDIT GOES TO: BEAV GERS FROG
RYAN DAY: ZEN MASTER 25% 25% 35%
HASKINS' ARM: PRECISion Instrument 30% 30% 35%
TIM BECK EFFECT: FINALLY GRADUATED 10% 10% 5%
BRIAN HARTLINE EFFECT: OBVIOUS 20% 20% 15%
TOTE NATION: BEAUTIFUL DISTRACTION 15% 15% 10%

We'll get to the rush-blocking schemes collapsing on themselves in a moment, but the 2nd half adjustments on the road were both exhilarating and effective. Dwayne Haskins is a prodigy. Dobbins isn't all that interested in being tackled by fewer than seven arms. The Buckeye offense is angry and aggressive. Ohio State's wide receivers, we'll get to that shortly as well.

Every passing game (no pun) makes all of 2015, a lot of 2016 and some of 2017 more infuriating.

Sep 15, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; TCU Horned Frogs running back Darius Anderson (6) scores a touchdown against Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Damon Arnette Jr. (3) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Darius Anderson scores TCU's third touchdown | © Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

8. There's a strong chance you have a treasured circle of cerebral advisers with whom you have discussed and diagnosed the Buckeyes before and during our current eight-game winning streak - half of whom were ranked in the top 15 and one of whom is coached by James Joseph Harbaugh.

I have one of those circles too. We have a self-destructive habit of falling down the "here's how I would beat Ohio State" evil rabbit hole. This season, three Urban-less games and all, we have been levitating above the Buckeyes back seven on defense. Just get your fastest guys to the boundary - where linebackers who aren't juked out of their pads by pre-snap motion would normally be - and put those burners in position to beat a safety. 

Oh, we'd go full Iowa-2017 on them if we didn't love them so much.

It's so easy for non-coaching, clairvoyant geniuses like us. Kerry Coombs is mentoring pros and Billy Davis gave a hell of a speech back when Shelley took Urban's name. Those are gaps that take care of themselves, right? The boss is back now, and he's pissed off and uninterested in another 2013 denouement where the back seven is exploited into oblivion by teams that can do it.

This is a journey. The patient will be rewarded. Some of us are old enough to remember...

JT Barrett rushes against Virginia Tech in 2014
Ohio State lost at home by 14 points to Virginia Tech in 2014. People* forget that. | *not TCU people

7. ...when Ohio State's offensive line was Virginia Tech'd into the abyss back in 2014, one home opener removed from Khalil Mack bullying Braxton Miller and Taylor Decker in their own damn stadium. 

That offensive line couldn't do jack poop emoji with young, unbroken J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott both primed for showcase breakout performances. Bud Foster checkmated Ed Warinner, Tom Herman and Urban Meyer that evening using a knight, a rook and 37 3-star pawns.

And the Buckeyes never lost again. This is a journey. The patient will be rewarded. What TCU did to confuse Ohio State's inside running game and blocking on Saturday night won't be forgotten.

6. Austin Mack had his Shooters Shoot Like William Buford Playing Kentucky in 2011 game (too soon, I know, shut up) where it was clear he had a scorching case of the yips and yet, inexplicably, despite a roster overflowing with other difference makers, continued to be served with more opportunities to yip.

It's easy to PTSD yourself into an arghhhh Zach Smith sucked so much tantrum when you see something like that, but balls clanging off of receiver hands isn't the trend for non-Parris wide receivers. For Mack, it was an outlier; a tough evening - the trend is that Ohio State's wide receivers are running more precise, more deliberate and more effective routes than they have run in years - and putting space between them and their enemies.

It wasn't shitty coaching. He is not a shitty player. It was just a shitty outing.

HALFTIME: THE BOURBON

There is a bourbon for every situation. Sometimes the spirits and the events overlap, which means that where bourbon is concerned there can be more than one worthy choice.

Panty melter. You're welcome.
Old Crow. Looks like pee. But it isn't pee, maybe.

I recently got some feedback that suggested I only review and endorse whiskeys that are of the premium grade and hard-to-procure categories as some sort of snobby subtext to imply bourbon is bougie and inaccessible.

That's simply not true, and fortunately this series is archived as evidence.

Bourbon has a gradient that allows it to be whatever its consumer wants to feel. Today we'll look at Old Crow, which tastes like stale geriatric bird carcasses is definitely a bourbon. It comes in a tinted bottle to obscure that it's less brown liquor and more...well, it looks kind of like pee when you're semi-hydrated.

The first thing about Crow is that it's really affordable and not comprehensively terrible. An accessible bougie bourbon - let's just say the bonded Old Fo for examble - has an aromatic, leathery bouquet to it. Crow is leathery too! Like the boat shoes you wore without socks between 8th through 11th grade if you lived in Central Ohio back when Jimmy Buffett didn't have gray hair. That's leather; facts are facts. This is a technical review.

The second thing about Crow is its ancient Ohio State football tie-in: Long ago, prior to our current Era of Unending Scrutiny and Absolutely No Fun Ever that we all currently enjoy, TBDBITL had Old Crow as a central part of its unfortunate traditions. Specifically, the C-Row of the band (get it, c-row)

As one anonymous alumnus and member of TBDBITL's C-Row recently told me:

We literally only drank it because our row was spelled crow. It had no significance beyond that. We still (drink Old Crow) whenever we get together. It's just a terrible decision by nostalgic alumni.

Nostalgia is a hell of a drug and gets a ringing endorsement from this writer. Are we good now, critics? Cool. Go call someone else bougie; we're drowning in street cred and man of the people vibes over here in C-Row.


THE WALKUP: WEEK 4

4. Tulane is next on the docket, occupying a slate space that would normally be considered a trap game ahead of a Happy Valley road trip - if the Buckeyes weren't definitely going to win by multiple touchdowns. On a personal level, this W will represent some retribution for me - I once forgot to close a tab at The Boot after a raucous evening and returned the following morning to get my credit card to find the bartenders had tipped themselves 50%.

It's another example of the old, irrefutable adage - New Orleans always wins. But fortunately for the Buckeyes, Tulane does not. Still <3 U, The Boot.

Oct 22, 2016; University Park, PA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Curtis Samuel (4) runs with the ball as Penn State Nittany Lions safety Malik Golden (6) and defensive end Sharif Miller (48) defend during the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Ohio State 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
In 2016 OSU won the yardage, 1st down & turnover battles - while dominating time of possession - and lost. | © Rich Barnes - USAT Sports

3. Speaking of Happy Valley, next week presents another hostile White Out welcome that Buckeye fans will start thinking about right around Tate Martell o'clock on Saturday afternoon.

The last trip was unsuccessful only because Evan Lisle couldn't block one damn guy during one of the four plays he got to see the field on what should have been a lead-extending field goal. That evening also saw Curtis Samuel getting exactly two handoffs, for 86 total yards.

Misallocation of resources is an era that is now solidly behind us, friends. You don't have to worry about that sort of negligence anymore. That said, I can guarantee you Samuel will not carry the ball even once when the Buckeyes face Penn State next weekend. It's not fair.

2. Urban returns to the Ohio Stadium sideline a humbled, angry, hungry and hopefully vengeful and evil man. After watching this offense operate at peak efficiency for around 10 of 14 quarters in his absence, I anticipate that he will be a willing and cooperative backseat driver vis a vis play calling particulars...

...against Tulane, anyway. I don't think anyone is prepared to believe Urban will settle into being no more than an interested observer in White Out conditions. That said, he might just be agreeable with what his brain trust suggests to him, in which case we would be treated to Ohio State's passionate and completely nerdy play calling brain trust cooking without interruption from the executive chef. Delicious.

Sep 15, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes interim head coach Ryan Day celebrates a victory against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State's now-former interim head coach celebrates beating TCU with Corey Dennis | © Matthew Emmons | USAT Sports

1. What Ryan Day did under the conditions he was given wasn't miraculous. But it was impressive and inspiring and a testament to both his capability in a crisis and the senior coaches Meyer has assembled around him. Of course it's not a perfect staff. However, it includes Ryan Day - and for that, Ohio State was in good hands. Don't pack your bags for Chapel Hill just yet, sir.

Thanks for getting Situational today. Go Bucks. Beat Tulane.

 

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