Games matter not just for win or lose on that day, but how they affect the future. Including recruiting. Among the huge audience watching were some really good still unsigned guys from the current signing class, and high school players who will be graduating in a year or two. If you were an offensive player the Cotton Bowl gave you no reason to come to Columbus - and high profile games can be an important factor for a kid with choices. Saying that Meyer shut it down sounds better than saying that Meyer got outcoached, but either way our performance did little to help the Buckeye offensive brand.
He was losing to TTUN this year. The Buckeyes won because Haskins got us the points we needed.
We were losing to TTUN in 2017 with JT at QB. And with the second half starting with two 3-and-outs and his third, and what proved to be his final, possession, going nowhere there was no sign of that changing. What changed was the QB. I should not have to defend Haskins' ability to move the team when Barrett couldn't.
Was the coaching staff right in 2015 when Zeke got - what was it? - six carries total against MSU? Was the staff right when in 2015 it started and stuck with Jones over the same JT Barrett? To the point that by the time Barrett was allowed to play most of the games it was too late to get the offense in gear against MSU - and unquestionably a title contender did not make the playoffs? JT benefited greatly from being in a system that suited his strengths well and masked his weaknesses. Weaknesses that have been on full display when he has been asked to throw longer than 15 yards. He was a great leader and has the stats. But we beat TTUN not because of Barrett but because of Haskins. We have no idea how the Buckeyes would have performed with Haskins at the helm, but with the little samples we were given I suspect we would have scored enough against IA that we would not have lost by 31 - and so might well be in the playoffs.
"Clearly" played our best ball after IA? You mean, trailing in the 3rd to TTUN with the QB we were saying would be our QB in the playoffs? You mean playing IL just even in the second half? We smothered MSU, that was complete domination, but if the four games post-IA was us at our best we should understand why we didn't get into the playoffs.
The Buckeyes would need about 9 teams to be declared ineligible for post-season play.
I'd trade the coach's salaries.
This has been one of the most poorly coached Buckeye teams in ages.
This has been waiting to happen, for two reasons. Meyer runs essentially the same game plan against every team, so coaches who study game film have a god idea what to expect. And this has been a particularly undisciplined Buckeye team - the penalties, the failure to keep lane assignments on kick-offs, and an inability to defend the pass. Put even decent athletes on the other side and there is a high risk that we look very ordinary. I wasn't expecting it to be IA that exposed us, but I did expect two losses in our last five games. I expect that if MSU was able to make us look ordinary in 2016 when they were a three-win team and we were Top 4 they are going to do it again when we are worse and they are better than 2016. Because changing defaults that Dantonio knows well and installing discipline do not happen in a week.
That's one way to look at it. I think that the concern is that because the others were so good they could cover more of the field, so just how much Conley can do without help is unknown. I'm not saying I agree, but that may be the concern.
We love McMillan because he's one of ours, but he tended to disappear too often. He was solid but not the kind of monster who gets taken in the first round. Second round seems right to me for someone who didn't always overwhelm college linemen.
He wasn't utilized enough in part because he wasn't open enough. He left not before he got hurt - WRs have a lower injury risk than lots of other positions - but before he showed NFL skills. What he did show is that, in my opinion, Miller's projection of late round is closer to accurate than 3rd round. No one who isn't desperate or already at peak of game should leave school early to be a 4th round pick. Jalin cost himself a lot of money, and I bet Noah has too.
I know I'm the 43rd person saying this but playing to win means ensuring that you have more points when the game ends than the other team. So what you do depends on the situation. At your own 20, up 8, and still 5 minutes left you might need to pick up a couple of first downs. At your opponents 20, up 8, only 5 minutes left you do not need to pick up a single additional first down - you just need to preserve field goal range and push the lead to two scores, running clock as you do it. There is also something else that can go wrong when you pass that no one else has commented on - the chances of a penalty are much higher pass blocking than run blocking. The total lack of football IQ shown by the Falcons playcallers should put them on a Mount Rushmore of Sports Ineptitude.(Browns fans may remember the collapse against Pittsburgh in the 2002 playoffs because the team stopped running. Not as flagrant as what the Falcons did, but nothing you want to have to explain to your grandkids either.)
Don't send anyone back to field punts and just go for blocks. Since Jalin Marshall no one Meyer has sent back on punts has been able to either catch the ball or make sound decisions about trying with any consistency. On the whole, having had no one back might really have been no worse than what we had, and we might have gotten some blocks to help our offense. Unless Meyer does a better job of evaluating special teams talent for 2017 I'm going to continue to view an opponent's punt as our nightmare.
A match-up that concerns me is Urban Meyer versus Dabo Swinney. Meyer has won far more than he has lost, and won three national championships. That run in 2014 was magical. And yet, for all that he seems to get outcoached in games he worries about going in. He has not matched up well with Dantonio in recent years, I'd say James Franklin has been better prepared for him than vice versa, and we can all point to situations in which when the going got tight Meyer shut down. (All those who think that Samuel got enough touches against TTUN raise your hands) Swinney, on the other hand, nearly pulled out an NC against a heavily-favored Tide last year, and now has the Tigers running smoothly (the VT game was closer than expected but never really in doubt). I expect Swinney to coach to win; I fear Meyer will coach to not lose..
I love the Buckeyes and anyone who makes them go. But . . . Though JT has won games anyone who has watched him struggle through most of games to do something a QB is supposed to be able to do - pass - before giving up and just running has reason to question whether he belongs on this list. His passing numbers have been far from consistent, they came in the easy games and the second halves of some. If he were a top-flight QB we would not have had to sweat out NW and MSU and TTUN; the blocked kicks v PSU would not have mattered. It could be argued that we win despite JT, not because of him. And yes, a porous o-line and mediocre receivers don't help, but he's missing guys when they are wide open. Glad to see you on the list, JT, but if I had a vote you'd be first off the island.
I get all this, very helpful. The only reason it worked was because our defense was able to contain their offense. In a playoff against a better offense if we don't start moving the ball till the second half we may be in a hole we can't get out of. The OCs need to install a short passing game and drill JT till he gets it, that seems the only answer to an o-line that can't hold blocks and a defense determined to stop the run. We got away with a limited o against some weaker teams, and rose to WIS and TTUN, but this is not a formula for long-term success.
We did not win big v IN, we did not win big v. WI, we did not win at all v. PSU, we barely squeaked by NW, and now against a team that might not be as good as WI or PSU but is definitely better than IN and NW we are going to put it all together? If I had some proven record of Meyer making changes, rather than just trying harder to teach his preferred schemes, I could buy it. But I can't see why if NW had us figured out the better Cornhuskers won't also. Our o-line still is shaky, our receivers still can't gain separation often enough, Barrett misses on the longer passes that might soften a defense when our receiver is open, and last week our defense had problems with runs up the middle to add to problems at the perimeter. Riley is an experienced enough coach, and Nebraska's players are athletic enough that NE is likely to control both lines. I see nothing but ugliness for Buckeye fans on Saturday. And really can't figure out the optimism.
Not sure how the NC odds are calculated. Obviously if we beat OK we're in good shape - we have a marquee win so can afford a loss. But that win is quite unlikely. And if we lose it is OK that has the marquee win, and we would have to run the table to make the playoff, since getting in with 2 Ls is not likely. And if OK beats us, as expected, their odds of making the playoffs are better than ours, because their schedule with Houston and TCU is better than ours. It seems the odds are computed in a complete vacuum, without regard to schedule
If Meyer drilled in to his players DO NOT GET YOURSELF ARRESTED OR SUSPENDED and Washington chose to ignore him because paying to play was more important than playing then no, it does not fall on Meyer. Washington is just thick as a brick and it's better it comes out now, before some pro team hands him a bunch of money to do difficult things. I suspect that Meyer figured that Barrett had been enough of a lesson and didn't want to embarress his boys. In which case, failing to drill in even the obvious, if it seems that players need to be told that particular obvious, falls squarely on Meyer. When you get paid several mil per anum you are expected to get the details right. Yup.
Meyer had this team unprepared all year. While the season ended nicely I don't think that four quarters against the arch-rival proves much of anything. I have my doubts that Meyer will use the next three weeks to install a passing game, since he did not do it in the last three months. Our punt protection was swiss cheese v MSU and it wasn't much better v TTUN; and I have yet to see proof that Marshall knows when to catch a punt and when not to; and the loss of Washington could easily be as bad as the loss of Bosa, and if you think that was not a loss rewatch VT until their QB left the game. And that Washington did not understand that he could not could not could not do that now falls on the coaches. For whatever reason, I don't think Meyer was in it to win it this year, and I don't see him starting now. I expect a flat performance against a good team that wants it more.
Surely you jest. The Buckeyes were the first preseason unanimous #1 in history. That was not necessarily my expectation, that was the expectation of writers who cover the sport for a living. You think the team did not hear and agree that this was one of the best offenses ever assembled, with defense and coaching to match? On paper, that expectation was not unrealistic. Unfortunately, the coaching staff tried to stick a proQB into a zone read offense, never developed any passing game that defenses had to worry about, and under stress from a talented opponent with a game plan devolved into playing as if being tOSU Buckeyes was enough. And even when we won we were underwhelming, which should never have been expected. This team plain and simply failed to maximize its potential. That is why we are out of the playoffs, not because we never were a playoff team to start with.
What a bizarrely written article. The tone is set from the beginning when you suggest that facing back-up QBs was more of a test than facing a healthy Cook would have been. In fact, the defense whiffed on QB runs in the same way it did against IN and MD. And the four offsides penalties did not help. On the whole the defense played well, but the summary is not that they passed the test but that they allowed a team with back-up QBs with no great experience, no discernible skill, and no proven RBs to rely on to go on three long drives when stops were needed. But the worst writing comes later, when you state that the OCs could not "keep" calling on Elliott when he had been unsuccessful. He had been unsuccessful in the first half against IL - just 55 yards - and ended with over 180. Make adjustments and Zeke does the rest. But the OSU OCs never even tested that - Elliott had but four carries after the first quarter TD. And though you are correct that he was pretty effective as a blocker, the OCs often had us working with an empty backfield, with decoy receivers (who fooled no one) and Zeke on the sideline. Barrett did get pressured on his deep pass to Miller, but that was not a reason to NEVER TRY IT AGAIN! And if slow developing plays took too long why were there almost no quick hitters, like the slant to Marshall in the first half? Our line and receivers (including TE) certainly failed us, but it is the job of OCs to make changes at halftime that will give us the best shot. Making every play a QB zone read is not it. But even more than that, it was the job of the OCs and line coaches to have the team better prepared from the opening gun to face a stacked box than we were versus VT 2014, making sure everyone knew their blocking assignments, and the appearance was that the braintrust just assumed that no extra preparation was needed, all was good. That is not coaching. Players underwhelmed, but had Meyer not done such a brilliant job last year and in several years in the past his job as the head man was so, so inadequate that his competence might well be questioned. When a team that seemed to have found its offense gets only 132 total yards against a defense that had never been that stout all year and did nothing unexpected, without the excuse of turnovers or numerous penalties, the coaching staff should be held accountable. And even homers should be saying so, unless you don't care if there are repeats.
The offensive game plan for MSU, assuming there was one, seemed to have been to ride the zone read QB. Presumably this had been approved by Meyer, first because there presumably had been a coach's meeting at which UM would have had a final say, and second because at crunch time in MSU2013 that was the decision that Meyer himself had made. OK, doesn't seem an optimal strategy with Elliot, Samuel, Miller, Marshall, Thomas etc, but I've never won a national title. So if that was what Meyer thought would be the best option for an OSU offense a) why did he name a QB who could not zone-read as his starter at the beginning of the season; b) why did he wait so long into the season after it was clear that it was not working to make a change to give his zone-read QB some reps; and, most importantly, c) why did he not demand something else on Saturday when it was clear that it was playing right into MSU's hands? I'm trying to make sense of the season and the game and not coming up with explanations. It was if Meyer had been having an out of body experience and was totally unaware that his team had only 66 yards of total offense at half time, and was picking up after intermission where it had left off.