If the walls of Ohio Stadium could talk about win number 400 yesterday, oh the things the cement and metal would tell the world about The Ohio State Buckeyes. One thing is for sure, however: this is not the worst those walls have seen and the coaches are willing to accept that fact and continue to improve.
What else have we learned coming out of the UAB game yesterday in the Shoe besides who the Blazers actually are?
The Buckeyes have a long way to go this 2012 season to being that team and running the Big 10 in lieu of an actual bowl game and a chance at anything too exciting. To tell coach Urban Meyer that he has inherited a mess that has been labeled many things is no news to him or really anyone after a scramble to come from behind against the Blazers. Our Big 10 opponents know it and certainly Michigan State has all eyes on yesterday’s performance.
‘Where exactly do they need the work,’ asked a reporter of Coach Meyer, who was very honest in his response:
Offense, defense, and the kicking game.
Well that doesn’t leave a whole lot besides a quarterback that he continues to rave about, but if they want to build this program they need to put together a whole lot more.
I’ll chalk up some of the problems seen in the first four games this season to inexperience and changes in the program that they are continuing to work with, but the last two I cannot simply write off in that manner. More specifically watching the defense I am completely floored at the problems that abound.
Having covered high school football over the last eight years in Central Ohio I’ve seen programs from one end of the spectrum to the other, ups and downs, bad years, mediocre seasons, playoffs and some damn fine athletes. One thing that strikes me most is some of the biggest issues in giving up the yards and the big plays have been from fundamental issues. Fundamentals, something that should not be coming out of a Division 1 NCAA coach’s mouth really at any point, are the Achilles’ to Ohio State. Tackling, wrapping up, reading the offense and anticipating the play are certainly things that they included on a highlight reel to get noticed by Ohio State, but where did it go?
If there is something that is going to help keep the Buckeyes in the run for a perfect season it is going to be the ability of Braxton Miller to spin, bend, bounce, juke and run like his hair is on fire. Not to take anything away from the rest of the offense, but yesterday he certainly kept it interesting and stands to leave a huge positive mark at the University. He is almost everything a coach could want from a quarterback at this point and is doing a significant job at keeping them 4-0. Are we seeing a good performance from his teammates? Certainly, but it has been hit or miss at best.
With Carlos Hyde out of the game against UAB it is a good thing that we had Jordan Hall back in the mix to rack up 105 yards rushing and snag two receptions for 21 yards. Between Hall and Miller on the ground, they recorded well over half of the yards against UAB. Even with that, Hall still looks like he’s performing only half throttle and might not be completely performing to his potential. While not coming out and saying it, it would appear in the post game conference that Coach Meyer was leading onto Hyde making it back on the road trip to open up the Big 10 schedule this Saturday in East Lansing.
While I’m sure that the Buckeyes enjoyed their win and celebrated, I would hate to be watching film this week. I anticipate that practice this week is going to be even more demanding than weeks past in order to prepare for the most difficult challenge yet.
So what do we know about Ohio State football? Not a whole lot – but we’re about to find out plenty more.