Before going any further, let’s get one thing straight from now until the end of time: I am not a biased fan. Simply by me writing this article is just me putting the metaphorical pen to paper, and writing something I have been saying since week 6. I have been a fan since I could walk, and I have played devil’s advocate. I have always been really good with predicting a season, and most people know that I believed that, while they had the makings to make the playoff, I was still…unimpressed by their season up until now. After Saturday, I just saw the writing on the way, and decided it’s time to dash any opinion following that sh*t show I watched.
As stated, I watched the entire game on Saturday against Michigan State, and took very thorough notes. Better notes than I take in class thorough. I was going to include time-stamps in game clock time so you can go back and see what I saw, and have it be like an analysis. To quote a famous person talking about my article, “It’ll be great…It’ll be a big one…It’ll be HUGE.”
…and I didn’t bring them with me today, so I don’t have them while I am writing this…sigh…this is going to be a long day…
But I can talk about a couple big lines from the game that OSU fans already know at this point, but maybe something that the typical college football fan doesn’t…
1) TYBG for Dwayne Haskins
I feel so bad for Dwayne. Like really bad. Like running over a dog with a car bad. Ohio State’s offensive line went from having 4 first round draft picks on it, to having false starts after false starts in a stadium that even the announcers said, “This stadium isn’t loud at all. There are just as many OSU fans as there are MSU fans. They shouldn’t be having this many false starts.”
The best part about that quote, is that the analyst didn’t say it. It was the freaking play-by-play guy. Dwayne Haskins is 50 yards away from breaking the OSU single season passing yards record, 500 away from the single season total yards record, 2 TD’s away from the single season passing TD record, and 13 TD’s away from the single season total TD’s record. And he’s not even a top 4 in the Heisman race. Some have commented that this is the quietest the national media have been on a Heisman candidate quarterback since Andrew Luck. I mean, in their loss to Purdue, he had 477 total yards (470 passing), 5 passing TD’s, and went 49-73 throwing the ball.
…WHAT?!?!? That’s a stat line Tom Brady has put up in his 3 Super Bowl losses.
The unimaginative play-calling this year, coupled with a line that has the highest sack rate under Urban, AND coupled with horrible red zone play calls (different topic we will get back to) has resulted in this man having his draft stock plummet. He is still above Will Grier in many measurables, and some teams still have him as their #1 choice, but he is no longer a lock at the top 10 in many projections. He is doing everything while scrambling, and he’s still putting them in positions to win.
The problem is, the next group is really responsible for why they are abysmal, and want no part of the playoffs this year…
2) Defense is REALLYYYYY Missing a Bosa
Who would have thought that this year we would see all the difference losing your best pass-rusher makes in both the NFL and college. The Bears essentially got a steal for MVP-candidate Khalil Mack, and the Raiders defense is regarded as the worst in the league. The Buckeyes lost Nick Bosa, and…well, they aren’t the worst, but they did lose to Purdue.
It’s tough to use stats to back up what I am saying, but I used to coach offensive line with a former SEC offensive tackle that played back when Carlos Dunlap was as Georgia. He admitted to one play where they designed a run straight at Dunlap with a double team with him and a fullback AND a chip block from the tight end for the first play of the game. Dunlap went through all three and stuffed the running back for a loss.
That is pretty much what OSU is missing right now: their defensive best player. Without Nick to soak up the double/triple team, the other linemen (3 of which are still slotted to be drafted in the first two rounds in this draft and the next 2) are struggling to apply pressure. But this is not the only cause for concern in that defense.
In what seems to be a recurring plague for Ohio State since the departure of former Defensive Coordinator (and current head coach of the University of Cincinnati) Luke Fickell, Ohio State has not produced a top end linebacker talent, and has (in my opinion) hindered the growth of them as a whole. The last great linebacker to come from Ohio State was Darron Lee. By great I don’t mean most talented, I mean linebackers that actually know how to/can play the position. Their instincts are all in the wrong directions, and they are not athletically capable of playing the position. One linebacker has been playing on a partially torn Achilles this season…that is how bad they are.
Of course, the group that deserves the most ire is none of the previously mentioned groups, but from the group that has been the only one consistently putting out NFL talent since Urban’s takeover: the secondary.
Yes, they are young. But this is more than young people playing important position mistakes. These are basic fundamental mistakes. For a group that has had a corner/safety drafted in the first round the last 5 years, they will be lucky if they have one get drafted in the first 2 days the next 2 years. They are getting beat on simple routes, they aren’t closing/tackling well, and they have had numerous PI and targeting calls this year. It’s pathetic to say the least.
3) Play Calling
So this is what I have been most depressed about this season. I have watched enough football in my life to be an intelligent play-by-play “analyst” for any major network. I may not be as good as Tony Romo or a couple of the elite shot callers, but I could be a serviceable replacement (not plugging myself at all ESPN and FOX).
From what I have seen though with OSU this year has made me question all I know about the “good” coaches in college football. I spent enough talking about defense, so I will just complain about the offense for now…
Ohio State came into this year with a Heisman hopeful quarterback, an O-line known as maulers in the run game, a ton of upperclassmen at WR, and a two-headed monster in the run game. And yet…they can’t do anything. I complained enough about all of the offensive woes, but this is about the usage of said weapons.
Why is Parris Campbell (the man who famously couldn’t catch a ball if it went further than 5 yards last year) getting targeted with 25% to 50% of all passes, when he only still only catches said passes mostly on routes inside of 5 yards. This also isn’t accounting his 5 jet sweeps a game as well.
He’s also negating all of the athletes that exist in that same position group, most that were within the top 10-15 ranking wise in said category coming out of high school. Hell, one that any OSU can remark on is Terry McLaurin. While he may not catch all the press, his hands are just as reliable as Michael Thomas’ were, and he also blocks extremely well. Most people notice him in the gunner role on special teams though, where he is responsible for downing almost every punt he can the furthest it gets.
I digress from the main point though, seeing as there is more than one receiver on OSU, and more than one person that catches the ball for them a game. My blood is beginning to boil a bit, so I will settle down and begin to wrap this up by leaving you all with a simple question: of the teams in the top 10 currently, who could Ohio State reasonably beat? Bama? Clemson? Notre Dame (with Book at QB)? Michigan? Hell, they might not even be able to beat UCF. I hope they don’t play LSU because it would be really embarrassing to lose to the guy you described as your “backup QB” while he shreds your pathetic defense.
Categories: NCAA Football