1. First things first: You don't lose Joey Bosa, Zeke Elliott, Taylor Decker, Darron Lee, Michael Thomas, etc. etc. and get better as a team. That narrative, which was prevalent early in the season, was soundly disproven last night. While certain positions were upgraded in 2016 (Malik Hooker over Tyvis Powell, for example), the team as a whole suffered a tremendous depletion of talent, a depletion that could not be overcome in just one season.
2. Next, let's get past the "youngest team in CFB" bullshit already. That excuse might have been valid at the beginning of the season, but by last night everyone on the team was a full year older, in football terms, than they were on September 3rd. And a lot of those "young pups" are good enough to head to the NFL early. Youth and inexperience are often used as an excuse for lack of talent. I think that we need to question the level of talent on this team, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
3. Penn State fans like to blame every loss on officiating, cheating, and conspiracies. We like to blame every loss on play calling. While the play calling in last night's game was certainly not good, it was not play calling that caused dropped passes, overthrows, underthrows, fumbles, false starts, missed blocks, shanked field goals, and general lack of effort and execution from the offense.
4. Here's a perfect example of poor play calling and poor execution coming together to kill a drive: After the opening kick-off, Ohio State started with the ball in decent field position at their own 33-yard line. After two ill-designed plays (more on that later) that netted just two yards, Ohio State dialed up an old standby: the swing pass to a running back. The play lacked creativity and moved the ball laterally when the Buckeyes should have been attacking downfield. However, despite the poor play call, the Buckeyes still get a first down near midfield if Mike Weber simply catches the damned ball. The drop prevented the Buckeyes from gaining any momentum early and set the tone for the entire game.
5. The whole idea of a spread offense is to remove defenders from "the box" so that it is easier to operate inside the box. It is a good theory, and it works if utilized properly. However, the Buckeyes love to spread the field and then operate outside the box, with runs and passes to the edges of the field. In other words, the Buckeyes are moving defenders outside the box and then running plays at those very same defenders. The Buckeyes offense works best when they spread the field and then use misdirection plays (zone reads, counters) or exploit mismatches (Curtis Samuel on slants versus a linebacker) inside the box.
6. Another problem with the Buckeyes' offense is that they tend to over-spread the field by using five wide formations. This limits their options to a passing play (not a strong point of this offense) or a quarterback draw (an overused play that opposing defenses have adjusted to).
7. Urban Meyer's offense is broken. Is the problem coaching, personnel, or scheme, or some combination thereof? And most importantly, what will Urban do to fix this problem? Will there be a ceremonial scalp (Tim Beck)? Or will Urban be able to examine his own creation objectively and discern where it is failing?
8. J.T. Barrett is an enigma. Is he part of the problem or part of the solution?
9. The 31-0 loss to Clemson marked the first time the Buckeyes have been shut out since November 20, 1993, a 28-0 whitewashing at Michigan. Ohio State is now 0-3 versus Clemson, their worst record against any opponent (they are also 0-3 against Florida State). Ohio State has never beaten a team from South Carolina, as they are also 0-2 versus the University of South Carolina.
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