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Clemson Autopsy

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by LordJeffBuck, Jan 1, 2017.

By LordJeffBuck on Jan 1, 2017 at 9:05 AM
  1. LordJeffBuck

    LordJeffBuck Illuminatus Emeritus Staff Member

    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.


Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by LordJeffBuck, Jan 1, 2017.

    1. MililaniBuckeye
      In my mind, there's no doubt that with a good QB coach JT can return to his '14 brilliance.
    2. LordJeffBuck
      I almost addressed this in my original post.

      So far as I can tell, there are five possibilities to explain JT's regression:

      1. He's still not fully recovered physically from his ankle injury at the end of the 2014 season.
      2. He's still not fully recovered psychologically from his benching at the start of the 2015 season.
      3. He's been victimized by poor play calling and poor game planning.
      4. He's trying to be (or is being groomed to be) more of a pro-style quarterback.
      5. He succeeded in 2014 because of all the talent around him (in other words, he's just not all that good).

      Of course, some combination of those factors is probably at issue.

      But Barrett's "success" in 2014 is largely a happy memory that an objective review of the season would not support. A lot of Buckeye fans were (rightly) complaining about the 2014 offense as well. Remember Virginia Tech? Penn State? Even subpar performances against Minnesota and Indiana? The offense didn't really take off until Cardale Jones replaced Barrett and the team was playing in weather-free conditions. Tom Herman looked like a genius during the playoff run, but not so much when the team was averaging 3.9 yards per play against Penn State in the middle of the season.

      Barrett is a tough, gritty player, and (I think) a good field general. He is also limited physically (both in the running game and the passing game) and seems to lack instinct as a passer. He's probably too good to bench, but not good enough to lead a team to a title. At least not until the next Zeke Elliott comes around to carry the load. And that won't happen next season.

      If "they" also includes Urban Meyer, then I agree with you. Talent evaluation (i.e., recruiting) has to play some part here. Let's not forget that Urban Meyer's best wide receivers - Devin Smith and Michael Thomas - were Tressel/Fickell recruits.

      The play calling this year was not good, but play calling is all about tactics. In other words, what to do during a particular situation during a particular game. However, this offense also lacked strategy - an overall gameplan or philosophy or identity. The lack of identity is Urban Meyer's fault.

      In 2014, the strategy was to pound the ball on the ground and mix in the occasional deep pass. It was easy to implement that strategy when you had generational talents like Zeke Elliott at running back and Devin Smith at wide receiver.

      In 2015, the strategy (as I have noted elsewhere) shifted in part to awarding players for past production or showcasing them for the NFL. Hence, starting Cardale Jones at QB and formulating a special package for Braxton Miller, both of which in retrospect were mistakes and led to an offense that often seemed out of rhythm and disjointed. When the Buckeyes got back to pounding the ball after the Michigan State debacle, they ran for 369 yards (6.8 average) against Michigan and 285 yards (5.3 average) against Notre Dame and scored an average of 43 points per game.

      Yes, the Buckeyes no longer had Zeke Elliott or Devin Smith in 2016, but that was really no excuse to get away from the proven strategy of success. Curtis Samuel was a unique talent who provided versatility that was lacking from the 2014 and 2015 offenses (Jalin Marshall showed flashes but was far too inconsistent), and he could have been utilized more as a Devin Smith type deep threat. Mike Weber is certainly no Zeke Elliott (and he never will be), but Ohio State has been able to successfully design a power running attack around other lesser backs such as Antonio Pittman and Jonathan Wells and Michael Wiley and Pepe Pearson. The failure to use (or at least attempt to use) Samuel as a deep threat and Weber as a bell cow back falls on Urban Meyer's head, not on the coordinators. If Meyer's coordinators strayed from his strategy for one game or even part of a game, then it was Meyer's responsibility to get them back in line. Problem was, so far as a I could tell, there was no strategy to begin with.

      MaxBuck, muffler dragon and LitlBuck like this.
    3. LitlBuck
      I could not agree more with this statement. It is something I have been trying to say for a while but just could not find the correct wording and you found it for me. I would also add that I do not think JT is a very accomplished deep ball passer even if he did have the weapons of past years. He missed quite a few deep throws this season when guys were wide open. I almost wish that Urban would give the young guns a chance next spring but I know that is not going to happen because Urban thing so much of JT as a leader.
    4. Dryden
      Exclusive video of Tim Beck taking his seat in the press box:

      brodybuck21 and muffler dragon like this.

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