The Buckeye Hangover – Week 2: Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech

Photo courtesy of USATSI/http://www.cbssports.com/ Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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Sorry folks, no Buckeye Hangover podcast this week. We experienced some technical difficulties which I discovered during post production. We had no time to record a new podcast and we weren’t about to make you suffer through the one we had. We’ll make sure we’re back up and running next week for the Kent State game. Thanks in advance for your patience.

Anyhow, in case you missed it, the Buckeyes fell to the Virginia Tech Hokies by a score of 35 to 21 in a game that really wasn’t even as close as the score would suggest.

For starters, our secondary is still bad. I know this because Virginia Tech was consistently able to convert on third and long throughout the course of the game…and they weren’t doing it on the ground. No sir, they were converting through the air, taking advantage of our terrible pass coverage. This is the third straight year that our secondary has been absolute garbage and it needs to end now. There’s no excuse. The majority of this team now consists of Urban Meyer recruits, so the blame squarely lies on Meyer and company. Get it right.

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the game, JT Barrett got sacked…a lot. This offensive line might be the worst offensive line that I’ve ever seen in my time as a Buckeye fan…and I suffered through the Tressel years while JB Shugarts was getting false start penalties every other play. We all knew going into the season that the offensive line was a huge question mark for this team. Well, we now have our answer to that question: BAD. Replacing four starters on your offensive line is never easy, but it appears that this coaching staff has done just about the worst job possible at grooming new guys for their positions.

If it sounds like I’m blaming the coaching staff an awful lot, I’m just getting started. Did anybody notice how plain the play calling was on the offensive side of the ball for Ohio State? This isn’t Techmo Bowl. You can’t just chuck it down field and expect to win every game. You have to mix it up and let the running game open up the passing game and vice versa. Virginia Tech was putting that much heat on the quarterback because they knew that there was either going to be a deep pass, an option play, or a quarterback run. What about screen passes? What about slant passes? What about plain old running back plays? Did Tom Herman just up and forget about 75% of his playbook? I’m sorry, but if your play calling is handicapping the talent you have on your team…that’s on you, not the players. Did JT Barrett look bad? Yes. Was it all his fault? No.

It may not be a surprise here, but we did not issue any Grown Ass Man Awards for this game. It’s not just because we lost. We handed out awards for the Big Ten Title game and the Orange Bowl last year. But in this game, nobody stepped up and stood out from their other teammates. You win as a team and you lose as a team and this was most assuredly a team loss. So yes, for the first time in the history of Our Sports Report and The Buckeye Hangover, there are no Grown Ass Man Awards to be presented for a Buckeye game.

This was by far the worse game that I have seen Ohio State play since Meyer took over…and that includes last year’s Orange Bowl debacle. The coaches and players had better get things fixed or it’s going to be a long season.

Next week, we face off against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Ohio Stadium. I don’t think that Kent State has a real chance to win this game. However, with the way Ohio State has been playing, they have a chance to make it uncomfortably close.

Here’ what I’m looking for from the Buckeyes:

  • Dynamic play calling from Tom Herman and Urban Meyer (screens, slant passes, get the running backs involved up the middle)
  • Better pass protection by the offensive line. These guys need to step up and play like they deserve scholarships. You can’t expect great things from your redshirt freshman quarterback when he’s being sacked every other play…fix it now. Not only will this help out JT Barrett but it will also open up the running game for…
  • Pick a running back. I know we have a ton of depth at this position, but that’s exactly what it is…depth. Depth doesn’t mean that you have a ton of guys that must receive playing time every game. It means that you have a ton of guys that can play if needed. You have Ezekiel Elliot and Curtis Samuel who have received most of the touches at running back…pick one and stick with it. You want to play Dontre Wilson as a slot receiver, be my guest. But I’ve had enough of seeing all three running backs touch the ball before we go three and out to punt the ball.
  • I had better not see Rod Smith touch the ball unless it is on special teams. If he hasn’t earned the chance to start, then don’t let him touch the ball. Make him earn it on special teams until he deserves a start. If he refuses to earn a spot by playing hard on special teams…then cut him. We’ve waited three years for this guy to put it all together and he hasn’t. #CutRodSmith
  • I want to see interceptions and solid tackling from the secondary. I don’t care if a Kent State receiver runs for a touchdown after catching a ball if you got a hand on it first. That means he got lucky. But I’m sure sick of seeing third and long conversions happening because our secondary is playing loose coverage. Stick your man and quit screwing around.
  • Lastly, JT Barrett, if given the chance by the O-Line, needs to show that he can make good decisions in the pocket. He’s proved that he has a good enough arm to make the throws (see the Navy game), but he now needs to show that he can play at this level. Is he playing a year sooner than intended? Absolutely. But it’s time to show why you were such a great recruiting target to begin with. The Kent State Golden Flashes present a perfect opponent for you to show what kind of player you can be. Start fresh, make a good showing, and move on through the rest of the season. This is your reset button, don’t waste it.

What say all of you out there? What are you looking for from the Buckeyes this Saturday? Let us know in the comments below.