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Ohio State Buckeyes 2016 Football: Did 2015 Shortcomings Help Young Team



The 2014 team mantra was The Chase. The Buckeyes took heed of head coach Urban Meyer’s ultimate team goal. OSU won the Big Ten championship by destroying the Wisconsin Badgers 59-0, thus putting the scarlet and gray into the first ever College Football Playoff. Elliot ran through the heart of the south in their win versus Alabama, then they won the final piece of hardware defeating the Ducks of Oregon.

The 2015 team mantra was The Grind. That team too seemed to take heed of Meyer’s mantra —playing lesser teams close, grinding out wins at times. Having elite talent on the field didn’t seem to propel the team into the stratosphere as many had predicted and a once historically talented team didn’t live up to historic levels of hype. A loss to Michigan State in the Shoe in November made a Big Ten championship and a College Football Playoff berth a pipe dream.

The 2016 team mantra is The Edge. Having a young inexperienced team for this season, coach Meyer is lighting a fire under the young Bucks. Letting them know you are currently average, you need to cross over The Edge to become extraordinary.

However, the question facing this team seems to be if the disappointment of 2015’s results carried over enough for the team in 2016. So, let us look back at what this team may have learned about itself last season before we move forward.


The Good

A team finishing the season with a 12-1 record is very good, playing in a New Years Day bowl game along with finishing No. 4 in final AP rankings is also good news. There are a ton of coaches, coaching staffs and fan bases wishing their teams could do that.

Offensively Ohio State finished second in scoring with close to 36 points a game, third in total offense with 434 yards a game, meanwhile finishing first in rushing averaging 245 yards a contest.

They also finished second in defensive scoring with 15 a game, third giving up 311 yards. The Buckeyes tied for second with close to three sacks a game.

It all added up to 14 players who were selected in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft, and that was the ultimate good for the 2015 season.


The Bad

The quarterback competition that lasted till about the Penn State game (seventh of the season) seemed to really have the team misfiring. Cardale Jones seemed to sputter and miss throws, resulting in having to use J.T. Barrett in the red zone and chop up any flow the offense may or may not have had going. The play calling was extremely questionable at times — as was extremely evident in the Michigan State game.

The lack of consistency from the offense seemed to cause damage to the defense since they seemed to have to play more than usual. The defense was getting worn down quicker than usual, leading to mental mistakes that seemed to cost this team at crucial times in key games. Even star defensive end Joey Bosa was not immune from those issues.

It all resulted in some shuffling of the look of the coaching staff on game day. Urban finally moved offensive coordinator Ed Warinner up into the press box with co-coordinator and QB coach Tim Beck after the debacle that was the Spartan game. The final two games of the season showed how talented and explosive the Buckeyes could have been.


The Ugly

November 21, 2015 , a day that will live in infamy for the 2015 Ohio State players, staff and fans. Michigan State came into Ohio Stadium and pulled off the upset. The Spartans win allowed them to play Iowa in the Big Ten championship game and then play Alabama in their first ever showing in the college playoffs.

After the game, running back Ezekiel Elliott went on a rant blasting the offensive coordinators while releasing to the media that was his final home in Columbus. He went on to have great games against Michigan and Norte Dame to finish his college career.

Yet, few really got over what took place on that infamous date in Columbus back in 2015.


What it means for 2016

Ohio State has six returning starters from 2015 — three on each side of the ball. J.T. Barrett is firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback. Hopefully, he can be back to 2104 form following a rough 2015 with the rotation happening at QB.

Young inexperienced players will need to step up around him though, which puts a lot of responsibility on Barrett and the few returning starters on offense.

Mike Weber is a redshirt freshman being thrown into the fire of having to replace Elliott, Michael Jordan is a true freshman who has wowed coaches playing for a starting guard spot. There is still a number 97 with the name Bosa who will be getting playing time but his first name isn’t Joey.

A young inexperienced team will have to learn how to cross over The Edge in order to etch their names into the Buckeye historical lore.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

Buckeyes Football

Talking10 Podcast Episode 100: Something, something Urban Meyer



Ohio State made its decision on Urban Meyer. Andy and Phil are here to break it all down for you and give you the truth in a hazy situation. What better way to celebrate episode 100 of the podcast than to spend 50 minutes breaking down a mess of a situation in Columbus, right?

We’ll talk our reactions to the press conference, break down the actual findings of OSU’s investigative report and we’ll even talk how the media-at-large and the OSU media handled the fallout from Wednesday night’s press conference.

Don’t forget you can listen to the podcast each week via Radio Public and other podcasting apps. 

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @talkingB1G

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Buckeyes Football

Urban Meyer and OSU AD put on suspension following investigation



The media stakeout of the Ohio State Board of Trustee’s meeting can now end. It only took 12 hours or so, but answers finally came. 

According to multiple reports, including from the AP, OSU head coach Urban Meyer is suspended for the first three games of the season. In addition, athletic director Gene Smith will serve the same suspension from Aug. 31 to Sept. 16 — both will not receive pay during that time frame as well. 

Both came under fire as this story unfolded. It began just prior to the Big Ten media days in late July, the story that Zach Smith had been arrested for criminal trespassing in April of this year broke and Meyer fired Smith on Monday morning of the start of Big Ten media days.

Brett McMurphy then detailed in an exclusive report that Smith had previously been “arrested” back in 2015 for a second allegation of domestic abuse against his then-wife Courtney Smith. 

Meyer was questioned about that arrest and allegation from 2015 at media days and struck out against reporters repeated questioning. He would deny knowing of the arrest report back in 2015. 

However, further reporting by McMurphy put that denial in to further question and Ohio State decided to get to the bottom of it. 

Once Meyer was put on paid administrative leave, he would put a statement out admitting to knowing about the 2015 incident and alerting athletic administrators of the domestic abuse allegations. 

Meyer has stayed silent since that statement and awaited the outcome of the 14-day inquiry in to whom knew what and when and what action was taken. 

That investigation ended this past Sunday, with the committee verbally advising the Board of Trustees on Monday morning of its findings. Two days later, the Board of Trustees would come to meet publicly and then behind closed doors to discuss what would happen to Meyer and others involved in this situation. 

Meyer’s suspension is for the first three games, and on the field that is a big hit with three FBS games coming at the start of the season. OSU kicks off the year against Oregon State, plays a Big Ten contest against Rutgers and a massive game against TCU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 

We will have more on this situation and the reaction to what Meyer and Smith had to say on the talking10 Podcast tomorrow. 

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Buckeyes Football

Report: OSU to suspend Urban Meyer



The Ohio State University board of trustees have been verbally read in on the findings of a 14-day investigation in to the conduct of football head coach Urban Meyer. 

So, what will happen next? 

According to the Columbus Dispatch, it appears a suspension or even lighter punishment is coming for Meyer:

“Two sources connected to the investigation said the likely recommendation to university President Michael V. Drake is a suspension for Meyer. Drake and the board could also opt for a ‘time served’ punishment since Meyer has been removed from football activities for more than two weeks.”

Meyer has already been on suspension (or paid administrative leave) for the better part the month of August.

The meeting on Monday was able to take place because it was an “informational meeting” and no public business was conducted. However, there is a meeting scheduled for 9a.m. on Wednesday to discuss just what punishment would be recommended. 

Ultimately it will be the university president that makes the final decision, but the board of trustees will meet to send their recommendation to President Michael V. Drake, who is likely to adhere to the recommendation of the board. 

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Buckeyes Football

Ohio State wins Cotton Bowl Classic: The good, bad and what it means for 2018

Buckeyes defense dominates USC en route to Cotton Bowl Classic victory.



Some may say that Ohio State had a real gripe about not being selected to the College Football Playoff this season. Whether the Buckeyes believed they were snubbed or not, they certainly took out any frustration on USC in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Ohio State used a dominating night on defense and just enough offense to beat the Trojans 24-7. Four turnovers were forced by the Buckeyes defense, resulting in a pick six and a huge shift in momentum late in the game too.

The win sends quarterback J.T. Barrett out on a high note, but it wasn’t his best effort on the field. He had just 114 yards passing and no touchdowns, while also putting up a Buckeyes-best 66 yards on the ground as well.

Luckily those 66 yards were enough to find the end zone twice in the first half for OSU.

Barrett got the Buckeyes on the board on their first possession and then put the Buckeyes up 24-0 on a 28-yard run late in the second quarter. However, it appeared momentum was shifting late in the half as Ronald Jones II put the ball over the goal line with just 1:29 to play in the first half.

That was it for the scoring though and it was a massive defensive message to the critics of the Buckeyes.

It all added up to the Big Ten coming away from a loaded day of action with a 5-0 record. Not only did the Buckeyes win, but so did Northwestern to help the Big Ten continue its banner bowl game start.

The Good

J.T. Barrett Continued to be Legendary

Few players in the history of Ohio State football have had the career that quarterback J.T. Barrett has had. Yet, it feels strange to say his career has been legendary. Maybe its the fact that he missed out on a Big Ten and national championship in 2015? Maybe it’s the fact that it somehow took until his senior season to win a Big Ten title as the quarterback?

Whatever it was, Barrett’s career just seemed incomplete. But, on Friday night Barrett added to his collegiate legend, setting the Big Ten’s total yards record that was previously held by some guy named Drew Brees.

There’s little doubt that Barrett is going to be remembered in Columbus for some time. Most importantly, Barrett was able to complete a post-season with a Big Ten championship and a win in a New Year’s Six game.

Not a bad way to go out in your college career.

Defense Got Turnover Happy

Ohio State showed it had a really good defense down the stretch run of the regular season, but it seemed to finally all come together in the Cotton Bowl. The Buckeyes forced USC quarterback and talked-about No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Sam Darnold, to look rather average at best.

Part of Darnold’s issue came in the form of turnovers. Well, Darnold and USC in general, as the Trojans gave up the ball via turnover a whopping four times.

The last of which came as Darnold got hit from behind and let the ball fall right in to the waiting arms of an OSU defensive lineman.

It all added up to a USC offense that came in averaging 35 points per game being completely shutdown.

Let’s just say it was a great time for OSU to give its best defensive performance of the season too.

The Bad

Ohio State’s Offensive Performance

While a 24-7 scoreline would seem flattering, Ohio State’s offense really did minimal work on Friday night.

The Buckeyes amassed just 277 yards on 55 plays in the game, including just 114 yards in the passing game. Barrett getting a win in his final game was nice, but his passing game wasn’t. Barrett finished the game 11 of 17 passing for just 114 yards and no touchdowns.

Even more telling? The dynamic duo of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber was held to just 57 yards combined.

Given the domination of the defense all of this seems to be a bit nit-picky, but it should also be worrisome because this offense was up and down all 2017.

What it Means for 2018

It’s hard to say that this one game was make or break for any Ohio State players and their NFL draft status, but that is really the key from this game. Did Sam Hubbard’s great night make his decision easier? How many other guys will take off after this game?

Ultimately that is what is going to matter most heading in to the 2018 offseason.

However, what we can take away from the Cotton Bowl is the fact that the Buckeyes need some real work on the offensive side of the ball. Some of it is just simply growing up for young players, but we also saw what we saw most of this year in the pass game for OSU — there aren’t a lot of receiving options.

That group has got to regroup in a major way or the Buckeyes won’t be going anywhere but backwards on offense in 2018.

Dwayne Haskins is a better pure passer than J.T. Barrett, but it may not matter if no one can get open. Sure, you can give credit to the Trojans secondary, but the Buckeyes receivers did nothing to help themselves either.

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