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Ohio State Buckeyes inexperience shows in loss to Oklahoma

Ohio State may recruit at an elite level, but inexperience on the field is starting to catch up with the Buckeyes.

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Ohio State simply doesn’t lose a night game at home, or at least opponents aren’t suppose to make it look easy. However, that’s exactly what happened on Saturday night as the No. 2 Buckeyes were beaten by No. 5 Oklahoma 31-16.

In some quarters it was Ohio State’s decision to abandon the run game (what were they supposed to do when trailing?).

In other quarters, a lack of a cohesive passing attack was to blame (and there’s plenty of truth in that).

Some are pointing the fingers at the pass defense (and who can blame them after that performance on Saturday?).

Still others are looking at a program with issues developing depth at key skill positions as a problem.

What went right in Week 1, went horribly wrong in Week 2 — mainly the dynamic playmakers couldn’t make plays.

J.T. Barrett was just 19 of 35 for 183 yards and no touchdowns through the air.

Dynamic H-back Parris Campbell was held in check, putting up just three receptions for 27 yards.

Meanwhile, freshman running back sensation J.K.Dobbins was held to only 72 yards and a touchdown.

Simply put, that formula isn’t going to win you games against quality opponents, and head coach Urban Meyer made his displeasure in the performance of his supposed leaders known post-game.

“I’m never going to point the finger at the quarterbacks,” said Meyer. “I’m going to say he’s the head dog and he’s accountable. … But I’m going to make it perfectly clear: There’s not a bull’s-eye on J.T. Barrett.”

Who should the bullseye be on then?

Perhaps the bullseye should be on Meyer and the coaching staff? After all, they are the ones who call plays and put this team in the positions they were in on Saturday night.

It may seem strange to suggest, but there is even inexperience on the coaching staff. Sure, Kevin Wilson and Greg Schiano are veteran minds, but both are in their first seasons as coordinators for the Buckeyes. Wilson isn’t even the one calling the shots with the quarterbacks, which was a puzzling move considering his long history of getting the most out of that position.

Wilson was brought in in the hopes of upping the ante in the passing game. That hasn’t happened through two games at all. Instead, a youthful set of receivers and a veteran quarterback have struggled to find a rhythm in large part.

Barrett has completed just 55.7 percent of his passes for 487 yards and three touchdowns to an interception already this season.

Sophomore wide receiver K.J. Hill leads all receivers with seven receptions, but that’s only produced 50 yards. Meanwhile, Johnnie Dixon leads all wide receivers with just 77 yards through two games.

Take away Parris Campbell’s big day against Indiana to open the season and the numbers are anemic for the Buckeyes young wide receiver group.

It isn’t just youth and inexperience on offense that has reared its ugly head early on this season. Ohio State’s pass defense has shown to be just as bad as the offensive output.

Oklahoma just simply picked Ohio State apart with quick passes around the line of scrimmage. Normally that would mean short gains, but the Buckeyes decided covering players at the line of scrimmage wasn’t a priority.

Too often a five-yard pass over the middle turned in to 10, 15 or even 20 yards.

It all added up to a Sooners passing game that amassed 386 yards and three touchdowns.

Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield was a wholly efficient 25 of 37 passing for those 386 yards and three touchdowns as well.

Even youthful running back Trey Sermon did his best to show the Buckeyes offense what they should’ve looked like. He had just 62 yards on the ground, but also put up three receptions for 27 yards and a key score to power his team past Ohio State.

It was the type of efficient effort that Dobbins and Co. couldn’t put up and the Buckeyes defense couldn’t stop.

Through two games it is clear OSU’s passing offense is stagnant at best and it’s pass defense is porous as hell.

Ohio State’s pass defense is the worst in the Big Ten, giving up an average of 403 yards per game through the air. No seriously, think about that for a second. Ohio State is the worst in the conference in a stat category.

When was the last time that happened?

One could argue OSU has also played two of the most difficult passing offenses anyone in the Big Ten would see all season long. That is a good point, but so is the fact that Ohio State has failed against said passing games and teams are only going to continue to draw up game plans to exploit that weakness.

Indiana’s wide receiver group is considered one of the deepest in the Big Ten, so giving up big numbers to them on the road wasn’t exactly a head-turner.

Seeing the film, doing nothing to correct it and arguably regressing at home against a big time opponent? That’s worrisome.

While all of that doesn’t add up to a lot of confidence going forward, the good news is that there is a wealth of experience and knowledge on the coaching staff to draw from. This also happens to be just Week 2 of the season.

Problems exist to be sure, but this isn’t the time to hit the panic button just yet.

Now, if the same problems are here in Week 6 or 7? By all means, hit that panic button because all the hype meant nothing to the reality of this team.

Right now, it is time for the Buckeyes to do some soul-searching and make some serious changes from within. If they can do that, this season is far from lost, if not, it will be a season of what-if for plenty of reasons.

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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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