Ohio State football – three yards and a cloud of dust?
Last Saturday, in Columbus, if you wanted to see any of first-year coach Urban Meyer’s “Urban Renewal” you had to look behind orange cones and not red jerseys. The progress that is supposed to have been made by the Ohio State football team in spring camp was missing against California.
By any evaluation other than the score, a 35-28 Ohio State victory, the Buckeyes lost to California. OSU was beaten in rushing, passing, third down conversions and time of possession. They had to punt eight times verses five for Cal and they were penalized 11 times for 101 yards.
|Ohio State's Devon Smith catches a pass in
the Buckeye's win over California. (Press
photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.life-
Ohio State sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, for the first time this season, was not the leading rusher with 75 yards. Senior running back Jordan Hall took over that spot with a measly 87 yards. In fairness, however, this was Hall’s first game this season after coming off a foot injury.
Junior running back Carlos Hyde, who finally appears to be living up to his potential, was injured in the game against Cincinnati and missed the Cal game. Senior Zach Boren, who is a tremendous blocking fullback, had few opportunities to carry the ball.
On the positive side, the defense sacked the Cal quarterback six times and Cal was not able to sack the OSU quarterback. The highly rated OSU defense was lead by 6-foot-2, 230 pound sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier with 13 tackles and 6-3, 322 junior defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins and 6-2, 202 junior defensive back C. J. Barnett each had 10.
Potential All-American and Coach Meyer’s favorite, 6-2, 263 senior defensive lineman John Simon, only had one tackle — a sack. Meyer said he was not aware how much shoulder pain Simon had going into the game and he probably should not have played which accounts for his low production. The defense also missed many tackles.
In general, I was surprised at what I saw. This was not the OSU team I saw during the spring game or that I watched on television the first two games (wins over Miami and Cincinnati).
The defense was weak, there was no running attack and other than in the fourth quarter after Cal scored and went ahead I did not see any fire and enthusiasm. They seemed as though they were playing in a cloud.
Meyer was undoubtedly unhappy as he kept his head down during most of the press conference. He is too good of a coach to publically blame the players, even though it was obvious that there was considerably poor execution on their part.
I am sure Monday was a tough day at practice and on “bloody Tuesday,” as Meyer calls it, the American Red Cross may be needed at practice. This was not Meyer’s style of football. It wasn’t even OSU style of football. I am willing to bet a different Ohio State team showed up when they pay the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday.
Six-foot-6, 312 pound junior offensive lineman Jake Mewhort, the outstanding offensive lineman (St John’s Jesuit) played well. Six-foot-3, 285 pound sophomore offensive lineman Ben St. John (Woodmore) remains a backup and did not play. The Buckeyes dropped from 12th to 16th in the rankings but are the highest rated Big Ten team after Saturday’s game.
(Harold Hamilton is a freelance photographer who represented The Press on the field at the Ohio State-California game at Ohio Stadium. His photos can be viewed at HEHphotos.lifepics.com)