Posts Tagged ‘recapage

01
Oct
13

promises kept.

We heard some about it a year ago, Urban saying that while he liked the offense, he didn’t have the playmakers on the roster to really make the offense hum.

We heard about it during this summer’s camp, too. Jordan Hall was healthy, Carlos Hyde would miss only three games while sitting for his summertime indiscretion, the receivers had an additional year’s experience under their belts and there was that Dontre Wilson kid from Texas who was already tying up the first-team defense in knots.

We heard that we’d get to see what Urban Meyer’s offense really looks like in 2013.

There were glimpses against Buffalo and San Diego State. But on the road at California … boom, there it was. Again in the first half against Florida A&M.

But how would Ohio State do against Wisconsin, arguably the first real defense the Buckeyes had seen all year? With a quarterback who hadn’t played in more than two games?

wisctd113-09-28-FB-0398-DH

Well, uh, yeah.

I still get the sense that we haven’t see the best of Ohio State’s offense. The best, I think, is yet to come.

 

 

09
Sep
13

kenny g.

This Kenny G.

Not that Kenny G (although a Kenny G. halftime show at some point this season would be hysterical).

02
Sep
13

a solid start.

kntstadium

Jordan Hall was healthy. Dontre Wilson blew away everyone in camp. The receivers were healthy and experienced. And, we were told, Braxton Miller had successfully turned the corner, morphing from an athlete playing quarterback into an athletic quarterback.

The Urban Meyer offense was locked and loaded. And during the first quarter on Saturday, we got a glimpse of what could be in store for the rest of the fall.

Three possessions. Three touchdowns. Total time of possession just over six minutes. Two two-point conversions from one of those flaky unbalanced formations that I hate unless Ohio State is the team doing it.

And lots of silly grins and high fives in C-deck.

It was raining when I opened the garage door at 5:30 Saturday morning; that humidity hung with us even after the rain ended.

But the heat and humidity didn’t seem to bother the season’s first tailgating effort, and it certainly didn’t appear to bother our guests for the morning; my Florida cousins Jonathan and Ryan got to join us before taking in their first Ohio State game in the stadium. I hadn’t seen either one of those guys since they were kids, and it was great to hang out with both of them for the day.

knthat

The Hat is back.

We ate well — Mrs. Crappy will have her recap posted in the next day or two, and let me tell you, the breakfast creation she came up with was killer — pulled off the toast, and we all got inside without any forgotten tickets or anything.

At the end of the first quarter, the score was 23-0, and most of us in the stadium were sporting those silly grins I mentioned before.

The coaches said they throttled back on that display after the first quarter, in part out of concern for how players were faring in Saturday’s heat. And that helped highlight the one concern I had at the end of the day — the offensive line. Some of those problems were most noticeable in the second half, when Buffalo was dropping eight players into pass coverage; the blanket coverage downfield can lead to some extra pressure on Miller, who looked a bit like he didn’t want to scramble, at least until ripping off a few long runs in the fourth. But I saw too many instances where Miller was hurried by a three-man rush, and I saw too many instances when Ohio State’s O-line got pushed into the backfield; that unit should be a strength for the Buckeyes, and there were too many instances on Saturday when it didn’t play that way.

But, you say, what about the defense? How can Ohio State give up 20 to a middle-of-the-road MAC team? There are two answers to those questions:

1) Nine of the starting 11 had never started a college game before. There will be mistakes.

2) Because of that inexperience, Luke Fickell and the coaching staff played a pretty simple defense on Saturday.

Look, before you start griping about the defense, consider: Bradley Roby will be back at his corner spot against San Diego State, and that’s going to help a bunch. And the youngsters have three more games — against SDSU, at Cal and against Florida A&M — to get themselves comfortable before we start conference play.

And best of all? As far as I know, this was the most serious injury of the entire day.

kntcasualty

Mrs. Crappy’s foot was OK. But the hummus, unfortunately, is out for the season.

30
Oct
12

road trip.

Let’s see: I’ve been to games at Purdue. Indiana. Pitt, in buildings old and new. Miami (the one in Ohio). Michigan State. Cleveland Browns Stadium. And two miserable visits to The Big Hole in Ann Arbor.

With the exception of those two visits to AA, I’ve always enjoyed my college football trips.

But I can’t imagine what it would take to have a better trip than the one Mrs. Crappy and I took to State College on Saturday.

Our friends Kelly and John got themselves their first season ticket package at their alma mater earlier this year, and they immediately offered their extra two tickets to the Ohio State game to us. That’s not an offer we would turn down.

The plan: Head out to State College early — early — Saturday morning, see the town, eat, visit a couple tailgate parties, have our own, watch the game and catch some rest at a cheap motel in Altoona before heading home to Pittsburgh.

How’d we do? Here’s a look:

We got out of the car in our parking lot, looked to the south — and there is Beaver Stadium. Let me be clear about this: one of the things I was most excited about was sitting in this building during a white out. It’s always been one of the most impressive — and intimidating; just ask the 2005 Buckeyes who lost during a Beaver Stadium white out — displays of college football fandom I’d ever see on television, and I couldn’t wait to see it in person.

After a quick stop to see one of Kelly’s old professors, we headed to another lot to see Lauren — and The Bus. A friend of Lauren’s bought the old team bus on eBay — the first such retired bus to be sold that way by Penn State — and turned it into a tailgating machine.

They pay attention to every detail.

We were there early enough that the Blue Bus crew was just getting started. But even in the morning, the spread was impressive.

One of the stops on our campus tour was the Millennium Science Complex, a stunning L-shaped set of buildings joined by a triangular cantilevered roof, covering a courtyard. Penn State’s campus is dense and compact, especially for a school of its size, more like OU than Ohio State, but while it doesn’t feel crowded, the courtyard is a beautiful oasis in the middle campus.

The aforementioned courtyard. See?

We walked downtown to look for some Penn State gear — uh, for Kelly and John — and get some lunch at the Corner Room, which had this sign posted outside. The point? Everyone was nice. The entire day, I heard just one muttered shitty comment, from a student who was drunk enough at lunchtime that he was going to be passed out before the game started. Over and over, we were welcomed to Happy Valley by people who seemed genuinely happy we were there. We heard plenty of comments about the upcoming game, but all were good-natured, and once we set up our own tailgate party, we chatted with a guy from Pittsburgh that Kelly had met before a local half marathon. Old college football games, the Browns-Steelers rivalry (back when it was a rivalry) — great stuff to get in the right frame of mind for the game.

We walked back towards the lots, which were filling rapidly. Had some beer, some of the snacks that Mrs. Crappy brought along and an amazing beer-bratwurst-cheese soup Kelly had prepared. I’m hoping she’s going to get together a guest post about that soon, because it was too good not to share (a note — if you had the soup we made for last year’s Michigan game, you’ve had one of Kelly’s recipes. Good stuff, right?)

As we walked around the stadium to our gate we passed the corner where I left a buckeye at the feet of the Joe Paterno statue days after he died in January. I was expecting to see a crowd there; I wasn’t expecting to see a person, in bronze makeup from head to toe, posing as the statue. Very cool.

Inside. Teams are warming up. And the student sections, directly across the field, were already full. The building doesn’t look especially big — I guess I’m used to the concrete on the banks of the Olentangy — but there are a lot of people in there … 107,000-plus on Saturday.

That’s us, with Kelly and John. The fun is about to begin.

Ohio Stadium is loud. And while there may have been games in Columbus that were close — USC in 2009, Michigan in 2002 or 2006, or Penn State in 2002, which I still remember as one of the loudest games I’ve ever attended — I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything as loud as Saturday’s first half in Beaver Stadium.

And being in the middle of a white out is an awesome thing.

We’ll talk about the actual football in another post. Let’s say I was happy to be able to join in the postgame Carmen Ohio when it was over.

We were even close enough to see this.

We had an interesting night at our hotel in Altoona — I can’t say I’d recommend the Econolodge there for pretty much any reason — but we had an awesome breakfast at Tom and Joe’s Diner, a place Kelly found, before heading home.

It was a short trip, and a very long day — we were up at 4 and didn’t get to bed until late — and I wouldn’t change a thing. Kelly and John were great hosts, and I hope they don’t mind if I thank them one more time for a fantastic day. I hope we can return the favor in Columbus next season.

And. State College, you do it right. I hope we’ll be back soon.

I originally referred to the bus as one that took members of Penn State’s marching band to the stadium; Lauren pointed out that the bus was actually used to transport team members to Beaver Stadium. Sorry ’bout that.

 

02
Oct
12

a good trip.

You should expect going into a season with a new head coach — even one with a excellent reputation — that you’re going to see some rough edges, some things that aren’t quite clicking on Saturday.

And yeah, we’ve seen those. Uneven, inconsistent offense. A defense that looked to be soft on the edges. Awful, awful tackling. And even some glaring special teams errors.

What should we expect to see as the season progresses? Improvement.

And that’s what we saw on Saturday.

We still have a problem with relying too much on Braxton Miller to carry the offense, and that resulted in a couple of scares; he wasn’t on the field when Ohio State scored its first-quarter touchdown, after he was run into an equipment box on the sidelines, and I thought his second-half injury — the one where he also fumbled — looked especially scary.

But Miller is getting his arm dialed in, and in the second half, he seemed to do a better job of making a quick read and following that with a quick decision; if he’s able to cut back on indecision, we’re going to see fewer plays where he’s running for his life.

Even better: the offensive line was outstanding. Pass protection was solid, especially in the face of nearly constant blitzing, and the run blocking — especially in the second half — was better than we’ve seen all year. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that the O-line won us the game in the second half, as Ohio State’s run game held the ball and ran the clock.

But the best part was the defense. It was pretty clear that shutting down Michigan State’s monster tailback Le’Veon Bell was the focus … and Bell had no space to run all afternoon long. And the pass defense, while still suspect, didn’t give up the kinds of big plays that allowed Cal and UAB to stay in games they shouldn’t have.

And then there was the tackling. Yes, there was one horrible play, when attempts to strip the ball instead of making a solid hit and wrapping up Keith Mumphery, who scored on the play (Mumphery’s run was an outstanding effort, by the way, one that should be acknowledged). But after spending several weeks of griping about poor tackling, that was pretty much Saturday’s only lapse.

Improvement.

We’ll need to see more on Saturday. Relying too much on Miller is still a concern. And Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has improved his throwing motion and can make defenses look stupid when he pulls down the ball and takes off.

Ohio State can get better. And will. Week by week. As we’ll see on Saturday.

Photo source.

30
Oct
11

tastes great. less filling.

I have this conversation with my Ohio Stadium seatmates all the time — when you have a freshman quarterback, you’re going to have to put up with some ugly football along with the good stuff.

We’ve seen a bunch of ugly football this season. But if anyone had any doubts about Braxton Miller, Saturday’s game against Wisconsin should come as a great relief.

See this:

And, of course, this:

I remember screaming after the first play — my voice is still sitting somewhere near my seat in 14C, by the way — but after the second, my dad and I just sort of looked at each other while bedlam erupted around us.

Stunned. And overjoyed.

Dad’s seen more than his fair share of Ohio State football over the years, and he couldn’t come up with a game that finished the way that one did. We both thought of this play…

…but that came at the start of the fourth quarter, and we ended up scoring two more touchdowns before the game ended to turn what had been a tight game into a beating.

I’m stuck too. I’ve seen some close ones, but to win that way — a crazy scramble, a long touchdown pass, 30 seconds left in the game? Maybe the final drive at Michigan in 2005? I don’t know. I can’t think of anything else that compares.

So when the offense is plodding against Indiana or Purdue in the next couple of weeks, remember these plays. Don’t dwell on the bad stuff. Think about potential. We saw it last night. We’ll see it for four more games this year. And for at least a couple years after that.




2014 schedule

Aug. 30: vs. Navy at Baltimore, noon
Sept. 6: Virginia Tech, 8 p.m.
Sept. 13: Kent State, noon
Sept. 27: Cincinnati, 6 p.m.
Oct. 4: at Maryland
Oct. 18: Rutgers, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 25: at Penn State, 8 p.m.
Nov. 1: Illinois, 8 p.m.
Nov. 8: at Michigan State, 8 p.m.
Nov. 15: at Minnesota
Nov. 22: Indiana
Nov. 29: Team Up North
Dec. 6: Big Ten Championship

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