Ohio State – Miami notes and thoughts

Ohio State 2011 Season.
Game 3, at Miami, Fla.

It was just one game.

I tried not to panic after the Buckeyes struggled with Toledo last week. Many were down on OSU quarterback Joe Bauserman, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. After the Buckeye loss at Miami this evening, I don’t think Bauserman is viable. He isn’t throwing passes that can be caught.

Wobbly passes; overthrown passes; passes without his feet set, when he’s off balance; passes off of his back foot; and on; and on. Pass after pass after pass, another grand example of a ball that could not have been caught.

Bauserman is 6’1″ and he has a relatively low release (especially considering his height.) He’s not a great running quarterback but he often times throws on plays designed for him to roll out of the pocket, where he’s on the run. Why? I think it’s to reduce the rick of his passes being deflected by the defensive line given his height and his low release. That’s only a theory, but I think that’s at least part of the reason. It is not because he is such an amazing passer on the run.

I understand the reasons why it appeals to let Bauserman play. He has more experience. When it seemed irrational to leave him in this game at times, I think that Braxton Miller continued to show time and again why the coaches are hesitant to put him into the game at times: he’s prone to turnovers.

Despite this fact, I would still rather have a quarterback who is susceptible to turnovers than one who is incapable of completing passes.

In the beginning of tonight’s game, the offense was inept and Miami was able to jump to a quick 14-0 lead. It looked like OSU could have been on their way to getting routed, but the defense calmed down, and Ohio State started running the ball down Miami’s throats. Huge chunks of yards were being picked up by Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde. Despite the fact that OSU seemed like they could run at will in the second quarter, the absolute lack of a passing game caught up to them as they had to settle for a field goal. Twice.

At the half, I had a sense of optimism.

In the third quarter, the offense returned to giving me that uneasy feeling I have when I watch the opening sequence of “Saving Private Ryan.” A lackluster 6 yards on 12 plays was all that Ohio State could muster in the third quarter.

12 plays. Translation: 4 offensive series where they went three and out and were forced to punt. Much of this was due to the fact that Ohio State was desperately trying to establish a passing game. And they failed. Series after series, they were unable to pass. It seemed like the fact that they were able to run at will on Miami would have opened up a passing game. It didn’t.

The Ohio State defense continued to play well, and I felt like Miami became more conservative in their play calling.

I still would like to know just how in the world the Miami players who took money and other benefits from a booster were permitted to play in this game after serving whopping ONE game suspensions. Part of me was happy when I found out that their quarterback Harris would be able to play because of how prone he is to throwing interceptions. Last year, he threw four against the Buckeyes. This year, two in the first half. As the second half wore on, it became clear that the Buckeyes desperately needed to score a touchdown on defense or speical teams.

At one point in the fourth quarter, Ohio State defensive back Christian Bryant narrowly missed an interception which would have almost definitely been returned for a touchdown.

Another thing that some may question was Buckeye coach Luke Fickell’s decision to not call time outs late in the fourth as Miami was driving. While the Buckeyes were down by two scores, the game wasn’t over, and it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility that they could come back. Given that this was the case, I feel like it was still important to battle.

I stand by my comments last week that the Buckeye defense is strong. There were some significant breakdowns on Miami’s first two drives of the game, which were very costly. That cannot be excused away, but there were a lot of good thigns that they accomplished. I still believe that this defense is good enough to keep the Buckeyes in games.

I think that most people should be happy with what we saw from the offenseive line this week. Ohio State was able to line up and run down Miami’s throats between the tackles. With as good as Hall looked in his first game back, and given that Herron will return in a couple more weeks, along with the power running game of Hyde, the stable of running backs for which all Ohio State fans hoped looks like it might be well stocked. But they’re still going to need the ability to pass (at least once sometimes!) in order to make this offense truly work.

Todd Blackledge, who covered the game on ESPN made a good point in the third quarter. If you don’t have a quarterback who has an NFL arm and is good enough to play on Sundays, then you need to have a quarterback who can run and whose an athlete. Bauserman, unfortunately, is neihter. I wanted him to have a great season. I had a vested interest in Bauserman doing well, but he’s not the guy. He had an Pbamawsquw impact on the offense as they had a woefully poor four completions for the entire game, I’m sure a historic low in this era of Ohio State football.