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Associated Press

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.: North Carolina interim coach Everett Withers is heading to Ohio State to become Urban Meyer's co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.

Withers acknowledged he was a candidate to join the Meyer's new staff last week and confirmed it was a done deal Wednesday.

“We've known each other for a couple years,” Withers said of Meyer. “A few years ago we talked when the Florida defensive coordinator job came open. So we've got a little bit of a past and I'm looking forward to the future with coach Meyer.”

A few hours later, Ohio State announced that it had hired Withers. [click to continue…]

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Looking Way Too Far Ahead – The 2012 OSU Football Team

by Jeremy Whitt on November 7, 2011

Leave it to a Buckeye fan to start talking about next year in the middle of the season, and for that matter,  a winning streak.

It's hard not to think about the potential of the 2012 squad.  The 2011 defense is once again amongst the nation's best, but next year's D could potentially return 10 starters.  They could also get back WDE Nathan Williams if the Senior is granted a medical redshirt.

Depth Charts are merely speculation at this point – so let's speculate:)

#returning starter ^returning letterman

DEFENSE! (returning starters 10/11 + possible return of Nathan Williams)

SDE
1.John Simon 6'2″ 273#^
2a.Melvin Fellows 6'5″ 270
2b.J.T. Moore 6'2″ 255^
3.Steve Miller 6'4″ 250

John Simon is well on his way to All-Big-Ten honors this season.  He had 10 tackles against Indiana, and has 12 tackles for loss(6 sacks) this season.  Fellows is coming off of knee trouble, and J.T. Moore has proven to be a solid back-up.

DT
1.Johnathan Hankins 6'3″ 335#^
(1a.John Simon will also shift inside on occasion – and Hankins can shift outside as well – although I doubt we will see as much of that next season)
2.Garret Goebel 6'3″ 288^
3.Joel Hale 6'4″ 305^

Johnathan Hankins is extremely agile for his size.  He has even shifted outside and played some defensive-end the last two weeks.
DT
1.Adam Bellamy 6'4″ 310#^
2.Michael Bennett 6'3″ 285^
3.Darryl Baldwin 6'4″ 290^
4.Chase Farris 6'6″ 265

Hankins, Bellamy, and Bennett will be amongst the best DT's in all the conference, but it is the depth that will make this one of the best interior units in the country.

WDE
1.Nathan WIlliams 6'3″ 255#^(pending MRS)
2a.Darryl Baldwin 6'4″ 290^
2b.J.T. Moore 6'2″ 255^

SAM(strongside backer)
1.Etienne Sabino 6'3″ 242#^
2.Curtis Grant 6'3″ 225^
3.Chad Hagan 6' 227^
4.Josh Perry 6'3″ 245(pending sign)

Curtis Grant is already knocking on the doorstep, but Luke Fickell is keeping the youngster under wraps until next season.  There is a slight chance that Sabino could lose his starting spot, but i refrained from listing them as 1a and 1b.

MIKE(middle backer)
1.Storm Klein 6'2″ 240#^
2a.Jordan Whiting 6'1″ 240^
2b.Curtis Grant 6'3″ 225^

In my opinion, Storm Klein has been Ohio State's most effective LB this season.  He has a nose for the football, and his size and speed help him hold-up against the toughest of competition.

WILL(weakside backer)
1.Ryan Shazier 6'2″ 215^
2a.Conner Crowell 6'1″ 220
2b.Chad Hagan 6'227
3.Scott McVey 6' 225
(I also think there's a chance we may see David Durham move back to Lb and get in this mix)

Ryan Shazier is a budding superstar.  He reminds me of a young Lavonte David of Nebraska, and that spells trouble for opposing offenses.  Shazier's huge blocked-punt against Wisconsin would have been the play of the game had Braxton not hit Evan Spencer for a 40-yard bomb with 25 seconds left o n the clock.

CB1
1.Travis Howard 6'1″ 190#^
2.Dominic Clarke 5'10″ 190#^
3.Corey(Gateway) Brown 6'2″ 190^
4.Derjuan Gambrell 6'2″ 180

It was hard to tell who was going to hold this spot early in the season when Dominic Clarke played lights-out early.  Travis Howard won back the spot in week 4 and has an interception in each of the last two games.  Ohio State will feature 3 lock-down corners in 2012 with Roby, Howard, and Clarke.  For that matter, the entire defensive backfield is shaping of as one of the Nations best.

CB2
1.Bradley Roby 5'11″ 185#^
2.Dominic Clarke 5'10″ 190#^
3a.Doran Grant 5'11″ 185
3b.Donnie Evege 5'11″ 180(pending MRS)

Nickel/Star

1.Doran Grant 5'11″ 185
2a.Jamie Wood 6' 200^
2b.Orhian Johnson 6'2″ 205#^
2c.Zach Domicone 6'3″ 215#^
2d.Chad Hagan 6' 227^
3.Scott Mcvey 6' 225

The Star position will be up for grabs with the exodus of Senior Tyler Moeller.  Doran Grant isn't the biggest candidate, but he may prove too good of an athlete to keep on the sidelines.  Zach Domicone is a wild-card here.  Domicone will be a hungry senior who has busted his chops on special teams – quite succesfully I might add.

LS
1.C.J.Barnett 6'190#^
2a.Orhian Johnson 6'2″ 205#^
2b.Jamie Wood 6'200^

RS
1.Christian Bryant 5'10″ 190#^
2.Zach Domicone 6'3″ 215^
3.Ron Tanner 6'2″ 190

——————————————————————————————————-

OFFENSE! (returning starters 7/11)

QB
1.Braxton Miller 6'2″ 215#^
2.Kenny Guiton 6'2″ 195^
3.Taylor Graham 6'4″ 230
4.Cardale Jones 6'5″ 220(pending sign)

Cardale Jones arrives after one season at Fork Union Military Academy.  Kenny Guiton will have a solid hold on the back-up spot to start the season.

TB
1.Carlos Hyde 6' 240^
2.Jordan Hall 5'9″ 200#^
3a.Jamaal Berry(note:could transfer OR be dismissed from team)
3b.Broderick Smith 6'3″ 235
4.Brionte' Dunn 6'2″ 220(pending sign – and with all the riches – I wouldn't count on it just yet)
5.Warren Ball 6'2″ 200(pending sign)

The tailback spot will open with graduation of Boom Herron.  Those will be some big cleats to fill, but OSU has a stable of fine running backs.  I handicap the return of Jamaal Berry at 50/50. He may transfer due to a lack of playing time -  if his off-the-field troubles don't catch up to him first.  Brionte Dunn is a stud that could be in the mix early, but may also flounder on his commitment due to depth at the position.  Hopefully, Dunn will sign because he is a legitimate threat to earn the starting job.

FB
1.Zach Boren 6' 255#^
2.Adam Homan 6'4″ 248^
3.David Durham 6'3″ 240

Thank the man above for one more year of the road-grater.  Boren's return is a huge boost for the rebuilding OL.

WR(listing all wr's together – I probably should have done the same for safeties and corners, but too late now)
1.Corey(philly) Brown 6'1″ 190#^
2.Devin Smith 6'3″ 200#^
3a.Evan Spencer 6'2″ 190^
3b.Verlon Reed 6'3″ 215#^(coming back from ACL)
3c.Chris Fields 5'11″ 185#^
4.Ty Williams 6'5″ 230
5.Roger Lewis 6'1″ 195(pending sign)
6.Michael Thomas 6'4″ 205(pending sign)
7.Frank Epitropoulos 6'3″ 190(penidng sign)

Devier Posey will be lost to graduation, but his absence through the first 10 games has given the other receivers needed experience.  Look out for Roger Lewis.  Lewis has flown under the radar during recruiting, but he has all the intangibles to become a solid receiver.  He could end up as the 6th receiver next season.

TE
1.Jake Stoneburner 6'6″ 255#^
2.Reid Fragel 6'8″ 270^
3.Jeff Heuerman 6'4″  240

One more year of Stoneburner – provided he doesn't leave for the NFL(he is one of the few players that could leave and be drafted).  Simon and Boren are the other two candidates for early departure, but my money is on all three staying for their senior campaign.  Jeff Heuerman looks like the real deal.

LT
1.Andrew Norwell#^(will have had 5 starts at LT and 7/8 at LG in '11)
2.Jack Mewhort 6'6″ 305#^
3.Antonio Underwood 6'3″ 305^

4.Marcus Hall 6'5″ 315^

LG
1.Jack Mewhort 6'6″ 305#^
2.Corey Linsley 6'2″ 310^
3a.Tommy Brown 6'5″ 325
3b.Ivon Blackman6'3″ 320

C
1a.Brian Bobek 6'2″ 280
1b.Corey Linsley 6'2″ 310^
2.Jack Mewhort 6'6″ 305#^
3.Ben St. John 6'2″ 295

RG
1.Corey Linsley 6'2″ 310^
2a.Ivon Blackman 6'3″ 320
2b.Chris Carter 6'6″ 350
2c.Tommy Brown 6'5″ 325
3.Jacoby Boren 6'2″ 275(pending sign)

RT
1a.Marcus Hall 6'5″ 315^
1b.Antonio Underwood 6'3″ 305

Norwell's experience at LT will help, but the line will feel the losses of Shugarts, Adams, and Brewster. There is no doubt that the remaining 4 or 5 spots in the 2012 class need to feature 2 or 3 top notch offensive lineman.   Keep a close eye on recruiting over the next couple of months.  Ohio State would greatly benefit from a 4 or 5 star OL recruit that can contribute right away.

We could see Linsley at center with Blackmon at guard, or Bobek at center with Linsley at guard.  Antonio Underwood looked solid in replacement of the injured J.B. Shugarts against Indiana, but it's hard to say how he would have held up against stiffer competition.

——————————————————————————————–

SPECIAL TEAMS(returning starters 3/3)

LS
1.George Makridis 6'2″ 230#^
2.Bryce Haynes 6'4″ 190

K
1.Drew Basil 6'3″ 225#^
2.Ben Buchanan 6' 180

P
1.Ben Buchanan 6' 180#^
2. ?

Expect great things from a special teams unit that returns everyone – including all the returnmen.

 

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In one word, HUGE.

What once looked like a rebuilding year has now turned into nearly limitless possibilities for the 2011 Ohio State football team.  Let's face it, we are not going to the National Championship game, but things are looking better.

One week ago, Braxton Miller completed one pass. Two weeks ago, “The Nation” were ready to write off the Buckeyes(guilty). Ohio State fans were not even sure if this team was going to be bowl eligible. Actually, they still don't know because possible NCAA sanctions.

The $2,000 addition to scholarship funds added by the NCAA for costs of student-athletes was needed, but it may also have been an indication that the NCAA may be done with Ohio State. They should be. Tattoo-gate, and over-payment-gate yielded 33 suspended games, 1 players' exodus, 1 coaches' firing(let's call it what it was), $400,000 dollars of revenue-loss, 1 vacated season(which included a bowl win – I mean loss – I mean it didn't happen), and after Saturday's game I realized that it probably contributed to Ohio State's 3 losses this season.

Ohio State is a different football team with Boom Herron and Mike Adams on offense. The two provide a platform of experience and talent that takes a huge load off of young quarterback Braxton Millers' shoulders.

The Buckeyes may have lost to Nebraska and Michigan State, but they are still undefeated in the Leaders Division. They will be favorites in their next two games against Indiana and Purdue Then Ohio State will face Penn State in Columbus for a chance to play in the first BigTen Title game at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis.

Saturday's game was back-and-forth. Wisconsin struck first when Montee Ball embarrassed a marooned Andrew Sweat for a 22-yard score to take a 7-0 lead. Ohio State then scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17-7 lead mid-way through the third quarter. The game appeared all but over when Braxton Miller scampered left for a 44-yard touchdown run to give Ohio State a 26-14 lead with just over 4 minutes left in the game. Russell Wilson was not done, however, and he hit Jared Abbrederis for two touchdown strikes within 2 and a half minutes to retake the lead, 29-26.

This was about the time that I remembered something that Chris Spielman had said earlier in the day on ESPN. He said,”They stand a good chance to win if they keep it close – cause the games at home”. He was right. There was no panic. If anything, the crowd and players were excited;excited to be in the game, excited to be in “The Shoe”, excited to watch their football team compete.

Braxton Miller dropped back with 30 seconds left in the game;29,28,27. He was pressured and took a step forward before being flushed to the outside where his speed saved the game. Braxton sprinted towards the sideline, and the line-of-scrimmage(the 40-yard line), and hurled the ball against his body and off his back foot. Majestically, the spiral stood in the air as if time had stopped. At that moment Buckeye fans had nothing to lose – especially the fans watching on TV who had no idea what was happening downfield as the camera focused on the high-arching pass. Nothing had gone the Buckeyes way over the last 11 months. Perhaps this is why the fans and players had no fear. Perhaps this is why the ball bounced(or should I say flew) the way it did.

True freshman Braxton Miller completed that game winning pass to true freshman Devin Smith. The crowd erupted. The fans and the players unleashed nearly a years' worth of frustration.

In the stands was Michael Thomas; a 4-star WR recruit from Taft High School in California. He wasn't the only recruit in the stands, but he was the only one that would commit to Ohio State at that moment.

It is hard to say that one pass saved a season, a recruiting class, and the elite status of a program, but that might be exactly what happened Saturday night. One more step over the line of scrimmage and Ohio State probably loses. Michael Thomas probably doesn't commit. The rest of the recruits in the stands watch as Ohio State drops to 4-4, and re-evaluate their 'schools-of-interest'.

Those weren't the only things on the line Saturday night either. How about Luke Fickell's job? Jim Bollman's? Nick Siciliano's? What about the fans?

We were at the breaking point too. The team reached into their bag of trick-or-treats and pulled these fans back from the pit of despair. The players deserve all the credit.

Storm Klein and Ryan Shazier made huge plays Saturday night. The defense played incredibly physical at the point of attack, and their determination on third downs is what won this football game. Wisconsin, with their vaunted line and running backs, mustered just 10 yards on 12 carries in the first half. John Simon played like a man possessed(he always does). Braxton Miller came into his own and proved that he and Ohio State do indeed have a very bright future.

Ohio State dominated the time of possession. Wisconsin didn't turn the ball over, and had only nine yards in penalties. Ohio State beat this team straight-up; a team that many were calling a National Title contender two weeks ago.

Things seem a little brighter this morning. I would have worn my Ohio State football uniform to work for Halloween, but the advertising director said not to wear anything in poor taste, and I live in SEC country where everything Buckeye is poor taste. That's alright. All the customers still wonder who has the vehicle outside with the big Ohio State magnet.

Happy Halloween and GO BUCKS!

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Defensive end Nathan Williams out for the year

by Jason Lloyd on October 11, 2011

In a season full of crushing setbacks, now this: Nathan Williams will miss the rest of Ohio State's season with a left knee injury that has forced him out of the last five games.

Williams is expected to have a second surgery on the knee, coach Luke Fickell said on Tuesday, just the latest blow in a season of setbacks. The Buckeyes are 3-3 and reeling on both sides of the ball after squandering a 21-point lead in the second half of Saturday's loss at Nebraska.

“I've not been a part of something like that,” Fickell said. “It was an unbelievable snowball effect.”

The Bucks have been buried under an avalanche all season. Just as they get Dan Herron back from suspension, Williams is lost for good. He was injured in the season opener against Akron and had arthroscopic surgery prior to the game against Miami. Fickell offered no details as to what is wrong with the knee.

“Of course you want to have a guy like that back,” senior linebacker Tony Jackson said. “We haven't had him since the first game, so we can't say what the loss is or isn't. If he can't go, we have to go on without him. We can't stop because we lost a player. We have to keep moving on.”

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Ohio State coach Luke Fickell said today he will not dismiss Dan Herron and DeVier Posey from the team despite multiple NCAA infractions committed over the last year.

Posey and Herron remain suspended for Saturday's game at Nebraska because they received too much compensation for part-time jobs they worked at a Cleveland-area construction company. That comes after both were suspended for receiving free/discounted tattoos and selling memorabilia last year.

“I haven't seen anything that we wouldn't want a guy around right now,” Fickell said.

The news that Ohio State's top returning running back and receiver will remain suspended for Saturday's night game at Lincoln, Neb. was another devastating blow to a program that has been dealt many of them over the past six months. The Buckeyes will at least get Mike Adams back. He has been immediately inserted at left tackle and Andrew Norwell has been shifted to left guard.

They will still be protecting freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, whom Fickell confirmed again Tuesday remains the starter. He won't be working on a shorter leash, either, after struggling miserably in the loss to Michigan State. Fickell said he has made it clear to both Miller and Joe Bauserman that both quarterbacks will be needed this season, but he wants Miller to remain confident in his starting role.

“We don't want him to ever think that” he's on a short leash,” Fickell said. “I wouldn't say there's something we're looking for and if it doesn't happen we're going to change. We just have to put him in some situations and ultimately we have to make plays.”

Other Tuesday notes:

* Redshirt freshman receiver Verlon Reed tore his ACL against Michigan State and will miss the rest of the season. He is second on the team in catches (9) and receiving yards (132).

* Fickell wouldn't address how the ongoing scandals affect him as an alumnus of Ohio State. “There's situations and things you have to go through in life,” he said. “Do we like them? No, but they are what they are. These young men have not been in a situation like this on the field or off the field, but it's nothing more than a life lesson.  I'm not going to worry about how I feel as an alum or former Buckeye. That doesn't play into it.”

* In addressing his players about the continued absence of Herron and Posey, Fickell said he trotted out John Wooden's three pearls of wisdom: Don't whine, don't complain and don't make excuses. “When we go out there today, there won't be a head down, there won't be anybody whining or moping about it.”

* Fickell thought defensive end Nathan Williams is doubtful for Saturday, but he didn't have a definitive update on receiver Corey “Philly” Brown.

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Buckeyes fall at home to Michigan State 10-7

by Jason Lloyd on October 1, 2011

The Buckeyes managed just 178 yards of total offense and fell right back into a quarterback debate in their 10-7 loss today against Michigan State. A late touchdown with 10 seconds left in the game averted their first shutout since 1993.

Braxton Miller was 5 of 10 passing, but the offense was stagnant against the No. 1 ranked defense in the country. Joe Bauserman was inserted in the second half but didn't fare any better. Bauserman directed the late touchdown drive, culminating with Evan Spencer's 33-yard touchdown catch, but the Spartans recovered the ensuing onside kick to end the game.

Kirk Cousins' 33-yard touchdown pass to B.J. Cunningham on the Spartans' opening drive was the game's only other touchdown. The Spartans' Dan Conroy added a 50-yard field goal with a strong wind at his back early in the fourth quarter for what turned out to be the winning points.

Both Ohio State quarterbacks were under pressure all day. The Spartans defense recorded nine sacks and hammered the Bucks' offensive line, which struggled with blitz protection all afternoon.

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Well that didn't take long. Exactly three weeks after returning from suspension, tailback Jordan Hall has been promoted to captain this week.

Luke Fickell is shuffling his captains every week this season. He was quick to anoint Hall a captain this week after returning him to the starting lineup last week.

“He's a big leader in our locker room,” Fickell said. “He's handled everything we've asked him to handle with class and dignity and he has not batted an eye at it.”

Hall is small and shifty. He's also incredibly tough for a running back his size. As he said Tuesday “You get hit by three people plus the ground every time you get the ball.”

Hall has brought a spark to a sluggish offense the last two weeks. Now he gets to add captain to his duties.

Other quick notes:

* Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, who caught heavy criticism over the summer for calling Jim Tressel “a tragic hero,” has banned his players from talking to the media this week. The Spartans have 23 players from Ohio on the roster and he doesn't want anyone saying anything stupid.

“I don’t want them in a compromising situation this week,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of players from Ohio, we’ve got guys with pressure on them and they don’t need the additional pressure.”

It's the first time Dantonio has made this type of move, which illustrates how important he considers this game. Dantonio always seemed to be a bit intimidated by Tressel, who was his mentor and idol. That won't be the case with Luke Fickell.

* Nate Ebner and Nate Oliver will join Jordan Hall as captains this week.

* Christian Bryant has officially moved ahead of Orhian Johnson as a starting safety. Bryant started ahead of Johnson against Colorado and is again listed as the starter on this week's depth chart.

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COLUMBUS: The Buckeyes ran for 221 yards and Devin Smith caught a pair of touchdown passes in Ohio State’s 37-17 victory over Colorado on Saturday to make a winner out of freshman quarterback Braxton Miller in his first game as the starter.

Miller took every snap until late in the fourth quarter on a day the Buckeyes stressed the running game, as expected. Miller was just 5 of 13 passing for 83 yards and two touchdowns, while Jordan Hall made his first start at tailback and had 84 yards and a touchdown.

Coach Luke Fickell had said all week he wanted to find snaps for Joe Bauserman, but Bauserman didn’t play until the Buckeyes led by 20 and only 3:30 remained in the game.

Miller, who had been sloppy with the ball in his two previous games, did not turn the ball over despite fumbling a shotgun snap on the Bucks’ first possession. He had touchdown passes of 32 and 17 yards to the freshman Smith, who has three touchdowns in his seven catches this season.

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Ohio State coach Luke Fickell mum on quarterbacks

by Jason Lloyd on September 20, 2011

In one breath, Luke Fickell said “we don't know what the plan is just yet.” In the next, he said “We have an idea what's going to happen.”

If Fickell really does know how he wants to handle the quarterback situation, he isn't about to share it now.

Fickell is sticking with Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller for now despite dreadful performances from both in Saturday's loss at Miami. He isn't ruling out adding Kenny Guiton and Taylor Graham back into the mix, either.

“We'll probably give a lot more reps to all those guys,” Fickell said.

He's looking for a playmaker anywhere he can find one after Ohio State quarterbacks failed to do much of anything right against the Hurricanes. He seems to want Miller to grab hold of the job, but Miller has done nothing in his first two games to prove he is ready for the task.

“We've got to see how guys practice,” Fickell said. “We've got to compete. We have some ideas how we need to go about it. The thing it comes down to is how do we became a better team, a better offense, a better defense? We're finding a way to get our best 11 guys on the field.”

Other quick notes from today's luncheon:

* ESPN cameras caught Joe Bauserman smiling and laughing near the end of the game, but it didn't ignite anything like this. “I know Joe hurts every bit as bad as I do,” Fickell said. “Just like me up here, I smile and I show that I'm happy and everything's going great when my stomach down inside is sometimes in a knot.” Fickell said he didn't see the clip, but he got an e-mail about it. “We try and tell those guys nothing goes unnoticed,” Fickell said. “Whether it's on the sidelines of a game, in a classroom or you're having something to eat. Just make sure you understand that.”

* Fullback Adam Homan had arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday, Fickell said. He is presumably out this week, leaving redshirt freshman David Durham as the backup to Zach Boren. Fickell still isn't sure whether receiver Corey “Philly” Brown will be available after he missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury. The coaches won't know about Brown until Wednesday or Thursday.

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It Is WAY Past Miller-Time

by Jeremy Whitt on September 14, 2011

The team holds everything back so I don't have to.

Let it be known that I am complaining about all of this BEFORE the walls come tumbling down, and that I would love nothing more than for the staff to buck these trends and prove me wrong this weekend.

Ohio State fans think that they know more than the head coach. It is only one of many faults. They sit on their hands during games. You might even be told to sit down in the fourth quarter by some fan behind you. The fans are relatively quiet unless the team is in the middle-to-the-end of a scoring play. They are easily offended/trolled and tend to think that their team is ALWAYS the favorite. The other side of that coin is that Ohio State fans are very knowedgable about football, and they are quick to point out the obvious.

I should know.

We are not talking about the Miller Brewing Company when we say 'It's Miller time” in Columbus. After all, the drink of choice for Ohio State tailgators is usually some flavor of Great Lakes(fantastic by the way). I prefer Eliot Ness – A robust, hoppy and malty vienna lager that just screams fall football. Anyway, it is “Miller Time”, as in Braxton Miller time.

It is obvious that the apple did not fall too far from the vest. Jim Bollman and Luke Fickell have managed to keep the few poor traits of the previous head coach. Sure, we went for it on fourth down in week one, and again in week two(and the earth stopped rotating on its' axis by the way), but there are some disturbing trends that have “The Nation” concerned:

1.What is with the play calling? Do we need to run more isolation plays with 8-9 men in the box to prove our manhood, or do we just like beating our heads against brick walls? I mean if this is the playbook that is holding Braxton Miller back – then my 4 year-old nephew could make a run at the starting quarterback spot.

2.We changed our special teams coach this off-season, but the special teams remain anything BUT special.

3.Why must Ohio State continue to play the type of boring football that is just enough to win close games against inferior teams, but not good enough to win National Championships or their few games against superior talent? Has anyone thought about the fact that it is hard to drive a stick shift when you have never done it before? Asking this team to make big plays when it counts is like a fledglings first flight from the nest. It is always unsuccessful and it leaves you vulnerable. It would be nice to develop and stretch out those wings, but alas, the meat of the schedule is already here. Nice preparation – I'm sure Braxton Miller now has all the confidence in the world, and that we've been working on all those plays that will bring us back from a 3 touchdown hole this Saturday. It is a good thing that Ohio State did not have any choice BUT to start young talent at wide receiver. Reed, Smith, and Spencer look great. They would look even better if they had a quarterback and an offensive coordinator that could actually get them the football.

4.Can we quit using the “experience excuse” to start less-talented and less-explosive players? Jamaal Berry has averaged a mere 8.5ypc in his tenure at Ohio State. He had one carry against Toledo. It does not take a Rocket scientist(pun intended) to see that Braxton Miller is a far more talented quarterback than Joe Bauserman. It took Urban Meyer all of two series to say about Braxton, “That kid has talent – this is the best playmaker I've seen on Ohio State*”.Ohio State is the only perennial top 25 team that literally finds excuses not to play their young talent. Urban, you will always have a job at Ohio State if you want to come home.

I do not want to be pounced by the Cornhuskers, Hurricanes, or Badgers. Can we please make some changes?

Sure, Bauserman and Miller's numbers are comparable, and Joe is clearly more experienced. What the numbers do not tell you are what the eye can see: Braxton's quick release and accuracy, and his amazing escapability(this is a real word in football circles).

Bauserman and Fickel wanted the fans/media to give them a pat on the back for “throwing it away”, and not having any turnovers. Newsflash guys; IT WAS TOLEDO. We overthrew and conserved our way to a narrow 5 point victory against a decent MAC team. You want a wake-up call? Watch what Boise does to the Rockets this Friday. All that “Toledo is actually a really good team” talk will drop like a David Letterman bowling ball. We better feature some playmakers when Fortson and company meet us at the line of scrimmage Saturday night. Either that, or it is going to be one long ride home.

Braxton showed more elusiveness than Bauserman, more accuracy, and a better ability to check through his reads in his limited action this season. That means the fans are not just harping on all of this because Braxton happens to be a proven winner and a freakish athlete at the quarterback position. We are talking about it because WE HAVE EYES. Braxton is ready to start(not just play), and give opposing defenses something to think about.

Now, preparing for Ohio State is like playing tic-tac-toe versus soduku, or checkers instead of chess. You want to know what is the most boring job in college football? The most boring job in college football is the oppositions' scout team positions that prepare the rest of the team to face Ohio State.

Is it Miller-Time? It better be time, and not at the beginning of the third quarter down 21 zip.

The answer is not Joe Bauserman. He is a solid back-up at a school like Ohio State – nothing more. I am sure he is a great guy, and anybody that plays at this level is a good football player.  For what it is worth – I am NOT one of the boo birds.  You should never boo your own team when they are on the field – NEVER.

There was no reason to take Braxton out of the rotation last week. What Luke Fickel did was play it safe. This was an example of the same, lame type of decision making that has all of the fans on pins and needles when they play tough competition.

Jim Bollman needs to scrap the1958 playbook, and this football team needs to take some chances. This does not look like another BCS caliber football team right now, and it won't ever look like one with Joe Bauserman at the helm.

The team is at a crossroads. The next decade could be predicated on each decision made over the next two weeks. Coming from one of many fans who are tired of keeping things close to the vest, “It's Miller-Time”, “it's now or never”. Give Braxton, Hall, and Berry loads of touches this Saturday, or this is only going to get worse before it gets better. Sooner than later we are going to play a team with more than one athlete on the field.

Cheers.

P.S. You can take your glass-half-full version all the way to the Liberty Bowl if you like. 

*quote from ESPN coverage of the Akron game

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