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.
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