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Today is Thursday, Oct. 13, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
Tim Beck confident in passing game despite struggles
Another outing like last week’s performance against Indiana will not be tolerated, according to Ohio State co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tim Beck.
“It’s just one of those things you need to keep working on,” Beck said Wednesday night. “Last week wasn’t acceptable. We were not clicking all of the way and we have to be better. That is no question.”
Redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett was just 9 of 21 passing for 93 yards, throwing one touchdown and an interception. In his Monday news conference this week, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer called out some members of the receiving corps, saying that they ran poor routes in the Buckeyes’ 21-point win. This was a complete failure in the passing game.
Even though Ohio State is undefeated five games into the season, this offense is still going through some growing pains after losing eight starters from the 2015 roster. There are going to be hiccups.
“It’s a young team,” Beck said. “You have to maintain a high level and you have to continue to do that and sometimes when you have young players, that’s hard to maintain that focus, maintain that sense of urgency. Sometimes it takes getting slapped in the face a little bit to get back up. It brought us back down to earth for sure.”
With how young this team is, Beck said that he is grateful for a veteran presence, in Barrett, behind center.
“Ultimately, the great thing about J.T. is when you describe him, everyone always describes him as a winner, and that is what is important. He wants to win and if he is 9 of 21 or if he throws seven touchdowns, it doesn’t matter as long as we get that ‘W’ and move on to the next game. I think he’s smart enough to realize that we need that part of the game to be able to keep moving on.”
The Buckeyes may be forced to rely on the passing game at Wisconsin on Saturday. The Badgers have the top-ranked run defense in the Big Ten. However, Beck thinks that his guys will be ready Saturday night.
“I think Wisconsin is very talented defensively, a very good scheme, well-coached and they play very hard,” Beck said. “So, it’s going to be a challenge for our guys. I think they are up for it.”
There are not many negative things you can say about Ohio State’s defense at this point in the season. Allowing only 10.8 points in its first five games, Ohio State has given up only four touchdowns, including no rushing touchdowns, in 2016. They also have 10 interceptions with a whopping 52 points scored off of turnovers.
However, throughout the season, the Buckeyes have gained motivation from people calling out their defense. Earlier this season, a backup quarterback for Oklahoma called the OSU defensive scheme “basic.” Even though he was accurate on that front, he then said that the Oklahoma offense would “light up” the Buckeyes. We all know what happened there.
Now, going into arguably the biggest game of the season to date, it’s the Ohio State offense that found itself — kind of — being called out.
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) October 12, 2016
Ohio State is averaging 53.2 points per game and has had no problem putting up points in a number of different ways, but schematically Jim Leonhard – a former NFL defensive back and a Badgers legend – is correct, the Buckeyes offense is simple. Of course, as he also says, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to stop.
Leonhard also waxed poetic on Ohio State junior wideout Noah Brown. The gist? That Brown, while “very good” was slow and that defenses haven’t played him effectively, which is why he’s scored five touchdowns this season, including four on the road at Oklahoma.
“He is very good. If he gets you a step behind, he is damn good at trapping the ball, going and attacking it, making plays over the top of corners,” Leonhard said. “But I have yet to see a corner play it from a good position. So the way you play in press, he is not going to run past you. Same thing when you watch that on tape. He is never more than this far away from a guy. Haven’t seen it yet. So you can challenge him.”
While it’s unlikely that Leonhard was aiming to insult the Buckeyes, there’s no doubt these statements will serve as fuel to the Buckeyes fire.
Meyer’s ability to motivate his teams, especially on the road, is unmatched and in some cases that requires creating some disrespect. Will these most recent comments gain the same traction as Austin Kendall’s “basic defense” did in the Ohio State locker room?
Greg Schiano ahead of Tom Herman? Analyst says yes
According to Joel Klatt of Fox Sports, University of Houston coach Tom Herman should not be the coach on top of wish lists for coaching vacancies. With college and NFL head coaching experience, and his current success as the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State, Klatt thinks that Greg Schiano is the better choice, actually.
— D-Zo (@Zozak34) October 12, 2016
In 11 years as the head coach at Rutgers, Schiano has a record of 68-67, including a No. 12 ranking in 2006 and six bowl game appearances in which his teams were 5-1. Rutgers was really bad before Schiano, if you remember, and they’ve been really bad after, too.
Urban Meyer usually asks his assistant coaches for at least two seasons before they begin looking around for other employment opportunities, but with a number of big-time college jobs open — or likely to open — that may be a tough task with a coach as qualified as Schiano.
‘Their fans are going to be hating us, and I love that too’
Wisconsin’s home-field advantage is well known across the Big Ten. With a hostile student section going crazy to House of Pain’s classic “Jump Around,” the conference’s oldest stadium is an intimidating – and according to Urban Meyer on Wednesday night – and “crazy” atmosphere.
It’s not called the “Mad house in Madison” for no reason. The trip to Wisconsin is Ohio State’s second road game of the year and it has to be a positive that its previous trip to another hostile environment — Oklahoma — turned out well.
Meyer on Camp Randall Stadium: "I think it is one of the great environments."
— Colin Gay (@ColinGay17) October 12, 2016
“It does motivate me, man,” Ohio State defensive end Jayln Holmes said. “It’s like, we went to Oklahoma. It’s a hostile environment and it’s just fun. Their fans are going to be hating us, and I love that too.”
The stadium will be rocking, the fans will be volatile and heart rates will be elevated. The Buckeyes, though, appear they are close to ready. In fact, they’re “laser-focused,” according to Meyer. They’ve got a sign to prove it.
The big-game sign is back at Ohio State's practice facility https://t.co/8APzUtUnM1
— Ryan Ginn (@rmginn) October 13, 2016
“It’s ESPN GameDay, it’s a night game, we’re getting asked questions about the crowd and stuff,” Meyer said Wednesday. “That’s as much for the coaches as it is for the players. Asking questions about Tim Tebow, asking about 2014, what about the most prepared team is going to win this game. That’s the laser-like focus to win a game against a very good team, on the road, it better be laser-like focus on the task at hand. That’s just constant reminders about focus on your job description. That’s for the players as well as the coaches. As well as the head coach.”
“I’ve been hearing about that stadium for a long time and I just can’t wait to go,” Holmes said.