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Ohio St. Buckeyes

Report Card

November 8, 2012
By DANA SULONEN , Tribune Chronicle | dsulonen@TribToday.com
QUARTERBACKS:?A There isn’t enough room on a page to talk about what Braxton Miller has meant to the Buckeyes this season. Miller has thrived in coach Urban Meyer’s offense. As a passer, he’s completing 57 percent of his passes (124 of 218), thrown for 1,753 yards and 14 touchdowns. Then there is the attack he poses with this legs, as he leads the team with 1,166 yards. If Ohio State wasn’t under suspension this year, Miller would be getting more talk for the Heisman. RUNNING BACKS:?A While Miller leads the team in rushing yards, the production the Buckeyes have got from Carlos Hyde has been huge. Hyde missed the first two games with an injury, since has put up 737 yards and rushed for 13 touchdowns. He’s averaging 92 yards per game and has been a nice relief for Miller. Jordan Hall and Rod Smith have been in and out of the lineup this season, but with the production of Miller and Hyde, they really haven’t been missed. RECEIVERS:?A Corey?“Philly” Brown has been the most used receiver this year, catching 48 passes for 526 yards and two touchdowns. He’s the consistent receiver. Devin Smith became the “flashy” receiver in the first game of the season with a spectacular one-handed catch. He has 24 catches for 514 yards and six touchdowns. Then there are still Jake Stoneburner, Evan Spencer and even Jeff Heuerman. Miller almost has too many receivers. OFFENSIVE LINE:?B When a unit is the front of an offense that’s leading the Big Ten in scoring (39.9 points per game), third in total offense (445.3 yards per game) and second in rushing offense (256 yards per game) it’s hard to be too critical. However, the Buckeyes are 11th in the conference in sacks allowed, as the unit has let Miller go down 22 times. Being a mobile quarterback is hard to defend against, but just think what Ohio State could do if Miller was on his feet more per game. DEFENSIVE LINE:?A After starting off the year a bit slow, John Simon and company have really taken off to emerge as the best overall unit on the defensive side of the ball. Johnathan Hankins has 50 tackles this season, Simon adds 39 and Garrett Goelbel has 37 tackles. Simon also leads the team with five sacks and is second with 10.5 tackles for loss. The Buckeyes are first in the Big Ten in rushing defense, only allowing 107.9 yards per game. LINEBACKERS:?B For what Miller has been to the offense this season, the same can be said for middle linebacker Ryan Shazier. He’s a sophomore (that’s right a sophomore)?and is leading the team with 98 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss. He has four sacks, one interception, 10 pass breakups and two forced fumbles. After Etienne Sabino went down with an injury, along with others in the linebacker rotation, Shazier has been the saving grace and not let the injuries really inhibit this unit. Meyer has to thank his lucky stars each day that this kid is on his defense. He’s that good. However, the unit’s grade goes down because of the mess it has been in because of the injury bug. Fans knew it was bad when fullback Zach Boren became a starter on the defensive side of the ball. DEFENSIVE BACKS:?C By far, the weakest unit on the team overall, but also the most difficult to figure out in terms of statistics. The Buckeyes are 11th in the conference in pass defense (allowing 259.7 yards per game), sixth in pass defense efficiency, but leading the conference with 13 interceptions (two of which have been returned for touchdowns). Bradley Roby is tops in the Big Ten in passes defended. Apparently it’s all or nothing with this unit. However, this is definitely the unit that needs to be concentrated the most during the offseason. SPECIALISTS:?C The Buckeyes have been night and day on special teams. Some games, they are oustanding (a blocked punt against Nebraska and good play last week against Penn State on a fake punt pass). Then there has been the bad times. Ohio State has had three punts blocked this year. Again though, it’s Meyer’s first year coaching, not every unit is going to be spectacular, but this is one he’d like cleaned up fast. COACHING:?A Whether you are a supporter or opposer of Urban Meyer, no one can deny what he’s doing at Ohio State. After one of the worst years in school history, he’s turned the team around and have got them to a 10-0 mark going into a late bye week. I?think fans thought he would make Ohio State relevant again, but not this quickly. The man just wins. The biggest thing will see what he does in the off season, especially on the defense. Rumors are flying that Luke Fickell could be gone after the season is over — but only time will tell. But in the here and now, the Buckeyes are winning. And much of that has to do with Meyer. dsulonen@tribtoday.com Twitter: @DanaSulonenTrib
 
 

 

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