Overall, it's hard to be too disappointed over the 56-10 beatdown of Miami. Braxton Miller looked good in the new offense, the wide receivers made some big plays, the offensive line un-Bollman'd itself, and the defense was stifling.
It was, after all, 56-10. And we finally saw a go for the throat mentality that we've been wanting to see for years.
But damn it, we're Ohio State fans, and we can find fault with anything, even a 56-10 beatdown, can we not?
Of course we can! In all seriousness, Miami, with the exception of QB Zac Dysert and WR Nick Harwell, weren't very good last year and aren't expected to make much noise this year. If Ohio State wants to be the Ohio State we want them to be, they should beat teams like Miami 56-10.
But UCF isn't Miami. This is a good football team that could cause the Buckeyes problems if they don't come out focused and ready to play. Let's look at five things OSU could work on for week 2, after the jump.
1. Let's Have The Defensive Backs, You Know, Cover. Travis Howard, Bradley Roby, C.J. Barnett, and Christian Bryant had issues coming out of the gate on Saturday. I'm not too worked up about a guy like Nick Harwell getting 100 yards receiveing--he's a good receiver, will probably play on Sundays, and guys like him are going to get their yardage. But you guys dodged a bullet Saturday when the other Red Hawk receivers tried to catch balls with their knees, chests, and eyelids. Had they decided to use their hands, it would have been downright uncomfortable in the Horsehoe on Saturday, temperature and humidity aside. You can't expect teams to play dropsies for you every week. Look, you got much better as the game went along, and a Buckeye sticker to Howard for his two picks and Roby for his fumble recovery for a TD, but let's get out of the blocks quicker.
2. Mr. Miller, Let's Improve Our Accuracy. And of course when I say 'our accuracy', I mean 'your accuracy'. 1/7 to start was bad. You ended up a downright respectable 14-24 for over 200 yards passing, but Devin Smith deserves a Buckeye sticker for bailing you out. Heck, he deserves a sticker for bailing everyone out. That ball was higher than Hunter S. Thompson in Vegas, but Smith pulled it in--and bailed you out. Some of your intermediate and deep stuff was long, but the receivers were open. It was okay against Miami, but those passes are going to need to be accurate against better teams...of which UCF is.
3. Cry 'Havoc!' And Let Loose The Dogs Of War. Was it me, or early on did Dysert just have gobs of time to sit back and throw? Maybe it was by design, to let the coaching staff see what they had in the base defense, but when I looked at the matchup between Miami's offense and OSU's defense, I thought Dysert would be running for his life from the word go. Meyer talked about the Buckeyes playing angry and with a chip on their shoulder, but the defense was more 'bend but don't break' early on. They got aggressive later on in the game, but there wasn't nearly the blitzing and aggression I thought I'd see. I would think guys like Etienne Sabino, Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier would be great in a blitz package, and give the offense a Sophie's Choice of one of those three coming in unblocked, or giving John Simon or Jonathan Hankins a free shot.
4. More Of The Freshmen, Please. I really liked what I saw from freshmen Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington, and Brionte Dunn. And this is taking nothing away from the guys that are starting in front of them. But in the B1G, you can never have enough depth, and said depth was a question heading into the season. If this was a sign of things to come, I like it. Spence and Washington each had a sack, Dunn had a TD and looked good carrying the ball, and you have to feel positive moving forward with the future of the program. One or more of these highly touted freshman is going to make a big impact before the year is over.
5. Play A Complete Game. I think all the writers at LGHL have alluded to it at least once, but if OSU comes out and plays a first quarter against UCF like they did against Miami, they won't make the turn to the second quarter down 3-0. They'll be down 14 or maybe even 21. This is a good team that beat Georgia in the Liberty Bowl two years ago, and you could make the argument that they're the second best D-I school in the state of Florida right now, behind Florida State. OSU was fortunate that Miami couldn't convert big plays that were there for the taking, and they also missed a chip shot FG. It was good they pulled out of the slight nose dive they were in, but they need a sense of urgency from the opening whistle to the final gun this week.
Game Prediction: This week isn't going to be last week, but at the end of the day, Ohio State still has the better talent and the better coaching. That wins you 90% of your games in college football, and I don't see an upset here. UCF has a good running game, but starter Latavius Murray is out with a shoulder injury, and Blake Bortles isn't Zac Dysert. UCF's defense is good, but not good enough to hold off the weapons that OSU will deploy. I would be stunned if OSU has the uneven start this week that they had last week, and I look for a quick two score lead, which will force UCF to play from behind. Luke Fickell will dial up the aggression on defense, and we'll call it 34-17 OSU, with the game not being as close as the score would indicate.