"Of course it's on me. Every underthrown ball the receiver had the guy beat by yards ... it would have been easy layups. Coach Meyer said that's our strength, that's what helped us get to this point. I'm pretty sure I'll get back into the film room and in practice we'll get it fixed."
Compared to the previous two games, Cardale Jones looked a lot better at quarterback on Saturday against Western Michigan. All wasn't perfect in Jones' performance though, as there were a number of underthrown footballs, which could've resulted in a couple more touchdowns for the Buckeyes. It's hard to believe a quarterback like Jones, who has a cannon for an arm, would underthrow his receivers, but Meyer counted at least six passes which were underthrown, and by the head coach's math would've resulted in a 518 yard passing day for Jones.
The good news is the underthrows are something that can easily be fixed, and Meyer already knows why they happened. Jones wasn't properly transferring his weight, which led to him dragging his back leg and not getting enough power on his throws. Correcting the issues with the underthrown footballs is something Ohio State wants to do quickly, since if they start hitting on those big throws, it will keep opposing defenses on their toes and open up the running game for Ezekiel Elliott. Other than the underthrows, Meyer was impressed with Jones' performance on Saturday, and praised him for some of the other throws he was able to make in the game.
"He's learning the game. He's learning how to be a perimeter blocker for the first time in his life. He can't play receiver here and not be great at it. That's the transition he's going through. It takes time."
After such a scintillating debut as a H-back against Virginia Tech, Braxton Miller has been largely quiet for the Buckeyes in the last three games. In the season opener, Miller touched the football eight times and accounted for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Since then, Miller has touched the football 20 times for 118 and no touchdowns in the three games since. Head coach Urban Meyer isn't worried about the lack of production from Miller lately though, because he knows moving from quarterback to H-back is a transition that takes time.
One reason why Miller has been pretty quiet since the season opener is because of the amount of talent Ohio State has at the H-back position. Miller was thrust into action against Virginia Tech with the suspensions to Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson. Now with Marshall and Wilson back, the emergence of Curtis Samuel, along with other established threats like Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Thomas in the offense, the Buckeyes have plenty of weapons to spread the football around to. Meyer feels there are a number of players who need to get more touches to start to get into more a rhythm, but having too many explosive options on offense is a good problem for the Buckeyes to have.
"If there is a critique on our offense over the last 13, 14 years, whatever it's been, it's the early-in-the-season funk that you're in sometimes, and a lot of it is because of the maybe new defenses, or you take a couple key players out of that lineup for us. Jeff Heuerman was a real guy. You take (graduated right tackle) Darryl Baldwin out of the lineup, and there are a little bit of growing pains."
On paper it looked so easy for Ohio State coming into this season. With all the talent from last year's championship team, the Buckeyes were supposed to be a buzzsaw that easily ran through their opponents this season. While Ohio State hasn't lost through four games so far, things haven't come quite as easily as some have predicted. Even with all the returning talent this year, Ohio State did lose some key names that did things that made the team tick last season.
Wide receiver Devin Smith was a key target down the field for Ohio State's offense last year, and so far this year the Buckeyes haven't yet found someone who is able to have the same impact as Smith, even though they do have an abundance of speed at the wide receiver position. Evan Spencer did some of the dirty work for the receivers last year, providing key blocks on the edge to allow for some of his teammates to break outside. Last year Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett combined to form a potent tight end tandem that hasn't yet been replicated this year by Vannett and Marcus Baugh. Add in losing offensive coordinator Tom Herman to Houston and the Buckeye offense is still a bit of a work in progress. Last week's game against Western Michigan showed some improvement with the offense and hopefully it's a sign of things to come the rest of the year.
"I think I'm pretty balanced. I think I can go deep but I can also go underneath. Going deep - we're going to have to find that. I think Corey (Smith) and I can do that."
Last year what kept opposing defenses on their toes against Ohio State was the ability of the Buckeyes to hit the deep ball with Devin Smith. This year has seen Ohio State struggle to find a replacement for Smith's big play ability, but sophomore receiver Jalin Marshall is hoping to fill that void. During his Ohio State career, Smith recorded 20 scoring plays of 30 yards or more, and in the final three games of the season had six catches of at least 30 years in the final three games. The ability of Smith to stretch the field allowed to open up the running game for Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for at least 200 yards in all three of the games to end the season.
Marshall, a quarterback during high school, is starting to show signs that he might be able to be that big strike receiver that Urban Meyer is looking for. In last week's 38-12 win over Western Michigan, Marshall caught his first touchdown of the year, a 37-yard reception from Cardale Jones. After being suspended for the first game of the season against Virginia Tech, Marshall is rounding into form, and should be an even bigger weapon for the offense as the season moves on. While Marshall knows he isn't quite as fast as Smith, he feels that he does have the ability to make defenders miss and create some space down the field for his quarterback to find him. After some immaturity early in his career, Meyer likes how Marshall is growing, and bigger things should be on the horizon for the sophomore.
STICK TO SPORTS:
- If local music, art, and food are your thing, check out the Worst Kept Secret Fest this weekend.
- One CPD officer took a little break to show off some his dance moves to some kids.
- Can you blame these fans for wanting to do anything to avoid having to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks?
- Starting today, Target will begin price-matching on-line prices with two dozen of their competitors.
- Even at 38 years old, Vince Carter can still touch the sky.