If you are like me — and I know you are because why else would you be here — you care a lot about Ohio State football.
As someone who has never coached football (I have coached baseball and at one point was a football scout), there are surely some aspects that happen behind the scenes we aren’t privy to. However, we do see what happens on Saturdays because of the magic of television, so the end product can be observed. Unfortunately, this last one vs. Michigan was particularly painful.
And, yeah, everyone has the answers and is a critic, but I get paid to give my opinion, so I’m going for it on some changes that need to occur because we all want what’s best for the program.
This is just my opinion on how Ohio State can get back to being the top program in the Big Ten and a legit contender to bring home a College Football Playoff national championship trophy back to Columbus. That of course involves beating Michigan.
Ohio State’s offensive line play has to be better
The 4 worst graded Ohio State offensive players vs Michigan in order were:
• Josh Simmons
• Carson Hinzman
• Josh Fryar
• Matthew Jones
According to PFF, this was the worst offensive line performance against Michigan in the past 3 years.
— JR’s Rankings 🌰🅾️⭕️ (@jrs_rankings) November 26, 2023
The age old adage that football games are won in the trenches still applies, and Ohio State didn’t accomplish that on Saturday. Against lesser opponents, the line can look like it’s playing at a high level, but OSU’s line hasn’t gotten the job done against championship-caliber teams. The reloading didn’t happen this year after the departure of three starters. Whether through the portal or recruiting (which isn’t bringing in elite talent for the 2024 cycle), the Buckeyes have to bring in better players.
Play to win, not to lose
Birm podcast this morning was eye opening.
Mentioned before the game McCord was making his speech to the team, his message repeated 4x was don't make mistakes. Instead of have fun and play your butt off. After his turnover, the team got tight.
Going to the tunnel down 14-10,…
— jbook™ (@jbook37) November 27, 2023
It was clear once again, that Ryan Day played this game not to lose instead of trying to win. Players feed off their head coach, and if a coach is going to call the game tentatively, the players will follow that lead. It bugs me that this is the case. Ohio State has a much better roster than Michigan, but you wouldn’t have known that after seeing what transpired on Saturday. A new team mentality needs to be instilled, and it starts at the top.
Throw seniority out the window
— Pʀᴇɴᴛɪss Aɪʀ Nᴏʟᴀɴᴅ. (@AirNoland_) November 25, 2023
I’ve had enough with giving the older players the benefit of the doubt and playing them over more talented younger ones. Wide receiver Julian Fleming is solid, but Carnell Tate gives the Buckeyes more explosiveness. Why C.J. Hicks couldn’t carve out a role with struggling linebacker play is beyond me. If a true freshman is better than a senior, play the kid! It’s not that hard.
Michigan 24/7, 365
"We're all disappointed. We know what this game means to so many people… There's a locker room in there that's devastated."
Ryan Day speaks after the game ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/RETl4T4bal
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 25, 2023
We need to see this team talking about Michigan all the time, even when it’s not “The Game” week. The focus should be on beating our hated rivals. Just look at how they are always focused on us, we need that same intensity. It goes back again to the top, Day needs to lead the charge here.
Recruit better linebackers
Playing with some yearly PFF stats.
With a minimum 200 defensive snaps for LB's in the Big Ten, Tommy Eichenberg graded out 34th out of 45 LB's with a yearly grade of 60.7.
— jbook™ (@jbook37) November 27, 2023
I want a return to the A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter days of Buckeye linebacker play. Since Day took the team over, just four linebackers have been chosen in the NFL draft and none in the first round. That streak will most likely continue this draft and it’s becoming an issue. There is no reason the Buckeyes can’t produce elite linebackers, but a lot of it starts with recruiting.
Take more off of Ryan Day’s plate
🏈📊DID WE REALLY GET BEAT THAT BAD?📊🏈
Net Success Rates in Week 13 pic.twitter.com/E7HSqclmLl
— parker fleming (@statsowar) November 27, 2023
Day seemed like he was still way too involved in game day offensive play calling this year. Brian Hartline has a season under his belt, it’s time to take the kid gloves off. This will allow Day to put more time into big picture things, like recruiting, and helping out on the defensive side of the ball, which clearly needs more work after this weekend’s showing. I’m perfectly fine with him being more of a CEO than micromanaging.
Make adjustments to the coaching staff
We can all agree Parker Fleming has to go and Lil Animal JL needs promoted.
— ⭕️SU V!Ds (@OSUViDs) October 29, 2023
If you have read any of my other recaps, you know how I feel about special teams coach Parker Fleming. He has to go. I’d like to see James Laurinaitis elevated to a full-time staff member, he’d kill on the recruiting trail, which would solve some of our linebacker issues. The offensive staff needs a voice with more experience, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the return of a former Buckeye quarterback (Kenny Guiton or J.T. Barrett) to help either. This would help taking things off Day’s plate as well.