Bank Blog: Quick Thoughts Defense

Ohio State opened the Urban Meyer era by soundly whipping Miami of Ohio 56-10. How did the Buckeyes fare on the defensive side of the football?

- Don't think a 56-10 rout was all peaches and cream for the defense, and there was no doubting Urban Meyer's disgust entering the half Saturday. In a televised interview, Meyer stressed the importance of putting more pressure on Miami QB Zac Dysert. In the second half, that mission was accomplished. To be fair, that had started happening by the middle of the second quarter.

- Credit Luke Fickell with making the necessary adjustments to completely stop Miami after the first 18 minutes of football. Dysert threw for 297 yards, but he had 160 before the game was a quarter old. That offense will complete a ton of short passes, and that's inevitable, but the three long completions need cleaned up. One appeared to be a mixup in coverage, one a missed tackle, and the third had Corey Brown being beaten on a go route. You cannot pitch a shutout, and those three plays were all about all Miami had that was upsetting. The last three quarters, Fickell turned up the heat, rotated in more pass-rushers, and blitzed occasionally. Compare this game to last year's Toledo game, where Ohio State never had a handle on the Rocket spread, and you see a huge difference. It's definitely tough to sack a three-step QB, but you have to come at him hard and make him take hits. Once Ohio State increased their aggressiveness, Dysert's party ended.

- It was great to see Zac Dysert out there bombing the football like the NFL player he will one day be. I remember Zac as a senior, and also remember shouting on the table that we had him rated WAY too low with a former Scout employee. I had him as the top Ohio QB as a senior, and wanted OSU to take him. I thought that much of him, so I'm thrilled to see the player he has become. He's also a great kid, so rooting for him today was easy.

- It was telling that when Ohio State went to the nickel, Curtis Grant came out, leaving Etienne Sabino and Ryan Shazier on the field. Major props to Bino, who is turning himself into an NFL player, and is really playing great football. He was tremendous in the bowl game, and that play has continued. We all wondered what the extra weight and strength would do for Shazier, and we saw it today with a few hits. I want to see Grant on the field against a power offense like Michigan State, but I feel good about Shazier and Sabino against the spread.

- Ohio State fans better appreciate what Johnny Simon brings to the table on a weekly basis, because you might not see another one like him for a while. The people that came with Meyer from Florida compare Simon to Tim Tebow, which is almost blasphemy to these guys. His effort, combined with his talent, makes him a very special player.

- Who could have ever thought Nathan Williams would play this much today? Many inside the program would have taken this many snaps against Michigan State in a month. Was he great today? No, he was a little rusty, but it was great seeing him out there running around. Nathan means a lot to this program, and they need him on the football field to be a great team. At 75%, he is still needed on the field, and he looked better than that today. If he can stay healthy and improve on a weekly basis, the flavor of this defense changes drastically.

- Still not totally sold on the DB's as a whole, but after the first quarter and a half, they nearly pitched a shutout. C.J. Barnett appeared out of sorts today. Travis Howard was tentaive early, but came on with his best performance after that. If he plays like he did the final three quarters, he makes this team better. Doran Grant got time and that was great to see.

- Bradley Roby deserves his own paragraph: He was THAT good. He's better than he was last year, when he was very good. He is playing like a high NFL draft choice, an opportunity he can grab after this season, should he choose to. The speed has always been impressive, but he is a far more physical player.

- The defense, like their counterparts on offense, was very vanilla today. They played nickel all day, and never went to the dime package that I can remember. That package will be utilized against higher competition down the road. There were selected blitz packages, but nothing like what is available. No sense showing everything against a mediocre MAC squad.

- After last season's disappointing defensive play, things were definitely put in the right order today. This defense will play better against a more traditional offense, when Johnathan Hankins becomes a factor, and Curtis Grant stays on the field. It will be tough to run the ball on this team this season, and they have the ability to make teams almost one-dimensional in reverting to the pass more than they want to. Loved seeing young pups Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington out there, and they will take PT away from older players as the season progresses. I'm encouraged that this year's group will make people forget about last year's shortcomings in time.

- Have to talk about special teams play somewhere, and what a relief it had to be not worrying about kickoff or punt returns. That demon has been rid of it appears, as Meyer's fanatical approach to this phase of the game has been implemented. We didn't get to see the punt block schemes today, but hang on, it's coming.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories