(Photo courtesy slumberwise, game stats courtesy OSU Athletics Department.ESPN)

First, I missed watching the gave live due to being at a New Year’s Eve house party, so I recorded the game. When I talked to my son later that night to well-wish for the occasion, he suggested that I save myself the aggravation and erase the damn game.  I did watch the recording to provide research to put this recap together. I should have listened to my son…  The 31-0 loss was a rare event. Painfully so.

Before I get started, I want to congratulate the Clemson Tigers; team and coaching staff. This was the better prepared team and they executed better than Ohio State. They were simple far and away the better team. Good luck to them in the NCG on January 8th.

Offense

Remember how pitiful the Ohio State offense looked in its first three quarters against Michigan? This was worse, and it was for four quarters.

This was a total offensive ‘fail’. The schemes were poorly imagined/designed, the player “packages” were inappropriate for the called play and pretty much everything was poorly executed. If the Ohio State coaching staff has any capacity to be embarrassed, it should be showing in the next few days. For a team with 6 weeks to “prepare” for the game, this Buckeye team was ill prepared to compete.

  • Curtis Samuel has six, one less than against UM. Since Ohio State had only 23 rushing attempts, he get get a quarter of the work. He totaled 67 yards for a spiffy 11 yards per carry. However, since 64 of these yards were on one carry, the other attempts were not productive – most notably the jet sweeps and touch passes. Clemson had this “horizontal” action figured out better than Ohio State did..

 

  • Even more egregious was the lack of involvement of Mike Weber in the running game. Weber didn’t get his first carry until OSU’s 6th series, mid-way through the 2nd quarter.That was his only carry of the first half. Clemson did not have to worry about taking Mike Weber out of the OSU offense; Beck/Warinner had already done that. Mike had 5 carries for 24 yards.

 

  • The passing game was ineffective, again. The coaching staff did frequently assign E Marcus Baugh to help RT Isaiah Prince pass-block. Additionally,  Barrett’s accuracy was pretty random. J.T. was 19-33 for 127 yards. That’s 6.7 yds/completion and 3.8 yds/attempt (same as their rushing production). That’s not going to worry any defensive coordinator.

 

  • The receivers didn’t help matters. There were, off the top of my head three drops. In addition to the 2-3 passes batted down by the Clemson defensive line, completing passes turned out to be a challenge for the Buckeyes.

 

  • I did have a beef with the OSU personnel packages. More often than not, Weber would line up in the slot as a receiver. With Clemson rolling OSU’s offensive line all evening, Weber would have been more productive lining up in the backfield to offer pass protection. If “Weber” were going to line up in the slot, OSU should have cut the nonsense and rotted him out for a true WR.

 

  • Based on the above, and my 2nd bullet point (above) it’s pretty clear that Mike Weber was not used properly by the coaching staff. With the Clemson defense keying on Samuel, the OSU staff played right into Clemson’s hands.

 

 

Defense

The defense had to contend with two offenses on Saturday; an efficient, creative Clemson offense and a dysfunctional Ohio State offense. They couldn’t overcome both. Despite the 31 point allowed, I thought the Silver Bullets performed in an exemplary manner. They were on the field for 85 plays. That for 30 more plays than the Clemson defense.

Despite giving up 470 yards, they did force 5 Clemson punts and a turnover on downs in 14 Tiger possessions. Speaking of turnovers, the OSU defense had two early game interceptions that the Buckeye offense was unable to convert to points – of any kind.

In addition to overall good team play, I want to acknowledge the high level of performance by Raekwon McMillan (15 tackles) and Chris Worley (10). Gareon Conley and Malik Hooker also made big plays with their 1st half interceptions..

Special Teams

I really don’t know what quite to say here, except to say the special teams play was again spotty.

Young Tyler Durbin had a bad game; 0-2 on FG attempts. As it turned out, the 6 points probably wouldn’t have made much difference in the final outcome, but for the team to come away empty-handed after two short-ish field possessions may have been energy draining. He did not have any extra point attempts, but that wasn’t his fault.

The Buckeyes did average over 25 yards on 5 kickoff returns. The good news is that is a sporty return average. The bad news is that 5 returns are rarely a good thing.

Cam Johnston was (again) one of the busiest and productive men on the field. He punted 7 times for nearly a 50 yrd average. That’s a damn impressive average; congrats to the punt coverage team, as well. However, Cam’s 7 punts ended nearly half of Ohio State’s 15 possessions.

 

And??

This will be an interesting off-season. There needs to be a change in the offensive coaching staff. Tim Beck and Ed Warinner are clearly over their heads with their OC responsibilities. I see no reason for them to be retained on this staff, at their current assignments. Additionally, I don’t see where there has been development at the quarterback position.

This is cut-n-paste from my OSU-UM recap:

I’m not sure what Beck/Warinner were thinking, if anything, at this point. I’m  weary of seeing the recruited talent having their performance “sub-optimized” by inept play calling. Barrett has regressed as a thrower. Beck and Warinner need to be “re-assigned” after this season.

This situation is way too familiar and repeating.

Based on what I’ve seen this season, if J.T. Barrett returns, it would be better if it were as an H-back type player, ala Braxton Miller. Barrett is a good athlete; he’s just not a good quarterback.