With a win now secured against Wsconsin Saturday night, the Ohio State Buckeyes can now relax the rest of the weekend, as the first part of their season has now commenced. The 31 to 24 victory versus the Badgers featured the good, with Braxton Miller returning in top form as a passer, strong running from Carlos Hyde and Ryan Shazier letting his presence be felt all over the field. The bad, though, was obvious concerns of the secondary’s protection of the air (in particular, Bradley Roby) and Urban Meyers' Jim Tressel-like second half tactic of playing not to lose.
While it was particularly acceptable to score as many points to win against the Florida A&M's, it's conference play now, little room for inconsistency. Kinks should be leveled out and a more focused team should step forward. While in the second half, the defense did improve in the secondary, but it wasn’t satisfactory. Luke Fickell has always been a nuisance to Ohio State fans and he and Roby have a week to collect and compose themselves until they take the voyage to Northwestern. (Roby did make several key stops to go along with an interception in the second half, though.)
But along with the defense in need of improvement as a cohesive unit, Meyer shouldn’t be afraid to keep his foot on the gas. Yes, going for fourth downs continuously is what separates him from Jim Tressel. Yes, favoring the offense to win the games is also not of Tressel’s football code of ethics. But seven points in the second half, doesn’t send a brash statement. Urban should use the dangerous weapons his offense has to offer, even Kenny Guiton to open the passing game and use them to have a more explosive offense for the entirety of the game. It appeared Meyer forgot that the offense is what the team is focused on. Nothing is wrong with that philosophy. But a great offense and a strong defense is what’s going to place Ohio State in the title game. That is, if they can successfully run the table.
In the end, it’s only the first conference game. Hopefully, kinks will be fixed, mental errors erased and Tressel ball buried. Northwestern, upcoming, is a night game next week, but if the small errors can’t improve substantially, it could be a potential trap game, as well.