All posts by Marcus Hartman

When a tie feels like a loss

With Ohio State off this weekend, Ohio had a chance to focus on its pro football teams, and the Browns and Bengals certainly delivered plenty of storylines to get us through. Some thoughts on the men in stripes…

OK, so it wasn’t all bad. And it isn’t all bad. But it sure felt bad. And a day later it really hasn’t started feeling better.

The Bengals did some good things Sunday against the Panthers. They also did some bad things. The latter could have been erased with one kick by Mike Nugent, but the home-state hero didn’t come through.

The result was a 37-all final score that left the Bengals in first place in the AFC North but lots of questions about the rest of the season.

The way the Browns whipped the fading Steelers made the result all the more meaningful, leaving the division lead feeling more precarious, but the tie was not really the top story in Cincinnati.

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The Best Is Yet To Come

The future is bright for Ohio State, but how long will it take to get here?

That’s the question in my weekly football column for BuckeyeSports.com.

Marshall

So far we have seen a young team flummoxed by a unique scheme look bad one night this season but bounce back with three straight wins over opponents that were overmatched to varying degrees.

There was a lot to like about the win in Maryland, including growth into the scheme on both sides of the ball.

Click here for more: Cus Words: The Best Is Yet To Come – Ohiostate – Scout.

Sights from Ohio State’s win at Maryland

Ohio State and Maryland met on the football field for the first time last Saturday, and the Buckeyes won handily to improve to 4-1.

Here’s a look at some of the sights from Byrd Stadium.  Continue reading

An intriguing name for Michigan’s next head coach

This Bill Connelly piece on a potential (now inevitable?) Michigan head coach search in the near future is interesting for a lot of reasons, but the one that caught my eye most was the inclusion of Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen.

As a student of the history of the game and of course the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, this possibility (if it’s even real, which may or may not be) is truly fascinating.

Why? Because it would almost perfectly recreate the dynamic of the most intense period The Game has ever seen: The 10-Year War.  Continue reading

Ohio State suffering a power outage?

For all the talk about the added speed on this Ohio State roster, a power outage may be more to blame for the loss to Virginia Tech.

After finishing my video review Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech, I filed my usual report with BuckeyeSports.com. The conclusion was that Virginia Tech had a good plan considering all the factors going into the game, both from their personnel standpoint and Ohio State’s. For the Hokies, that relates to speed. For the Buckeyes, it is youth.

As Urban Meyer said this week, the defense Virginia Tech used has been used against them before but not regularly and not since his first year at Ohio State. One thing about the spread” It’s supposed to prevent teams from loading up the line of scrimmage against you. I guess when they scout you and decide to do it anyway, that should probably be a sign of a pretty big problem.

Meyer prides himself on still playing power football despite the formation, but there are times I wonder if he and offensive coordinator Tom Herman are a little bit too rigid in their philosophy as far as how they line up. This shouldn’t be taken to mean I have major overall questions with what they do, it’s obviously a pretty effective most of the time, but I do wonder if they have limited themselves more than they need to.   Continue reading

Ohio State Football Week 3: Turn, Turn, Turn

Urban Meyer has shown half of why many thought he could combine the best qualities of the last two full-time head coaches to build a new dynasty at Ohio State.

How did he do that? By mimicking John Cooper and recruiting three straight highly regarded recruiting classes full of players from across the country. 

After Virginia Tech exposed a bunch of deficiencies in his young Buckeye squad, it’s time for Meyer to show if he can compare to Jim Tressel as far as turning a September pretender into a November contender.

That and more in my weekly column for BuckeyeSports.com: Cus Words Week 3: Turn, Turn, Turn – Ohiostate – Scout.

Ohio State Football Week 2 in review

The blog has been quiet this week, but I have been busy. Here’s a rundown of coverage following Ohio State’s season-opening win over Navy and in preparation for the Buckeyes’ visit from Virginia Tech.  Continue reading

2014 Big Ten football picks

I think this will be one of the better Big Tens we’ve seen in the past decade or so, but I’m not sure there is an elite team in the league. There should be depth, and that could set things up for a strong 2015, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Ohio State is rebuilding on defense, but that unit could hardly be worse than it was when the ’13 season concluded, so it’s hard to count that as a negative. Michigan State’s offense was a sore spot early last season but finished on a high and returns almost everyone of consequence. They’ll have some new faces on the offensive line, but that unit wasn’t great anyway so they can probably get by with an average front again this season all things considered. Teams may play them differently now that Connor Cook is a known commodity, though. How he responds to that will tell a large part of the tale this season. Recent conference history is littered with quarterbacks who looked good early in their career but plateaued. Big Ten logo

Michigan State is, pardon the pun, green in some spots on defense, and it is unlikely the Spartans will be as tough there regardless of how good coaches Mark Dantonio and Pat Narduzzi have proven to be on that side of the ball. The same can be said of Ohio State’s offensive line, though, so it all could be a wash when the teams play Nov. 8. Continue reading