Tag Archives: Carlos Hyde

Ohio State 2014 NFL Draft recap

Ohio State had six players chosen in the 2014 NFL Draft, including a pair of first-rounders after only having a total of one first-rounder in the previous four drafts combined.

Ryan Shazier talks to reporters in Columbus
Ryan Shazier talks to reporters in Columbus

The draft marks the end of the line for the 2009 recruiting class, which became the second Ohio State recruiting class since 1999 to produce zero first-round picks, joining the ’08 class. Both of those were rated top five classes by Scout.com. The ’09 class, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation, can brag of more overall draft picks (six — Reid Fragel, Carlos Hyde, Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort, Jonathan Newsome and John Simon) than the ’08 class (Mike Adams, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor), which was ranked No. 4.

Newsome, a four-star recruit from Cleveland Glenville, transferred to Ball State and as near as I can tell is only the second player to sign with Ohio State since 1987, transfer out and still get drafted. Brandon Underwood is the other. Underwood signed in 2004 and finished his career as a Cincinnati Bearcat. That is out of 75 players.

The 2010 and ’11 classes are already assured of avoiding the fate of the two groups that immediately preceded them as they were represented respectively this year by Bradley Roby and Ryan Shazier.

Here’s a rundown of all of the picks:  Continue reading Ohio State 2014 NFL Draft recap

Weekend in review: Talkin’ draft, draft draft

The second weekend in May was no ordinary one as the NFL draft brought nearly nonstop news beginning Thursday night.

The biggest news in Ohio was, of course, the Browns’ decision to draft Johnny Manziel in the first round on Thursday night. Manziel is a lightning rod who has excited the fanbase, but he probably won’t be handed the starting job by new head coach Mike Pettine. The Texas tornado will arrive in town to find a potential hometown hero in Cleveland’s own Brian Hoyer, who energized the fanbase himself for a few briefs weeks last season before blowing out his knee. What does the former Cleveland St. Ignatius Wildcat have to say? “Bring it on.”  Continue reading Weekend in review: Talkin’ draft, draft draft

Talking Ohio State football on 95.5 The Game

I had the pleasure of appearing on the FN’A Show on 95.5 The Game in Columbus earlier this week, where we talked about the Big Ten championship game between Ohio State and Michigan State.

Sun sets on Michigan Stadium
Sun sets on Michigan Stadium

We also discussed who might be the Buckeyes’ best Heisman Trophy candidate, what makes the Spartans’ defense so good, concerns about Ohio State’s defense and Buckeye football more.

In case you missed the segment, here’s the podcast.

Check it out!


Ohio State Football Week 11 (Part 1): Gimme Back My Bullets

This week’s column looks to Lynyrd Skynyrd for inspiration as we examine why the Buckeye defense has looked more like its old self the past couple of weeks. Hint: It’s really not that complicated. With Ohio State off this week, we also take a look at the most interesting Big Ten matchup on tap while also keeping an eye on the Buckeyes’ next opponent.

What we learned this week: It’s amazing what better players can do for a defense.

That Ohio State is playing better when the other team has the ball is no coincidence when you look at the players in the lineup.

There is no doubt they were missing Nathan Williams, who was not there for Indiana, and they needed players like Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington to step up.

Perhaps the unit would have rounded into form sooner with the improving play of Etienne Sabino against Michigan State and (a very good) Nebraska offense, but his injury set them back yet again before that debacle in Indiana on Oct. 13.

Zach Boren’s move to linebacker from fullback was necessitated by the broken bone in Sabino’s leg, and the Boren of the 52-22 win over Illinois is a better player than the one of the 52-49 win over the Hooisers three weeks earlier.

Don’t forget CJ Barnett was out of the lineup for a few games and needed a little time to get re-acclimated with the rest of his teammates in the speed of the game, too. That was key as it allowed Orhian Johnson to return to Star, where he has been the most productive player at the position this season.

I hate to sound like an excuse machine for the coaching staff, but sometimes people go a little overboard in looking to blame people when something goes wrong. Often there really are reasonable explanations for why things don’t turn out exactly how they’re expected to.

On top of all that, you’ve got a new staff learning what each member knows, what the players can do within that knowledge and how to put it all together.

I like the potential of the quarters coverage that they went into the season wanting to play, but I can see where it could be a dicey situation, with a variety of people learning it all at once. I like the different options it gives you, and I think it’s just about the best coverage out there – when played correctly – but then I’m a little old school in defensive philosophy. I grew up in an old-fashioned 5-2 set that involved hitting, reading and shedding blocks at every position up front rather than all of mostly anchoring one spot. I get the ups and downs involved. I see that it puts a lot of responsibility on each individual player, and that it leaves the door open for one guy’s mistake to make more of a negative impact on a play, but done right it’s pretty dang hard to beat because when you have so many guys playing two gaps, you’ve got multiple outs all over the field. It can work out to be the equivalent of having extra defenders out there, a reverse of what the offense is trying to do with the zone read and option stuff that hs become so prevalent in the past decade.

To their credit, the coaching staff never seem to panic. They’ve all been through transitions like this before, and surely they had seen some of the similar struggles. They knew it wouldn’t happen overnight no matter how badly everyone wanted it to.

Urban Meyer’s greatest strength as a coach is undoubtedly his passion, but sometimes I think that gets him in a little trouble. And I’m not just talking about his famous bout with burnout, I’m talking about even just with the things he says.

As a member of the media I certainly appreciate his bluntness and honesty with us in terms of a lot of different things he says, but I think sometimes he gets a little ahead of himself. Sometimes we hear him talking about what he wants to see in an ideal situation, but I am pretty confident he’s realistic enough to know he’s going to have to settle for less than perfect on a regular basis, particularly in Year One, whether he likes it or not. That usually comes out through the course of a 30-minute press conference, but sometimes it gets lost in our little soundbite world that we now live because the first thing is often what gets highlighted even if the next sentence hollows it out a little bit and brings it back to the center.

Slowing down that Illinois offense is no great feat in and of itself, but holding any team under 200 total yards is to be commended. It’s more than we probably would have expected to see from this Ohio State unit even against a bad offense prior to this week, so in a world where average is somewhat understandably surprising to see, we should know when the defense turns in a dominant performance.

Meanwhile, the offense putting 50 points on the board without Braxton Miller going absolutely crazy is noteworthy as well. It speaks to the development of a lot of guys around him. The offensive line obviously did a lot of work to make holes for Carlos Hyde, and the junior running back did his best to take advantage.

Meyer sounded a little bit sour after the game, but when you can nitpick a specific part of the passing game after quarterback throws for 220 yards and a touchdown, you must be living okay. Don’t overlook the fact he was complaining about only the drop-back passing game, not the play-action part that was just fine, and quite productive as a matter of fact.

Bottom line: Players are developing and/or getting healthier on both sides of the ball, and that usually makes coaching a lot easier to do.

What we can expect to learn this week: How good is Wisconsin’s defense in space?

The Badgers have stopped a two-year slide in effectiveness of their stop unit this season, but I’m not sure how tested they truly are yet.

Nebraska spent half its win over the Badgers in late September running into itself and shooting itself in the foot and still gained 340 yards and scored 30 points in the conference opener.

Since then, Wisconsin’s defense has played somewhere between well and okay, but the competition still hasn’t been much to be scared of, particularly as far as passing goes.

Purdue has good threats on the outside, but hapless Danny Hope played around with his quarterbacks that afternoon and probably hurt the chances of his team getting into any type of rhythm. As against Ohio State, the Boilermakers picked up almost all of their yards on a handful of big plays. Wisconsin picked off two Minnesota passes, but that was against a true freshman in his first start. Andrew Maxwell, the league’s No. 10-most efficient passer at the moment, threw for 216 yards and two touchdowns without an interception as Michigan State beat the Badgers in overtime two weeks ago. The Badgers slowed down Le’Veon Bell, but most good defenses do because of the poor quality of the MSU offensive line.

And why does this matter? Because Indiana has the best passing game in the Big Ten and plays host to Wisconsin this weekend in what could turn out to be a de facto Big Ten Leaders division title game.

Not only are there high stakes, the noon game is of added interest because the Buckeyes are idle and Wisconsin is their next obstacle to a perfect start under Urban Meyer.

If Indiana can stretch the Badgers out from sideline to sideline, and execute consistently, there should be plenty of opportunities to make things happens. Running back Stephen Houston is a weapon as well on the inside for head coach Kevin Wilson’s Hoosiers.

The Buckeyes have to like their chances against that Wisconsin defense if it has problems dealing with improving Indiana. Although what they want to accomplish with their formations is different, the Buckeyes will be able to provide some of the same problems in space in two weeks in Camp Randall Stadium when they look to improve to 11-0.


Ohio State Football Week 10: Something Like That

I have often thought of a Tim McGraw song when picturing how Urban Meyer views Braxton Miller, and Saturday was another reminder of why as the scintillating sophomore did some more things “a heart don’t forget”…

What we learned last week: Players trump momentum, and it doesn’t hurt to be lucky sometimes, either.

We already should have known these things, of course, but sports has a way of providing us with reminders on a regular basis.

Braxton Miller struggled early in the game last Saturday night at Penn State. There is no denying it. He looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and he had a hard time finding running room as the Nittany Lions smartly sold out to stop the powerful Ohio State rushing attack.

The Buckeyes’ quarterback also flirted with disaster on more than one occasion as a pair of throws were nearly intercepted and returned for touchdowns by Penn State defensive backs.

Miller also cost his team six points when he missed a wide open Philly Brown on a vertical route in the first quarter, but as they often have this season, eventually Miller’s “dids” overcame his “wouldas” and his “couldas,” and the Buckeyes never looked back.

It’s funny how that happens to the freakiest of athletes more than anyone else, isn’t it?

With a few tweaks from Urban Meyer and Tom Herman, Miller suddenly found some room to run, and he did not waste it.

He also got some help from Carlos Hyde, a running back who has already proven he is a difference maker with his size and speed, and Rod Smith, one who is reputed to be able to do the same thing and gave more glimpses he really is in Happy Valley.

Add it all up and a good half of defense went up in smoke for the Nittany Lions, who looked as helpless against Miller in the third quarter as they did dominant in the first and for most of the second.

When he gets locked in, he is just about impossible to stop. Nobody has as much magic in his feet as Miller, and he’s dangerous as a passer despite his inconsistency.

It really is a marvel to watch him grow up on this stage, to see how much he can accomplish on instincts and a sense of what he’s being taught by a new set of coaches. Dare to imagine how he’ll look by the start of next season after he has had more time to digest it all? I’m sure you probably already have, but feel free to do it again.

Of course, it wasn’t only Miller whose ability could change a game. Saturday night was another affirmation that Ohio State has better players than the rest of the Big Ten at this point in time.

Even with injuries biting a few positions, the Buckeyes have a lot of guys that can play. Not enough to be considered national title contenders yet, but enough to continue to carry the conference as we wait to see what the ceiling of Brady Hoke’s Michigan program is going to be.

What we can expect to learn this week: I hate to go back to this well, but the question is how the Buckeyes handle prosperity because at the end of the day, they still only have so much to play for.

Last week, I wrote that the biggest factor was going to be Ohio State’s mood. It has been that way all year as the Buckeyes have lost focus at times and made mistakes that cost them in the points column.

Some of the letdowns were understandable even though they are never acceptable. Human nature tells us getting fired up to face Indiana isn’t automatic. The same could be said for all of the nonconference games, truth be told, because none were brand names. Even Cal’s best recent success came when the current players weren’t very old.

But then going to Penn State was another matter. Not that the Buckeyes view Penn State much differently than any other conference foe, but the Nittany Lions seemed to be developing a bit of swagger while winning five in a row. They looked sharp on film dispatching Iowa a week earlier (though the Hawkeyes had a hand in that, to be sure), and the game was at a place that has caused opponents fits in the past. Beaver Stadium was also one that the Buckeyes could look at and be confident they could win because they had done it on their past two visits, but actually being there can be energizing if handled correctly, something the few veterans on this squad have seen first hand.

And so history repeated itself, and talent won out. Ohio State’s very good offensive line outplayed Penn State’s very good front seven. Matt McGloin made some plays, but not enough for his team when the game was still in doubt. Miller made them, too, and he got help from his buddies in the backfield. They also managed to provide enough of a run threat to create opportunities in the passing game, and they hit one of those when they needed it late. Jake Stoneburner’s 72-yard touchdown catch was another example of superior skill, too, as he simply won a one-on-one battle with a safety.

So where does it leave Ohio State now? The Buckeyes seem primed for another letdown with an emotional win in the rearview, a weak opponent front and center and a week off around the corner prior to two matchups that should get everyone’s blood pumping again. While I’ve said clunkers are inevitable, I still think this team has tended to turn in too many uneven efforts.

Winning out would be a great source of pride, but it probably wouldn’t result in much more than that.

And this week’s opponent is a terribly disappointing squad from Illinois, another that has given the Buckeyes plenty of fits in the past few years but that looks awful so far this season.

Before the season, this looked like a trap game, but I’m not sure the Fighting Illini are good enough to spring it, so how will the Buckeyes react? Will they smell blood and finally put a team away early, or will they mess around and wait for someone else to do the job until things really start to get dicey?

Eventually, this team needs to iron out some of its mental issues. Motivation is a constant struggle with the age group, but by next year they will need to bring a more consistent effort to the park every week because style points will matter, maybe more than going undefeated in and of itself. And the schedule might not be so kind, depending on how things develop in Ann Arbor and Madison.

The need for Miller to share the burden of moving the ball is real, too, as is avoiding big plays in the secondary.

But for now this particular ride continues, and the chance to go 10-0 is less than a week away.

Second Thoughts: Ohio State vs. Miami

(Observations from watching the Buckeyes and RedHawks a second time.)

One of the side benefits of getting into sportswriting was avoiding math for the most part. That might not be true anymore now that Urban Meyer and Tom Herman are in town.

They stressed several times during the offseason that a major aspect of their offense is getting the right numbers to work against, and they certainly proved it in the season-opening win against Miami University.

Ohio State heads in for its last touchdown of the day against Miami (Sept. 1, 2012)

As Meyer referenced in his postgame remarks, Miami came out with a plan to stop the Ohio State running game from its basic three-wide receiver, shotgun set. While a couple of missed reads by quarterback Braxton Miller on the zone read/inverted veer helped the RedHawks’ rate of success, they certainly had a good idea of what they wanted to do early. I wondered before the game how teams would treat Jake Stoneburner in their assessment of Ohio State personnel groupings, and the answer would seem to be as a tight end because Miami was keeping seven in the box when he was in the slot and Zach Boren was the H-back/tight end along with Carlos Hyde at running back.

That did not make it impossible for Ohio State to move the ball, but it put more of a premium on executing because everything was fitted up pretty well from a defensive perspective. Continue reading Second Thoughts: Ohio State vs. Miami