Football Hayes & Cannon

Hayes Gaze and Cannon Fodder – Michigan State

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes! We knew coming out of the bye week, Ohio State was going to have to show that multiple changes had been made. From personnel to coaching schemes, things needed to be different than they were coming into the bye week.

We all have been looking for a refocus on the running game. Buckeye fans have been pining for changes to the way the defense plays and how they are coached. But the changes needed to reach those with offices inside the WHAC and be transferred to the practice field before hitting the Ohio Stadium turf.

A win versus this current Nebraska team was not guaranteed, but it was pretty well assumed. The question for most wasn’t if Ohio State would win, but if these changes would be implemented.

Now before we look forward to Michigan State and see if the changes continue, let’s rewind long enough to get our Hayes Gaze and Cannon Fodder for Nebraska.

Hayes Gaze

I’ve made it no secret that Ohio State needed to make many changes during the bye week if they want to restart the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff goals. The rushing attack, which clearly was an emphasis this week, finally made a return. The scheme for the defense, while not perfect, seemed to be better than it has been the last couple weeks.

But this week, our Hayes Gaze once again shines upon someone who was forced into the lineup, and made the most of his opportunity.

William White was a great defensive back for the Buckeyes in the mid-80s. His son, Brendon White, was a 4-Star recruit coming out of Powell, Ohio before making the short drive south to the Ohio State campus. On Saturday, White made the most of his opportunity to fill in for Jordan Fuller after a terrible targeting call forced him to enjoy the rest of the day from the locker room.

White led the Buckeyes in tackles on Saturday with 13, two of which were tackles for loss. But more importantly, he lived up to the “Next Man Up” mantra we have heard so much about. In fact, he played well enough that some are calling for him to start next week in place of Isaiah Pryor.

I can’t comment on that as I am not in each practice every day. But with a game like White had against Nebraska, it certainly makes the possibility seem like something that may be doable.

Cannon Fodder

Saturday, the Buckeyes were far from perfect. It was a pleasant surprise seeing the team come out with a few new looks, and dropping the RPO from the playbook. But there were still problems, and they were not just Dwayne Haskins having an off game.

The Buckeyes did not look to have the normal “fire” in them. We’ve seen the Bucks come out flat before, and they did the same thing Saturday. Normally, something will spark the team and this changes. I never saw that Saturday.

But the biggest problem was with dropping the ball. Ohio State was credited with 6 fumbles against the Cornhuskers. These came from three guys who are normally very sure-handed: Dwayne Haskins, KJ Hill, and Mike Weber.

The only positive is that only 2 of these were turnovers. But any time your quarterback, best wide receiver, and 1/1A running back drops the ball that many times, it’s an issue. Against a better team, that will change the outcome of the game.

I expect a lot of work this week to concentrate on securing the football. Against Michigan State (or Michigan in a few weeks), these drops become turnovers, which will cost the Buckeyes the game.

We need a better performance, and I wouldn’t expect this trio to make a repeat appearance in the Cannon Fodder anytime soon.

Looking Ahead

Michigan State is not the Sparty team many of us assumed Ohio State would be facing this week. The Spartans had much higher expectations coming into 2018. Instead, they come in at 6-3, having lost 2 games in Big Ten play already. Now, they look to disrupt as many other teams’ postseason plans as possible.

Since arriving in East Lansing, Mark Dantonio has managed to be a thorn in Ohio State’s side more often than not. Expect more of the same this weekend. Michigan State plays solid defense and only gives up 19 points per game. However, their offense doesn’t do much better than that, at 23 points per game. Take out the beatdown they got from Michigan, and that number only goes up to 25 PPG. I would expect Sparty to continue to try controlling the game with a slow, methodical offense and stout defense.

Ohio State should be able to move and score at will. But an offense trying to re-invent themselves and playing on the road in East Lansing will have growing pains. My initial, WAY TOO EARLY prediction? Good guys keep their postseason goals alive and win, 35-28.

Go Bucks! O-H!


“Hayes Gaze and Cannon Fodder” is the weekly look at the good and bad for Ohio State football from Mike Meals. Each week, Mike will look at the good of the week with a loving Hayes Gaze, and at what was the Cannon Fodder at best. You can also catch Mike along with Hayes & Cannon Content Manager/Writer Brandon Zimmerman on the weekly episodes of “The Sons of Schmidt” podcast on the Ozone Radio Network. Follow Mike on twitter (@mmeals)

6 Responses

  1. How, exactly, should the Buckeyes “be able to move and score at will” against the nation’s #1 rush defense? Between the 20s I can see, but inside the 20 they’ll have to show me ’cause I haven’t seen that since, well, at all this season against an opponent with a pulse.

    1. Talent wise, Ohio State should be able to do what they want. This defense at MSU isn’t better than the Ohio State offense is, on paper. That’s what it means by “should”. That’s also why there is a follow up statement.

  2. Dream on about UM making changes – never have and never will.. Sparty 26-23. I am being generous giving us 23.

  3. I think the image that will stick in many fans’ minds is Haskins sliding down with open space in front of him. I believe that Haskins wants to win and he has a great arm. BUT, if he remains one-dimensional (pass only), we will continue to have problems on offense.

  4. RE: Brendon White. Why does it always take an injury to show Urban Meyer who is truly “game ready”? Dude is waaayy too loyal to his original starting picks and to his friends and family coaching staff. OC not getting it done? Can him a week before the CFP. QB not getting it done? Bench him during the CFP final. Nick gets it. Have a better QB on the bench than the guy that helped you win last year’s CFP? Bench the starter and put the frosh in. Dabo gets it. Defense clueless? Can only run the ball on a 2-6 team? Urban sticks with the status quo. Where is his constant improvement and everybody competes everyday in action not words?

  5. Nope…..Keep Brendon White in Jordans spot on the boundary and move Jordan Fuller to the Field side. He’s had a lot of experience (real game experience) and played very good to outstanding ball there for an entire season. Jordan is a Captain and I’m sure would be willing to move over to ensure the 2 best safeties are starting. Knowing the pedigree of Brendon, and his work ethic/team concepts I seriously doubt that it was a fluke how well he played, or how hard he brought the thunder. He proved he WILL hunt AND bite. That also free’s up Shaun Wade to slide back down to the nickle full time. Watching the games from last year to this year, I think this is the back ends best shot at cleaning up a lot of the secondaries weaknesses. If it proves not to be the case in East Lansing, simply switch back.

    I coached in 2 games at Harding Stadium (now known as Death Valley) a couple decades ago (home of Steubenville Big Red) that were about as loud as Spartan Stadium. Spartan Stadium just isn’t a real intimidating environment.

Comments are closed.