Ohio State Football Notebook: ‘That was a collective process of being inept’

Ohio State Football Notebook Buckeyes Buckeye Football


Understanding Expectations

Ohio State freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin only started for one season at Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas. Lake Travis is a football powerhouse that has put numerous quarterbacks into college football, including 2017 Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. There is a standard to be upheld there, and even though Baldwin could have left and started elsewhere, he wanted to start for a program like Lake Travis.

Baldwin finally got that chance and lit the state up as a senior, leading his team to the state title game. An ACL tear in the playoffs ended his hopes of winning it all, but the season was more than a success.

Enrolled now and participating as much as he can in spring ball, Baldwin isn’t concerned about the talent around him and the competition that he will be a part of once healthy. That’s actually why he came to Ohio State.

“There are high expectations because it’s a really good room,” he said. “It’s a loaded-with-talent room. Arguably everyone in the room could be playing college Division I, starting somewhere. Choosing to come to compete at Ohio State is a big deal. So yeah, the expectations are high. I just try to get in there, get in with that family type of thing because that’s what it is here. It’s really just one unit, one family, which is Ohio State. It’s nice to be able to have guys like that that you can come in to.”

Clique Six

While Matthew Baldwin may have chosen to come to Ohio State to be part of something close-knit, several Buckeye receivers chose to stay at Ohio State for the very same reason.

Four of the top six receivers were draft eligible last season, and each of them returned for one more go-round. Considering the way they handle their media availabilities with reporters, perhaps that shouldn’t have been such a surprise. When players speak with reporters, they tend to do it one player at a time. J.T. Barrett goes over there, Mike Weber is 20 yards away from him, somebody else is 20 yards away from Weber, and that’s how things are supposed to work.

When the receivers meet with reporters, however, they often do it as a group. Even if only two of them are scheduled to speak, two others may show up as well and sit in on things.

Overall, it’s just a very close group, and receivers coach Zach Smith believes he knows why.

“I think it starts with leadership,” he said. “The older guys, Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin have really created a culture in the room. They’re really close. Obviously the whole group was here last year, nobody left. It was a tight-knit group last year so they’re just carrying on.

“They really enjoy being around each other. You can see at any practice you’re at, after practice you can find all of the receivers sitting on the benches before they go do cold tank and shower, they just sit there for like 45 minutes and hang out and talk. You can just tell they’re just genuinely best friends.”


At this point, even the brain trust at NASA just throws their hands up in the air when somebody asks them what happened to the Ohio State football team last season in Iowa.

The Buckeyes went in as heavy favorites and left as loaded punchline. The season was derailed in terms of the playoffs, but the coaches and players still had a job to do. They regrouped and went on to beat three ranked teams after that game. They also secured a double-digit win over noted rival Illinois, and also won at Michigan.

While the Iowa loss will never be forgotten, the Buckeyes didn’t fold.

“You hate to say it, because at that time I’d done it for 30 years, but you learn lessons no matter how long you do it,” said defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. “Unfortunately sometimes you learn the same lessons. That was a collective process of being inept and no one is absolved from that. So I think everybody learned, but it’s our job to learn the most because we have to then teach.

“And like Coach said, you better look in the mirror first thing after that game and start with yourself and then see what you can fix. And that’s what everybody did obviously by the results after that game. But it’s a shame because it cost us a lot at the end of the day. Just need to make sure that that never happens again.”


8 Responses

  1. I didn’t do the research but i believe Meyer had a better win percentage when he had Tressel recruits on his roster.

  2. The Iowa loss was inexplicable. Barrett threw a pick 6 to start the game and never looked good…unlike a team like Alabama, there was no chance Barrett would be pulled for his poor play. In a nutshell, those kind of player personnel and in game dynamics represent the slim margin between Meyer and Saban. And though slim, that margin represents why Bama has won multiple national titles since 2014 and we have been unable to seize the momentum from that year and win another.

    While Iowa was bad, Michigan State 2015 was even worse. How do you sit on the sideline and watch Zeke not be used in the 2nd half and not demand he get the ball? We had one of the best college football teams ever in 2015 and didn’t win National or B1G.

    2016 PSU was another head scratcher…Curtis Samuel had just two carries in that game, one of which went for 74 yds. Again, how do you sit on the sideline or booth and not think “hey, maybe we should hand it off to Curtis again now”…

    So Schiano is right…hopefully his sentiments resonate from the top down.

    1. agreed. and we would have lost to Michigan had barrett not have been forced out by injury. without haskins, we lose to Michigan.

      1. There’s no way of knowing if OSU would have lost against Michigan if JT played out the rest of the game. It was 14-20 midway through the 3rd quarter, plenty of time to make a comeback. Didn’t JT lead the team back from a 7-17 deficit in 2016? If anyone is capable of making a comeback, it was JT.

    2. No questions, the coaching staff cost us the Iowa game. They kept running their tight ends under our coverage just like they had done in many games against us and we never adjusted. And Beavis is probably right about the UM game.

    3. Christopher: OSU could of handed off to Zeke 75 times that game in 2015 at home against MSU and still would of been lucky to gain 75 yards! MSU in that sloppy rain committed to and did stuff the run. JTB couldn’t throw at all.
      As I said a zillion times, MSU exposed that lousy O. I was at IL the week before and OSU couldn’t move the ball against a lousy IL team either, we only had a 14-3 lead at half against them! Watch the MSU game again! Thank you. Remember, OSU scored two TD’s; one on a stripped sack and the other when MSU’s punt returner tried to reach over his head and grab a ball in the rain and wind. Many saw that IA game as a the trap game and it was, and good observations about that and OSU’s loss at PSU in 2016. In OSU’s defense, we did have two night games away at Madison and at Happy Valley and that had something to do with our losses as well. Before you scratch your head too hard; OSU rebounded from that MSU loss by running the ball down MI’s throat there and went on to pound ND. OSU went on to the CFB PO after the melt down against PSU and last year following that trap “Home Alone” house game at IA, we then smoked MSU, beat MI there, and went on to beat USC 24-7. This is the best OSU stretch of football easily in the last 50 years, if not forever!

      1. Wrong. The previous 7 yrs to this era had just as many National Titles and more B1Gs. Facts…but don’t let those get in your way buddy. Moreover, for MSU 2015 you MAKE THEM keep stopping Zeke…understamding that the best player in the country (Zeke) will make a play. But you don’t surrender that part of your game. Period!

      2. And for the record I was referring to the first 7 years of the previous regime when totally debunking your claim that this has been the best era in 50 yrs.

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