November 16th, 2012 at 7:22 AM ^

Our defense is good. Compared to past years, it is amazingly good. But, we aren't exactly 2011 alabama or 1997 Michigan. We will do well, but we are simply not going to shut down a decent offense like OSU. to win, we will have to put up some points in this one (by my prediction, we will need to hit 30). And we will.

While many of us on this board have been frustrated by the lack of info re denard's injury, the lack of info really does make game prep far more difficult for OSU. There are only a limited number of hours in the day to watch film. Our devin offense and our Denard offense are so different that film watched on one is not necessarily relevant to the other. If OSU has to split their defensive prep between preparing for Denard an preparing for devin, that is actually an advantage for us.


November 16th, 2012 at 9:08 AM ^

If Denard can't go as the QB, he won't play at all.  He can't grip the ball, and he already has a propensity to fumble even when he's healthy.  If he's not healthy enough to grip the ball, he shouldn't be in the game.

Obviously I hope he will be healthy enough, but I wouldn't want to see him out there if he wasn't.  I think Gardner would be able to take advantage of OSU's shaky secondary pretty well, so we could be OK without Denard anyhow.


November 16th, 2012 at 9:28 AM ^

disagree.  The is all conjecture, but it is my opinion as to what is going on.  I think Denard has played with this injury in the past and could probably play now, albeit with limited effectiveness throwing the ball because I think the injury has been nagging for a while and was aggravated against Nebarska.  I think Borges then really liked what he saw out of Gardner against Minnesota and while possibly wanting to play I think that Denard knows that he has proven all he needs to and agrees that Gardner is the better option at this point.  I think Denard is also now in the NFL mindset and really does not see much use in going head to the head with the Buckeye defense behind center.  But I do think he is healthy enough to be on the feild, if only as a decoy and actually touching the ball a couple times.  I can see them faking a jet sweep with Denard or possibly faking a handoff reverse on kickoff return.  I also think you could see an option look with Denard behind Devin or Denard in the backfield get a direct snap.  I think the nerve is aggravatable but fine unless and until he is hit in a very specific but random fashion and even then I doubt it would be "re-injured" to any significant degree.  This is Ohio State.  This is Denard.  And this is the The Game.  If he can be used in any way to win that game without additional damage as a concern he will be used.

I don't want to sleep on the Hawkeyes however.  They are playing for bowl eligibility and beat us, like, last year.


November 16th, 2012 at 7:33 AM ^

It just depends on if Denard plays and if they decide to run the option like NorthWestern , they killed us using it, id just hate to see Braxton running it


November 16th, 2012 at 9:12 AM ^

There will probably be some option sprinkled into their offense, at least until we show we can stop it.

I remember we looked shaky against NW and their option offense last year, but handled Nebraska rather effectively later in the season.  Apples and oranges, I know....


November 16th, 2012 at 8:08 AM ^

Key to game is stopping miller...Need to put a lot of pressure on him and have our CB's have one hell of a game.. I like our chances. Our D looks real good and now I dont really have to worry about who the QB is gonna be because we have 2 studs.. Cant wait


November 16th, 2012 at 8:29 AM ^

11 warriors seems to be hit or miss with their front page posts. Some, like this one, are very rational and well written. Others sound like an OSU version the RCMB.

The first comment is also an example of why quite a few of their readers aren't too bright either. It's a reflection of their content.


November 16th, 2012 at 8:53 AM ^

"The Buckeye offense has struggled at times when Miller is not actively involved in the run game. The Buckeye coaching staff now clearly understands that getting Miller's feet going early is the key to the Buckeye offensive success."

The problem that Miller presents is that he's quick enough to get around DLs, shifty enough avoid LBs in close quarters, and big enough to break tackles attempted by DBs.


November 16th, 2012 at 8:54 AM ^

No question we will have to score points on them in order to win.  Our defense should be a able to limit them a bit, but I agree with the poster above in that we will have to score at least 30.

Interesting matchup.  OSU has been criticized this season for giving up big running plays.  McGloin passed for 327 yards against them, but had very little help from the running game (helped I'm sure by playing from behing most of the second half).  If we can have even a little success running the ball to balance our offense, we may have a chance.

The best way to limit OSU is to keep them off the field.


November 16th, 2012 at 8:55 AM ^

Let me know, after the game, how much of a strength their offensive line proved?

If G Mattison neutralizes them tackle to tackle with the line it will be a long day regardless of Braxton Miller's athleticism.

Book it.


November 16th, 2012 at 9:01 AM ^

To add to the discussion of our defense versue their offense, some relevant graphs (apologies for any size / quality issues):

The Buckeyes are currently averaging 256.1 yards on the ground, which is second in the conference and 8th nationally for rushing offense, so as someone mentioned, we're definitely going to need to get our own offense working on all cylinders. This season, the Buckeyes have not given up much in the way of rushing yards, but Nebraska and Cal did manage to smoke them for some big running plays, so it isn't impossible (or indeed, even unlikely, as the Buckeye defense isn't necessarily fundamentally sound).

We can definitely get stops, as you will see above - those are the stats for the nation's 11th-ranked defense. They rely on Miller quite a bit to establish the rush, of course, so finding ways to neutralize him and make him go to the air, which is by far our strength when it comes to defense, they can be slowed down.

As for exploiting Ohio State on defense, it can definitely be done through the air. I didn't want to clutter this reply with too many charts, focusing instead on the ones pertinent to the 11W post, but they do give up an average of 259 yards in the air. Indeed, the only team they held to under 200 yards passing was Illinois, and this is only because it was Illinois. They gave up 352 yards passing to Indiana and 327 yards to Penn State.


November 16th, 2012 at 9:35 AM ^

Braxton had a strong game last year with 245 yards and missed a few big chances. His passing was dreadful for most of the season until The Game. His passing is better this year. In an effort to stop the run and likely involve Kovacs and Gordon in the box, our CBs will have to man an island.

Floyd and Taylor must deliver and avoid the big gains. Not the strength of our D but a battle that we can win because their receivers are average.


November 16th, 2012 at 10:19 AM ^

I'd say Devin Smith is one of the better deep threats in the Big Ten. And Philly Brown is as good as any WR Michigan has. Also, Braxton has become adept at spreading the ball around. Vannett, Stoneburner, Spencer, Heuerman, and Fields have all made big plays in the passing game this year. And that doesn't include the RBs who are receiving threats. Smith and Hyde both have receiving TDs this year. You have to remember that we have not had to pass much to beat teams at all. No one has stopped our running game.


November 16th, 2012 at 10:42 AM ^

and per attempt basis, your pass offense and ours are basically equal so far even discounting schedule differences, with the exact same amount of passing yards (1892, T98th nationally) and YPA within .1 of each other (M 7.9, O 7.8, 27th and 31st).


November 16th, 2012 at 2:28 PM ^

"Among the best in the Big Ten" makes Smith average as the B1G is so weak at WR. He has a high ceiling with his size/speed, but his routes are mediocre at this point. He's the best with a bunch of solid options for Braxton

Granted the OSU talent/potential is probably better than our CB talent, but blown coverages are sig more concerning. Posey's fly at the end last year was wide-open because JT bit on the first move more than Posey executing a flawless double move. This year Brax probably makes that throw.


November 16th, 2012 at 9:49 AM ^

I agree on the consensus that the big story will be OSU D vs UM O. I want to help clarify some of the Pass D struggles our guys have had, though. Teams had success early in the year with two main strategies: first, by throwing multiple screen pass variations at us. The Linebackers weren't diagnosing quickly enough and got blocked out of the play way too often. Second, they would target the short middle zone normally manned by a linebacker. Curtis Grant and then Storm Klein both proved unequal to the task of pass coverage. Since Boren moved to MLB and the coaching staff made some scheme tweaks, the D has been quite sound against these plays. Penn State had little success consistently moving the ball despite McMoxie's passing yards. He had to throw 46 times to get those yards also, and if Denard or Devin end up throwing 40+ times against us, I'd like our chances to win.

The bottom line of my view point is that if Michigan can't establish a run game, OSU wins. Neither Devin or Denard is an accurate or savvy enough passer to pick us apart with intermediate throws. Roby and Howard are good at getting their hands on the ball, so I don't expect Michigan to be able to hit a ton of deep throws. Also, the Michigan WRs don't frighten any D and I don't expect them to flat out beat our DBs that often. Swing plays to Gallon may provide a couple good plays, but our speed at LB will help. If Denard, Devin, Rawls or Fitz don't have huge running games, I don't see many ways Michigan wins. Unless Braxton has multiple costly turnovers.


November 16th, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

Thanks for visiting.. Wrt to your last sentence, do you think Miller has been significantly tested this year scheme-wise? I have been pretty surprised at how little opposing D's have varied looks during their games, which I would think one would want to do with a sophmore (decidedly precocious one, but still a sophmore)

In general, though, I agree that UM will need to have a big day on the ground in order to win. One thing that I hope UM does is what Tressel used to do: save some packages (Denard at TB or slot if he can't throw? Who knows) specifically for the OSU game that can give us a couple of big plays. 



November 16th, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^

I think Braxton has seen a number of different looks this year, but no defenses have been as fundamentally sound as Michigan's. Cal had some good athletes and definitely threw some curve balls as far as scheme, but Braxton ran all over them. When teams have thrown a new scheme at Brax, we've started very slow, but made adjustments and took off. The key against a player like Brax or Denard is that no matter what the scheme is, every defender has to be assignment/gap sound. If one player makes the wrong decision, either of those guys can exploit it for 80 yards. Michigan has a good chance at slowing Brax because of their fundamentals. Also, Hyde is the first key for Michigan to me. If the D keys too much on Brax then they will pound you all day with Hyde. But if the D keeps Hyde bottled up, Brax has to run more and takes more hits.

One thing I want to throw out is that I'm interested to see how Michigan blitzes Brax. UM loves to bring overload and zone blitzes, but IMO that's playing with fire. Brax makes the first guy miss 95% of the time. If that player doesn't get him, he will have 150 yards against you guys in a hurry.