Maryland Terps

Despite exciting win, Buckeyes have lots to fix

Despite exciting win, Buckeyes have lots to fix

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) In the jubilation that followed Ohio State's strain-the-imagination win over Purdue on Saturday, several important considerations were pushed into the background.

Yes, the ninth-ranked Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) stayed unbeaten with the heart-pounding 29-22 overtime win in which they trailed by eight points with 47 seconds left and had the ball at their own 39 and their best player in the hospital.

Yet victory doesn't erase all the problems.

``I don't show (any disappointment) because I want our players to enjoy that win, our fans, the student body,'' coach Urban Meyer said. ``It was an incredible night for the Horseshoe and the people in there. ... Coaches are cheering and having a great time, and then deep in your heart, you know that we have a lot of work to do.''

Heading into a pivotal game at Penn State on Saturday, with first place in the Leaders Division at stake, the Buckeyes realize that they need to get a lot better if they want to continue having postgame celebrations like the one last week.

Offensive coordinator Tom Herman didn't take long to come down from the high. On Sunday morning, he was back in the football offices, looking at film.

He cannot afford to linger too long on the minor miracle that led to the Buckeyes' win.

``They don't pay me to be a fan; they pay me to be a coach,'' Herman said. ``So my main job when I watch that (video) on Sundays is to figure out what went right and what went wrong and what changes need to be made.''

There are a lot of changes that need to be made, even for an unbeaten team.

The Buckeyes persist in giving up huge plays. On the very first play from scrimmage on Saturday, a defender made a mistake and it resulted in a shockingly easy 83-yard pass play.

Later, Ohio State surrendered a 100-yard kickoff return.

There were also two fumbles lost, and two interceptions. On top of that, the offense was inconsistent and erratic against a defense that had gushed points (82) and yards (1,054) in its previous two games.

So while a fan might have the luxury of preening over the final result, the Buckeyes know that there's no time.

``As a player we feel we want to stay on that high level of excitement,'' safety Christian Bryant said. ``But on Sunday we get brought right back down to reality going into meeting with our coaches because they critique us so hard.''

The film doesn't lie, as Meyer often says. When the Buckeyes showed up at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Sunday, they were greeted with edited game clips. It must have been a horror film, leading the players to believe Purdue's linebackers were Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Dracula.

``When we came in on Sunday, it was the realization that was one of our worst games offensively,'' offensive tackle Reid Fragel said.

For a team that lost seven games a year ago, every win is precious. Ohio State's coaches don't want to rip players when they know better than anyone how hard it can be to win a game when the injuries mount - starting quarterback Braxton Miller is back after a scary tackle late in the third quarter - and a long season seems even longer.

The resilience of the Buckeyes was something to celebrate, all right.

``There was disappointment in a way but at the same time, anytime you can play your worst game and come out with a win, that's what matters the most,'' Fragel said.

Meyer has initiated a ``victory meal'' on Sunday nights at Ohio State. It's a time for players and coaches to relish some time together at dinner while recapping another win. It's also a time to close the book on the game from the day before and start to look ahead.

Meyer is convinced that the Buckeyes learned from their latest, tenuous victory.

``We're 8-0, but we're working for every yard and every win,'' he said. ``I've had teams, absolutely, that I've had to - I don't want to say the words `break down' because that's kind of too harsh - but where you worry about overconfidence.

``That's not an issue with us right now.''

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

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Mike Locksley reportedly makes big addition to Terps staff with former Tennessee head coach

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Mike Locksley reportedly makes big addition to Terps staff with former Tennessee head coach

When Mike Locksley was hired to become the University of Maryland's newest head football coach earlier this month, it was expected that his biggest impact would come on the recruiting trail. Locksley has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best recruiters of talent in the DMV, and his hometown connections were a major draw for the university and its boosters.

His recruiting acumen doesn’t just apply to players, it seems. He’s begun putting together a coaching staff at Maryland, and many of the rumored candidates would represent major “gets” for a school of Maryland’s stature and reputation.

Former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has accepted a position as tight ends coach and associate head coach for the Terps, Jeff Ermann of InsideMdSports reported on Tuesday.

Jones was a head coach for a decade prior to spending 2018 as an offensive analyst for Alabama, an off-field position. In the years prior, he spent time at Central Michigan, Cincinnati, and most recently Tennessee. He holds a career record of 84-54, and is 4-2 all-time in bowl games. He had a winning record at each school.

The title of associate head coach is a nice addition for Jones, but a former SEC head coach who experienced some success would seem to be somewhat overqualified for a position coach. Jones, similarly to Locksley, was attempting to rehabilitate his reputation under Nick Saban at Alabama, and is likely aiming to return to head coaching one day.

It’s still a nice coup for Maryland, as Jones comes to College Park with a reputation as a good offensive mind and a stellar recruiter. Jones signed multiple top-10 recruiting classes at Tennessee, and while coaching in the SEC has certain advantages, his recruiting acumen fits in well with Locksley.

It remains unclear how much of an overhaul Maryland’s coaching staff will undergo under Locksley, though it stands to reason there will be some turnover. 24/7 Sports is also reporting that Locksley will be bringing on John Papuchis to coach special teams and linebackers, and Cory Robinson, a former director of player personnel at Maryland under Randy Edsall. Robinson’s role is not yet specified, though based on his experience it is assumed he’ll be working with defensive backs.

Elijah Brooks, longtime head coach at local powerhouse DeMatha, has also been rumored to be joining the Maryland staff, though it has not been reported at this time.

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NFL Playoff Picture: Who's currently in and currently out in the AFC heading into Week 15

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NFL Playoff Picture: Who's currently in and currently out in the AFC heading into Week 15

It was a wild Week 14 for the AFC to say the least.

There was the Miami Miracle and the Indianapolis Colts bringing the Houston Texans' nine-game winning streak to a halt.

January football is so close we can almost taste it. Here's where things stand in the AFC as we head into Week 15.

AFC Playoff Standings:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-2, 4-0)

The Baltimore Ravens weren't going to make this easy for the Chiefs, but Patrick Mahomes' ridiculous playmaking couldn't be stopped.

The Chiefs clinched a playoff berth in the 27-24 overtime win and can clinch the AFC West with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers Thursday night. 

Remaining Games: Chargers (10-3), @Seahawks (8-5), Raiders (3-10).

2. New England Patriots (9-4, 3-1)

A crazy 69 yard walk off touchdown from Dolphins' Kenyan Drake put the Patriots two games back of the Chiefs for the one seed and without home field advantage if they face them in the postseason.

Now as they head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers, a bye week in January could be on the line.

Remaining Games: @Steelers (7-5-1), Buffalo (4-9), Jets (4-9)

3. Houston Texans (9-4, 3-2)

The Texans' nine-game win streak came to an end Sunday when Andrew Luck and the Colts earned a 24-21 win in Houston. 

Still two full games up of the Colts and Tennessee Titans in the AFC South, a bye week seems far-fetched as the Patriots hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over them. 

Remaining Games: @Jets (4-9), @Eagles (6-7), Jacksonville (4-9)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1, 3-1-1)

Sunday was a debacle for the Steelers. Big Ben suffered a rib injury but came back in the fourth to lead his team down the field before kicker Chris Boswell's foot slipped out from underneath of him in what would have been the game-winning field goal. 

The 24-21 loss leaves the Steelers just half a game up of the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North as they host the Patriots Sunday and still have to visit the Saints. The division, and the playoffs, aren't a lock for the Steelers.

Remaining Games: Patriots (9-4), @Saints (11-2), Bengals (5-8)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (10-3, 2-2)

After narrowly beating the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 Sunday, the Chargers have a short week as they head to Kansas City to face their division rivals on Thursday night.

A win over the Chiefs keeps the AFC West title up for grabs.

Remaining Games: @Chiefs (11-2), Ravens (7-6), @Denver (6-7)

6. Baltimore Ravens (7-6, 2-3)

Ravens-Chiefs was one of the most entertaining games of the 2018 season and proved that Lamar Jackson and the No. 1 overall defense can hang with the best. 

The good news is that they're still half a game back of the Steelers in the AFC North. The bad news is that they're in a four-way race with the Colts, Titans and Dolphins for the final playoff spot.

Three wins to close out the season is crucial. 

Remaining Games: Buccaneers (5-8), @Chargers (10-3), Browns (5-7-1)

In The Hunt:

7. Indianapolis Colts (7-6, 3-2)

Ending the Texans' nine-game win streak on the road is certainly impressive as it kept the Colts' playoff hopes alive.

Their remaining games won't make the road to the playoffs easy, but they do hold the tiebreaker over the Dolphins.

Remaining Games: Cowboys (8-5), Giants (5-8), @Tennessee (7-6)

8. Miami Dolphins (7-6, 4-1)

The Dolphins just continue to surprise us. Their 34-33 win over the Patriots was the highlight of everyone except Patriots fans' Sunday. 

The final playoff spot will be hard to reach as they sit behind the Colts but ahead of the Titans in head-to-head record.

Remaining Games: @Vikings (6-6-1), Jacksonville (4-9), @Bills (4-9)

9. Tennessee Titans (7-6, 3-2)

The Titans earned an AFC win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, but their playoff hopes aren't within close reach.

They are no longer in the sixth playoff spot tiebreaker as they are behind both the Colts and the Dolphins. 

Remaining Games: @Giants (5-8), Redskins (6-7), Colts (7-6)

10. Denver Broncos (6-7, 2-2)

The Broncos lost to the San Francisco 49ers 20-14 Sunday, which some would say is not great for a team trying to wiggle their way into the playoffs.

Remaining Games: Browns (5-7-1), @Raiders (3-10), Chargers (10-3)

11. Cleveland Browns (5-7-1, 2-1-1)

Browns fans have a lot to be excited about as Baker Mayfield is a force and they earned another home win on Sunday against the spiraling Carolina Panthers.

With two division games still to be played, the Browns have a slight chance at the playoffs. Nonetheless, the 2018 season is hopefully the start of a new era for this organization.

Remaining Games: @Broncos (6-7), Bengals (5-8), @Ravens (7-6)

12. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7, 1-3)

Hue Jackson's bad luck continues with the Bengals as the playoffs are nowhere in sight.

Remaining Games: Raiders (3-10), @Browns (5-7-1), @Steelers (7-5-1)

Eliminated: Oakland Raiders (3-10), New York Jets (3-10), Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) and the Buffalo Bills (4-9)

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