Nobody in the Ohio State camp will admit to missing QB Terrelle Pryor, the prodigal son of the program who skipped town rather than face the music for his multiple transgressions and alleged NCAA infractions.
But what the Buckeyes are missing after their recent 24-6 loss at Miami is Pryor's ability to throw the ball. While certainly not his best skill or the one that puts the punch in his football resume, Pryor had developed into a decent passer in three years with the Buckeyes.
His successors were never expected to be the fast and graceful runner that Pryor was, but they appear to be a lot less capable passers, as well.
The Buckeyes were manhandled by Miami because they could not use the passing game to keep the Hurricanes' offense honest. Ohio State went 1-of-9 passing in the first half at Miami, for four yards. Ohio State was fortunate to be trailing just 17-6 at that point in the game.
As senior QB Joe Bauserman and freshman QB Braxton Miller continued to struggle in the third quarter, Miami was able to smother the line of scrimmage and stonewall the Ohio State rushing attack. That created a huge problem for the Buckeyes, and things went downhill from there.
"We didn't execute, plain and simple," said Bauserman, a 25-year-old former pro baseball player who originally made the Ohio State team as a walk-on. "We didn't see a ton of crazy coverages or a bunch of blitzes," he said "We just didn't execute."
That ineptness allowed the Buckeyes to record futility in the passing game that was historic in measure. Ohio State completed four passes all night, for 35 total yards. The four completions equaled the worst passing performance by the Buckeyes in the past 15 years.
The biggest concern going forward is that Ohio State's young receiver corps continues to disappoint. Ohio State receivers and tight ends caught zero passes against Miami.
"It was frustrating for everybody," Bauserman said about Ohio State's first game without the Buckeyes scoring a touchdown since the 2008 season. "But you just have to move on. It's a next-play mentality, whether it's a great play or a bad play."
The Buckeyes attempt that move Sept. 24 at home against Colorado.
--Ohio State senior QB Joe Bauserman served as Terrelle Pryor's backup for the past two seasons, working almost exclusively near the end of games already won by the Buckeyes. Bauserman had completed 25-of-47 passes in his career entering this season, with two touchdowns and an interception.
--The 24-6 loss at Miami came in Ohio State's first regular season game in the state of Florida in the history of the Buckeyes' program, dating back to 1890.
--Ohio State RB Jordan Hall, one of three Buckeyes that were forced to serve a two-game suspension for receiving improper benefits at a charity event earlier this year. In his first appearance of the 2011 season, Hall had 87 yards on 14 carries.
--The Buckeyes had not allowed a sack in three games, dating back to the Michigan game in November of 2010, before Miami twice sacked OSU quarterbacks in the Hurricanes' 24-6 win over Ohio State.
KEEP AN EYE ON: RB Jordan Hall -- After performing in a backup role the past couple of seasons, Hall was designated to start in the 2011 season until an NCAA suspension sidelined him for the first two games. Hall returned with a bang, going for 13, 13, 15 and 12 yards on his first four carries. Hall finished with career highs of 14 carries and 87 yards in the Miami game.
LOOKING GOOD: Lost somewhere in the dreadful showing by the Ohio State offense against Miami was the fact that the defense played reasonably well -- likely well enough to win under most circumstances. The Buckeyes allowed 54 yards on Miami's first play, then settled in and allowed about 300 the rest of the night. Ohio State intercepted Miami senior QB Jacory Harris twice, and after two early scores, did not allow Miami into the end zone from late in the first quarter until just 33 seconds remained in the game.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The Buckeyes have a world of work to do with their passing game, which accounted for just 35 yards in the loss at Miami. Ohio State went essentially one-dimensional against the Hurricanes, and failed to produce a touchdown. Unless the Ohio State coaches find some way to utilize the tight ends and running backs while their youthful receivers mature, the Buckeyes will continue to spiral downward.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You just have to move on. It's a next-play mentality, whether it's a great play or a bad play." -- Ohio State senior QB Joe Bauserman on how his team will recover from its dreadful offensive showing at Miami.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--PK Drew Basil hit field goals of 22 and 24 yards for Ohio State's only points in the 24-6 loss to Miami.
--RB Jordan Hall made his first appearance of the season in the Miami game, and rushed 14 times for 87 yards.
--DB C.J. Barnett and DB Bradley Roby had the first interceptions of their careers in the loss at Miami.
--LB Andrew Sweat led Ohio State's defensive effort against Miami, making nine tackles.
--P Ben Buchanan had a 54-yard punt called back by a penalty, and promptly ripped off a 60-yarder, the longest of his career.
--CB Travis Howard, suspended for the first two games of the season for accepting improper benefits at a charity outing, returned to the lineup against Miami.
--RB Jordan Hall, who had been suspended for the first two games of the 2011 season by the NCAA for accepting $200 cash at a charity event earlier this year, saw his first action of the season against Miami.
--DB Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown, listed as a backup in the Ohio State secondary, was reinstated to the lineup for the Miami game after serving a two-game suspension for accepting cash at a charity event.
--OT Mike Adams, RB Dan Herron, WR DeVier Posey and DE Solomon Thomas have missed the first three games of the season, serving their NCAA-mandated five game suspensions for their roles in selling OSU memorabilia for cash and discounts on tattoos.