Players to Watch Week 3: California Golden Bears

Our Buckeyes get their first big test of the year, as they take a trip out to California, this Saturday.  Here are a few players to keep your eyes on this weekend, from both teams.

California 

Jared Goff, QB #16- The Golden Bears have implemented a new air raid offense, this past off-season, under their new coach, Sonny Dykes.  Dykes is using his four star, true freshman, quarterback Goff in his new system, and Goff has picked it up fairly quickly.  I decided to scout out the new Golden Bear offense, as they took on Northwestern, two weekends ago.  Goff looked good through most of the game, despite having a couple of unfortunate turnovers.  He had very good velocity on his throws, and was pretty accurate as well.  He looked comfortable in the pocket, showing good balance on his drop, and moving fluidly, in order to get a clean throwing lane.  When Goff has time, he’s a surgeon playing quarterback.  The Cal game-plan assists the freshman, by helping him get in to an early rhythm.  The coaches give him quick routes, that allow him to get the ball out of his hands, and to his play-makers.  Goff has racked up 930 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions, in his first two starts.  Two of those interceptions were more unlucky, than bad reads by the quarterback.  If the Buckeye secondary take the freshman quarterback lightly, they will quickly learn he can burn them, and will make this game much more difficult than it has to be, for the Buckeyes.

Brendan Bigelow, RB #5-  Bigelow will split time in the backfield, however Buckeye fans will remember what he did to this defense, last year.  Bigelow made the Sportscenter Top Ten, last season, when he faced the Ohio State defense, as he ripped off an electrifying 81 yard touchdown run, that can be seen below.  Bigelow this year has 34 attempts, for 140 yards, and no touchdowns.  Despite those underwhelming stats, Bigelow is always a threat to take one to the house.

Ohio State

Braxton Miller- Miller is day to day with an MCL sprain, but Meyer said, in his weekly teleconference, that Miller is on pace to start against California.  While this is good news for Buckeye Nation, I will be looking to see how Miller moves on his knee.  Whether it be his movement in the pocket, or while he runs and makes cuts, it might take Miller a few series to get used to having traffic around his knee.  I think Miller will come out slow, but once his adrenaline kicks in, I expect Miller to have a good day against this pores Cal defense, and maybe get his Heisman campaign back on track against a Pac-12 opponent.

Tyvis Powell-  This is the first week that Powell is going to be really tested, in the pass game, at the star position.  The star position, in this defense, has several responsibilities, one of those is to be a screen-pass buster.  If Powell can effectively work through his blocks, and find his way to the receiver, that will nullify an important part of the Cal offense.

Noah Spence-  Cal will bring in their air raid offense, but if our secondary can get up on Cal’s receivers, and jam them at the line, which will prevent the short throws, Cal will be forced in to longer drops.  This will provide Spence an opportunity to pin his ears back, and get after Goff.  Cal’s offensive line has given up, an alarming, nine sacks in two games this season.  Five of those sacks, came last week against Portland State.  Look for Spence, and other members of the defensive line, to be in the backfield, putting pressure on Goff.

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