Archives for August 2015

A look at key players in each game…for the opposition

As the number one team in the country, Ohio State is currently the “it” team of college football. However, while being the number one team is nice and dandy, their ranking is the reason that every single team they play this year will be gunning to knock them off their pedestal. For each team, there are always a few key players that can turn the tide and make the game very interesting. Let’s take a look at some of those players.

Virginia Tech: Dadi Nicholas and Ken Ekanem 

This game is interesting enough already because, in case you lived under a rock last year, you know Virginia Tech was Ohio State’s bump in the road to the National Championship. A big reason for their upset last year was their defensive front and putting pressure on the quarterback, and there is no reason to think that will change this year. Led by defensive ends Dadi Nicholas and Ken Ekanem,  the VT defensive front is just as good, if not better than last year. Nicholas and Ekanem are both All-ACC selections last year and very high draft prospects. If they can get some pressure on the Barrett/Jones and help stuff up the run game, it would make the game intriguing due to the recent injuries and suspensions at the receiver position and may force some young guys to step up and make Braxton Miller adjust to his new position much faster.

Hawaii: Marcus Kemp

Kemp is the best returning receiver for Hawaii. In all honesty, unless Colt Brennan makes a triumphant return to play for Hawaii, there is no player on this team who can truly impact the game enough to slow down Ohio State, but Kemp is interesting because he is returning after a great year last year, with 56 receptions and 797 yards. If he can get open a couple times early and maybe get in the end zone, it could at least put a seed of doubt in fans minds.

Northern Illinois: Drew Hare 

Drew Hare the leader of the offense for the huskies: the Quarterback. After throwing for 18 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions with over 2,300 yards, Hare is ready to start his season and help the Huskies stay at the top of the MAC. The best person to lead an upset over a highly ranked team is a quarterback who can pick apart the defense and make some big plays happen. The MAC is notoriously known for giving big teams good fights so this is certainly a game to watch.

Western Michigan: Corey Davis

Corey Davis is one the best players in the MAC. Most people feel like he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft next season. This year however, he is supposed to light it up, and he will have some early chances at the national spotlight with non conference games against Michigan State and obviously Ohio State. He is a workhorse who is a challenge to cover for any corner in College Football, so if there is any one who can make a difference in this one, it is Davis.

Indiana- Tegray Scales

Scales is not only one of the best linebackers in the conference, he is a young guy who can turn some heads nationally this year. In high school he was co-defensive player pf the year in Ohio, and he hasn’t slowed up since he hit college, if he can try and stop up the middle and play like the force he is, it could make for an intriguing match up. Especially since last year Indiana played OSU very tough. They are gonna be out to finish the job this year.

Maryland: Will Likely

Will Likely is one of the best corners in College Football. He is on almost every single national watch list defensively, and, according to, he is number 19 on their list of ranking the Big Ten Players. The big thing for him in this game will be shutting down Micheal Thomas and making either a young guy step up, or putting a huge emphasis on the run game. A great way to beat a team better than you is to make them one dimensional,  and even though Likely can not do that single handedly, if he can at least shut down Thomas it could make for a good battle.

Penn State: Offensive Line

A lot of people think Christian Hackenburg is one of the best Quarterbacks in College Football and even has the potential to be a number one draft pick this year. The problem is, he never gets the chance to do anything due to his offensive line being abysmal. The offensive line has been terrible the past couple years, but there is a hope that this year they have grown and gotten better. If they have, and they give Hackenburg time in the pocket to pick apart the defense like he is capable of doing, it could make for a repeat of last year with the game coming down to the final plays

Rutgers: Kieth Lumpkin

Again, I want to say that there is not one certain player for Rutgers that can have an impact to a point that it affects the score of the game, but Lumpkin is a captain of the team and a guy that came back for his senior year to try and expand on Rutger’s bowl game victory last year. He will more than likely be tasked with stopping Joey Bosa so it could be fun to watch that match up unfold.

Minnesota: Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Eric Murray 

These 2 guys for Minnesota are arguably the vest pair of corners in the big ten. Boody-Calhoun snagged an impressive 5 interceptions last year and Murray finished a very respectable fourth on the team with 69 tackles. This could make a huge impact because these two have the ability to make the passing game extremely difficult and put an even bigger load on Zeke to have a great game. Also with Minnesota being a big ten contender, this could be a game Ohio State needs to bring their A game too.

Illinois- Jihad Ward

Jihad Ward may be the best player on this Illinois defense. Although he may miss the first couple of games due to injury, he is still poised to have a great year and to make some heads turn in the Big Ten. With the recent firing of Tim Beckham, Illinois is in for an interesting year, but a great game against Ohio State could be a repeat of 2007 when Illinois was unranked and upset an undefeated Ohio State, and I can bet that Ward would have a big part of it.

Michigan State: Conner Cook

This one is probably the most obvious choices on here because of how good Cook really is. He is one, if not the, best returning quarterbacks in College Football and his ceiling is only raising. Also, Cook will be out to get revenge. Ohio State came into his stadium last year and took away their very realistic playoff hopes. There will be fire in his eyes, and this is no doubt the game that is circled on his schedule. Expect a huge game from Cook and an even greater battle from the Spartans

That Team Up North: Jim Harbaugh

Yes, I am fully aware that this is not 1986 and Harbaugh does not play for TTUN, but I can promise you that if there is anybody on that team who can not wait to play OSU, it is Harbaugh. How incredible would he look if he came in and knocked OSU off a possible number one pedestal his first year? The players will be hungry and there are some players who I can see making a difference in this one, but no one will be more ready and fired up than Jim Harbaugh. You can count on that.


I do believe Ohio State will go undefeated and repeat as National Champions, but I would be naive to say that they will not hit a few bumps in the road and a couple of teams may give them pause. I think these players (or coaches) could have a big part in doing that.








Drinking From a Fire Hose

Urban Meyer has stressed since day one as Ohio State’s head coach that the plan is not to redshirt players once they step foot on campus.  Obviously that plan does not work out for every freshman, but Urban has shown a willingness to let his youngest players perform early and often in their inaugural college football season.  Today we will take a look at some young Bucks who have excelled under Urban Meyer as true freshman and project who could make a similar impact in this years class.

Impact Freshman during Urban Era

  • Joey Bosa – 44 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, 7.5 sacks and 1 TD
    • Biggest impact freshman under Urban Meyer at Ohio State.  Garnered Freshman All-America honors from multiple outlets at the conclusion of his stellar freshman season.  Ranked sixth in all of the B1G Ten conference in sacks while earning All B1G Ten Honorable mention.
  • Curtis Samuel – 478 total yards from scrimmage (6.9 avg) 6 TDs
    • Samuel received more touches last season than any other true freshman under Urban Meyer.  69 touches in total for over 700 all purpose yards for the Buckeyes.  Became not only the main kick-off return man by seasons end, but also the #2 running back behind Elliot.  Samuel was electric with the ball in his hands and was a surprisingly physical blocker which led to his influx in playing time.  Samuel was the most well rounded offensive Freshman we have seen during Urban’s tenure.
  • Raekwon McMillan – 54 tackles, 6.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks
    • Split time with fellow five-star MLB Curtis Grant, who was unselfishly McMillan’s mentor and partner in crime.  Raekwon played up to his billing while appearing in all 15 games for the Buckeyes during the Title run.  Named a Freshman All-American by numerous publications and has already assumed the starting middle linebacker spot for the Buckeyes this fall.
  • Dontre Wilson – 460 yards from scrimmage (8.7 avg) 3 TDs
    • Wilson played in every game his freshman season including two starts during B1G Ten play.  He totaled nearly 1,000 all purpose yards as he was a main threat for the Buckeyes in the return game.  Dontre was slim coming out of high school and relied on his agility and speed to get by defenders.  Coach Meyer admitted to using Wilson primarily as a “decoy” and a “hood ornament” during his freshman campaign due to his inability to block downfield and beat press coverage.
  • Ezekiel Elliot – 33 touches 285 yards (8.6 avg) 3 TDs
    • Behind El Guapo on the depth chart, EzE played heavily on special teams  during his freshman campaign.  We all remember his hit on kick-off coverage against Purdue (, but Elliot was also able to shine offensively during mop up duty early in the season.  His breakout performance came against Florida A&M where he amassed 162 yards on only 14 carries in little over a quarter of action.  It was surely a sign of things to come for the Heisman Trophy candidate.

Projected Impact Freshman for 2015 Season

Urban places a huge emphasis on special teams and there is no better way to force yourself onto the field than excelling on special teams.  Every player listed below plays on the offensive side of the ball.  As of this writing, three of the four have already had their black stripes removed.  I personally love the linebacker class of Hilliard, Baker and Connor, but there is so much young talent in front of them (Dante Booker is going to shock some people) that I don’t believe they will play enough impactful minutes this year.

  • Torrance Gibson
    • During the recruiting process, one analyst said that if TG classified as a WR he would have him at the top of his individual player rankings.  Has the size and speed to be an AJ Green type of receiver for the Buckeyes.  With the suspensions and recent injury to Noah Brown, the offense will be in need of a spark at the wide receiver position week one against Virginia Tech.  Gibson has the ability to stretch the field vertically and he has received glowing praise during camp.  I am excited to see how he develops now as a full-time WR for the first time in his life.
  • Mike Weber (2nd player to lose black stripe)
    • Was already taking second team reps during camp behind Elliot before injuring his knee.  Prognosis says he wont be 100% for a couple more weeks but should be able to return early in the season.  This is a three year player at Ohio State – he is that good.  Nicknamed Baby Los (after Carlos Hyde) by his teammates, he said he broke off several long touchdown runs during the Buckeyes first scrimmage in camp.
  • KJ Hill (3rd player to lose black stripe)
    • Was impressing coaches and teammates early in camp, and like I stated earlier, the Buckeyes have plenty of reps to go around at the wide receiver position week one.  I believe Hill will make the most of his opportunity and continue to steal reps away from his older teammates as the season progresses.  Already one of the better route runners on the team, Hill will continue to mold into a prototype receiver under the guidance (or torture) of coach Marotti.
  • Isaiah Prince (1st player to lose black stripe)
    •  It is exceptionally difficult for lineman to shine while playing on either side of the ball (Joey Bosa is a freak) during their freshman season, so I will just say this regarding Isaiah Prince:  He is going to be really really really good.  You will see him quite a bit during mop-up duty early in the season, and he is already in the two-deep at RT behind Senior Chase Farris.

Which incoming freshman do you think might make a splash this season?

A Look Around the Country: Football is Finally Back!!

Welcome to my weekly column called, A Look Around the Country, which will highlight notable games from the week before and week ahead as well as the Heisman and Playoff race. Special features include an in-depth look at the Buckeyes as well as a Michigan update, mainly to bask in their misfortunes. As always, feel free to comment back with your own opinions and I hope you enjoy!

Well, it’s finally back. Our beloved game of college football is finally back which means all of our Saturday’s from here on out are most decidedly, booked solid. Sign me up. The biggest storyline to begin the season is whether or not Ohio State will be able to repeat as National Champions for the first time in program history. Urban Meyer is definitely set up well with a massive amount of talent at his disposal but as history has shown; repeating is very, very difficult. Needless to say I still have the Buckeyes pegged as my National Champions for 2015.
I preview Week One below but how much does the first week of the season matter in the grand scheme of things? Ohio State lost in Week 2 yet still went on to win it all. Nevertheless, it will be great to see football back in action with a huge slate of games set for the first week of the season. Sit back and enjoy.

Notable Games Last Week

This is where I will highlight the biggest and most important games each week which are relative to the national landscape or have major conference implications. Unfortunately, there were no games last week. Come back soon.

Big Games This Week

Michigan at Utah

The Jim Harbaugh Era officially kicks off on Thursday night as the Wolverines head to Salt Lake City to take on the Utes. Fan expectations couldn’t be any higher in Ann Arbor but we’ll see how long it actually takes him to put his system in place. Make no mistake; Michigan will be much better this season.

Thursday, September 3 at 8:30pm on FOX Sports 1

TCU at Minnesota

Many people, including me, have TCU in their Playoff this season but not as many have much confidence in the Golden Gophers. Well I do and definitely see this game being a competitive one despite the talent TCU Quarterback, Trevone Boykin has. TCF Bank Stadium will be rocking for this one and if a play or two goes Minnesota’s way look for the upset right out of the gates.

Thursday, September 3 at 9pm on ESPN

Texas at Notre Dame

When it comes to storied programs, these two schools are always mentioned near the top. Brian Kelly is getting the Irish ready for a potential playoff run (they are picked by some to make it) and they definitely have the talent to do it. Charlie Strong still has a long way to go to bring the Longhorns back to Big XII supremacy. Having said that, I do have the Irish as a Playoff dark horse and expect them to win big in South Bend but a tough schedule (Georgia Tech, @Clemson, USC to name a few) will keep them from going.

Saturday, September 5 at 7:30pm on NBC

Wisconsin vs Alabama

I can hear sweat starting to trickle down the faces of Alabama fans everywhere. The Tide have lost their last 2 bowl games (Sugar Bowl’s vs Oklahoma and well, you know) and this season presents itself with more uncertainty at the QB position. Paul Chryst has taken over the reigns in Madison but will be without Melvin Gordon (although RB Corey Clement should have no problem filling the void). Nick Saban still has plenty of talent though and should not have too much trouble in this one.

Saturday, September 5 at 8pm on ABC

Ohio State at Virginia Tech

The Defending National Champions kick off their season in Blacksburg on Labor Day night looking to avenge their lone loss from the 2014 campaign. The Buckeyes will be without Joey Bosa, Corey Smith, Dontre Wilson, Jalin Marshall, and Noah Brown (leg injury) so it will be up to the young receiving corps (including Michael Thomas and Braxton Miller) to pick up the pace. Expect Ezekiel Elliott and Curtis Samuel to get a lot of touches. This game will also serve as the answer to our 8 month question: Who starts at QB? For the record, I am going with J.T. with splashes of Cardale. Virginia Tech is no slouch this season and will have a great defense to test Ohio State so do not expect a snooze fest. The Buckeyes better be ready or else we will see a repeat of last season.

Monday, September 7 at 8pm on ESPN

Michigan Update

I will highlight the Wolverines season opener with Utah next week and provide analysis as we move closer to The Game.

Heisman Watch

I will begin to highlight the nation’s best players next week after the first games of the season kickoff. A plus sign (+) means an improvement, E means no change, and minus sign (-) means drop in poll. Everyone starts with an E.

Trevone Boykin, TCU: E

Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State: E

J.T. Barrett/Cardale Jones: E

Cody Kessler, USC: E

Leonard Fournette, LSU: E

Connor Cook, Michigan State: E

Dak Prescott, Miss. State: E

My Playoff if the Season ended Today

1. Ohio State (at Virginia Tech)

2. TCU (at Minnesota)

3. Auburn (vs Louisville)

4. USC (vs Arkansas State)

Just Missed the Cut

5. Michigan State (at Western Michigan)

6. Clemson (vs Wofford)

7. Baylor (at SMU)

8. Alabama (vs Wisconsin)

9. Oregon (vs Eastern Washington)

10. Notre Dame (vs Texas)

First off the bus

The 2015 recruiting class was one of the best in the country and is arguably the strongest unit within that class is the offensive line. Ohio State has a history of producing NFL caliber lineman throughout the years. With that being said, it was well- known that the Buckeyes really needed to bring in a nice o-line class to re-stock the cupboard, and that is exactly what they did. So let’s take a look at a few of these guys!

The first was probably the most high profile of all the o-lineman coming in this year. The 6’3″ 300 lbs Mathew Burrell of Woodbridge, Virginia was an absolute stud coming out of high school. His film was like watching a grown adult playing against the local 4th grade Pop Warner team. But it wasn’t just his on field play that made Mathew so attractive to every big time program in the country. It was also his big time personality. Mathew has no problem talking in a crowd, and is a guy that just seemed to have that leadership quality. So far in camp we have not heard a lot about Matt, but I would bet he is making an impact. As far as playing time goes it’s highly doubtful that Mathew will see any PT this year because the first team is so impressive, but as seen last year with Braxton things can change in a blink of an eye.

The next guy has been making a big splash so far in camp, but for a lot of buckeye fans he is a bit of a unknown because of the way his recruitment went. The 6’7″ 305 lbs Isaiah Prince was a big time recruit from Greenbelt, MD and was coveted by all the big time programs. At the end of the recruiting season it came down to the Buckeyes, Alabama, and (his hometown school) Maryland. Most people thought  he was going to end up staying home and going to Maryland, but Urban ,doing what he does best, was able to turn Price and get him to come to the buckeye state.  Ever since arriving in Columbus Prince has made an impact. In fact, he was the first freshman to lose his ” black stripe” and right now is on the two deep at the right tackle position. Prince has the potential to be a big time player if he keeps up the good work!

The next tower of a man the Buckeyes brought in this year is 6’7″ 320lbs Brandon Bowen. When you talk about a guy that looks like he should be playing on Sunday’s,this is the guy! Oh yeah… AND he is only a freshman. Brandon comes to Ohio from Draper, UT and brings the mountain landscape with him in the form of his size. It’s easy to get caught up in his size, but Brandon is also extremely athletic. Just like Mathew we have not heard a lot about Brandon from camp but hopefully he is putting in the work needed because his potential is through the roof.

Believe it or not there is another guy that is even bigger than both Brandon and Prince. 6’9″ 305 lbs Kevin Feder is a guy that you bring to every game just to let him get off of the bus first; simply for an intimidation factor. Don’t get me wrong Feder has a lot of upside. He is just a little rough around the edges, but let’s not forget that the Buckeyes have probably the best o-line coach in the counrty so give him a year or two and Feder could be a beast at the tackle position.

Finally the last guy in this class that has big time upside is 6’6″ 310 lbs,  Grant Schmidt.  Grant comes to Columbus from Sioux Falls, SD and was the only lineman able to enroll early in the spring to get a head start on the playbook and getting to know his teammates. Grant looks to be the guy to play the guard position opposite of Mathew in the future .

It looks like the Urban recruiting train has landed another great group of potential stars for the Buckeyes. Can’t wait to see how these guys develop.





WR Outlook Part 2: Post Noah Brown Injury

Here we are, just over a week before the start of the brand new College Football season. After all the hype during the offseason, we as a team, as a unit, must prepare for the unexpected. We must prepare for tragedy to strike at any moment. Whether it is during the offseason, early on in the season, mid-season or during the late stages in the season. We always have to be ready. Although I hate to talk about a players untimely injury, it is needed. The Buckeyes and their “next man up” mentality will ultimately cultivate and develop another starting caliber/secret weapon type of player or players during this upcoming season.

Lets cut to the chase shall we?

#3 Michael Thomas, WR:

Michael Thomas is the most experienced player at his position on the team.  The Redshirt Junior has constantly improved year after year and I don’t expect him to stop growing as a player.  He will be asked to become a more vocal leader in the locker room or on the sidelines because Jeff Heuerman has graduated and is chasing his NFL dreams as we speak.  So Thomas will have to fill the leadership void for Zone 6.  After his redshirt year, Thomas has showed the knack for making big play after big play on the field.  He has showed that he can be consistent and a valuable player for the Buckeyes.  He showed improvement as a blocker downfield.  He sometimes shows the consistency as a blocker that Coach Meyer wants to see.  Thomas also has the ability to beat you in so many ways.  He can catch in traffic, he can get yards after the catch.  He can even burn you with his top end speed going on a “Go” route toward the endzone.  Thomas is a complete WR.  That is why Thomas is one of the WMD’s on this years offense.  I feel like when he has this huge year, we can pretty much count him as gone.  He will leave for the NFL.

#17 Jalin Marshall, WR/H-Back:

Jalin Marshall will have to play catch up after his one game suspension.  He is the second most experienced player on the roster and that will lead to some high expectations for his role on offense.  Marshall has added value on the roster due to his ability to return punts.  At any given moment he can take one back to the house for additional points.  He can also catch passes in all sorts of ways too.  Whether it is in traffic or whether its on a screen pass.  Heck, here’s a little tidbit, Marshall played QB in high school.  He is also capable of slinging the rock!  Like we saw during the season, Marshall is another WMD that Coach Meyer can utilize this season.  He has the speed that he covets and he is definitely hungry for an expanded role this season.  I think after the suspension, he will assume his role and start opposite of Thomas.

#1 Braxton Miller, WR/H-Back:

The 2 year BIG Offensive Player of the Year is now a WR/H-Back!  This is a year of new for Miller, who is also sporting a brand new number.  He is also going to have a new role.  Miller obviously has the speed to burn DB’s and I think that he will be used as the deep threat this season.  Meet the new Devin Smith!  Although Miller isn’t as polished as Smith was, I think Miller will make the necessary adjustments to make an impact during his last season as a Buckeye.  I look for Meyer to get all he can get from the unsung and selfless hero, Miller.  He wants Miller to start this year.  Whether it at WR or H-Back, he will start either spot.  Miller has the speed and let’s not forget that he used to sling the ball around too.  He still has the ability to make people miss.  Whether he is running the wildcat, coming in on a sweep or if he’s going out wide, he will find a way to make plays.  Miller is a playmaker people!  Don’t sleep on him.  Miller has been seen having “secret practices” lead by J.T. Barrett and he has caught a few balls from King Dolodale himself.  With the QB battle still raging on, I expect Miller to go out with a bang.  Regardless of which QB starts.  He will assert himself as the last starting WMD.  Meyer will release the Kraken this season!

#84 Corey Smith, WR:

If not for the one game suspension, I would have Smith as the fourth WR off of the bench.  Smith flashed at the critical moments of games.  He comes up with timely (AND BRUTAL!) blocks like what we say from him in the Michigan and BIG Conference Championship games.  He made a key catch on 3rd down against Oregon in the Playoff Championship game.  He isn’t a big play waiting to happen like his peers, but he flashes when the team needs it the most.  Once the suspension is lifted, I expect him to re-assume his role on the team.

#2 Dontre Wilson, WR/H-Back:

Wilson will assume his punt returning duties when he returns into the fold.  That is assuming that someone on the roster doesn’t take his job.  Wilson is suspended for the season opener and that is completely okay because we have potential high impact players waiting in the wings.  Wilson is too fast to have rot on the bench and I think the coaching staff knows that as well.  With that big time catch at East Lansing, he just oozes with potential.  Sure he had lofty ratings coming out of high school, but like Curtis Grant on the Defense, he will find his niche and he will live up to the hype.

#82 James Clark, WR:

I will be honest, I completely forgot about Clark in my previous article.  And that is no slight to him or his ability and what he can bring to this offense.  I simply check marked his name on my notebook and that is all.  Anyways, he is another “burner” on the Ohio State roster.  He has had a rough couple of years, battling various injuries, but he should be a good one.  Whether it is during this upcoming season or later down the road, he will live up to the hype.  With Corey Smith serving his one game suspension, it opens up the doors for not only Clark, but the rest of the WR corps.  I haven’t seen much tape on Clark, but I am confident in his potential.  He has the tools needed to become a big time WR, he just needs to want it more than everyone behind him.  And with Smith out for the first game of the season, make an everlasting impression young man!

#5 Johnnie Dixon, WR:

Another highly touted recruit out of high school who suffered untimely and unfortunate injuries early on in his Ohio State career.  Like Clark, he is another speedster out of Florida looking to make an impact.  Dixon is too good to sit on the bench (I can honestly say that with every WR on the team)!  With Smith being absent from the trip to Blacksburg, he has a good shot at getting some playing time.  Dixon will look to rebound from his injury plagued past.  He may not have a role just yet, but I have a feeling that he is another sleeper on the team that is just waiting for his shot at playing time.

#89 Jeff Greene, WR:

Greene transferred to Ohio State from Georgia Tech and he has yet to find his niche in the offense.  He is 6’5″ and I want to see him succeed.  He would be a match-up nightmare for smaller DB’s and I would love to see that.  We haven’t had a WR taller than 6’3″ for a little bit the last receiver I can think of is Michael Jenkins (6’4″).  If Greene can improve on his craft, I would enjoy seeing him line up across from Thomas, but Meyer loves having speed demons all over the field so I just don’t know.  He showed the willingness to block during his time at Georgia Tech and I think if he shows that to the coaching staff, he will earn some time.  I would love for Greene to succeed, but he has to show the coaching staff that he is worthy for additional playing time.

#21 Parris Campbell, WR:

I have Campbell as a WR, for now.  He is a weapon like Marshall and he is just as fast.  Like the QB situation, there is a log jam at the WR position.  Everyone is vying for playing time.  Campbell is a bigger WR at 6’1″, 205.  He is another burner, with little to no experience.  Campbell can fill the Devin Smith roll too if he is called upon.  There is no shortage of Devin Smith like players on the roster too.  It is just a matter of time until his shoes will be filled once again.  He will look to contribute on Special Teams and during the occasional blowout.

#83 Terry McLaurin, WR:

Like Campbell, but weighing 5 pounds less, McLaurin is another beast of a player.  Another player who is capable of becoming the next Devin Smith.  McLaurin has the speed to burn helpless DB’s routinely, but he just needs to be afforded the opportunity.  Look for McLaurin to contribute on Special Teams as well as during mop up duty.  I wouldn’t be shocked if he makes a surprise start or two either.

#6 Torrance Gibson, WR:

Here is another QB turned WR!  In practice, Gibson made a Randy Moss like catch against a starting Defensive Back.  I hate to say it, but I will!  I am excited to see if he will earn playing time this season as a True Freshman.  It isn’t like Gibson is a slouch after switching positions either.  Like Miller, he will be a weapon.  I hope Gibson can turn some heads this season.  It will be an amazing sight to see.

#14 K.J. Hill, WR:

Hill is the third newcomer to get his blackstripe removed.  That says a lot of this talented WR out of Arkansas.  He has the tools to succeed.  He has been doing well enough to earn his status as a Buckeye by shedding his black stripe.  Now the sky is the limit for the Freshman.  He can run routes for days.  He can catch.  Let’s see if he can turn more heads and take some playing time away from the upperclassmen.

#87 Alex Stump, WR:

Stump flipped to Ohio State late last year.  He, like all Ohio kids want to stay close to home for the support.  Stump made his decision to join Ohio State.  He is coming off of an injury that he sustained from high school, but I am not worried about him at all.  He looks to be a good one, but I’m afraid that he is set for a redshirt as he recovers from surgery.  I may be wrong, but the WR depth is too much at the moment and I think he sits out this season.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing because he can study the playbook more.  Win-win for both sides of the equation.




The Black Stripe: How a National Championship has Created Higher Standards

There has been something troubling me this training camp. Usually we are busy with names that come out of camp of the newest Buckeye players who have lost their Black Stripes. By my research that I could dig up, this might not be a hundred percent accurate, I noticed something really strange.

In 2013, after Buckeyes had their undefeated season, there were approximately 11 players who had their Black Stripes removed in August (again this is all I could find). 21 players had the honor of Black Stripes being removed last season, in August. So far, as I am writing this, only 6 players have had theirs removed this August.

Can this be a cause of concern for the Buckeyes this season with such a low number? You can’t play in a game if you have your Black Stripe because you haven’t become an official Buckeye player yet. Eli Apple had his until April a year after he set foot on campus. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has always said he recruits players that can play right away, really doesn’t like to red shirt players if it can avoided.

The Black Stripe program is meant as a way for the upperclassmen on Buckeyes football team to take a “Little Brother” under their wings. The upperclassmen have a responsibility to show the new players what it is about to be a Buckeye- from they way they practice, conduct in and around the facility, approach to academics, and demeanor in public. Watching Scarlet and Gray Days on BTN you witnessed Ezekiel Elliott mentoring true freshman Mike Weber. We were able to see how Zeke was teaching him the small things to become a better running back, praising him when he did good and explaining to him if something went wrong. Showing Weber from his experience about the right way to carry the ball and how defenses like to rip it out certain ways, Zeke also told Weber if you want to get your Black Stripe removed you better get over there and volunteer to get on special teams even if its scout team (paraphrasing). Mike Weber is only one of the six so far to have his Black Stripe removed.

Are we seeing any indication that the other upperclassmen aren’t doing their jobs mentoring the new players right? The Scarlet and Gray Days has lead me to believe its quite the opposite. You can make a strong case that the upperclassmen are setting a higher standard for these new players to get their Stripes removed. All of these upperclassmen have bought into a system that Urban Meyer and company have brought to Columbus. They have seen their hard work and dedication pay off by only losing three games in three years. The bar was set even higher after winning the National Championship this past season.

Think about it these upperclassmen know what it takes to win the National Championship, they know the hard work and dedication they put into the Buckeyes program. These upperclassmen know what that feeling is like, hoisting the hardware after the very last game crowning them kings of football. They want to get back and want the tradition to live on even after their future of wearing the Scarlet and Gray is over, so saying you are a Buckeye will continue to mean ELITE. Only six players have crossed over to the elite side so far but I am willing to bet many more are very close. The Buckeye players are building a dynasty and it all starts with Urban Meyer and his Black Stripe program.

The Rivals, Part I: Full Circle

On December 23, 1963, James Joseph Harbaugh was born at Mercy Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. Just 201 days later, Urban Frank Meyer III took his first breath in the same building. Today, they are the head coaches in The Greatest Rivalry in All of Sport, the opposite sides of a coin. Equal, but not the same.

Urban Meyer played defensive back for the University of Cincinnati, although I use the word “played” in the loosest sense. Barely seeing the field as a walk on, Meyer’s entire playing career is contained in a small paragraph in the 1985 Cincy media guide: “A reserve at safety … holder for PAT and FG attempts.” His time on the team wasn’t wasted, however; he used it to observe coaching techniques. (SPOILER ALERT: That comes in handy.)

Jim Harbaugh’s path was different to say the least. A star quarterback at Michigan, he was 24-5-1 as a starter. He finished second in the nation in pass efficiency and third in Heisman trophy voting in 1986. That season, he famously guaranteed a victory over Ohio State and a Rose Bowl appearance, a promise he delivered with a 26-24 win in Columbus.

On the other sideline that day was a young graduate assistant just starting out a coaching career that would take him from Earle Bruce’s Buckeye staff to Illinois State, Colorado State and Notre Dame before landing his first head coaching gig at Bowling Green in 2001.

That year also marked the end of Jim Harbaugh’s NFL career in which he started 140 games for four different teams and threw for 26,288 yards and 129 touchdowns. During the last eight years of that run, he worked as an unpaid assistant for his father, Jack Harbaugh, at Western Kentucky, where he helped recruit 17 of the players on WKU’s 2002 Division I-AA (now FCS) national championship team. After a couple of years coaching QBs for the Oakland Raiders, Harbaugh snagged the head coaching job at the University of San Diego, where he compiled a three-year record of 29-6.

In the meantime, Urban Meyer had translated his success at Bowling Green and Utah into a top-tier job at Florida. In his second year at the helm, he defied conventional wisdom and destroyed his former employer Ohio State in the 2006 BCS National Championship Game. Two years later, he would add another title to his résumé.

In 2007, Jim Harbaugh took over at Stanford, a program that, despite making some gains under Ty Willingham, had fallen off under the guidance of Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris. Steadily improving each season, Harbaugh delivered a 12-1 campaign in 2010 with the lone loss coming against an Oregon team that would appear in the national championship game.

2010 would be Urban Meyer’s last at Florida. After taking a leave of absence for health-related issues following the 2009 season, Meyer returned to the team at the request of athletic director Jeremy Foley. The Gators went 7-5, and Meyer resigned for good on December 8, 2010.

A month later, Jim Harbaugh became the head coach of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and led the team to a 13-3 regular season record and an appearance in the NFC championship game. This success also revitalized the stalled career of quarterback Alex Smith, who had played for Urban Meyer at Utah. The next two years were just as successful, with the team reaching at least the NFC championship game each season, and facing off against the Baltimore Ravens—coached by Jim’s brother John—in Super Bowl XLVII, a game the Niners lost by 3 points.

By then, Meyer had taken over at Ohio State, stabilizing a program reeling from disappointment after an impermissible benefits scandal led to the sudden resignation of coach Jim Tressel and a rocky season under interim coach Luke Fickell, who was nevertheless retained as a defensive coordinator and expert recruiter. Meyer delivered on his reputation as a master motivator by coaxing a 12-0 season out of a team that wasn’t allowed to participate in the post-season. He followed that up with another perfect regular season, before losing both the Big Ten championship game and the Orange Bowl. Last year, Meyer’s Buckeyes overcame long odds and more than their share of adversity to win the first ever College Football Playoff, despite being underdogs in their final three games.

Harbaugh’s Niners went 8-8 last year as his relationship with the team’s front office deteriorated beyond repair. In December, he and the team parted ways, although the amicability of that split depends on who you ask. At the end of the month, after much speculation about his future plans, Harbaugh was introduced as the next head coach of the Michigan Wolverines.

The two coaches now head up opposing armies in a war that predates either of them, a sports rivalry that began in the shadows of an actual dispute between the two states over a 468-square-mile strip of land that, yes, included the future site of the very hospital where both men were born. The Great State of Ohio won the land dispute. The winner of the Meyer-Harbaugh War remains to be seen.

A Rush to Judgment on Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Offense

Heading into the fourth year under head coach Urban Meyer’s direction, things could not be looking brighter for Ohio State football. Virtually every media outlet has predicted Ohio State to be the favorite to win the 2015 national championship.

The roster is heavily stocked with talented players at every position; a case in point is that Ohio State has players at quarterback in J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones who could start for essentially any other college football program in the country. The aforementioned players, along with returning junior running back Ezekiel Elliott, are mentioned as leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy this season.

Yet I have a painful, and somewhat embarrassing admission to make regarding the present Ohio State offense…

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Noah Brown Breaks Leg Will Have Season Ending Surgery

Picture Courtesy of 247Sports

Picture Courtesy of 247Sports

Man I really hate having to put stuff like this up. You watch what these kids do through Scarlet and Gray Days on BTN, realizing how hard they are working. You can see how bad this team wants to get back to the championship game. The Buckeyes have been fortunate to keep the major injury bug out of the facilities in Columbus until today.

Dave Biddle of 247Sports reporting with confirmation from head coach Urban Meyer and OSU that Noah Brown indeed has a broken leg and will have surgery tomorrow. This is sad news for the young man.

I am not going to go into who will or needs to step up to replace Brown that can be discussed tomorrow, our thoughts and prayers are for a healthy and speedy recovery.

Really hope all the positive that we have heard from what Brown has been doing during the spring and training camp is only on pause for a year. During the Spring Game remember sitting next to BlockONation we were discussing who was going to step up and replace Devin Smith and Evan Spencer. Just as we were starting to talk about possible replacements this play happened right in front of us.

We knew Noah had arrived, now we just will have to wait a little longer but as they say have patience. Good things come to those that wait.

Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast #5 with Kevin McGuire

This week on Men of the Scarlet and Gray Myself along with my awesome co-hosts (Chip Minnich and Jeremiah Sharpe) get the privilege to discuss Big Ten East football and college football in general with Kevin McGuire. We also briefly discuss the Scarlet and Gray Days on the Big Ten Network and wrap up the training camp also discussing OSU QB situation.

For anyone who doesn’t know Kevin McGuire he has been a friend of our show. He is an extremely hard working college football writer and now podcaster. Kevin who can be found on twitter at @KevinonCFB. You can enjoy his work at Athlon Sports, NBC’s College Football Talk, also Lets not forget he also does work for Nittany Lions Den. You can and should listen to his podcasts on and Nittany Lions Den Podcasts which is part of the Nittany Lions Sports Radio also part of the vSporto network.

Speaking of vSporto network you can enjoy our show and many other quality shows on Buckeye Sports Radio. You can download the iOS app or listen on your browser of your Andriod device (App is coming soon). You can follow Buckeye Sports Radio on twitter @buckeyesradio.

We have to make mention that if you are subscribed to Men of the Scarlet and Gray Live Podcast you will have to go back into iTunes or whatever your favorite app is and find Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Our new show will no longer be getting connected with the MotSag Live feed. We apologize for any inconvenience and are hoping you won’t have any issues finding the show now. Currently are awaiting approval on Stitcher which hopefully should be coming very soon. If you can’t find us on your favaorite podcast app let us know so we can make it a priority to get the show on there to enjoy.

You can also now follow The podcast on twitter @MotSaGPodcast and like the Facebook page Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast.