Urban Meyer’s presence will bring juice to the Ohio State sideline for Saturday’s showdown with Tulane by @MarkSamuelPrine

Juice noun
\ ˈjüs \

a : a motivating, inspiring, or enabling force or factor

b : STRENGTH, VIGOR, VITALITY

It’s no secret that Saturday’s game against Tulane is an assumed win for Ohio State. The game itself may be viewed as nothing more than a formality, by most Buckeye fans. However, I can say without reservation that Urban Meyer doesn’t see it that way. Sure, he knows his team is going to leave the horseshoe with a win; but what will make this game special for Urb is that it’s his first game on the sideline for the Buckeyes this season. Meyer has spent that last six weeks facing a suspension handed down by Ohio State University President Michael Drake, based on the recommendation of the school’s board of trustees for failing to manage Receivers coach Zach Smith. Meyer has been permitted to participate in football activities for the previous two weeks with the exception of coaching on Saturdays.

In his first game back, emotions are sure to be high for Meyer, the entire Meyer family, the players, the coaches, and Buckeye Nation. Ultimately this means guys will be playing with their hair on fire; with juice if you will. If you listen to any Meyer’s press conferences or any interview of any player or coach for that matter, you are sure to hear someone being praised for the level of energy and intensity they are showing in practice, games etc. That daily emphasis on juice is a symptom of the culture instilled by Meyer, since he arrived at Ohio State six years ago. Some of OSU’s best players like Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins have spoken about the intensity level and energy at the WHAC the past few weeks, since Meyers return. You may ask “what does all of this mean?” It means Buckeye fans should expect Meyer to bring that same intensity to the sideline on Saturday.

In short, a mediocre Tulane squad is about to play an angry Ohio State group that just happens to be one of the most talented teams to ever take the field at Ohio State or any other school for that matter. There’s no need to bloviate on and on about this game but if you must have something to look forward to, John Cooper is getting his first career start at defensive end in lieu of the injured Nick Bosa. Look for Cooper to have a solid performance as the defense prepares for next weeks showdown in State College. Ohio State by seventy.

Here’s why J.K. Dobbins is poised for a huge game on Saturday

J.K. Dobbins is averaging 73.5 rushing yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry in Ohio State’s first two weeks; which is decent by most tailback’s standards. However, considering that Dobbins ran for 100.2 yards per game and 7.2 yards per carry last season, it is evident that he has not yet reached his potential with respect to statistical production. On the other hand, Mike Weber is averaging 7.2 yards per carry to this point in the season. Weber is also on pace to rush for over 1300 yards this season, which would be his best year yet for the Buckeyes.

Obviously, these statistics for Dobbins have to be taken with a grain of salt due to the fact that he has not played more than three quarters in either of OSU’s first two contests. Not to mention, he is splitting carries with another running back who is also one of the three best backs in the Big Ten. Hence, Dobbins has not regressed as a player. He has just lacked the opportunity to have the explosive performance that fans are used to seeing from him. That trend can’t last forever and I suspect it won’t last past Saturday night in Dallas. Buckeye fans should expect Dobbins to have his first big game of the season on Saturday against a pretty good TCU defense. The Horned frogs have put an emphasis on pass defense to this point in the season, which has paid dividends for them. They have the 6th best total defense and the 8th best passing defense so far this season. On the other hand, their rushing defense is ranked 36th best in the nation; not terrible but not elite either. Simply put, Ohio State’s 2nd ranked scoring offense and 12th ranked rushing offense, in a climate controlled dome, could prove to be overwhelming for TCU. The run blocking ability of Ohio State’s offensive line and wide receivers will be an astronomical advantage when it comes to the Buckeyes imposing their will on TCU by controlling the line of scrimmage; and as Buckeye fans have all heard Coach Urban Meyer say time and time again, the game is won or lost at the line of scrimmage.

Lastly, this week will be Ohio State’s first true test season of the season. Which means ultimately the load will be a little heavier, for clock management purposes, for OSU’s tailbacks. Hence, barring a blow out in the first half, expect Ohio State’s starters to stay in the game a little longer this week; meaning Dobbins will rack up more carries, yards, touchdowns, and his first breakout game of the year; while doing it all at home, in Texas.

The Other Guys

In just a few short hours, the Buckeyes and the Oregon State Beavers will each kick off their 2018 campaign for a spot in the college football playoff and a national championship. Oregon State won exactly one game last season; so I’m not going to pretend like this game will be some kind of dogfight. Honestly, if it ends up being close, something will have gone terribly wrong for Ohio State. However, I’d like to avoid sounding completely arrogant. So here are two legitimate reasons Oregon State might actually be better than we’re giving them credit for.

Johnathan Smith

In the fall of 2000, walk-on quarterback Johnathan Smith led OSU to an 11-1 record. Eighteen years later, he’s their new Head Coach. He’s young. He’s energetic. He believes firmly that old-fashioned hard work will lead to the eventual success of his football team. I believe firmly that teams, whether it be in the business world, in the home or in college football, will take on the personality of their leader. A prime example of this can be seen in the difference of performance between the 2011 and 2012 Buckeyes after the Meyer regime took over. Smith’s Beavers are no different. Make no mistake, they are not flying all the way to Columbus with intentions of rolling over for Ohio State.

Experience

The only metric where Oregon State could actually be “better” than Buckeyes is it’s extremely experienced roster. The Beavers are returning thirteen of their twenty-two starters from last season. Such an experienced first string will give Oregon State the best opportunity to limit mistakes and avoid beating themselves. It will also give them a better opportunity to make the most of any mistakes that Ohio State’s talented but inexperienced lineup will make along the way. They are a veteran football team who is ticked off after the way last season turned out. There is no doubt in my mind that the Beavers will give Ohio State their absolute best. However, time will show how their best compares to that of The Ohio State University.

Week one of the 2018 season is finally here and it’s packed with an amazing lineup of marquee matchups. Certainly Auburn and Washington’s battle in Atlanta will be the main course. Watching Notre Dame open their season with a win over Michigan will be so very sweet; like dessert, if you will. Which means Ohio State’s warm-up game against the other OSU will be your perfect low-stress appetizer to jumpstart a great weekend of college football. Enjoy.