Game Recap: The Ohio State Buckeyes vs The Oklahoma Sooners

 

 

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Revenge is a dish best served cold.  Coming into the game the Buckeyes lack of experience was the biggest question mark, but most  if not all questions were answered after a 42-21 throttling from Ohio State.  J.T. Barrett and company showed up and did their part for the majority of the game.  The biggest slight came from a Backup Quarterback Kendall Austin, who was once a Buckeye target, who stated that the Buckeye defense played a “basic” defense and that Baker Mayfield would light them up.  He even had the audacity to say that if he had the chance, he would likely do the same.  I guess you should “say less” as most Buckeye defenders had stated.  I hoped that you had the opportunity to showcase your skills against our “basic” defense, but you never got the opportunity.  Even if you did, Raekwon McMillan and the Silver Bullets would’ve feasted on your soul and in the land of the wolves, you cannot stop the pack.

imgres Zone 6 member Noah Brown torched every Defensive Back that attempted to cover him en route to his stellar performance. Brown, who returned after suffering a severe leg injury, came back with authority.  Brown was always a good player, but tonight he took a step toward greatness as he caught 5 passes for 72 yards and 4 highlight reel touchdowns.  He looked unstoppable.  He caught passes over helpless Defensive Backs and around them too.  Literally!  He was destroying the opposing defenders and although he only caught 5 passes, the damage had been done and you could see the dejection in their eyes. The crowd that was once filled with energy lacked the spark that made their home field one of the most intimidating and nasty road environments.

CSThe crowd noise died as J.T. Barrett hit them with the silencer, the hammer to silence their critics.  Curtis Samuel had another good showing.  He racked up 118 offensive yards and a touchdown on a 36-yard scamper on 4th and 1.  That was a bold move that swung the momentum in the Buckeyes favor.  The Buckeyes ground game wore the Sooner defense down as they were pushed around for most of the game, but they would occasionally make a play to halt the Buckeyes offensive attack.  Mike Weber churned out another 100-yard performance rushing for 123 rushing yards.  The Buckeyes were moving the ball at will, but the Sooner defense stood their ground and forced the punt.
iThe Sooner got the ball back and attempted to convert on 4th and 3, but the “basic” defense stiffened up and forced another turnover to take the 14-0 lead courtesy of Jerome Baker who filled in for banged-up Dante Booker.  It is getting fun seeing what forgotten recruit steps up and makes an impact whenever their number is called.  The Buckeye defense lost their most experienced player in Gareon Conley, but his replacement Redshirt Freshman Damon Arnette filled in just fine.  Like I had previously stated, the Buckeyes are deep at just about every position, on both sides of the ball.  The talent is definitely in place and the future looks brighter and brighter as the season goes on as the Buckeyes added two additional forced turnovers for the season, which now stands at +9 and they have gathered their 4th pick-6 of the year.  They held Oklahoma to just 226 yards passing and 178 yards on the ground which is below their average after two games.  “Basic” stuff.

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The first true road test for the young Buckeyes had gone as quickly as it gone and Buckeye Nation is happily sipping their tea.  This comes as a pleasant surprise as I thought it would be much closer than it ended up becoming and for that, I am thankful.  I am glad that the Buckeyes used their visit to Norman as an audition for the College Football Playoff Committee and upstaged and outright embarrassed the home team on their own turf.  I would recommend not throwing stones from your glass house at a sleeping giant.  I hope the Playoff Committee was paying attention because these Buckeyes are the real deal.  They are building great recruiting classes to make up for the players that will leave or that are bound to leave.  Speaking of recruiting #1 Safety Jeffrey Okudah was on deck for an official visit, but he used it to preview both teams and how they run their defenses.  I think it is another resounding win as the defense stifled Oklahoma throughout the game.  Sure the Sooner scored two offensive scores, but the game was already in hand.  Okudah will likely announce around signing day, but I think the Buckeyes helped their cause.

 

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Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Oklahoma Sooners

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After two weeks of games in the books by both teams, their highly anticipated matchup with enormous College Football Playoff implications, is upon us.  Ohio State and Oklahoma were voted as two of top Blueblood programs in college football.  Both considered as college football royalty and both programs have illustrious and storied histories filled with Hall of Fame coaches, elite players and multiple championships between the two programs.  Both coaches will looks to add to their legacy and they will go out there to secure a win at any cost.  This is an exciting, yet scary matchup for either team considering the circumstances in which both teams are in.  This game will also have a recruiting flare to it because the Buckeyes and the Sooners are vying for the same prospects on the recruiting trail.  This is a high stakes, high pressure game and I am predicting an unforgettable atmosphere for the fans and the players on both sides of the spectrum.

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Ohio State Buckeyes:

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The Buckeyes enter the competition with Oklahoma 2-0 and are looking for another win to solidify their CFB Playoffs resume.  Ohio State returned J.T. Barrett, Pat Elflein and Billy Price from last years team.  They are breaking in three new Offensive Lineman and sometimes their youth and inexperience show along the perimeter.  Couple that with a true freshman Guard in Michael Jordan (not his airness), it will take some time to get use to Barrett and the way he surgically operates the offensive juggernaut that Ohio State possesses.  The lone question I have is can the younger members of the Buckeyes O-Line block the talent of the Sooner defense?  Are they ready for the bright lights and the bump up in talent level?  The Buckeyes are also attempting to find a suitable replacement for now Dallas Cowboy, Ezekiel Elliot in the offensive backfield along with a host of new offensive toys at receiver.  Mike Weber is the new Cadillac Back at Ohio State and after his first two games, most Buckeyes fans cannot help but feel the excitement because he has the potential to be great.  That and with the emergence of Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson, the future looks bright as the depth at receiver is something that a hardcore College Football fan cannot deny.  They have reserves that can start at other schools.  Division I schools.  That says a lot and as players are recruited, sure they wait, but they are developed under the close and watchful eyes of the coach staff so their dreams could be realized once they receive their shot.

CS 4Case and point, Dontre Wilson.  He sat behind Braxton “B Button” Miller and was in and out with injury and once he was healthy enough to contribute he hasn’t looked back.  He even performed the patented Buckeye Spin last week against Tulsa.  It shows that the coaches can develop the talent into games and into men.  Even if they want it to happen as soon as they arrive on campus, they need the patience to develop and follow the plan laid out in front of them by their position coaches and often times with help from their parents who have bought-in to the program and to the coaches that represent the university.  Barrett and his array of weapons have amassed 1759 total yards on offense and Barrett accounts for 498 of those yards through the air for six touchdowns and 85 of those yards for 3 total rushes for six.  Samuel isn’t too far behind with 162 yards and a touchdown on the ground and 14 receptions for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air.  Weber pitches in with 36 carries for 228 yards and a touchdown and Wilson went for 66 yards on the ground with a touchdown and 75 yards through the air and 2 touchdowns.  Needless to say, the Buckeyes have a potent offense that could explode at a moments notice.  Just give them the opportunity and the talent on the depth chart will show no matter who is placed in the game.  Like I had mentioned, there is talent at the top and bottom of the offensive two deep and it is just about patience and opportunity.  The next man up mentality reigns supreme in the land of wolves.  With 21 offensive scores in the books, can the high-octane offensive attack keep up their end of the bargain against a tough Sooners defense?

z-osu-d2Ohio State began the season against the Bowling Green Falcons and the Tusla Golden Hurricanes, only returning 3 starters on defense, Middle Linebacker Raekwon McMillan, Defensive End Tyquan Lewis and Cornerback Gareon Conley.  Although they aren’t the big name programs, they both pack experienced and potent offenses that can put points on the scoreboard and do it quickly.  There had been a lot of speculation on how Coach Meyer and his staff would adapt and overcome the mass NFL Draft exodus that occurred after the 2015 season.  With multiple vacated spots on both sides of the ball many discounted Coach Meyers ability to reload stating that the inexperience would cost them greatly.  So far through two games against potent offenses, the young Buckeyes defense proved that they have the talent and depth to succeed.  Sure, it was against Bowling Green and Tulsa, but last season they racked up the points and yardage and finished the season ranked 6th and 21st in the nation in scoring offense and 4th and 13th in total offense a season ago.  The talent between last seasons team and this years is not as dire as most would expect it to be.  The talent that they lost is irreplaceable, but Coach Meyer and company always seem to get the utmost best from their players who are patiently waiting in the wings for their opportunity.  Getting younger isn’t always a bad thing because you will watch them develop, but at Ohio State, if you can play and you show the willingness and determination, you will play for the Scarlet and Gray.

z-osu-mlbThe defense is young and inexperienced, but they have only allowed 1068 total yards in two games.  Sure those aren’t good numbers, but I feel that they will improve upon as the season goes on as they learn to play with each other.   They have held the previous two opponents to a 21.9% 3rd down conversion rate and have only allowed 2 field goals on offense.  They have held opposing signal-callers to a 47.4% completion rating without surrendering a score to the opposing offense.    The run stopping ability shows as the Buckeyes opponents are averaging 2 yards per rushing attempt and a total of 65 yards rushing per game.  The lone touchdown was a pick-six on an errant pass from J.T. Barrett.  The Buckeyes boast a stifling defense that has allowed 216 yards per game and has taken the ball away a total of 9 times and is +7 in turnovers this season.  They gathered 7 interceptions, 3 for scores, forced and recovered 2 fumbles to go along with their 4 sacks.  The Silver Bullets allowed 151 yards through the air and 65 through the ground as they looks ahead to their showdown against the Sooners and their high octane offense.  Safety Malik Hooker, who attempted to leave the program due to insufficient playing time is the newly minted playmaker on defense registering 3 interceptions, one of which was for a score.  Oft-injured Cornerback Marshon Lattimore made the most of his opportunity against Tulsa when he picked Senior Quarterback Dane Evans off twice, one of which went for a touchdown.  Lattimore was hurt for the majority of his Buckeye career and at full health, he showed the coaches that he can be that playmaker that he once was in high school.  Gareon Conley also pitched in with a pick, ripping the ball away from an unsuspecting receiver.  True Freshman Rodjay Burns also made an impact when he took a Bowling Green pass 75 yards back to the house for a score.  Playmakers exist on every level and although they have a lot of new starters, Raekwon McMillan is there to ensure that the new Bullets are up to speed and up to standard.

Oklahoma Sooners:

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The Sooners come into the game 1-1, with their lone loss coming courtesy of former Urban Meyer Offensive Coordinator, Tom Herman and his Houston Cougars.  The Sooners opened the season up as the #3 ranked team and they lost in heartbreaking fashion during the home opener.  They followed up their poor showing with a offensive onslaught on the visiting UL Monroe Warhawks and rebounded with a resounding 59-17 victory to prepare for Ohio State when they come into Norman.  Like all true away games, I fully expect some form of shenanigans from the Sooner faithful and from what I had heard, it will be a Stripped Out Crowd.  I don’t know the exact details, but to each their own I guess.  The Sooners have tallied up 1708 total yards on offense, 160 total yards less than the Buckeyes.  Oklahoma scored 7 touchdowns through the air and 4 on the ground.  Baker Mayfield leads the offense accompanied by his version of smash and dash, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.  The account for a combined total of 956 yards and 8 touchdowns of the 1033 and 18 offensive scores.  That is a ton of points and yardage.  The Sooners also have the ability to spread defenses with their spread attack.  They have a big bodies, deep threat in Mark Andrews who stands at 6-5, 250 lbs and at one time while he was in high school, he had high interest in Ohio State prior to committing to the Sooners.  Fate has brought both of these teams together for a showdown of the victor and the loser on the recruiting trial.  Andrews caught 5 passes for 157 yards and 3 scores.  Dede Westbrook is another stellar talent and he has caught 12 passes for 103 yards.  Nick Basquine is also capable of scoring, catching 3 passes for 80 yards and a score.  The only thing in question for the Sooners is can their young Offensive Line keep Baker Mayfield upright?  The Sooner O-Line has given up 8 sacks for -38 yards in two games and with the Ohio State defense that thrives in pressuring the Quarterback, we will just have to see if they can gameplan for the constant pressure that Ohio State is known for.  Oklahoma definitely has weapons and this game will be the true test for Ohio State’s young defense.

z-ou-dOn defense, the Sooners have given up a total of 1651 yards to opposing offenses.  They have held opponents to a 59.7% completion rating and a 2.4 average on the ground.  The Sooners are -1 in the turnover difference with zero interceptions and 2 recovered fumbles.  The Sooners have given up 25 points per game and are looking to right the ship against a dual-threat Quarterback in J.T. Barrett.  Oklahoma has only managed to sack opposing signal-callers four times and that is just as much as the Buckeyes have gotten to the Quarterback, so it evens out in the end.  On third down the Sooners are giving up the conversion 47.8% of the time, which isn’t too shabby.  They have returned few starters after the loss of Eric Striker and they are just as young and inexperienced as the Buckeyes.  Linebacker Jordan Evans, Hybrid Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Defensive Backs William Johnson and Ahmad Thomas will be leading the charge racking up 50 tackles, 2 sacks and a fumble recovery between the four of them.  Another recruit that was won over by the Sooners is Ricky DeBerry, one of the few recruits that got away from the Buckeyes.  Who will end up making the key stop, the momentum swinging play?  Who steps up to stop the Ohio State offensive attack?  This is as high stakes as you could get and the game is going to be electric.  With the home field advantage, the Sooners defense looks to salvage their season by upsetting the 3rd ranked Buckeyes in from of their home crowd.

Prediction:

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I am truly torn.  I am a homer and I would love Ohio State to beat the snot out of the Sooners, but this feels like an ambush waiting to happen.  I am a humble fan and I want to remain objective and non-biased so I am predicting a close game throughout.  The Quarterback duel will be epic.  J.T. Barrett will dice up the shaky secondary for 300+ yards and 2 scores finding Samuel and Wilson for scores, but Baker Mayfield will match and exceed the passing total with 340 and match him with 2 scores of his own.  Barrett will give the defense fits with the read option burning them for 100 yards and a score.  Mike Weber will eat yardage early and often as he looks to soften up the defense and set them up for a play action deep pass.  Weber will churn out another 100 yard performance with a touchdown.  The Mixon/Perine combination will succeed in the beginning against the Buckeyes and gouge the defense for huge chunks of yardage.  They will combine for 125 yards and 1 scores.  Samuel and Wilson will find ways to make plays and they will combine for 150 yards.  A newcomer will reveal himself to the nation, I am not sure who it will be, but he is coming.  Andrews will be blanketed the entire game but he will overpower the younger DB’s but won’t score.  That will leave opportunities for Basquine and Westbrook to score with one of them finding the endzone for a score.  The Buckeye defense will seal the win with a pick-six or a key stop to end the game.  Hooker will get a pick and the defense will sack Mayfield twice.  The Oklahoma defense picks Barrett off twice and sacks him once.  This will be a good ole’ barnburner (WWE’s J.T. voice), but the suspense will be consistent throughout.   The crowd noise will be a factor early forcing the younger players into false starts, but they will get through it as the game goes on.

Final:  35-28 Ohio State

 

 

 

 

Recap: Tulsa vs. Ohio State

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Well, it was a warm, sunny day but the swirling winds had hindered the Buckeyes offensive attack for the majority of the afternoon.  With thunderstorms looming and the weather becoming more and more of a factor this was definitely not what I or most of us Buckeye fans wanted to witness.  Although that isn’t a great excuse, the Buckeyes have no real excuse and they need a resounding win to further amplify their confidence prior to the showdown with the Oklahoma Sooners.  This game definitely did not go according to plan as the mighty Buckeyes showed their youth and struggled mightily against an experienced Tulsa offense and a defense filled with Juniors and Senior looking to upset the home team and shock the world.

First Half:

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Marshon Lattimore, the oft-injured and forgotten man in the secondary came up huge for the Buckeyes.  On the first offensive play for Tulsa he made an acrobatic catch for the early interception. The Buckeyes only managed to get a field goal, but a turnover was ideal due to the poor game conditions.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the Tusla’s Head Coach decided to throw the ball, in the rain, prior to the first half ending, but I will take the end result as Marshon Lattimore was the recipient of another turnover and he returned it for 40 yards the pick-six.  By the way, was I the only one who saw that nasty block by Malik Hooker?  It is wonderful seeing the defense as a whole block downfield to ensure the maximum level of yardage is taken and with Hooker and Baker blocking downfield, accompanied by a caravan of Silver Bullets, he was bound to get into the end zone for the timely and sorely needed touchdown score.

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Speaking of Malik Hooker, he reeled in his third interception of the season, but this time was different, seeing that the previous two were acrobatic and amazing interceptions.  This time around he flat out read the opposing Quarterback and took it in for six points, successfully establishing the swing in momentum and giving “juice” to the Buckeyes defense who was getting gashed by Tulsa’s high-octane offense.  Tulsa ran the same group of plays repeatedly because they were seeing great success with them early on in the game, but once that was identified the defense pinned their ears back and let loose.  Hooker came in tonight tied for first place in the nation for interceptions, but with this, he is now in sole possession in first-place.  He has proven in two games that he is the playmaker that the Buckeyes secondary needs for them to unleash blitzes by the front seven.

imgres-4Sam Hubbard, Joey Bosa’s replacement came up huge with a sack on 3rd and long.  He stopped the momentum dead in its tracks when the Buckeyes were reeling.  With the first half over and the Buckeyes in the lead, the Buckeyes defense looks to carry over the momentum for a second half that will look different after the weather took a turn for the worse.  Thunderstorms have the Buckeyes in a holding pattern and until they take the now wet and muddy field, we will have to see how the Buckeyes defense will adjust and react.  I am thinking that they will turn up the heat a little bit to seal the game.  The Buckeyes seem to be looking too far ahead to the game at Norman so hope they can take care of business and work out the kinks on both sides of the ball because the Sooners will be an early test in a young season.

imgres-2J.T. Barrett struggled mightily during the first half, only being able to muster up 69 yards through the air and 8 rushes for 16 yards.  The weather has negatively impacted his ability to air it out and with the weather taking a turn for the worst, I am not sure if the second half will be any different.  I understand that the weather is bad and that you are trying to be conservative, but you need to play it smart for the rest of the game.  If that is running the ball down the Tulsa defenses throat, then I hope that the Offensive Coordinator calls more running plays to get Barrett into a rhythm because he needs it prior to Oklahoma.  He definitely is making the correct plays, but he needs to get better and there is always room for improvement.  I look for the Buckeyes and Coach Meyer to run the ball in the second half.

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While filling in for banged-up Sean Nuernberger, Tyler Durbin has been a pleasant surprise for the Buckeyes and during the first half of the game, nailing a field goal early on for the 3-0 lead, then another one to break the 3-3 tie late in the first quarter.  Durnin also nailed two extra points for the two defensive touchdowns that have extended the Ohio State lead.  With the constant weather delays and with the terrible field conditions, I am assuming that the Buckeyes will not be looking for long range field goals and that they will play Tressel-ball for the duration of the game.  I hope I am dead wrong, but we will just have to wait and see if Coach Meyer and company will do once the lightning vacates Columbus.

Second Half:

imgres-7The second half started almost like the end of the first, except that this interception wasn’t returned for a touchdown.  To open up the second, Gareon Conley was credited with the takeaway, ripping it away from an opposing Wide Receiver.  What a way to open up the second half after a lengthy break due to the thunderstorm delay.  The Silver Bullets, namely the secondary have been all over the place and unless Tulsa flat out gives up throwing the rock, they could be waiting to make the next big play.  Although the loss of Eli Apple hurts the team in regards to experience, they retained Gareon Conley who has the leadership capabilities to lead a young, inexperienced secondary.  And if we were to gauge what he has provided, I think he has succeeded with showing them the ropes and nuances of playing defense in the secondary at Ohio State.

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The second half offense was much more productive than the first half offense. J.T. Barrett started the half with a rushing touchdown and he received a monster block from Curtis Samuel.  Later in the 4th, J.T. rushed for another score and the Buckeyes offense and defense started imposing their will on the hapless Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.  Dontre Wilson has really come into his own in the second half.  He began the second half with a 27 yard return and he got by a defender with the patented Brax Spin.  Then he followed that up later in the second half when he blew past defenders for a 21 yard gain on the ground before he capped it off the drive with a 5 yard rushing touchdown.  He showed us how elusive and quick he can be and I for one am happy that he finally found a place within the Buckeye offense.  Coach Meyer has shown his ability to find players that fit his offensive scheme and with the many weapons at his disposal, he will look to build on this for a date with the Sooners.

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Running Back Mike Weber showed the grit and determination when running the ball tonight, occasionally running full speed, light feet and power.  He racked up 92 rushing yards on 17 carries and he is constantly finding ways to improve as he grows as a man and as the “cadillac back” at Ohio State.  He replaced the great Ezekiel Elliot and he can only improve to surpass Zeke. Weber scored his first touchdown in the second half and his number through two games aren’t eye popping but he will continue to improve as the season progresses.  With a hostile environment in Norman next week, we will see Weber tote the rock more often, unless Coach Meyer and his offensive staff wants to air it out to prove a point.

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The Silver Bullets denied the Golden Hurricanes the entire second half with their stiffling defense.  In the second half they had 2 more takeaways.  A pick by Conley and a fumble recovery by Tyquan Lewis.  Nick Bosa was destined to sack the Quarterback again, but the slippery ball slipped out of his grasp and it was all she wrote.  The Buckeyes showed that their defense may be young, but they will be hungry and eager to prove that they belong in the National Championship conversation.  They have a tough road game ahead of them and if this is any indication of things to come, they look to be scary good.  Youth is a problem, but the talent is there and it shows.  Let’s hope both units will hit on all cylinders.  Onto the next one.  Go Bucks!!!

 

 

Preview: Ohio State vs. Tulsa

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PREVIEW:  TULSA vs. OHIO STATE:

With week 1 in the books for Ohio State, we can only look ahead to our next opponent.  Yes, technically the week isn’t over yet, but it is for Ohio State.  So like farmer Fran said, “You live to fight another day.”  The Buckeyes not only lived to fight another day, they were afforded and had earned some well deserved experience that will hopefully stick with them throughout the season.  Bowling Green was Coach Meyer’s first coaching stop and he surely has not forgotten where it all began.  The Buckeyes featured a bunch of young, unproven talent and for what its worth, they look pretty good.  Youth in spread throughout the roster on both sides of the ball and during the game they showed their worth to the nation and to the coaches.  Understandably, it was against Bowling Green but a win is a win and at least it is a Division 1 team and not a Division 2 team.

The Falcons featured a high-powered offense, slightly similar to what Meyer had built during his time there and with a young defense at hand, Urban and company let the young wolves loose to see what they are capable of.  The young Buckeyes defense were up to the task as they annihilated the 4th best team in total offense and 6th best in scoring offense.  Tusla will provide another high-powered offense that finished 13th in total offense and 21st in scoring offense in 2015.  The Buckeyes and the Golden Hurricanes have never met on the gridiron and this will be another test for the young defense.  The Tusla Head Coach, Phillip Montgomery was present as an Offensive Coordinator for Baylor and Houston so I think that it is safe to say that they should expect a lot of hurry-up offense and no-huddle sets.

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Senior Quarterback Dane Evans returned for one more year and he looks to cut down on mistakes this season.  Evans has the ability and the experience to successfully run the offense this season.  He understands the playbook and has been around the system long enough to operate in it.  The Golden Hurricanes return a trio of experienced Wide Receiver in Keevan Lucas, Josh Atkinson and Justin Hobbs.  Lucas returns from a knee injury that had sidelined him last season, but he looks to have a huge year a year removed from injury.

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The biggest elephant in the room is can the new-look Offensive Line gel quickly enough after losing two key players after the 2015 season.  They are breaking in a new batch of linemen and we will just have to see if they can survive the season with little to no experience and against the talented Buckeyes, this will be their stiffest test early-on in the season.  It will give the Tulsa coaches the opportunity to measure and gage their talent and to see the capabilities of their kids.  The front seven will constantly pressure all five members to see if they make any mistakes and I wouldn’t put it past Coach Schiano to send one of his many Defensive Backs on a blitz to also test their mettle and capabilities.

2aD’Angelo Brewer is a shifty runner who can break it for huge yardage at any given moment during games.  He is deceptively fast and is capable of catching passes out of the backfield.  He will be going up against a young defensive line that is in sore need of a replacement at DT as Tracy Sprinkle suffered a season ending leg injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season.  Ohio State has the talent waiting in the wings and as long as they buy in to what Coach Fickell and Coach Johnson are preaching, I see them playing lights out for each other and for the aforementioned Sprinkle.  We will see if he is up to the task and if he can break past the vaunted Ohio State defense.

 

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The Golden Hurricane defense is another story.  They are lacking proven playmakers, but they have a lot of boom-or-bust players that take high risk, high reward literally.  We will see how the pieces fall next weekend but here is some food for thought.  The Tulsa offense has the tools to put up points and put them up quickly, but the defense is their Achilles heel.  If the Buckeyes shut down their offense like the Bowling Green game, the sleeping giant will wake once again and crush the team that woke it up.  Tusla’s defense is lacking in playmakers and we will have to wait and see if the Buckeyes can put them in horrible situations to exploit the inexperience.

Prediction: 

With all things considered and the lack of defense on the other side, I expect J.T. Barrett to move the ball at a frightening pace.  J.T. will finish the game with 260+ yards through the air with nearly 100 yards on the ground with 3 passing touchdowns and two rushing.  Mike Weber will drive the ball down their defenses throat for a cool 120 yards with a touchdown.  The defense will sack Evans at least 5 times with at least one more defensive touchdown and Evans will throw a pick to Hooker.  Hooker is special and he looks to become a key cog in the secondary.  The Buckeyes will steam roll Tulsa in style and continue their offensive onslaught in preparation for the Oklahoma game:

Buckeyes 56  –  20  Tulsa

Preview: Ohio State v. Bowling Green

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Here we are a day prior to the start of the 2016 season and with Bowling Green on deck we look ahead to seeing our Buckeyes in action.  With the mass exodus that occurred after last season, Coach Meyer will be looking to replace the plethora of talent that he lost to the NFL Draft this season.  Meyer has retained the services of 6 players that have returned for at least one more season at Ohio State and this will be by far his most challenging task while at the helm at Ohio State.  Unfortunately for the rest of the country, Coach Meyer and his staff have to look no further than their depth chart at the talent that they have stockpiled throughout the years.  They are secretly being developed while they wait patiently for their opportunity to take the reins from the upperclassmen that have left for the NLF or that have moved on after graduation.  So in reality, the Buckeyes should be just fine, but with the influx of inexperienced and unproven players it will take some time for them to adjust.

Impact Players:

JTJ.T. Barrett:

Quarterback J.T. Barrett will return for his Redshirt Junior season and he will lead the charge for the Buckeyes.  He will act as the key cog in the offense and he will usher in the new stable of starters across the offensive side of the ball.  Barrett brings experience and leadership to the offense and Meyer and company will depend on him throughout the season.  Barrett provides problems for opposing defenses with his innate ability to hit targets in stride, his ability to scramble, and his instincts when plays break down.  He will not have the same weapons on offense from the previous two seasons, but Barrett will find ways to maximize and improve the talent around him.  He will continue to make others around him better and provide leadership that is crucial to this season because during week 3 the Buckeyes will have a date at Norman and J.T. needs to use the first two weeks to fine tune his offense for the huge showdown with Oklahoma.

MW

Mike Weber:

With all the drama during his recruitment, Mike Weber’s future with the Buckeyes remained in question for the remainder of his recruitment, but now two years after the fact he has secured the role as starter for Coach Meyer’s “Cadillac Position”.  Weber will be the starter this year and after a great showing during this years spring game, I think he will become the next great Running Back that Ohio State will produce.  Weber is a workhorse.  He was the speed to blow past defenders and he has the power to run them over as well.  He learned and developed under one of the greatest backs at Ohio State, Ezekiel Elliott.  I look for Weber to come in with that lunch pail mentality and continue the legacy and tradition at Ohio State.  For now, he will be an unproven commodity at Running Back and he will look to carve out his own path during his tenure at Ohio State.

CSCurtis Samuel:

Samuel was singled out by Urban Meyer during the offseason and he stated that Curtis Samuel is his best playmaker on offense.  That comes with high praise considering what the Buckeyes lost after last season.  Samuel will split time at multiple positions.  He will be tasked to play in the Slot, some Running Back and he will be the starter at the H-Back position.  Needless to say, we will get a huge dosage of Curtis Samuel and we can only hope that he will become that go-t0 player for Urban Meyer’s new look offense.

PEPat Elflein:

One of two returning starters on the offensive line, Pat Elflein will shift from Guard to Center and he will look to guide and mentor the three new slobs that had earned starting spots alongside himself and Right Guard, Billy Price.  Elflein will provide leadership and stability for Michael Jordan, Jamarco Jones and Isaiah Prince.  He will ensure they are up to standard for the new look offensive line.  It also helps that J.T. Barrett sees a familiar face along that young offensive line.  With the move to Center, Elflein will be involved in every facet of the game.  He will call out and adjust the protection as needed and he will be snapping the rock to Barrett.  New challenges will arise and he will be all for it.

RMRaekwon McMillan:

The proud tradition of Middle Linebackers continues as McMillan returns for what most assume will be his final season at Ohio State.  Once again, McMillan will be the Quarterback of the defense and he will provide experience and stability to the unit.  With Daron Lee and Joshua Perry moving onto the NFL, he looks to lead new starters, Chris Worley and Dante Booker.  Remember the term reload?  Yeah Worley and Booker have different traits that make them lethal and McMillan will help them along the way and similar to the offense, it will take some time.  McMillan would never let the Silver Bullets mantra and tradition slip away, so we will all have to be patient with the lack of experience.  He along with the coaching staff will prepare them for the grind of yet another season.

The Opposition:

Bowling Green seems to always have a potent, if not lethal offense.  With Senior signal caller, James Knapke, they will look to utilize Senior Wide Receiver Ronnie Moore in every possible way they can.  It’ll be a tough task to do, but with the lack of experience on Ohio States defense, who knows.  I for one see them putting up at least two touchdowns during this contest, but Ohio State will be looking to unleash hell on the hapless Falcons.  With a lot to prove, I can see both scenarios play out, but this is why I love College Football.  Hell, we almost witnessed Tennessee get wrecked and upset at home this week, so why not right?

On defense, Bowling Green boasts a pair of playmaking linebackers that will lead this years unit.  Austin Valdez, a Middle Linebacker who had earned 1st Team All-Mac honors and Trenton Greene, an Outside Linebacker who had earned 2nd Team All-MAC honors look to stop the Buckeyes dead in their tracks.  It will take a ton of effort from both of these players, but it might be possible.  The Buckeyes have three new starters on the offensive line and they are young and inexperienced.  They have a new Cadillac Back and new playmakers starting at the Wide Receiver.

Prediction:

After considering everything, I see this game getting ugly before halftime.  Ohio State will be playing at home and Buckeye Nation will come in full force.  The noise levels will be insane throughout the game.  The Buckeyes will start slow, but they will piece together, a blow out to start the season on the right foot.  I am not taking away from the Falcons, but it’s hard to see Ohio State losing this early in the season.  Couple that, Urban Meyer being the Head Coach and the 4-0 All-Time record against Bowling Green and you have this:  44-17 Ohio State over Bowling Green

 

The Dream 17: Urban Meyer’s Stranglehold on the Recruiting Game Part III and IV

URBANSTHE DREAM 17:  Urban Meyer’s Stranglehold on the Recruiting Game, Part III and IV

The Buckeyes are just a mere two weeks away from their first game of the season against the Bowling Green Falcons and although they are currently in constant pursuit of the edge, recruiting will never truly become an afterthought because of all the potential playmakers the Buckeyes have set their sights on.  We cannot just focus solely on the players that they are targeting and a lot of recruiting comes from maintaining a constant level of communication between the coaching staff and the players that have been committed for a long duration of time.  Memories of Bruce Judson should be the most fresh in all of our minds, but the train moves on.  Maintaining the relationships is important and although the staff is flexing their recruiting muscles for the whole nation to see, you could never fully keep the Ohio State staff away and with just 16 players committed out of potentially 20 or 21, I believe that the Buckeyes are just padding their stats and re-loaded at an unprecedented level that is adding toward their momentum.

MORETTI

JAKE MORETTI:

Jake is a mammoth Offensive Tackle at 6-5, 285 lbs.  He was highly regarded and a key piece to Coach Meyer’s Offensive Line, but he suffered a torn ACL at a Buckeyes Camp and has been shelved temporarily.  While still  being in the Buckeyes plans, Moretti is planning to enroll early so that he can get a head start on getting his mind, body and spirit right for his journey as a Buckeye.  He is an elite tackle prospect and although he is shelved, he still garners the respect by being in the Top 100 player in the nation.  Sure we won’t see him in action because he is unable to, but Coach Meyer and company know exactly how to revive a players career and get the utmost best out of them.

WHITEBRENDON WHITE:

Brendon White is the #2 rated Athlete in the nation due to his ability to make a play on both sides of the ball.  Just like Urban Meyer does, he stockpiles players that fit the mold of a multipurpose playmaker, who could impact either side of the ball game.  White is 6-1.5 and is a stout 200 lbs.  He can play Wide Receiver and Safety and until he makes it through the strength and conditioning program, we will just have to see.  Coach Meyer and his crew develop their players into more than the recruiting sites thought they would be and it’ll be fun to see if he can develop into a Darron Lee on defense or a lethal offensive weapon like Curtis Samuel.  We can only hope, but he provides a sure set of hands and the ability to catch on unsuspecting defenders and he could lay opposing players as a hard hitting, run stuffing safety.  Ah, hybrid players are indeed the best!

RIEPAMIR RIEP:

Amir Riep feels like one of those impact players to be and I am excited for his development as well as the rest of the current Buckeyes and the Buckeyes to be, but there is something about Riep and his rise after good showings at showcase events.  Ohio State received a commitment from a 5-11, 185 lb player who is projected to play cornerback.  Now, I don’t mean to rub it in or anything, but Ohio State has produced a pretty good amount of NFL caliber DB’s so…  You know where I am going with this.  Riep has that fluidity in his hips that will help him smother opposing players and Coach Meyer got a good one who has the potential to be great.  Ever since he blew up on the recruiting trail, the Buckeyes have their man and successfully fended away those pesky Spartans.  This was well worth the wait and we will see how Coach Coombs develops him.

WILLIAMSONMARCUS WILLIAMSON:

Do you notice a trend yet?  Defensive Backs just want to be coached up at Ohio State and the rich get richer!  Marcus Williamson was one of the first few to commit and he has helped the Buckeyes on and off with recruiting while at the IMG Academy, a Buckeye pipeline located in Florida.  Projected at Cornerback, at 5-9, 180 lbs he is a bit undersized, but the talent pretty much speaks for itself.  He may be a work in progress, but the talent is there and it is up the coaching staff to develop him into a NFL Cornerback.  Being undersized isn’t that bad either, Damon Webb is around the same height and weight and look at him after the strength and conditioning program.  Webb is also in the midst of earning some playing time as well so there is nothing remotely wrong with his measurable statistics.  He brings speed and the mirroring ability that Riep brings and he will be another player to watch.

CAGEJERRON CAGE:

Does the last name ring a bell?  His older brother was high on the Buckeyes list in 2014 before he decided to play for the Fighting Irish.  Although he plays the same position as his brother at Defensive Tackle, the younger Cage sits at 6-1.5, 275 lbs and is in fact smaller than his older brother during their Senior years, but John Simon wasn’t a huge guy and that did not stop him from wreaking havoc all around the Defensive Line.  Cage has a quick first step and he can occupy space and make space for Linebackers to get to the Quarterback.  He also has a few nifty go to moves in which he will develop under the tutelage of Coach Johnson and Coach Fickell.  He will be a key cog and will be utilized if he can turn some heads when he arrives on campus and Ohio State needs depth along the D-Line anyway and that is why Cage will be one out of potentially three Interior Defensive Linemen that the Buckeyes will take this cycle.

SIMMONSANTJUAN SIMMONS:

Antjuan Simmons is a blessing in disguise for the Buckeyes.  He comes from That State Up North and right in That Team Up North’s back yard.  Literally!  That is what makes this recruiting victory so sweet.  Living in that territory can be rough, but he will be in good hands with Coach Meyer and company and I look for him to continue the tradition of Linebacker U while at Ohio State.  As the only Linebacker commit, he will be looked at to replace Raekwon McMillan on the interior or Chris Worley or Dante Booker on the outside, but at 6-1, 215 lbs he looks like a rock solid addition to the proud tradition.  Although ranked as the 289th overall player nationally, he will contribute as soon as that black stripe comes off and he looks like a monster.  With Ohio State chasing other Linebackers to come join Simmons, we can only wait and see, but it is so exciting to see playmakers come in droves to want to play for the Buckeyes.

CLARKDANNY CLARK:

Mr. Buckeye, the Prototype himself Danny Clark is Quarterback commit #2 and he isn’t backing down from competition after the commitment of fellow Quarterback prospect, Tate Martell.  I like his tenacity during Friday Night Lights as he competed fiercely the entire night.  I think it is safe to safe, barring any last-minute flips that the Quarterback position is one of the many deep position groups that the Buckeyes have.  Clark will add to the depth and he will looks to surprise some people.  At 6-5, 223 lbs, he is a Pro Style Quarterback, opposite of Martell who is the top Dual Threat Quarterback prospect.  Clark is quick on his feet, but he can throw the ball with velocity and accuracy.  Most of his passes were on the money and he will look to compete at Ohio State with one of the most crowded groups or units.  With time, I think he will develop and potentially become the Cardale Jones or the Kenny Guiton of the team and be that leader from the bench or the one who saves the day after numerous, unplanned injuries.  We will see and I for one am hoping that he stays on board.

HAUBEILBLAKE HAUBEIL:

You know how Coach Meyer loves his Special Teams?  Yeah, he used one of the spots in this years class for a Special Teamer who so happens to be the #1 Kicker in the nation.  It is some serious business and we need it.  Sean Nuernberger is in his Junior season and we need a player to fill in once he departs and it so happens to be Haubeil, at 6-3, 200 lbs.   He is willing to pay for the first semester at Ohio State to add a scholarship to add a key player so he may forgo the grayshirt and just pay until his scholarship is guaranteed.  I love this kid already.  A truly selfless act and he should be a good player in the future.  He has a leg that is capable of routinely nailing 30-45 yarders and who knows, he may be able to hit from downtown too.  All we have to do is wait and see, but I am confident that he will be game ready when the time comes.

fall is herefallfall is coming

GO BUCKS !!!

The Dream 17: Urban Meyer’s Stranglehold on the Recruiting Game Part II

UrbsAnother week closer to the College Football season and Coach Urban Meyer and his band of merry men have been taking the recruiting world by storm.  Their status, whether committed or uncommitted–THEY WILL FIND YOU!  Coach Meyer and his coaches have been building a perennial juggernaut and this class is just the start of the warpath that they have been committed to for the duration of Meyer’s tenure at Ohio State.  It seem as if though there aren’t any boundaries, no limit to this coaching staff’s reach.  They can pull from just about any part of the country for either top tier talents or the Darron Lee’s and Ezekiel Elliott’s of the recruiting world.  You flatly just never know until they immerse themselves and adopt the culture that is in place at Ohio State.  Here is another installment of The Dream 17.  Enjoy!

J.K. Dobbins:

Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins is one of those running backs that remind you of the great ones.  The Zeke’s, the El Guapo’s the Beanie’s and the Boom’s that hold a special place in all Buckeyes fans hearts.  He is the reigning Sparq rating champion and he looks to play the part on when he gets an opportunity to show out in the Scarlet and Gray.  Dobbins hails from La Grange, Texas and stand at a solid 5-9.5, 199 lbs.  Once he enrolls and goes through the rigors of Coach Marotti’s strength and conditioning program, I fully expect him to grow into his frame and pack on a ton of muscle.  He has made some noise about the potential for fellow running back Cam Akers joining him at Ohio State and if Buckeye recruiting vets have been paying attention, it eerily similar to the Four Star, 12th overall Running Back Ezekiel Elliott or Five Star 4th overall Running Back Derrick Green.  Hope that it does not come to that because this kid is going to be a beast for years to come.  He can do it all, just like Zeke so hopefully, he sticks with the Buckeyes regardless of the persistent chatter that he may eventually flip because the depth at running back took a huge hit with the dismissal of Brionte’ Dunn this off-season.  Tote Nation needs you J.K., with or without Cam.

Isaiah Pryor:

Pryor

I don’t care what you say but Ohio State can be called and considered as DBU.  With Buckeye greats ranging from the various era’s, Arnie Chonko, Neal Colzie, Tim Fox, Ray Griffin, Mike Sensibaugh, Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Jack Tatum, Chris Gamble, Malcolm Jenkins, Kurt Coleman, and more recently Vonn Bell and Eli Apple who both left early for the NFL.  Pryor look to continue to uphold the legacy of all the Buckeye greats.  He comes from the IMG Academy and stands at 6-1.5, 195 lbs.  He is a rangy prospect and he is versatile enough to play both cornerback and either safety spot.  He can wreak havoc against the run, being able to shed blocks while still being able to play in coverage.  The sky is the limit with Pryor and seeing that he has been on board for a while now, I feel that he is securely in the plans for the Buckeyes future.  He is talented and is an able learner.  He will take guidance from Coach Schiano upon his arrival.  He will look to secure playing time and he will surely try to vie for time against oft-injured upperclassmen that have been in the program longer.  You never know during the offseason, so it will be an exciting time to see who the next great Buckeye Defensive Back will be or if we will have multiple emerge.

Tate Martell:

Martell

The rich get richer and with Ohio State, they have lost both Braxton Miller and Cardale Jones to the draft and with J.T. Barrett returning along with Stephen Collier (out for season with torn ACL), Joey Burrow, Quarterback turned Wide Receiver Torrance Gibson and incoming Freshman Dwayne Haskins, the Buckeyes add two more, if they stay and one of them is Tate Martell out of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Yes, rumors per another recruit state that one of the two will not be a part of the Dream 17, but until something is confirmed, it is all heresy.  Martell is 5-10.5, 203 lbs and he is often compared to Johnny Manziel, which is flattering when comparing playing styles, but hopefully he hates to party.  Martell is the #1 Dual-Threat Quarterback and if he lives up to the hype, he could be the next Troy Smith.  He is just as accurate while passing the rock as he is when he is making a mad dash for the first down or for the touchdown.  He looks to be a key piece of this class and if Ohio State needed it, he can also recruit.  While at The Opening he was seen regularly with top-tier prospects attempting to get them to join him in this class.  Two of those targets make their decisions at the end of the month and he is not going to stop until the Buckeyes secure the top class for this one and for years to come.

Haskell Garrett:

Garrett

Haskell Garrett is another mammoth, with huge potential and upside that the Buckeyes have plucked away from the West Coast.  Garrett hails from Las Vegas, Nevada and is teammates with Tate Martell.  Garrett is 6-2, 298 and looks like the part and oh, he plays like his head is on fire.  At The Opening, he wrecked some of the top rated offensive linemen prospects and held his own for the duration of the drills.  With Coach Marotti’s program, he will turn into highly sought after high school prospect to the next Adolphus Washington, Michael Bennett or Jonathan Hankins that will wreak havoc for offensive lines in the BIG 10.  This kid is already a wrecking ball and with the correct guidance from Coach Fickell and Coach Johnson, he will develop like all the other prospects who committed and who had embraced the ways at Ohio State.  Look at Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis.  They waited and look at them now.  They developed and forced their way into a starting position.  Garrett will do the same and who knows, he might beat out the upperclassmen placed above him.  He has the tools, the aggression and the potential to shoot up the depth chart.  He just has to work at it and he will be the next Buckeye great on the inside of the defensive line.

Urban

There is a lot to be excited about for this recruiting class and there is a potential for fireworks and possibly another huge run when landing additional prospect to seal the deal and ensure that the Buckeyes dethrone Alabama atop the recruiting ranks.  Although there is still a ton of time left, I will not let myself make hasty notions or statements prior to National Signing Day.  There can be twists and turns (Johnny Townsend, Carlton Davis) and until then, I will continue to dish out on the Dream 17 and beyond.  Hope you enjoyed!  Go Bucks!  O-H!

The Dream 17: Urban Meyer’s Stranglehold on the Recruiting Game

Here is my first installment of The Dream 17:  Urban Meyer’s Stranglehold on the Recruiting Game.  I will be giving you a brief summary of four (04) committed recruits over the next couple of weeks and after all are mentioned, I will go over the remaining needs for the staff and the remaining targets, then I will eventually branch off into the 2018 Class.  Enjoy!

Meyer Ohio State

Coach Urban Meyer’s and his Ohio State Buckeyes are a team that is transitioning away from a team that has had tremendous success on the gridiron, winning 50 games against 4 losses.  Coach Meyer’s success shouldn’t be measured by wins and losses, but the overall health of his football team.  Success in the classroom, success on the field and most importantly, success on the recruiting trail.  As of late, Urban and company have been winning at every level, and they have been winning BIG.  Take a long, hard look at the current recruiting class, the class of 2017.  He is lighting it up and he is clearly getting commitments from just about anyone that he wants, commits from anyone who he envisions having the Buckeye spirit.  Potential prospects who demonstrate traits of the Buckeye Culture and who are willing to live the lifestyle that Coach Meyer and company want their players adopt is one reason why this class is so unique and loaded with star power at just about every tier on both offense and on defense.

JOSH MYERS  JOSH MYERS:

Josh Myers out of Miamisburg, OH stands at an astonishing 6-6 and 306 pounds and looks to be a key piece on the Offensive Line.  He was one of the first members of the lauded 2017 Class and he is solid on his commitment.  Myers will be trouble for opposing linemen when his time comes at Ohio State.  He shows the instincts that Offensive Tackles should have and the drive to finish plays until the whistle blows.  He displays the tenacity and a nasty streak to finish off rushers and he has the ability to pull left or right.  He will be quite the player once he figures it out, but until he proves himself to the coaches, he looks to add depth to bolster the Tackle ranks.

wyatt davis  WYATT DAVIS:

Wyatt Davis out of Bellflower, CA was a surprise commitment that the Buckeyes managed to secure even though they started recruiting him during the latter stages of the recruiting game.  Meyer secured his commitment after a month and he looks to be another firm Buckeye pledge.  Davis plays Offensive Guard and he stands at 6-5, 310 pounds and looks solid on film.  He showed people at the opening that he will be a solid contributor and eventual starter on the Buckeyes Offensive Line once he gets an opportunity.  He flashes quick, fluid hip movement and he flat out destroys defenders who dare to come his way.  He will be something special and the Buckeyes line looks to be building something special.

shaun wade  SHAUN WADE:

Shaun Wade committed to Ohio State during their CFB Playoff run to the top.  He plays Cornerback out of Jacksonille, FL and stands at 6-1, 177.  He has that Florida speed that Urban covets and the skillset to lock down opposing Wide Receivers consistently.  He has the instincts and the ability to lockdown one side of the field and could be used at any corner spot.  There has been a ton of negativity surrounding Wade and his potential to flip to another school.  We would never know and until it is actually made official (Insert Carlton Davis situation), he is a Buckeye commit until then.  He has the tools to surpass the upperclassmen above him with numerous injuries and inexperience.  He has a shot at starting if he stays and puts in the work.

chase young  CHASE YOUNG:

Chase Young committed at the well-known Friday Night Lights Camp, that the Buckeye staff puts out annually to attract top tier talent to get them to compete and learn the Buckeye way.  It worked with Young, who many thought had been leaning toward the hometown Terrapin team.  Luckily for Coach Johnson and Coach Meyer, they secured his commitment and stole him away like Dwayne Haskins and Keandre Jones from last years class.  Young is projected to become a Weakside Defensive End and he is 6-5, 225.  He has the speed, the techniques and the drive to succeed at a higher level and that is why he was a top priority for the Buckeye staff.  Another fine piece to pair alongside other commits along the Defensive Line.

 

 

Day Two and Three: Buckeye Bonanza Continued

The countdown until the 2016 NFL Draft was a long winding road filled with suspense and intrigue. There were a few stories that have left a mark and the only one that I can recall is the…  Actually, I can’t remember anything right now, but I digress.  The 2016 NFL Draft is now over and done with and my job right now is to go over the list of Buckeyes selected in this years draft and honorably mention the ones who weren’t as fortunate, but I trust that they’ll succeed even though their dreams are temporarily on hold for the moment.

Mike Thomas:

Thomas was the first Buckeye taken on Day 2 with Pick #47 in the 2nd Round by the New Orleans Saints.  After the Saints released Marques Colston, their longtime go-to Wide Receiver, they had to make a move to bolster their receiving corps to complement Willie Snead and company.  Thomas has the bloodlines and the sheer potential to add life into the potent Saint Passing onslaught.  He can run routes, he can catch it in traffic and he has the ability to separate from opposing Defensive Backs.  The only thing that he cannot do is return kicks and punts but his skillset will bolster their offensive attack.  Thomas fell into the perfect situation and he has the opportunity to work with a legend in the making in Drew Brees.  He will look to him early and often to learn the playbook and to get the timing and chemistry right for the upcoming season.

Vonn Bell:

Who Dat!?  The Saints strike while the iron was hot during the 2nd Round with the 61st Overall Pick and another Buckeye fell on their laps.  This time in the form of Vonn Bell.  Bell would provide a talented potential starter for the Saints and he would fit in perfectly with Kenny Vaccaro in the Defensive Backfield.  A playmaker to work alongside a thumper is more than Coach Rob Ryan could ask for.  Bell will look to patrol all over the field looking to make plays. Rookie Camp will also be interesting since it’ll be like being back at Ohio State.  He will defend Mike Thomas for the life of their rookie contracts and it looks to be interesting to say the least. Bell is a steal because prior to the NFL Combine, he had projections for the 1st Round.  He will continue to make plays like had always done throughout his Buckeye career and I don’t see any drop off in the NFL.

Adolphus Washington:

Diesel was picked up by the Buffalo Bills in the 3rd Round with the 80th Overall Pick and Rex Ryan is looking to stockpile Defensive Line depth to get a little younger.  After being suspended for the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame, he worked his tail off and got himself back on track.  Although he had been projected to go in the Late 1st Round to Mid 2nd Round, he finally heard his name in the 3rd and it continued the Buckeyes streak.  The biggest asset that Washington has is his quick first step and his ability to beat the initial blocker.  He blows past the slower interior lineman early and often and he has the ability to occupy two blocker to free up one of his fellow Silver Bullets so that they can finish the play.  Overall good fit for the Bills.

Braxton Miller:

X-Brax was taken in the 3rd Round with the 85th Overall Pick to add to a now potent offense.  The Texans took Fighting Irish Wideout Will Fuller in the 1st Round.  They added Lamar Miller to the fold and now all of a sudden the Offense oozes with potential.  Oh, and they still have Hopkins on the roster as well.  Although they had released longtime bruiser Arian Foster, I think that they will just fine.  The Human Highlight Reel will join newly acquired Quarterback and former Denver Bronco, Brock Osweiler in Houston and I am looking forward to seeing if they can light up the scoreboard early and often this season.  Miller will look to prove that the transformation into a new position is complete and that he can be the playmaker that all Buckeye fans know him to be.  He will most likely start in the slot and be Osweiler’s security blanket.

Nick Vannett:

The Seattle Seahawks took Vannett in the 3rd Round with the 90th Overall Pick and although they still have Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson on the roster another Tight End that is well-rounded cannot hurt what they are trying to accomplish.  Yes, the Buckeye Offense rarely used the Tight End, but he was utilized and is a proven blocker.  Don’t let the scarcity of his production fool you because he can catch too.  He can get open and he can beat slower Linebackers and smaller Defensive Backs if asked to.  A workout warrior and a locker room leader, Vannett will learn from Russell Wilson.  I am unsure if he’d see the field early but I feel that if he could contribute in any way possible, he would if given the opportunity.

Josh Perry:

Perry was taken in the 4th with the 102nd Overall Pick and he get’s to team up with former Buckeye and now San Diego Charger, Joey Bosa.  Bosa also had the privilege of announcing his teams pick.  Perry will be a handful for the AFC West.  Not only is he quick off the snap, he can diagnose plays quickly and he is not even close to being injury prone.  Perry is an athlete.  It will be great to see him earn some playing time and watching him grow.  With many other Linebackers on the roster, I think that he will become a Special Teams Ace until players either leave or suffer injuries.

Cardale Jones:

King Dolo Dale was drafted with the last pick in the 4th Round by the Buffalo Bills.  Although Tyrod Taylor is the current Starter at the position, Jones will look to learn and develop while waiting for the opportunity to play.  Jones has arm strength for days and I do not see that being the issue.  His main issue is locking onto a single receiver and his decision making and touch with his throws.  All minor things to work through.  Cardale pulled a Hulk Hogan after finding out that he had been drafted and when he finds his true potential, WHAT YOU GONNA DO BROTHER!?  It’ll be fun to see him succeed when given the shot to.

The Undrafted’s

Although you can debate on whether certain players should’ve stayed an extra year to develop, you really cannot fault them for chasing their dreams and betting on theirselves.  Being Undrafted isn’t necessarily a bad thing because diamonds are usually found in this field.  It is heartbreaking to not hear you name called but these players still have a shot to stick on a roster whether it is on a Practice Squad or a 53 man roster.

Tyvis Powell:

Powell was not drafted but he is a playmaker and a ballhawk.  He chose to sign with the Seattle Seahawks joining Nick Vannett.  He has a knack for making timely plays and what better environment to learn from that from the L.O.B?  The Legion of Boom will assist his progression throughout Training Camp.  Although a longshot to make the roster, he can still be placed on the Practice Squad to he can hone and develop into a contributor on the Active Roster.

Jalin Marshall:

Marshall should’ve stayed to develop into a star, but like I had mentioned, I cannot blame a player for betting on himself and believing in his ability.  Marshall signed with the New York Jets and he joins former Buckeye Devin Smith in a new look offense.  Smith played a key role in the recruitment of Marshall and together they could wreak havoc on opposing defenses if they can develop.

Chase Farris:

Farris signed on with the Detroit Lions and joined Taylor Decker on the Offensive Line.  Not many people know that Farris was originally a Defensive Lineman out of high school but due to the lack of able bodies on the offensive side, he was converted.  Farris was the final piece to the Offensive Line puzzle that won all the marbles for the Buckeyes two years ago.  An able blocker and strong as an ox, Farris will look to once again work alongside Decker.

 

Well it was fun covering this and I cannot wait to see the talent over the next few years develop and have a chance to break the Miami Hurricanes record of 6 players drafted in the 1st Round.  Although some players’ dreams weren’t realized, nothing is ever easy and they will all continue to fight to secure a spot on their respective teams.  Oh and before I forget GO BUCKS!

***FWIW:  A kicker was drafted in the 2nd Round…  And the first Wolverine to come off the board?  Graham Glassgow in the 3rd…  Yeah the talent overflows up north (sarcasm)…  Buckeyes over everything…  Especially over anything Maize and Blue.***

Post Spring Game Shuffle: Quarterback and Running Backs

As we all inch closer toward the Regular Season, all the excitement and buzz surrounds the annual Scarlet Vs. Gray Spring Game.  This is normally the time of the year where the entire roster receives a chance to “control their destiny”.  This is the time for the relative unknowns to display their talent to a raucous crowd within the confines of The Shoe.  It is a time for the young Buckeyes to show their coaches what they can bring to the table, whether it is as a starter, part-time starter or a rotation player, the time is now for them to put on a show for all to enjoy.  Whether you are a die-hard Buckeye fan or a fan of another team, this will be a spectacle to enjoy and see.  The future should be as bright as the sun and for the non-Buckeye fans, prepare to get scorched and pan-seared because this years team, albeit young and replacing a bevy of starters, should be their normally dangerous selves by the time the fall rolls around.  Here is an in-depth look at our future Buckeye Football Team.

The Return of J.T. Barrett:

It has been a poorly kept secret, but…  Although we had endured through a mass exodus at the Quarterback position, we still managed to retain one of the previous “Big Three”.  That is a huge plus as the Buckeyes look to move forward with the heir apparent to the Buckeyes’ Quarterback Throne.  J.T. Barrett or better known as Just Touchdowns Barrett chose to stay for at least one more season to lead the Buckeyes this fall through the grueling 2017 College Football Schedule, with road games at Oklahoma, at Wisconsin, at Penn State, at Maryland and at Michigan State.  His experience on the road and as a starter would help ease the transition with this years offensive line, skill players and playmakers.

Barrett possesses big game experience and that is a major plus for the team.  Barrett’s poise under pressure and familiarization with the offensive scheme will be the determining factor.  After getting the starting nod from Coach Meyer after week 8 due to the sloppy play from former starter Cardale Jones.  Let’s just say that the offense started humming and thoroughly destroyed the hapless Rutgers team at Piscataway.  The team responded and huddled around J.T. Barrett and delivered their most resounding and prettiest win in recent memory.  I expect this years offense to do the same, although it may take some time to adjust to the new personnel.

Barrett had somewhat of a hard time this spring with all of the more experienced players on the mend due to injuries suffered last season.  Noah Brown (Broken Leg), Corey Brown (Broken Leg) and Curtis Samuel (Broken Foot) all chose to rest their bodies this time around, but don’t think that they won’t be huge factors for the Buckeyes this fall.  They will be leaned on heavily for their experience during key moments and stretches of the season.  Barrett finished the spring game 13 of 22 for no touchdowns and two interceptions.  No need to push that worry button through, this is by no means any indication of what is in store for us this fall.  He will revert back to the form and player that we all know and love.

Battle for #2:

Joey Burrow and Stephen Collier have been dueling for the designation as the backup quarterback at Ohio State.  The spring game was used as a platform to audition for that role on the team.  Burrow had the slight edge over Collier throughout the spring workouts and scrimmages.  Now after the spring game, he extended his lead and he might have secured the starting role.  Burrow led the Scarlett team over Barrett and Collier’s Grey team to a 28-17 victory.  Burrow finished 14 of 23 for 196 yards and 3 touchdowns and a single interception to a leaping Jerome Baker.  Burrow showed the poise and precision and even touch on his throws and Coach Meyer and company couldn’t be any happier.  Collier finished 4 of 9 for 154 yards and an interception.  Although the numbers were decent for Collier, it wasn’t as productive as Burrows day and for that Burrow secured the backup spot, for now.  We all know that the Buckeyes are deep at just about every position and with the pending arrival of Dwayne Haskins, you can never count any Buckeye out.  An opportunity will arise and whoever is in line will take full advantage of the opportunity.

Conclusion:

So to conclude, the future at Quarterback is in good hands and is very bright.  Once J.T. Barrett moves on, Burrow and Collier will surely step up and keep the tradition going.  With Haskins from the 2016 Class and Clark from 2017 and potentially other Quarterback targets such as current Texas A & M commit Tate Martell (Arizona) and current Baylor commit Kellen Mond (Florida) constantly coming up inside of recruiting circles close to the Buckeyes, I think we will be set and that we are in good hands for years to come.

Saying Goodbye to a Legend:

After the stunning loss to Michigan State last season, Ezekiel Elliot let the coaching staff and the world that he wanted more carries to lead his team to victory.  That did not happen and after the game he stated that there was no way that he would be coming back for another season in the Scarlet and Gray.  Although disappointing, I feel that everything happens for a reason and Elliot got what he wanted and consistently ran down opposing defenses throats to cap his final season off as a Buckeye.  Although he would be sorely missed, I feel that the current crop of Running Backs at Ohio State have the talent to carry the tradition of the bruising Running Back.  Let’s look over the many options that the Buckeyes hope to unleash this season.

Baby ‘Los Running Wild:

Saying goodbye to Zeke was tough, but what better way to replace a legend with a Running Back who has the same body type and play style like another former Buckeye great, Carlos Hyde.  Baby ‘Los or Mike Weber is better known for nearly flipping to TTUN in what was simply a misunderstanding between both parties as a former coach bolted for the NFL.  That is done and over with and now we have this young and hungry Running Back who shined during the spring game.  Weber finished with 38 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns inside of the red zone.  He was quick, ran with determination and he ran with the power that we had grown accustomed to with Carlos Hyde.  He currently is in a battle for the starting gig with upperclassman and our next player.

Five Star Redemption:

The stress of being a highly touted recruit, a Five Star Recruit as a matter of fact can be very difficult.  Brionte’ Dunn was a player similar to previous players like Curtis Grant who never could live up to the hype.  That is not by any means a slight to Dunn.  He was slotted to be the lead back after Warren Ball transferred out.  Dunn can be a solid back as previously seen during mop-up duty.  He runs with authority, runs with power and is determined to reach pay dirt.  The problem?  He played behind Running Backs like Daniel “Boom” Herron, Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliot.  That is some tough sledding for a player who was so highly regarded in high school, but he stayed because he bought in and he will most like be in the rotation throughout the year.  Whether it’s on spot duty or when games are out of hand look for him to follow the same path as fellow Five Star Curtis Grant.  Although he suffered an injury to his ankle during spring practice, he was unable to suit up for the spring game.  Regardless if he played or not, I feel that he will earn some snaps and opportunities.

Early Enrollee Turning Heads:

Being able to participate in the spring game not only gives you a head up on the competition, it gives you a chance to learn the playbook and earn a few snaps.  It also gives you valuable face time with your peers and your coaches.  Antonio Williams flipped his Wisconsin commitment and signed on with the Buckeyes late into the 2016 recruiting cycle.  I couldn’t find any stats but I don’t think he did too bad.  He is a true freshman and it will come with time.  But in the classroom he is doing it the way it is supposed to be. Although he didn’t burst into the scene, he has made a positive impression on the coaching staff.  I think Williams will earn some snaps sporadically throughout the season.  He just has to be patient and trust the coaches and the process.

Conclusion:

I think Weber will earn the starting nod.  He showed that he is game ready and capable.  Dunn will be the second Running Back and Williams will work until he earns the playing time he craves.  It is no slight to the player.  I wish there were enough carries to go around but none of these Running Backs will back down.