Playstation Fiesta Bowl Preview: Ohio State (11-1, 8-1 BIG) vs Clemson (12-1, 7-1 ACC)


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Who:      The #2 Clemson Tigers versus The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes

What:     College Football Playoff Semi Final, Playstation Fiesta Bowl

Where:  University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

When:    7 p.m. ET on December 31, 2016


Game Day is here and with hours in between kickoff, I will ease my anxiety with doing one last article before the recap.  In roughly 9 hours, the game will begin and I will take the time to talk about the matchups within the game because there are many juicy matchups between each unit for both teams.  The magnifying glass will be placed on each of those units, regardless of which team wins out, in the end, this game will be used to analyze talent on both teams that are potential NFL Draft prospects if they declare either after or before the game.  This game is viewed as the game to watch because the last team both of these teams met in the Orange Bowl two years ago, it was a shootout.  This year looks to follow suit with a potent offense versus a stellar defense.  Clemson’s Offense is lethal and Ohio State’s Defense is suffocating and this is guaranteed to impress no matter who wins and who loses.

Friends Turned Foes:

imgres-7Urban Meyer and Dabo Swinney share a bond as they both grew as coaches.  Coach Meyer has the edge with multiple championships and one of them came at the expense of his current team when he coached up at Florida.  Coach Swinney on the other hand built Clemson into the monster that they are currently, and he is looking for another shot to prove his worth as a coach and as a team.  Coach Swinney was playful during media day as he playfully mentioned Meyer’s book, constantly mentioning excerpts when given the chance.  Coach Meyer on the other hand was dialed in and seemed distant and focused on the task at hand.  Clemson dished Meyer one of the 5 losses during his tenure at Ohio State.  He gave Meyer his first consecutive loss streak, after Meyer and the Buckeyes fell short in the Big Ten Championship Game.  Is Meyer plotting his revenge?  Will he have something in store for them?  The doubters, who are assuming that Clemson will move on with little to no challenge from the Buckeyes?  The mental chess match between Meyer and Swinney began when the Playoff field was announced.  This is one of the friends turned foes battles.

images-8J.T. Barrett versus Deshaun Watson will be the other friend versus foe matchup to focus your attention on.  Barrett and Watson were good friends when they both served as counselors for an elite passing Camp.  Their relationship has blossomed since as they shared the “see you in Arizona” pleasantries when discovering that their teams will go up against one another.  This will be Watson’s pass-happy attack versus Barrett’s run heavy offense.  Both Quarterbacks aren’t talking and both don’t have to with the body of work that they have created with their respective teams. Both teams will play fast and hard, both teams will be prepared for the kitchen sink at each other, both teams will ride the wave with their Quarterback.  Both players are proven winners and they will look to display their value on the field.

Trench Wars:

51859_hThe battle in the trenches will be another factor in the game. Ohio State has three new starters on the Offensive Line with Junior Jamarco Jones, True Freshman Michael Jordan and Sophomore Isaiah Prince, who has been the chink in the Slobs’ armor at Right Tackle.  Prince will be the crux of if Ohio State is productive on offense and Jordan will also be tested early and often.  Prince will face star Defensive Lineman and former Ohio State target, Christian Wilkins and Jordan faces another beast lineman and another former target, Dexter Lawrence.  Wilkins is a quick twitch lineman, who flashes the speed and burst to blow past linemen and Lawrence has the bulk and outweighs all the Slobs at 340 lbs.  He will be used to take double-teams to free up his companions.  He is also a bully in the interior and the leaders for the Slobs will be tested and busy the entire game.  Pat Elflein and Billy Price will look to stop the bleeding attempting to keep Barrett upright and untouched.  It is easier said than done with the talent on Clemson’s D-Line.

imgresClemson’s has a stout Offensive Line and they are beyond beefed up as they average 310 lbs on every position with their Right Guard being the heaviest at 340 lbs.  The Rushmen will face their toughest challenge of the year trying to reach Deshaun Watson in the backfield.  Clemson boasts a Left Tackle and former Ohio State targer, Mitch Hyatt who has allowed one sack in his tenure at Clemson.  This matchup will be another factor as the battle in the trenches looks to become another tough, but exciting matchup for both teams.  The trench wars will be one of the highlights and the main attraction of the game due to Ohio State’s inability to protect the line line of scrimmage.  With Prince struggling mightily, will he finally earn his star in College Football circles?  Or will he fail once again?  You will never know until the first couple of drives but it very intriguing and my heart hurts just thinking about what could go wrong and what could potentially happen.

Explosive Offense VS Stingy Defense:

imgres-4Ohio State has one of the best secondaries in College Football and they will be needed to stop Clemson’s explosive offense.  Ohio State has playmakers at every level on the defense and Clemson does too, but players like Malik Hooker is a scoring threat with Conley and Lattimore locking down their receivers.  The explosive offense will be a problem as well because Clemson, like Ohio State has playmakers on offense, who can break the game wide open for Watson.  This matchup focuses on WR’s Mike Williams, Artavis Scott, Hunter Renfrow, TE Jordan Leggett and RB Wayne Gallman matching up against Gareon Conley, Marshon Lattimore, Damon Arenette, Denzel Ward, Damon Webb and Malik Hooker.  This will be another exciting matchup between a suffocating defense versus and crazy good offense.  If this doesn’t get you as excited and paranoid as I currently am, you might be dead.  Get a pulse because this could be the matchup that could decide who advances to the big dance.  Ohio State collects athlete’s and playmakers, who add a different element to the defense.  Their secondary is one of the best in taking the ball away and turning it into points.  The Buckeyes have 7 TD’s for points and Hooker has 3 of them.  Turnover’s will be key in this contest that could go either way.

mike-williams-clemsonClemson initially opened up as a three point underdog, even as the higher seed.  They feel slighted and they should because their playmakers will look to do some damage on the vaunted Ohio State Secondary who is known to shift the momentum during close games.  Mike Williams is a dog and a playmaker who can also shift games in their favor.  The rest of the playmakers who start and a few of their key reserves would also do the same.  It is just a matter of protecting the ball and their Quarterback.  It is a strength versus strength battle with both teams as they both look to advance forward.  This will not be a cakewalk for either team.  Ohio State’s Secondary will be one of the best that they have seen so far this season and likewise with Clemson’s Offense.  Clemson will be the best offense that they have faced this season because the depth and talent at every position.  This will be crazy to see both squads fighting to advance into the Championship Game.  Talent versus talent for the glory.

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The Ohio State Offense will lean on Curtis Samuel and the rest of Zone 6 to produce.  Zone 6 has struggled mightily to get separation during games and that is one reason why J.T. Barrett’s production has been lacking a reliable and consistent receiving threat outside of Samuel.  This will be an interesting factor and the pundits are expecting Clemson to put this one out of reach early, with no one giving the Buckeyes a shot with their lack of a passing threat.  It is true that he hasn’t been required to throw it downfield, but when the running is so effective, why change what works.  The Clemson Defense will key in on this fact as they look to shut down Ohio State’s run game early.  The production for Mike Weber and friends, and Samuel will be needed to pull this one out.  One of the Zone 6 members or a couple of them need to show their talent in order to win out.  Binjimen Victor, K.J. Hill, Dontre Wilson, Parris Campbell and Marcus Baugh will be needed, badly.

imgres-4On the other end, the Clemson Secondary will be leaned on to keep the Buckeyes contained.  If Gallman struggles, then it’ll be a defensive battle and both teams are pretty good on offense and defense, it is just a matter of opportunity to make plays.  That is all you could ask for.  Both teams will look to cancel each other out and this will be the epic battle of the century.  The strengths and weaknesses are obvious and well documented and it is up to every unit to produce or make play when needed to.  This will be a crazy game filled with many momentum swings and it will be a good one.  Everyone will be glued to their seats as we watch how the game unfolds.  Are we in store for a blowout or another overtime dance with another well-coached contender.  Who knows, but we will find out in a couple of hours.

Conclusion:

So to conclude, this will be a fight from beginning to end.  Both teams will swing for the fences for a chance at the title.  Everything will be left out on the field after this one.  One team will advance and the other will face their end to a magical season.  For my prediction, I have Ohio State advancing after a hard fought victory.  It will come down to the wire, whether in overtime or at the ending seconds of the game.  This will be a defensive struggle with both teams struggling to get things going.  Barrett does it again, 31-34 Buckeyes.  The a member of the Ohio State Defense will turn the tide on a turnover.  I don’t know who it’ll be and Clemson will be paying attention to where Hooker is lurking, essentially avoiding him.  My guess is McMillan or Baker wreak havoc and Nick Bosa has a game in the Rushmen Package.  A shootout will happen.  Go Bucks!!!

 

 

 

Preview: Ohio State (11-1, 8-1 BIG) vs Clemson (12-1, 7-1 ACC) Part 5

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The huge day is almost upon us and I am nearly complete with my preview series of the Ohio State versus Clemson matchup in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl.  It was a blast getting back into the swing of things, but sadly, the College Football Season is drawing to a close.  The thought of life without College Football makes me cringe, and the anticipation when awaiting the beginning of a new season will seem to drag on.  Now I am certainly not chalking this contest up as a sure loss, just like the Penn State defeat, anything can happen, so I will stick to that until this next game is completed.  The beauty of College Football is anyone can take down the big bad giant, at any given moment.  The passion is unmatched and you could see it in each individual players eyes and in the way that they carry themselves on the field.  Ohio State is already being counted out by everyone who is paid to talk about it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way than that. The Buckeyes thrive when playing the underdog role.  Ohio State is favored by a mere field goal, but they are already being counted out before the game even begins.  We will see what they do when the opening kickoff commences.

Defensive Backs:

Each team has strengths and advantages in certain areas.  Clemson has a dominant and stout Defensive Line that loves to get to the opposing Quarterbacks.  Both teams, in my opinion, are equal when comparing the Line Backing Core’s, as they are both rangy, athletic, sure-tacklers, who can play from sideline to sideline.  Ohio State has an advantage at Defensive Back and their defenders have shown a knack for making clutch plays during crunch time.  The Silver Bullets have 19 total interceptions for the season, 3 of which were takeaways from Line Backers,  so the Scarlet Curtain accounted for 16 of the 19 interceptions for the season, and 6 of the 7 interceptions for scores for the defense.  They have the ability to flip the field and score on that end as well because they have 7 pick six’s for the season.  Clemson’s Defensive Backs aren’t terrible either, as a defense they have 18 total interceptions, with 2 being taken back for scores.  14 of them were due to the Defensive Backs on their roster, 4 of their interceptions were from their Line Backers and their backs took both picks to the house.  I will give the Buckeyes the slight edge, due to the production of their unit and their ability to turn the tide in the ball game, but for now, I will go over each key player.

Ryan Carter, CB:

imgres-1Ryan Carter is a Redshirt Junior who will be most likely be matched up against Noah Brown during this contest.  Clemson tends to blitz, a lot, and that leaves their Cornerbacks on islands with opposing pass catchers.  Carter is listed as being 5-9, 180 lbs and he comes from Grayson, Georgia.  Carter has 28 tackles for the season, with 18 of those tackles being solo tackles.  He also has one interception, one sack and he has 5.5 tackles for loss for the season so far.  Carter will be charged with locking down the outside receivers.  Size is always a concern, but he plays up to his competition as he has tallied 7 total pass break-ups to date.  He will contend with unproven and young receivers this game, who routinely struggle to get separation from defenders.  The blitzing and the constant pressure will be leaned upon to prevent big splash plays from occurring as Carter will be tasked to shut his man down.

Cordrea Tankersley, CB:

imgres-2Cordrea Tankersley is one of the Senior leader’s of the Defensive Backs as he looks to finish out his career at Clemson with another shot at the Championship, and hopefully against Alabama.  They have to go through the Buckeyes prior to that, and with the media counting them in the Championship Game already, why not share the same mindset.  Right?  Tankersley is second on the team in interceptions with 3.  He has made 43 tackles and 32 of them were solo tackles.  He leads his team with 10 pass break ups and he has 6 tackles for losses.  He will be shadowing Curtis Samuel for the majority of the game.  His leadership will be needed as that, by no means is an easy assignment.  He will need to be ready for whatever the Buckeyes throw at him because in the Pitt loss, he was not playing up to his ability and the team suffered their first and only defeat of the year.

Van Smith, FS:

imgres-3Van Smith is the starting Free Safety for this Clemson squad replacing T.J. Green, who now plays in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts.  He has big shoes to fill, but he has filled the void.  Smith is listed as being 5-11, 195 lbs and he has grown up this past season.  He leads the Defensive Backs in tackles with 87 and 59 of them were of the solo variety.  He has 5 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles and pass break ups.  He will be roaming the backfield with reckless abandon, to attempt to make plays on the inexperienced receivers that Ohio State has on their roster.  Smith plays aggressively and tends to over pursue, but more often than not, he makes the play.  He is rangy as he looks toward this matchup against the Buckeyes.

Jadar Johnson, SS:

imgres-4Jadar Johnson is the starter at Strong Safety and he replaced Jayron Kearse after he left for the pros.  Johnson is listed as 6-0, 210 lbs and he is the hammer on the defense and the other Senior on the roster.  Johnson leads his team with 5 interceptions for the season and is second in tackles with 49 and 34 solo tackles.  He has 1.5 tackles for loss with 7 pass break ups.  He is the leader on the back end and he has a ton of confidence prior to this game as he has been talking about J.T. Barrett during media days. Although he is correct about Barrett’s lack of statistics in the throwing department, he cannot discount the fact that he is just as capable as the “better” Quarterbacks that he has faced this season.  Lamar Jackson is a beast and I know this, and that is why I am not completely disagreeing with him, but to throw a Buckeye under the bus prior to the game?  Think Oklahoma.  But this should be a fun matchup to see how Barrett responds to the chatter.  If he is able to find the time to make the correct throw, watch out.

Gareon Conley, CB:

imgresGareon Conley, from Massillon, Ohio was on the cusp of becoming a hated rival for the Buckeyes, but a last minute offer turned him toward the Scarlet and Gray, and the rest is history. Conley turned out to be a suitable replacement for Eli Apple after he left for the New York Giants.  Conley is 6-0, 195 lbs and he is the one of the older members of this secondary being in his Junior season.  Conley has 3 interceptions this season, 20 total tackles, 16 solo tackles and 8 pass break ups.  He takes on the opposing offenses best receiver, which will be Mike Williams, who is a projected First Round lock in the upcoming draft.  This will be one of the most anticipated matchups in this game as Williams is projected to go in the first round and Conley is floating around in the Late First Round to Second Round.  With a good showing, I could see him shoot up draft boards prior to the combine, but that is assuming that he shuts down Williams during the game.  Conley will looks to advance against a loaded receiving corps that can score at will.

Marshon Lattimore, CB:

imgres-2Marshon Lattimore has finally beat the injuries to live up to the expectations from when he first set foot onto the campus.  After lingering injuries prevented him from playing, he broke into the College Football scene after 2 years of waiting.  It has been a sight to see as he is second on the team in total interceptions with 4 for the season.  He brought one to the house against Tulsa to break the game wide-open for the Buckeyes.  He could have had two, but a penalty erased one from existence, but he shows the playmaking ability with his speed and man to man skills, which will be needed against a loaded offense that Clemson possesses.  Lattimore is also a sure tackler with 38 and 27 solo tackles.  He has 9 pass break ups as he and Conley are usually placed on islands during games and they will look to shut down whoever they both face.

Damon Webb, FS:

imgres-3Damon Webb, a player plucked from Michigan is the starting Free Safety at Ohio State who is replacing Vonn Bell.  Webb is the smallest member of the secondary, but he plays with a lot of heart and fire.  At 5-10, 195 lbs the Junior will look to shut down this talented Clemson Offense.  Webb has 53 tackles for the season with 29 solo tackles and he has 2 tackles for a loss with an interception for a score and 3 pass break ups.  He will be tasked with stopping the Tight End and the Slot Receivers during the game.  Ward has the ability to tackle, but he often relies on big hits to dislodge the ball away from the receivers and he will need to wrap up this game.  Coverage will be key as the Clemson Offense can put up points in a variety of ways.  Discipline will be key in this matchup as he will face the most potent offense this season.

Malik Hooker, SS:

imgres-4Malik Hooker is the star of this Ohio State Defense as he leads the team in interceptions with 6 and 3 of those went for touchdowns.  Hooker, a Redshirt Sophomore will look to make plays against a dangerous offense that Clemson will attempt to unleash.  Hooker will be one of the obstacles in their way, because he has shown his ability to make key, timely plays in the clutch.  Hooker nearly left the Buckeyes after being unable to obtain a starting position, but family and the coaching staff made it happen and look what they have unleashed.  Hooker was a three star recruit out of New Castle, Pennsylvania coming out of high school and he is one player where stars did not matter.  Hooker is 6-2, 205 lbs and he is a threat on the field.  He is the ball hawk of the secondary and he can do it all from sideline to sideline.  Hooker has 67 tackles, 38 solo, 5 for loss, he has half a sack and 5 pass break ups.  His stats aren’t gaudy in those categories, but he can hurt you in a variety of ways.  He will hover around the field to make plays.  Hopefully he could add to his stats at the end of the game.

Specialists:

Special Teams is important when fighting for field position.  Both teams will look to unleash their respective Special Teams members when needed to flip the field and kick field goals and extra points. They, like everyone else, needs to bring their A Game and as we inch closer, their kicks and punts will play a role during this contest.

Greg Huegel, K:

imgres-5Greg Huegel will be the primary kicker for the contest.  Huegel is a Redshirt Sophomore who stands at 5-11, 195 lbs.  He will be the primary kickoff man as well.  He has 86 kickoffs for the season and 36 of them were touchbacks.  He has kicked 17 field goals this season, making 13 of them for a 76.5% field goal success rate.  For extra points, Huegel is 62 of 64 for a 96.9% success rate.  This will be key in this game as every point matters and is of great importance.

Andy Teasdall, P:

images-2Andy Teasdall is a Redshirt Senior who is looking to cap off his Clemson career on top of the College Football mountain, but he will need two wins to do it.  The first battle to the top will be against Ohio State and he will be asked to pin the Ohio State Offense deep within their territory to unleash the hounds.  Teasdall has 48 total punts for 1808 yards and he is averaging 37.67 yards per punt and 150.7 yards per game.  Teasdall will try to pin J.T. Barrett deep the entire game to give his defense a chance to make plays.

Tyler Durbin, K:

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Tyler Durbin, a former walk-on, earned his starting gig after Sean Nuernberger was injured.  He has been quite the asset, but his most recent performance against Michigan before coming up clutch to force overtime was a much needed confidence booster for him.  For the season Durbin is 17 for 19 with his two misses and last make coming in the overtime thriller in Columbus.  Durbin hit 89.5% of his field goals and 63 out of 65 of his extra point attempts, which sits at 96.9%.  Durbin is also in charge of kickoffs and out of 92 kickoffs this season, 35 of them were touchbacks for a total of 38.04%.  He like the Clemson kicker, will be used to score whenever called upon to extend the lead or earn points to pull a little closer.  Coach Meyer has been alongside him whenever he practices kicking field goals and he will need ice in his veins to keep up with this Clemson Offense.

Cameron Johnston, P:

imgres-6Camerson Johnston is a Senior Punter from Australia who is also looking to cap off his Buckeye career on top of the College Football mountain, but Clemson will be a tough task with the Athletes that they have at every position.  Ohio State has the same quality and quantity of athletes, but it makes it very hard to choose who would win.  Johnston will be looked at to flip the field on Special Teams with his patented rugby style kick.  He has been effective when utilized for punts.  He has punted the ball 49 times for 2266 yards and he is averaging 46.24 per punt and 188.8 yards per game which is absurd.  He has one rushing attempt, that if properly blocked, would’ve been enough for a fourth down conversion, but it was not meant to be.  He will be needed to give the Buckeyes a chance on defense.

 

Preview: Ohio State (11-1, 8-1 BIG) vs Clemson (12-1, 7-1 ACC) Part 4

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With only four short days away, the inevitable clash between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Clemson Tigers in Glendale, Arizona is coming.  The thought of the Semi-Final Playoff bout between two top-tier programs that are vying for a spot in the Playoff Championship Game fills my heart with a good mix of nervousness and excitement, and I am somewhere in the middle.  I occasionally am paranoid when the Buckeyes play and this game is no exception.  Hopefully, Ohio State can advance, but this should be another instant classic that the Buckeyes are participating in.

Defensive Front Seven:

Both teams possess stellar and stout defenses capable of holding opposing offenses down until their respective offenses get things rolling.  After the completion of last season, both Ohio State and Clemson suffered a mass exodus when a group of starter left to begin their careers in the NFL.  Clemson had 12 players drafted with Shaq Lawson being the only player who was drafted in the first round.  Clemson had four players taken in the first three rounds.  Ohio State also had 12 players drafted, but they saw Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Eli Apple, Taylor Decker and Darron Lee being taken in the first round and a total of 10 players taken in the first three rounds.  Both teams took a hit on talent on the defensive side of the ball and when comparing both teams losses, Clemson lost 8 total defenders and Ohio State lost 7 on their end.  Both teams showed their ability to recruit and reload, and they both have players on their respective rosters that they battled each other for.  Can their new-look defenses shut down the opposing teams’ offense?

Christian Wilkins, DE:

imgresChristian Wilkins, who stands at 6-4, 310 lbs is one of the playmakers on this Clemson Defense who can disrupt the rhythm of opposing offenses and he will be the one to set the tone for this defense.  Wilkins was a one of the few five star recruits that Coach Meyer wanted badly, but things tend to happen for a reason.  Wilkins is a beast who can affect offenses because of his motor and his willpower.  Wilkins has 44 total tackles this season with 21 solo tackles.  He has 12 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks to go along with that.  The Slobs will face their toughest defensive front to date.  Wilkins will look to make an impact in the trenches.

Carlos Watkins, DT:

imgres-1Carlos Watkins is Clemson’s 6-3, 300 lbs Redshirt Senior who is the oldest player on the Defensive Line.  Watkins has tallied 41 tackles with 22 solo tackles.  He has 8.5 sacks for the season and 10.5 tackles for loss with a blocked kick to add to his stat sheet. Watkins is a penetrator and one of the most influential players on the young Defensive Line.  He will work with the other linemen to disrupt the Ohio State Offensive Lineman.  Watkins is the third heaviest lineman on the line, but he is ruthless.  He will look to take advantage of True Freshman Michael Jordan in this matchup inside the trenches.

Dexter Lawrence, DT:

imgres-2True Freshman Dexter Lawrence was the other prized five star recruit that Coach Meyer missed out on.  His recruitment went down to the wire and Ohio State nearly had it, but distance was the key determining factor in this recruiting battle between Clemson and Ohio State.  Lawrence is from North Carolina and he is the heaviest lineman on the defense.  He is 6-5 and he weighs 340 lbs.  Lawrence is literally the anchor and he will be matched up against Elflein and Price along the interior.  He has logged 58 total tackles with 19 solo tackles, he has 9 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and he has 2 blocks on Special teams.  He has an engine and he will be a problem for the Slobs the entire game.

Clelin Ferrell, DE:

imgres-3Clelin Ferrell is the lightest Defensive Lineman on Clemson’s roster.  Ferrell is 6-5, 265 lbs and he is the quickest member on the squad as well.  Ferrell has 39 tackles with 16 solo tackles, he has 8.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks for the season.  He earns his keep by pressuring the opposing Quarterback.  He will line up against Isaiah Prince, who is Ohio State’s biggest question mark.  He has given up an excess of 45+ Qb pressures and Clemson will take that matchup.  They will look to pressure J.T. Barrett early and often to disrupt his rhythm and put him on his back.  This will be one of the matchup’s to watch as Prince will look to redeem himself against a stout Clemson front who loves to blitz, a lot.

Dorian O’Daniel, WLB:

imgres-4Dorian O’Daniel is 6-1, 215 lbs and is a fourth year Junior.  He has 48 tackles for the season with 31 solo tackles.  He is a sure tackler with the grit and determination to bring down the ball carrier.  He has 9 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. O’Daniel will be used on the edges and he is one of the many speed rushers that Clemson seems to stockpile on their roster. He plays like Vic Beasley as he looks to terrorize the Ohio State Offensive Tackles.

Kendall Joseph, MLB:

imgres-5Kendall Joseph is 6-0, 230 lbs and he is from South Carolina playing for his home state team.  Although he is the smallest member of their Linebacking core, he plays with the grit and the determination of a bigger player.  Joseph is a playmaker and he sits at second on the team in tackles with 94 tackles and 49 of those are solo tackles.  He has 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 5 Qb hurries and a forced fumble.  He will attempt to wreak havoc on the Buckeyes O-Line to expose their youth at both Offensive Tackle spots and at Left Guard.  Joseph is only Redshirt Sophomore, but he has played in big games, as he gained valuable experience during last season’s College Football Playoff run.

Ben Boulware, WLB:

images-2Ben Boulware is the heart and the soul of this Clemson Defense.  He play with fire and you could see it when he steps onto the field and after he makes plays.  Boulware, a Senior out of Anderson, South Carolina who is 6-0, 235 lbs leads all tacklers in the front seven with 105 tackles and he has 50 solo tackles.  He has been disruptive with 9 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Boulware plays with the raw emotion that gets his team up for games, but that could also be his downfall.  He is known to have a short fuse and he is prone to penalties, but he is a valuable playmaker that needs to get going early.  He will be used on blitzes and in coverage as he looks for the win and a Championship berth.

Sam Hubbard, DE:

images-3Sam Hubbard stands at 6-5, 266 lbs and he was tabbed as an Athlete coming out of high school.  He was supposed to become a Safety for the Buckeyes, but a growth spurt shifted him toward the D-Line.  Hubbard has 41 tackles and 18 of those were solo tackles.  He has 7 tackles for loss with 3 sacks.  He sees a lot of double teams while on the field and not in the vaunted Rushmen Package.  He does his job well and frees up the Line Backers from the trenches.  Hubbard is an effective pass rusher and he will be looked at to hold containment when Watson attempts to rush the ball and rush the passer as well.

Dre’mont Jones, DT:

images-5Dre’mont Jones benefited from the injury to Tracy Sprinkle during the offseason.  He is 6-3, 280 lbs and he fits the Ohio State mold of the athletic and disruptive space eater in the interior.  Jones, a Redshirt Freshman, started off slow, but he has gained more consistency and confidence as the season draws to a close.  Jones has registered 46 total tackles as an interior Defensive Lineman with 18 solo tackles.  He will be used to disrupt the linemen in the trenches.  He will most likely be used in a rotation as the Buckeyes have depth at just about every spot on the defensive front seven.  Although Jones has no sacks to show, he shows up on film constantly taking on double-teams and catching the attention of O-Lineman to free up a blitzing member of his defense.  He will look to doing battle in the trenches.

Michael Hill, DT:

imgres-6Michael Hill also benefited from the Sprinkle injury, but unlike Jones, he was slated to start alongside him.  Hill is 6-3, 305 lbs and he is the heaviest member of the team.  Like Jones, his stats aren’t mind blowing, but he serves a purpose on the defensive gameplan. He is another space eater that will take on double teams to free up teammates.  He has 19 tackles this season with 7 solo tackles.  He has 3 tackles for loss.  He has the ability to penetrate if given the opportunity and he will line up against a mammoth Right Guard Tyrone Crowder who weighs an astounding 340 lbs.  He will certainly be tough to move and maneuver against, but the war in the trenches will be another aspect of this game to pay attention to.  Hill played high school ball in Pendleton, South Carolina and was also recruited by Clemson.  Hopefully, he plays with the intensity and a chip on his shoulder as he dons the Scarlet and Gray during his third season at Ohio State.

Tyquan Lewis, DE:

imgres-7Tyquan Lewis was another recruit that fought over by both teams.  He played in nearby North Carolina, but chose to branch away and play further away from home.  Lewis is in his third year at Ohio State.  He is 6-4, 266 lbs and he is another pass rusher that fits the mold at Ohio State.  He will be utilized to rush the passer and disrupt the Clemson tempo.  Like Hubbard, he lacks in the statistical aspect of things, but he does his job and plays his role on defense.  He has 10 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.  He has 5 Qb hurries and 3 forced fumbles.  He is a disruptive force and in obvious passing situations, he will be utilized in the Rushmen Package to get to the Quarterback.  He will be looked at to set the tone and ensure his brothers follow suit.  The opposing Tackles opposite of them will be tough tests for Lewis and his teammates, but they will bring the heat as often as they are allowed to.

Chris Worley, SLB:

imgres-8Chris Worley, a Junior out of Cleveland will be one of the playmakers on this defense that will look to cause fits for Clemson’s Offense. Worley is 6-2, 228 lbs and he plays to Ohio State’s standard for Line Backers.  There is a legacy at the position that he has to uphold and he has done a good job as he finally gets his chance after sitting behind players like Darron Lee.  Worley has 59 tackles for the season and 35 of those were done by himself.  Worley has no sacks this season, but he filled that void by gathering an interception, a forced fumble, 2 Qb hurries and he has batted down 4 passes.  He has 4.5 tackles for loss and he will looks to shut down the strong side of the Clemson Offense with his speed and his ability to tackle.  He will have a tough time getting past the Offensive Tackles, but we will have to see what will happen during gameday.

Raekwon McMillan, MLB:

imgres-9Raekwon McMillan will lead the defense after taking the reins after sharing snaps with Curtis Grant.  McMillan is a Junior and a projected early round pick in the upcoming draft, but like all draft eligible players, they are locked-into this matchup with Clemson. McMillan is 6-2, 243 and he is one Coach Meyer’s most prized recruits that he pulled from the heart of the south.  McMillan is from Georgia and he picked Ohio State over Clemson.  He is as motivated as anybody on this defense due to the proximity to home.  McMillan leads all tacklers with 87 total tackles and 37 solo tackles.  He has 5 tackles for loss with a sack, 2 Qb hurries and 2 forced fumbles.  He will need to play the game of his life on defense against a potent Clemson Offense.  He will need to make the right checks and audibles.  He will need to get his teammates motivated and he will need to play motivated like the “basic defense” that shut down the potent Oklahoma Offense.

Jerome Baker, WLB:

imgres-10Jerome Baker also benefited from an injury to a Dante Booker.  Although Booker began as the starter, injuries derailed his chances and it gave way to Baker’s talent. Baker, a Cleveland native, is 6-1, 225 lbs and he plays with a reckless abandon that Darron Lee played with during his Buckeye career.  Baker, Sophomore had the chance to grow under Lee and he certainly plays with the same intensity.  Baker is second on the team in tackles with 79 and 42 of those were solo tackles.  Baker has 8.5 tackles for loss and he is the swiss army knife of the defense.  He has 2 interceptions, 1 of which was a pick-six that he had against Oklahoma and 3.5 sacks. He will be used to rush the passer and play in coverage.  He is as rangy as they come and he has the speed to do both.  The only question mark is his tackling ability.  Sure, he is second on the team, but he rarely wraps up and goes for the huge hit.  He will need to bring his A Game if he wants to advance.

The Reserves:

Both teams have depth in their front seven.  Clemson has Richard Yeargin and Austin Bryant on the Defensive Line to spell the starters.  Ohio State has the likes of Nick Bosa, Jaylin Holmes and Robert Landers who are all disruptive in their own right.  This will be a test of wills for both teams as they looks to advance and both teams are just about even talent-wise.  This will be a game within a game and the team who dominates in the trenches will advance.  This will be a battle until the end and as it draws near, the excitement becomes more overwhelming.  This is a game that could go either way, and it is probably the matchup to watch in the Playoffs.

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.***

All Things Buckeyes

The Battle of CFB’s Storied Programs:

Well after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Fiesta Bowl, the Buckeyes season ends on a high note.  Although, it was only a 16 point win, the Buckeye defense showed promise after DE Joey Bosa exited the game mid to late first quarter.  Backup Sam Hubbard took Bosa’s place and did an admiral job during his absence.  Tyquan Lewis was also playing at a high level throughout the game and as the only starter left on the defensive line, he definitely will have momentum in the upcoming season.  It was evident that Bosa was sorely missed after his untimely exit, but the Buckeyes possess talent all over the depth chart and at every position.  But like always the next man up mentality that is instilled into the culture of the Buckeyes thrived and showed out once again.  Bosa being out and Lewis as the only remaining starter left on the defensive line, with Adolphus Washington serving a suspension and Tommy Schutt out with a broken foot, the reserves show that talent is there at every position.  The struggled in the beginning but came up clutch in the end registering back to back sacks and Darron Lee capped it off with a strip sack to seal the game in the end.

The offense was running on all cylinders and J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliot had their way with the injury-riddled Notre Dame defense who also lost a star in the first quarter in Jaylin Smith, who in fact was a huge Buckeye target and the brother of former Buckeye Running Back, Rod Smith.  Michael Thomas also had a good game scoring a touchdown on a hitch route in the redzone.  The game was never in doubt.  The Buckeyes saw Sparty get demolished by Alabama and the questions and thoughts of “what could have been” plagued the Buckeyes.  In the game it showed the angry and motivated team that should use this as a kickstarter to next years season.  As displayed and heard by Ezekiel Elliot, the Irish “did not want to be there anymore”.  The passion and the motivation was there and it could springboard next years team who, if I am not mistaken, travel to Oklahoma for what is a home and home.  The Buckeyes definitely proved that when they are motivated and when they want to, they cannot be stop and they are one of the best teams in the nation, if not the best.  They will most undoubtedly use this as fuel for next year but it is the end and I am looking forward to National Signing Day.

The Exodus Begins:

It is now official, the Buckeyes season is done and now it is just a waiting game to see who will stay and who will go.  As of now, Bosa, Lee, Powell and Elliot have all declared.  Bell and Thomas are also expected to follow suit, but haven’t let their intentions known.  I will continue to update you on this, but for now let us savor that Fiesta Bowl victory.

The Recruiting Wars:

The Buckeyes received a commitment by way of New York in Jahsen Wint.  The Buckeyes get their yearly flip and there could be one or two more coming.  There is definitely a few more precious spots left and with the potential early NFL Draft departures, there could be more scholly’s up for grabs.  The Buckeyes are looking to close out strong with the number one recruiting class and with the recent LSU commitments, we need a huge effort to close out this year.  My wish list would be Victor, Corley, Gary (Longshot), Lawrence (Another one), Fuller, Hamlin and Haskins.  I am definitely dreaming but anything can happen so we shall see if we can get another few surprises on National Signing Day.

Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast The Game Edition

Chip and I recap (autopsied) That Michigan State game along with fan behavior, which seems more and more Buckeye fans are getting out of hand acting like Penn State fans. We also did our weekly #AskMotSag and MotSaG Pick’Em segments.

We went over to the Darkside to talk about TUN and The Game. Anthony Broome from maizenbrew.com along with David Mormino from TheBigHouseReport.com got to hang out with the cool kids that enjoy the Scarlet and Gray. We fist pay tribute to Chad Carr, the grandson of former Wolverine head coach who just recently passed away from cancer. This rivalry means so much that this young child became a part of Buckeye Nation and we are right there weeping with the Carr family.

Anthony and David we gracious enough to try and help us understand how to recover from a loss. Been so long for the Buckeye’s you forget how to cope with it, who better to turn to right. We actually did discuss the maize and Blue football team and gave our predictions on who would win. Let’s just say it was unanimous.

You should follow Anthony Broome on twitter @anthonytbroome and David Mormino @davidmomino. Even for being fans/bloggers/writers for TUN they really are great guys and always a blast having them on the show.

All Things Buckeyes

Buckeye Blues:

If you are as much of a die-hard Ohio State fan as I am, you are very much displeased with Saturday’s turnout.  With so much anticipation and with so much riding on this game, the Buckeyes just flat out played poorly and sloppily to the point to where minor mistakes derailed their title defense.  Now I am not saying that they are completely out of the Playoff picture, they will just need a lot of help…  A LOT!!!  They need to prepare for a Michigan team hell bent to make a statement in the first installment of Meyer VS Harbaugh.  This will be the most inopportune time to fall asleep or to go through the motions.  Needless to say this is a terrible way to send off their seniors, but it happens in College Football.  This isn’t the last brick in the foundation by any means.  If and I mean IF Penn State can upset Sparty at East Lansing, and IF the Buckeyes show up in Ann Arbor next week, they have a punchers chance.  But with me being the realist that I am, that isn’t the likeliest scenario.  But again, you never know.  Well played Sparty, well played.  Great win and FYI I hate you lol.

Offensive Offense Play Calling:

This is a tricky and touchy subject for me.  What I saw today was atrocious and a complete disaster.  There comes a time and place to call certain plays, but when you run the same QB Draw play expecting a different result?  You sir or ma’am are high.  Whoever is calling the plays on offense needs to be less predictable, less conspicuous.  WHY NOT FEED ZEKE?  But that’s none of my business though.  Something needs to give and Urban Meyer needs to address the lack of creativity when on offense.  Either help out more with the play calling or go out and find a coach who calls less predictable plays.  The QB Draw can only be effective for a short period of time.  Win or lose though, lose in this segment, I am still a proud Buckeye fan.  Hopefully they show some fight and show that they are indeed a great offense.

Recruiting Extravaganza Fail:

Of all the weekends to no-show, it had to be this weekend where all the blue-chip and top choice recruits flooded into the Shoe to watch a battle.  They got a battle on defense from both sides, but the offenses failed to provide a spark.  Especially Ohio State’s.  There is no word yet on what the visiting recruits had said or mentioned about the game, but you never know.  It was a hotly contested game throughout and I think the atmosphere and the fans helped it.  You never know until National Signing Day and we won’t know until an announcement happens, but in this day and age, that means nothing.

Bittersweet Endings:

So there are a ton of media outlets who are reporting that both Ezekiel Elliot and Cardale Jones are headed to the NFL Draft after the season.  That is a huge blow to the Buckeyes when it comes to our current Running Back corps, but with Antonio Williams from this current recruiting class and Mike Weber from last years class, along with Curtis Samuel still in the fold, I see no issues at all with Zeke’s decision.  We are well taken care of in that aspect.  It is also safe to say that the QB position is also covered.  Last year the Buckeyes snagged touted recruits Torrance Gibson and Joe Burrow and they have Tristan Wallace in this current recruiting cycle.  They also still have J.T. Barrett too.  So it is all good for the most part.  I hate to see them go but I think that it’s safe to say that I will trade for all of the former Buckeyes in Madden Next year and I am hoping EA Sports releases another NCAA Football game soon.

Michigan State Spartan Preview

When and Where:

Saturday Novemeber 21,2015 3:30 PM EST
Ohio Stadium Columbus, Ohio msu

TV/Radio
ESPN College GameDay
ABC
Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit
and Heather Cox
Sirius/XM Channel 84

Series History
Overall………………………….Ohio State leads, 29-14
In Columbus………………………Ohio State leads, 14-8
In East Lansing…………………..Ohio State leads, 15-5
Neutral …………………………MSU leads, 1-0
Last Ohio State Win……………… 49-37, 2014 in East Lansing
Last MSU Win……………………. 34-24, 2013 in Indianapolis
Biggest Margin of Victory for OSU ….42-0, 1979
Biggest Margin of Victory for MSU ….32-7, 1965
Longest Winning Steak for OSU ……..8, (1975-84)
Longest Winning Steak for MSU ……..3, (1912-53)
Current Win Streak ……………….Ohio State, 1

Streaks
Urban Meyer 1,000 yard rushers-3
Hyde, Elliott (2)
Ezekiel Elliott 15 straight games with 100+ yards rushing per game
Most consecutive conference victories – Ohio State 30
Most consecutive victories – 23 Ohio State
Consecutive games with a reception – 26 Michael Thomas
24 points a game – 25 Michigan State
Consecutive FBS Bowl appearances – 8

Michigan State Spartans Offense

Sparty is lead by Ohio (Hinkley Township) native Connor Cook. Cook will be coming into Columbus with a possible right shoulder strain, won’t know how or if any effect until Saturday (hopefully he is at full strength). Connor has 2,482 yards with 21 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. He obviously is having a pretty good season averaging 248.2 yards a game passing, 2.1 touchdowns and .4 interceptions. He has a completion rate of 56.3 percent and a passing efficiency of 143.02 percent.

Looking at MSU pass catchers and Aaron Burbridge jumps out at you. Burbridge has 65 receptions for 1021 yards, with 6 touchdowns. His longest reception is 56 yards and averages 15.7 yards a catch for 102.1 yards per game. Following Aaron is RJ Shelton who currently has 34 catches, 376 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. RJ’s longest reception is 29 yards and averages 11.1 yards a reception for 37.6 yards per game. The only other receiver the Spartans have for over 200 yards is Marggarrett Kings with 32 catches, 450 yards and 5 touchdowns. King’s longest reception 42 yards and averages 14.1 yards per catch for 50 yards per game.

The Spartans rushing attack currently has 1524 yards on the ground, 3.9 yards per rush for an average 152.4 yards per game. They have crossed the goal line 19 times with their rushing game. The running back trio of LJ Scott, Madre Landon, and Gerald Holmes have at least 400 yards so far this season, Scott has the most at 531 so far.

Michigan State is averaging 32.9 points a game this season.

Michigan State Spartan Defense

This isn’t the same Sparty defense Buckeye fans have become accustomed to witnessing the past few years. The Spartan defense was probably at their peak in 2013 in my opinion with the best caliber of players. Last year it was a little easier to pass again them than the year before but the rushing defense was still stellar. This season they have some great players, but statically they are surrendering 121 rushing yards per game which is 18th in the nation currently. Their total defense is ranked 46 and to my memory seems a little off from years past. Some of it has to do with injuries and have to admit Pat Narduzzi leaving has hurt some too. The front line of Shilique Calhoun, Malik McDowell, Demetrius Cooper, Lawrence Thomas and Joel Heath will be creating problems for Ohio State’s offensive line. Michigan State has 29 sacks and 12 interceptions. They might not be on paper the scary shutdown defense we might be used to in recent memory but make no mistake about it, they will be creating many issues for the Buckeyes.

NFL Future

There will be quite a few NFL scouts in attendance for the game. There is a good possibility of being 20 draft picks for the 2016 NFL Draft, 8 being First Rounders.

Hard to Say Goodbye

This is going to be a real emotional game for many Buckeyes who are seniors and possible underclassmen declaring early for the draft. Really going to be hard to see Braxton Miller in his final game in Columbus. For everything he has done, been through you just know the fans will be still packed in the Stadium singing Carmen Ohio for the final time in the most majestic place in America.

Ohio State Policy Change

In case you haven’t heard or read yet, Ohio State announced this week after the situation that happened across the pond in Paris they will no longer be allowing you to bring in your backpack or any bag that isn’t see through. Remember the world we live in is forever changing and get to your seats earlier so when you go through and get checked out before entering your not frustrated or being rude to the wonderful folks responsible for helping keep over 100k fans safe.

Let’s Get Defensive: Silver Bullet Edition

Although it is WAY TOO EARLY in the season, I cannot help but give props to the job that Coach Fickell, Coach Johnson, Coach Coombs and Coach Ash for reviving the unit that attracted me to become a full-fledged Ohio State Buckeyes fan.  What a sight to see!  Not only have they restored my faith in the defense, they also resurfaced as the Silver Bullets!  It brings me back to the days when my favorite Buckeye defender ran the show at the Mike Linebacker Position.  Surely, that is a very vague statement and seeing that Ohio State has seen numerous Mike Linebackers shine and run the show.  One comes to mind, James Laurinaitis!  A.J Hawk is also pretty high up there in my list.  You could say the same for Fullback turned Middle Linebacker, Zach Boren.  I get that nostalgic feeling when I see the defense flying around and making plays and having an impact on the game.  That is what you come to Ohio State for and with the new group of gems that Coach Meyer has collected, watch out world!  The Buckeyes are merely scratching the surface!

Ohio State is stacked from top to bottom.  There is no exaggeration either.  Literally at every position on Defense, we are stacked to the point to where the younger less-known players would become starters at other universities.  I know that it really doesn’t make sense, but if you keep your attention right here, it will!  I will talk about everything Defense on this piece.  From the current starters, to Buckeyes on the two-deep and beyond that are waiting for the opportunity to compete and to make plays.  I will also mention potential class of 2016 signees and targets.

Defensive End/Defensive Tackle:

With former great such as Jim Stillwagon, Will Smith and Mike Vrabel who have become productive Ohio State Alumni at the Defensive Line and recent Buckeyes John Simon, Jonathan Hankins, Cam Heyward, Mike Bennett and so fourth, you get where I am headed.  Ohio State produces quality players year in and year out.  The Buckeyes also produce a few busts, such as Vernon Gholston.  It is hit or miss and sometimes the game can sneak up on you or they leave too early and are unprepared for a much different game.  The Buckeyes look to add a few more names on this list of greats with Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington nearing the end of their Buckeye careers, but I am not too worried about it.

This is arguably the deepest position and a definite strength for the Silver Bullets.  With the two-deep all but locked up, if you look past it, you would regret it.  So what if I told you that aside from starters, Joey Bosa and Tyquan Lewis and back-ups, Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard, they still look nasty.  Let’s see behind Holmes and Hubbard are Darius Slade, who was pushing for some playing time and Jashon Cornell.  Last time I checked, Cornell was a blue-chip prospect from Minnesota who oozes potential and New Jersey prospect, Darius Slade who a lot of people slept on.  That is a pretty deep three deep.  Throw in Five Stars Nick Bosa and Jonathan Cooper, then it quickly becomes a four deep.  Talent on top of more talent.  Like the current Quarterback dilemma, the rich get richer.  We are stacked on defense for years to come.  Imagine if Terrell Hall was still committed to the Buckeyes, but I think that it is safe to say that Alabama is benefitting from a “more flexible” and “coach friendly” defense.  No sour grapes and I wish the kid luck in the future.

This position isn’t as deep as the Defensive End situation, but things can change.  Adolphus “Diesel” Washington and Tommy Schutt man the trenches alongside Bosa and Lewis.  Behind them are Donovan Munger who is in a hotly contested battle with Michael Hill and Joel Hale who is ahead of Tracy Sprinkle.  Add Freshman Robert Landers ad DaVon Hamilton waiting in the background for their opportunity.  Factor that with incoming freshman Malik Barrow and recruiting targets,  Rashan Gary, Dexter Lawrence, Rashard Lawrence and Antwuan Jackson, the Buckeyes are only going to get deeper at another position of strength.  I am hoping one or two of the aforementioned names join the 2016, but if it doesn’t happen, we will still be okay.  Barring any unexpected departures for next years draft, I can see a few more targets joining in.

Linebackers:

Linebacker has been a strength for Ohio State.  Flat out!  With names like A.J. Hawk, James Laurinaitis, Ryan Shazier patrolling and leading Defenses and with Legends like Randy Gradishar, Pepper Johnson and Chris Spielman, Ohio State produces NFL ready prospects.  Although many of the LB’s fall through the cracks and end up out of the League, there is no telling what this seasons crop will or won’t do.

Carrying the Linebacking Tradition, Ohio State boasts stars and playmakers alike with Strongside Linebacker Darron Lee, former Five Star Raekwon McMillian and Weakside Linebacker Joshua Perry who all have firm grip on their respective position.  Behind him are Chris Worley, Camren Williams and Dante Booker.  They also have a bevy of future stars in Justin Hilliard, Jerome Baker, Dre’Mont Jones and Nick Conner.  With the depth at the Linebacker position, I can surely say that if the right recruits want in, Coach Meyer will find a way to add them to the class if other positional needs cannot be met.  Current commit Tuf Borland is the only commit at this position, I can comfortably say that we are done with the position.

Defensive Backs:

First off, I am a Broncos fan and another Buckeye great made some plays this week.  Former shut-down corner, Bradley Roby recovered a fumble to win the game for Manning and the Broncos.  Roby is from a long line of Buckeye Greats at the Defensive Back position.  Let’s see, Malcolm Jenkins, Kurt Coleman, Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Donte Witner, Chris Gamble, Nate Clements and Will Allen.  Add Legendary players like Jack Tatum to the fold and you can just imagine how deep routed the tradition is, when putting DB’s into the NFL.

So with Eli Apple and newly anointed starter, Gareon Conley locking the outside receivers up and with Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell laying the lumber and patrolling the middle that is a pretty lethal stranglehold when defending opposing offenses.  With Damon Webb, Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward in the Nickel that pretty much forces an offense to pick their poison.  The Safety position is also as deep as every other position on Defense and it has really become a recurring theme with Ohio State.  With Cam Burrows and Erick Smith picking up the slack for Bell and Powell whenever they need a rest or during mop-up duty there will be little to no drop-off.  Current Freshman, Eric Glover-Williams, Joshua Norwood and Damon Arnette with incoming Freshman, Wayne Davis and Kareem Felder coming in after National Signing Day.  Let’s not forget about the targets, Chauncey Gardener, Jordan Fuller or Damar Hamlin who all hold Ohio State offers.

So to summarize this article, WE ARE SET FOR YEARS!!!  If we could somehow manage to pluck a few blue-chip recruits in both 2016 and 2017, the Buckeyes will be loaded once again.  With the top classes in 2016 and 2017, we will continue to improve and eventually dominate College Football.  But I am a humble fan who takes it a week at a time, as all Buckeyes Fans should, but I digress.  This will be a lot of fun for a few more years.  If we also successfully defend our Crown, the recruiting floodgates will open, but until then, ONE GAME AT A TIME.

2015 NFL Draft Part 2

Many Browns and Bengals fans will be reading this section seeing that both teams draft picks will be in this section. The third part of the series will unfortunately not appear until after the Super Bowl. I will post revised columns of Part 1 and 2 throughout that time.Please keep in mind that not all players have declared for the draft so things could get shaken up when certain players declare. Again I am putting who Todd McShay posted in his first Mock Draft below my choices.

 

11. Minnesota Vikings: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

While an OT is the true need for the Vikings, I do not think that where they are and what OT are available are worth the reach here. If Winston declares then the door is opened for them because that will change a lot of things in the early part of the draft. I give the nod to White over DeVante Parker. I like White’s big play ability more than Parker and I think White has better hands. White would go much higher if his route running skills were a little bit better and a team had a bigger need at WR. I feel the Vikings need to upgrade their WR core. As I mentioned before in Part 1 you cannot evaluate a quarterback’s future or skill set unless you give him talent to work with.

McShay: Cedric Ogbuehi

12. Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

Shelton is a force in the middle and with Phil Taylor having injury problems and the Browns ability to not stop the run. Shelton is a great fit for a future replacement for Phil Taylor and a great piece to stopping the run.

McShay: Danny Shelton

13. New Orleans Saints: Dante Fowler Jr, DE/OLB, Florida

Fowler could see himself rise into the Top 10, but it all has to do with if Winston declares. The Saints continue to ignore the defensive side of the ball and that has plagued them. They also need help on the offensive line and I could see them moving down to meet that need. However, at some point you cannot ignore the defensive side of the ball. Fowler played the DE/OLB role for the Gators this season. I expect him to transition into the NFL nicely at the same position. With the amount of playing time I think he should get with the Saints he could be a dark horse for defensive rookie of the year.

McShay (When the Mock Draft was posted Saints were picking 21): TJ Clemmings

14. Miami Dolphins: Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington

I personally think that the Dolphins need to take a WR here like Parker or Jaelen Strong. However they only take a WR in the first round if they part ways with Mike Wallace. Currently Wallace is still on the roster so the Dolphins go OLB. Thompson is very good in coverage and is a terrific athlete, also played and started at running back for the Huskies. I think that speed will transition very well in the NFL and he could end up being a stud at this position.

McShay: Shaq Thompson

15. San Francisco 49ers: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

San Francisco needs to add help for Kaepernick. I could see them upgrading their D-Line because that unit seemed desperate for depth. I am not a fan of Crabtree and never really was in the NFL. I think Parker could actually be comparable to Anquan Boldin. I think both would compliment each other very well.

McShay: Devin Funchess

16. Houston Texans: Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State

Houston could take a WR so Parker or White could be in play here if they drop this far. I think Bennett would be a great fit for Houston. He can play the DE in a 3-4 or could play as a smaller DT in a 4-3. His play down the stretch against Wisconsin and Alabama makes him the top DT prospect. I gave the Browns the nod to Shelton because of his size and what Cleveland needs. Bennett is the better player between the two and Houston’s front line on defense could get scary. If Houston makes a move or two in the secondary and Mallet stays healthy they could be dangerous in 2015-2016.

McShay (Houston was picking 13 when Mock Draft came out): Devante Parker

17.  San Diego Chargers: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State

I went back and watched some of the Oregon vs Florida State game to review this pick when I saw Goldman was still highly thought of. When I watched Goldman specifically he seemed to play pretty well in that game. He did seem very winded in that game, but when your over 300 pounds how do you not get winded by Oregon’s offense? I like Goldman a lot for the Chargers he plays the run well and can get after the quarterback a little bit from his position.

McShay: Eddie Goldman

18. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

The Chiefs are so desperate for a WR you just know they will not pick one in the first round, but they should. The WR’s the Chiefs have are mediocre at best. Strong has size and some good speed and I think he could be a great stepping stone for the Chiefs to upgrade their WR position.

McShay: Kevin White

19. Cleveland Browns: La’el Collins, OT/G, LSU

When Collins was thinking about going pro last year many labeled him as a potential stud guard in the NFL. I am still going to label him there because I would not be surprised at all if he lands there. The Browns would love to land one of the four very talented WR’s in this draft. However, Schwartz is not the answer at RT and I think Collins could add much needed depth and talent to the OL. The Browns need to do something because once Mack went down so did the season and the OL.

McShay Jaelen Strong

20. Philadelphia Eagles: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

His length to speed ratio is going to be something NFL teams love because that seems to be the trend, bigger corners. The Eagles were pretty bad at the corner back position and Waynes is a talented corner who has some pretty good hands.

McShay: Trae Waynes

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State

Back to Back Spartans on the board. This pick is probably the hardest to project because the Bengals are talented and their true need, in my opinion, is a QB who could actually push Dalton. The Bengals could draft an OT if they cannot resign Whitworth. They could draft a WR to complement Green. While Sanu had a good year, he struggled when it was his time to shine and I think his ability would best be suited in the slot. With that said at the end of the day the Bengals had 1 sack in the playoff game against the Colts. If you want to help your struggling QB you need to be able to pressure the opposing Quarterback and get better field position. That is why the Bengals choose Calhoun.

McShay (Bengals picked 24th in the Mock Draft)L Andrus Peat