Why Ohio State cannot be discounted against Oklahoma

Ohio State will be replacing twelve 4th round or better players in 2016, including the heart of both their offense and defense in Running Back Ezekiel Elliott and Defensive End Joey Bosa. How does a team meet the lofty expectations, placed on them by a needy fan base, after losing so much talent from the following year? Development is the quick answer and, lucky for Ohio State, it is something that the coaching staff is quite accomplished at doing. The talent is on the Ohio State roster, which is something that we are well aware of, after Ohio State has signed top-3 class after top-3 class. The biggest question is how will young players react in a hostile environment when they have never played a meaningful snap in a real college football game? That answer will almost certainly be evident on September 17th in Norman, Oklahoma.

The third game of the season, against the Oklahoma Sooners, is the one that everyone has circled on their calendars. The game is a great bet to be a primetime game on ABC and Ohio State will most likely be the considerable underdog going into it. Oklahoma, who brings back Heisman candidate Quarterback Baker Mayfield, will be at least a top-5 team at the time, and may even be the number 1 team, if things go their way. The reason that I believe Ohio State has a great chance to take care of business in Norman is Baker Mayfield. How can Oklahoma’s star Quarterback be the decisive key to a game in the other team’s favor? The same way that Baker Mayfield was a key for Clemson and Texas getting wins against the Sooners in 2015. Mayfield struggles against pressure in his face from a relentless pass rush. Ohio State may be replacing key figures in Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington, but Defensive Line coach Larry Johnson, has recruited like a mad man and is one of the best at developing the prospects into NFL caliber linemen. Reflecting back on the spring game, you saw the Quarterbacks being swallowed up on a consistent basis by young guys, such as Jashon Cornell and Davon Hamilton. Granted some of this may have been due to a depleted offensive line playing in the game, but I believe some of these young tackles will complement the returning ends of Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis, to lay feast to Baker Mayfield that night.

Oklahoma will look to also establish the run against Ohio State with their two returning backs, who have been very impressive in action previously, in Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. This is the element of Oklahoma’s offense that could potentially doom the Buckeyes. Although the rushing stats against the Buckeyes defense last year was not terrible to say, there were times where teams had much success running the ball between the tackles against Ohio State (see Western Michigan and Michigan State games). The key to shutting down Samaje and Mixon again will be the physical mentality of the defensive line. Redshirt Freshman Robert Landers is a guy that could be a key factor in plugging the middle for the Buckeyes. Another guy, who you might see play some of the 3 technique, is true Freshman Nick Bosa. Does that name sound familiar? Yes, Nick Bosa, who is Joey Bosa’s little brother, will see some time at the 3 technique this season and could be key to helping shut down the run game of this dual headed attack of the Sooners. If the Buckeyes are able to successfully limit the run game of the Sooners, the Sooners could very much be in a lot of trouble in Norman.

On the offensive side of things, losing a guy like Ezekiel Elliott is never a good thing, but Ohio State brings back veteran leadership in Redshirt Junior J.T. Barrett as the signal caller. J.T. will be surrounded by youth at almost every position, except center, where Senior Pat Elflein will look to lead the offensive line. Although you have some first time starters on the offensive line, there seems to be considerable confidence in the 1st string line. Now if a guy were to go down, well let’s just say that that confidence may start to wane. J.T. will get a few guys back at Wideout in guys like Noah Brown, Corey Smith, and Curtis Samuel, while also adding new game day faces in Torrance Gibson, Austin Mack, and Binjimen Victor. The keys will be how many crucial drops will the young guys have that can really impact the game and also if J.T. Barrett will be capable of hitting the deep ball. Barrett did a great job of hitting the deep ball to Devin Smith in 2014 when they faced Michigan State in East Lansing and this was a key to a buckeye victory. Much like that 2014 game, J.T.’s ability to hit guys like Noah Brown, Torrance Gibson, and Austin Mack deep will determine how much success Ohio State has on the offensive side of things.

Replacing Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield will be a dual headed tandem, much like the one the Sooners hold, in Senior Bri’Onte Dunn and Redshirt Freshman Mike Weber. Bri’Onte will provide some leadership and game day experience, but it is Mike Weber who provides the potential to be the next wave of successful Ohio State back. Weber will not have to face one of the more dominant Defensive lineman that the Sooners had last year in Defensive End Charles Tapper, who went to the NFL. Tapper was one of the more dominant guys on the Sooner’s defense, but just like Ohio State, you can expect Oklahoma to have guys on their roster to replace the production of a guy like Tapper. If Weber can realize that he does not have to be Ezekiel Elliott, but he just has to be Mike Weber and is able to produce, the running game will be enough the compliment the pass in Norman.

Before you place your bet on a veteran Oklahoma team, who appeared in the playoffs last season, to beat a young greatly inexperienced Ohio State squad in Norman, take into account all the details that are enclosed in this article. Sometimes football is just about match-ups, and from my view, Ohio State matches up very favorably with the Sooners. The games aren’t played on paper though, so we all will just have to wait till September 17th to find out.

Heard Around the ‘Shoe – 5-3-2016

Buckeye Coaches Recruiting:

Buckeye Birthday – Dwayne Haskins Jr.

2017 RB Target Khalan Laborn Narrows List:

Buckeye Target Amir Riep keeps adding offers:

New 2018 DE Offer:

Buckeye Pro #’s

Buckeyes make Bank!

Zeke on Buckeye Career:

NFL Buckeyes:

Buckeyes Offer NY Star for 2018:

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.

Heard Around the ‘Shoe – 5-2-2016

NFL Draft Recap:

In Case You Missed It: Buckeye Target Joshua Kaindoh selects Maryland:

Buckeye Target Juwan Burgess Making Mother Day Decision:

Buckeye Target Jermaine Eskridge To Announce Top 10:

Buckeye Target Najee Harris Rocking some OSU Gear:

Zach Smith in Florida Recruiting Today:

Penn State offers Buckeye committ J.K. Dobbins:

Ohio State Night Games Announced:

Cardale Jones on Dan Patrick Show:

1st Round of the NFL 2016 Draft: Buckeye Bonanza

With the recent success with Coach Urban Meyer and his fine coaching staff on the College Gridiron, you almost would be foolish to claim that the Ohio State Buckeyes are one of the more highly regarded College Football Programs in the nation.   Without a shadow of a doubt, the Buckeyes have lived up to the tradition and the expectation of excellence and success that many college programs aspire or strive to be.  Coach Meyer, the program building architect and his band of excellent coaches have amassed an astounding 50-4 record during their tenure within the Buckeye program.  They have effectively restored Ohio State to the powerhouse that the nation and solidifies their place among the other top programs in the nation.  With consistent success with recruiting the Buckeyes stay competitive and stay loaded with talent year in and year out, without any drop-off in talent or production.  This is only the start of what could be an annual occurrence.

Class of 2013:

The Buckeyes recruiting class of 2013 was by far Coach Meyer’s best and most productive class to date. From top to bottom, the 2013 class became the defining class to Coach Meyer’s legacy, to his legacy as a coach for the Scarlet and Gray.  With key players and playmakers moving on in this years draft, they all share memories together and an unbreakable bond with each other.  They have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  They won Big Ten titles together and the Inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship and most recently the Fiesta Bowl against a competitive Notre Dame squad.

Joey Bosa:

The Buckeyes first round dominance was started by the San Diego Chargers and Buckeye Defensive End Joey Bosa at #3 Overall.  Many draft pundits were predicting a steep fall down the mid to lower part of the first round, but as we all know, the draft can be filled with twists and turns and pleasant surprises.  And this definitely qualifies as a surprise.  No one expected the Chargers to pull the trigger on Bosa due to the needs on the Offensive Line, but there was his moment and he would be the first Buckeye taken in the first round.  Bosa brings a relentless motor and pass rushing ability as well as the knack for blowing up plays and disrupting timing and wreaking havoc in the backfield.  Definitely not a huge need, but it can’t hurt to bring pressure to the opposing Quarterbacks of the AFC West.

Ezekiel Elliot:

At #4 overall, Zeke was removed from the Big Board after Bosa was taken a pick prior.  Wow!  This was a headscratcher from a needs standpoint.  The Dallas defense was in need of an impact player and they passed on Jalen Ramsey of Florida State.  The Cowboys signed Alfred Morris to a contract during free agency and the Cowboys still have Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar on deck and many fans were left scratching their heads collectively.  There is no doubt that Elliot would be the best out of the bunch and it isn’t even close.  Sure Morris has the edge on experience, but I feel that Elliot is far more superior in all aspects of the game.  He can run it down defenses throats, he has the speed to pull away in the open field, he can shimmy through the smallest of holes and he can block.  He is the full package and he will become an integral part of the Cowboys offense to lessen the burden on Tony Romo.  Behind the wall of humanity that he will soon call his Offensive Line, he is a can’t miss prospect because he will be running behind something similar to what he had at Ohio State.  The sky is the limit with his potential.

Eli Apple:

At #10, to the New York Giants, Eli Apple will be locking down Wideouts within his division and will see former teammate, Ezekiel Elliot twice a year for the duration of their rookie contracts.  It sounds enticing and I am looking forward to the matchup when it comes around.  Apple was one half of the Defensive Back Alcatraz, starting alongside Gareon Conley.  Never shying away from contact, Apple with wreak havoc and have an opportunity to shut down opposing Wideouts for the next couple of years.  Apple can mirror the opposing Wideout, preventing him from breaking away and more times than not, he wins that battle.  In the NFC East, a division that has Dez Bryant, Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, he will be sorely needed to make stops early and often.  I feel that he will fit perfectly into the system alongside DRC and newly signed DB Janoris Jenkins, Apple would be tasked to play the slot man, if he was needed to play right away. Regardless, with time being available he will blossom into a starter as he gets more experience in the NFL.

Taylor Decker:

The Detroit Lions took Decker #16 Overall in the First Round.  The Lions will most likely plug him in as a starter with the lack of depth at that position.  Decker can play both the pass and the run which makes him valuable.  He is not only durable, he is also dependable and he never gives up easily.  The Ohio State offense would occasionally lean on him and depend on him to protect the Quarterbacks blindside and he succeeded more often than he had failed.  The former Buckeye Team Captain shows the grit and the determination to finish blocks and although he doesn’t have the nasty streak that most people would like to see, he gets the job done.  He will lift and reshape an Offensive Line that has struggled for years.  Although, he will be playing up north, he will pave the way for Abdullah and company for years and years.

Darron Lee:

With the #20 Overall Pick, the New York Jets took a chance on Lee, a former High School Quarterback and “skinny, pencil necked” Athlete.  Ohio State develops players, whether you are highly sought after or an afterthought in recruiting circles.  It panned out for Lee and the Buckeyes.  The Silver Bullet or the Defensive Missile usually wreaked havoc to opposing offenses throughout his Buckeye career.  It will translate easily for Lee in the NFL.  He will be called upon to make plays when his teammates are being doubled my offensive lines.  With David Harris as the Defensive Quarterback and with Revis Island on one side and a bevy of defensive behemoths throughout the Defensive Line.  I think that it is safe to say that Lee has the most ideal scenario to become the most productive out of the five Buckeyes that have been drafted.

So with Round One in the books, I can see a similar outcome during day two of the NFL Draft.  With many Buckeye playmakers still waiting to hear their names called, I feel that this would only solidify the Buckeyes both in the College ranks, with recruiting and in the NFL by having so many former players drafted in the draft.  It is a perfect storm with exposure and it will only help strengthen the Buckeyes case for years and years.  This is always the case with Coach Meyer.  You lose the players that you would like to keep, but there are always players that have stayed the path and patiently awaited for their time to shine. They will not waste their opportunity to fill the vacant spaces as they hope to follow the path of the 2103 Buckeyes class.  Rounds Two and Three will be an interesting one and more Buckeyes are going to hear their names tonight.  Go Bucks!!!

Heard Around the ‘Shoe – 4-29-2016

Day 2 of the NFL Draft:

Buckeye Recruits React to Draft:

Buckeye Target Trey Sermon goes Boomer Sooner:

Any 2015 Buckeyes Going To Be 2016 Browns?

Growing up in the Cleveland area, I have memories of the Cleveland Browns that are quite vivid. I will passionately argue that The Fumble hurt far more than The Drive. I remember being so disgusted when the Browns traded Chip Banks and drafted Mike Junkin. And I proudly wear and own a Brian Sipe jersey, having been in the stands for Sipe’s last game as a Brown versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1983, before Sipe jumped to the USFL.

The heartaches and frustrations of the Cleveland Browns fanbase are too many to write; it is painful enough that I remember them. One of the most puzzling decisions the Browns have made since their NFL return in 1999 has been to continually ignore and neglect selecting players from Ohio State.

Yes, I know that the Browns have former Buckeyes Brian Hartline and Terrelle Pryor on the roster. Former Buckeye Simon Fraser played for the Browns as an undrafted free agent from 2005-2007. And I also remember that the Browns drafted former Buckeyes Darnell Sanders in 2002 and Brian Robiskie in 2009. But that’s it – 2 players on the current roster, with a grand total of 5 Buckeyes from 1999 through 2015.

Compare and contrast that with the Pittsburgh Steelers. From 2001, when the Steelers selected Rodney Bailey in the sixth round, the Steelers have picked a total of 8 Buckeyes. The most recent selection was in the 2015 NFL Draft, when Pittsburgh picked Doran Grant in the 4th round. Mike Adams, Doran Grant, Cameron Heyward, and Ryan Shazier are all on the Steelers roster – considering Grant grew up in Akron, and the Browns have a need at cornerback, wouldn’t it be nice to see Grant playing for Cleveland instead of Pittsburgh?

Back to my point. With so many talented Buckeyes in the 2016 NFL Draft, could the Browns wise up and improve their roster with some Buckeyes?

I will quickly add that I do not believe all of the Buckeyes would make sense for the Browns. For example, while Joey Bosa should be a tremendous pro, the Browns are running a 3-4 defense, which would transition Bosa from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker. I am not sure if that would be in Bosa’s best interests as a pro. Besides, I do not believe Bosa will even be on the board for the Browns to pick.

Could Vonn Bell be in the Browns’ draft plans?

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Browns selected Michael Thomas in the second round? How about Nick Vannett in the third round? On day 3 of the draft, picking Jalin Marshall late in the sixth or seventh round? Chase Farris? Tyvis Powell?

Hue Jackson is the latest Cleveland Browns head coach to try and turn around this once proud franchise. A good place to start is to add players from about two and half hours south on I-71.

Heard Around the ‘Shoe – 4-28-2016 (Draft Day Edition)

2016 NFL Draft Today:

Todd McShay’s Final Mock:

#5 – Joey Bosa – Jacksonville Jaguars

#13 – Ezekiel Elliott – Miami Dolphins

#15 – Taylor Decker – Tennessee Titans

#19 – Darron Lee – Buffalo Bills

#20 – Eli Apple – New York Jets

More Draft Tweets:

Final Mel Kiper Mock Draft:

#4 – Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys

#6 – Joey Bosa – Baltimore Ravens

#16 – Taylor Decker – Detroit Lions

#17 – Darron Lee – Atlanta Falcons

#29 – Eli Apple – Arizona Cardinals

 

Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast Bosa Is Not Top 8 Draft Pick

This week Ryan Rosko an editor for factoryofsadness.co joins us to discuss the Ohio State
Buckeyes in the draft along with the Cleveland Browns.

We discuss that Ryan doesn’t feel Joey Bosa is a Top 8 draft
pick. The reasons why the Cleveland Browns need to stay away from
Cardale Jones. Can the Buckeyes get 6 players drafted in the first
round of the NFL Draft to tie Miami who set the record in
2004. There was also talk about Eli Apple to the Steelers.

Chip gave us his wish list of the Browns picking Michael Thomas
and Nick Vannett along with giving Chase Farris a shot. Shannon
gives his dream scenario of the Browns drafting Joey Bosa, Michael
Thomas and Cardale Jones. Ryan wishes the Browns don’t trade out of
the 8th spot and taking Ezekiel Elliott.

Heard Around the ‘Shoe – 4-27-2016

New 2017 WR Offer to Omar Manning:

2017 DB Prospect Daniel Wright Top 11: 

Buckeye Commit Shaun Wade Army All-American:

Ohio State #1 in Newest ESPN Rankings for 2017:

Buckeyes at the Draft:

Todd McShay’s Top Prospects by Position:

Quarterbacks:

#13 – Cardale Jones

Running Backs:

#1 – Ezekiel Elliott

Wide Receivers:

#5 – Michael Thomas

#8 – Braxton Miller

#35 – Jalin Marshall

Tight Ends:

#2 – Nick Vannett

Offensive Tackles:

#4 – Taylor Decker

Defensive Ends:

#1 – Joey Bosa

Defensive Tackles:

#13 – Adolphus Washington

Outside Linebackers:

#3 – Darron Lee

Inside Linebackers:

#2 – Joshua Perry

Cornerbacks:

#4 – Eli Apple

Safties:

#2 – Vonn Bell

#13 – Tyvis Powell

Joey Bosa Signs Endorsement Deal:

 

Nike Signs Zeke: