#MOTSAGRising Depth Chart Preview: Wide Receivers

Alrighty folks–it’s Zone 6 time and I am on deck with the preview at the Wide Receiver position! This is by far my favorite position to cover and I am gushing over the fact that I get to do this. Not only does this room have a superior Coach in Brian Hartline, he has also amassed a ton of talented players that will make noise in this very moment or later down the road. Sure, there will be injuries and attrition, but being able to polish their skills over the course of their time with Coach Hartline–its only a matter of time until they are unleashed.

Wide Receivers: Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Mookie Cooper, Julian Fleming, Gee Scott Jr, Demario McCall, Ellijah Gardiner, Jaylen Harris, Kamryn Babb, Jameson Williams, Sam Wiglusz, Alec Taylor, Austin Kutscher, Marvin Davies, Chris Booker

  • WR-X: Garrett Wilson, Gee Scott Jr, Jameson Williams
  • WR-Z: Chris Olave, Julian Fleming, Kamryn Babb
  • H-B: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Mookie Cooper, Demario McCall

As I stated earlier, there is a ton of talent in this group, and by me leaving out a couple of talented players from this depth chart. At WR-X Garrett Wilson is the leading candidate that could move into the H-Back position if needed. Behind him is talented freshman Gee Scott Jr and Jameson Williams. The next person would be Jaylen Harris as the fourth player in line. This is a group of players that excels at making tough, contested catches routinely with the added ability to gain separation from defenders. Wilson has been a star and he can definitely groom Scott, Williams, and Harris to take their game up a notch.

At the WR-Z it is Chris Olave taking the lead once again with Julian Fleming and Kamryn Babb behind him. The fourth in this group would be Ellijah Gardiner. Olave returns to close his career out on a high note after the end of the Fiesta Bowl. He will lead by example in an effort to win it all this season and he will mentor Fleming, Babb and Harris in the process–like what Wilson is doing. Pay particular attention to Babb to come back strong after injury-plagued seasons. He is another talented player that has been buried by injuries and was left behind with the stockpile of talent at the position. I have a good feeling that he would have a Johnny Dixon type of end to his career–so watch out for him.

Finally, at the H-Back position, Jaxon Smith-Njigba will get the first shot as the new H-Back. Behind him is another talented freshman in Mookie Cooper and Redshirt Senior Demario McCall. Depending on what the offense wants to do, I could see Wilson or Olave filling in at this position to give others a shot at the X and Y positions, but for now, Smith-Njigba and Cooper will get the first shot at it.

This collection of talent is great and I think they’ll put up some Madden stats up if used properly. They will run a balanced offensive attack, but I expect big things from Zone 6 for years to come. There is a lot of potential and I cannot wait for them to unleash it.

#GoBucks

#MOTSAGRising: Depth Review; Running Backs

With just a Saturday and a wake up call before Ohio State Football returns against Nebraska in The Shoe, we take a look at the positions depth and make some “minor” predictions. I tackle the running backs today.

There was one thing pundits could knock Urban Meyer for and it had to do with not ever having a 1,000 yard rusher at the running back position. Carlos Hyde erased that distinction and there’s been a star RB in Columbus every year since. Add Tony Alford as the position coach in 2015 and the Buckeyes have been one of the best rushing teams in the country.

Now he and head coach Ryan Day have some decisions to make this season after the 1-2 punch they posses in returning letter-man Master Teague III(135 for 789 and 4 TD’s) and graduate transfer Trey Sermon(Oklahoma over 2,000 total yards in 3 seasons). The latest is that both backs will share the duties this season while watching in awe of Justin Fields.

After those two and the moving of Demario McCall to wide-out everyone’s guess is as good as mine! However, I have my hunches that we will see plenty of Marcus Crowley and Steele Chambers this season as we did last.

Quarterbacks

With two Saturday’s left before the opening game of the season, we here at The Men of the Scarlet and Gray are getting antsy–and I am especially excited to provide more content to all the people that have supported us amid the content drought.

With the season fast approaching (finally!), I will be starting out with the basics–talking about our beloved Buckeyes. Today’s content will feature our projected two-deep of the offense and a combination of writing styles between Chris and me over the next couple of weeks. This roster is definitely packed full of talent, but we will make it work. Here we go Buckeye Nation.

Quarterbacks: Justin Fields, Gunnar Hoak, C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller III, Jagger LaRoe, Danny Vanatsky, J.P. Andrade

  • QB1: Justin Fields
  • QB2: Gunnar Hoak

The QB1 throne belongs to Fields and we can all expect a Heisman type of season from him this year. The heirs to the throne are the pair of C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller III, but QB2 duties would most likely be entrusted to Hoak, due to his in-game experience (for now at least). QB3/3A would fit Stroud and Miller. They are talented and they are the future along with 2021 stud Kyle McCord. Don’t be surprised if either Stroud or Miller overtake Hoak mid-season. The rest of the group are scout team personnel. This is not to devalue their talent, but they are not going to be leaned upon. Looks for the trio of LaRoe, Vanatsky, and Andrade to pull scout team duties.

Why?

Justin Fields is without a doubt the starter of this prolific Buckeye offense. He is a polished product and with his historic numbers in 2019–he will be looking to cap off his Buckeye career with the accolades and a natty. After he left 2019 behind, he has all the motivation in the world and he will lead this deadly offense to the promised land. With weapons at every level this offense is going to be fun to watch with Fields leading the charge!

Hoak at the backup slot is highly dependent on how Stroud and/or Miller perform in camp over the next two weeks. He is a safe pick, but it could change if either perform well. I can see all three getting in-game experience IF Fields and company are blowing out Nebraska, but we will see. I’d love to get a glimpse of the future, but I won’t be mad if Fields pads his stats for a Heisman run.

MOTSAG Roundtable: Buckeye Football Expectations

When I migrated over to MOTSAG after TWSS with my buddy Scott, I brought some “baggage” with me. I have always liked roundtables and have enjoyed the interactions we have with the fans because of the answers our guys provide. Zack, Richard and I spin our thoughts on some simple questions you will get to answer on Twitter.

As it shall be . . , https://ohiostatebuckeyes.com/sports/m-footbl/schedule/

Sit back, “pop a top” and let us know what you think!

Who do you believe had the best offseason considering all of the COVID issues they had. Explain why this player exceeded your expectations.

Zack – It would easily be Justin Fields and not to beat a dead horse, but the kid is flat out impressive the way he handled everything, and he never wavered from Ohio State.  He also attempted to unify all the players, and he received almost 300 thousand signatures to show how much the fans and players wanted B1G 10 football and he didn’t have to do any of this he could’ve left and trained on his own for the draft but he never did because he loves this university so that was very impressive to me.

Richard – Justin Fields, hands down.  He became the face of the team and was a vocal leader in the quest to get the season back for us while working on his craft.  Overall, he’s improved and I feel something special is coming this season. 

Chris – I am with Richard, Justin Fields has gone all out in bringing B1G back to us fans. His leadership has grown by leaps and bounds and might be the difference between a los in the Fiesta Bowl last year and winning it all this year.

What defensive player is going to shock the world and why?

Zack – Zach Harrison – I honestly feel like last year he only scratched the surface of what he will be when his development is complete. It would not shock me if he had 10 sacks even in a shortened season, he is that talented.

Richard – Josh Proctor.  That hit on Jack Coan sold me on his potential and the expectation for the 2020 season.  Working behind Fuller, he learned alot and he will apply it this season.  I fully expect him to be the enforcer on a stingy defense.

Chris –  I am rolling with Tommy Togiai simply because it’s his time to shine. He will show people why he has been high on my list since day one!

What offensive player is going to shock the world and why?

Zack – Master Teague – the guy has put in the work to get back and he was very impressive in the time he was able to play last year

Richard – FroZone 6.  The combined talent of Smith-Njigba, Scott, Fleming and Cooper has a ton of potential and it adds needed depth to a position that gets developed and heads off to the pros.  Pick your poison.  Each is capable and with Olave and Wilson garnering the attention of opposing defenses, one or all of these players will shock the world with a highlight play in crunch time.

Chris –  I am going to roll with Paris Johnson on the OL, the true frosh is a beast and will work himself into the two deep quickly and push for playing time. He has a nastiness that most frosh don’t bring to the table.

What will be the average score during the season, and will it be because Coombs and Johnson are back together or because Ryan Day wants to hang a hundred on everybody?

Zack – With the offensive firepower we have I think 50 plus points per game is very attainable.

Richard – Fields, Sermon, Olave, Wilson and Ruckert are names you need to pay attention to.  Smith-Njigba, Cooper, Scott and Fleming are stars in the wings.  Anyone not mentioned, they are still potent offensive threats, at all skill positions.  I think an average of 52 points per game.

Chris –  As scary as the output of last years offense was 46.9 which was a new record breaking the one set in 2013. This group will leave having one that may be unbreakable and finish in the high 50’s. Sadly this season will forever have a COVID * beside it but it’s scary to think how many points they may score overall!

What is your prediction for the season and will there be games lost due to COVID?

Zack – If there is anything I have learned during this pandemic it is that this team is very close to one another and truly love each other so if there is any games lost to covid it wont be because we didn’t follow the protocols. Ohio State will be 9-0 when its all said and done this schedule is super favorable and we drew no top teams from cross conference.

Richard – The schedule pans out for the Buckeyes and I think an undefeated season lies ahead.  Penn State without the whiteout, at MSU, at Illinois and at Maryland is doable.  TTUN at home will be fun.  8-0 with a chance to make it to the big tourney.

Chris –  I rarely make predictions about the Buckeyes but I think this shortened season will be a walk. They have had the Clemson game on their minds for a very long time and look forward to exorcising those demons this season. I think the B1G will stay in their bubbles and finish the season without losing players or games to COVID. They had a great plan before all things were cancelled.

MOTSAG Rising; WVaBuckeye

Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by to read this! This is a newer, fun-styled segment that introduces the writers in the #MOTSAGRising movement that is on Twitter. It is a closer look at our origins and our backstories that is needed to better get to know us as a unit.

I am wvabuckeye on Twitter, but my name is Chris. I was born and raised in SE Ohio (not in Joe Burrow country but close) I am a proud NAVY veteran and have been employed by DuPont for over 23 years. I became a Buckeye fan after watching Archie Griffin run for a TD in the pouring rain on my grandmothers TV in the early 70’s!

I am a high school football and basketball official and worked college women’s for about 7 years at the D2 and D3 level. My family always comes first in my life, three kids, one grandson and a niece thats like a daughter who has a son who’s like a grandchild to us. I have been happily married to the love of my life for over 30 years and I do not know how she does all that she does but I am blessed to have her.

I began my blogging journey with The Buckeye Battle Cry in December of 2012 and have been enjoying it ever since! Hopefully MOTSAG will be my last stop. It’s a fun bunch of guys(Except Jeremiah’s big brass spoon) who like to have a good time writing and covering the best damn team in the land!

Thank you for hanging out with us regularly and have fun!

MOSTAG Rising: Tongaricious

Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by to read this! This is a newer, fun-styled segment that introduces the writers in the #MOTSAGRising movement that is on Twitter. It is a closer look at our origins and our backstories that is needed to better get to know us as a unit. I am up first.

I am Tongaricious on Twitter, but my name is Richard. I was born and raised in Guam and I am a little over 15 years into a career in the Air Force. I became a Buckeye fan after watching them thrash Nebraska in their first season after joining the Big Ten and I never looked back.

I enjoy talking about games and I pay close attention to recruiting. I wish I had insider powers and I hope to follow it more closely, but with the lack of sources–I am just a fan and a regular guy. I started out with the Men of the Scarlet and Gray for a few years–I did my interview with Jeremiah in 2015 and I have been a staple for the brand since.

I still enjoy writing and I jumped at the chance to get things back since the season is about to begin. It is crazy that I have been writing for five years and I am glad for every person that has contributed and is still contributing today. I am also glad for every person that I have interacted with over the years. Let us bring it forward as we all prepare to have another awesome season. I am excited to continue the tradition of bringing you awesome content.

#GoBucks

Ohio State Buckeyes 2020 Schedule

Revised BIG Ten schedule 2020. Credit: @BIGfootball (Twitter)

I know we are a week late, but with under a month away from the start of the Big Ten season, I have returned with a preview of the 2020 season. Although the Big Ten will start much later than the ACC, Big 12, and the SEC. October 24th will be the beginning of an odd 2020 season, and if you are like me, I would rather have Buckeye football as opposed to not having none of it in the fall.

In an eight game slate, the schedule as a whole is balanced. Yes, it is an easier than expected path with no prime time games (at Oregon), but as I said earlier, I’d rather have football over having none of it. With the schedule, the Buckeyes should have an easy path to an undefeated regular season, but on the side of caution, I would take it game by game.

I am not casting doubt on the team and I believe they are one of the best teams in the nation, but only they could trip themselves up this season. They have a plethora of weapons on offense and an experienced defensive unit in tow. The icing on the cake? They managed to convince Shaun Wade and Wyatt Davis to return for one last ride for another Championship run. Here is a breakdown of the upcoming season.

Home Games: Nebraska, Rutgers, Indiana and TTUN

The home game slate is highly favorable with the Buckeyes facing a perennial bottom feeder in Rutgers, who brought back Greg Schiano to accelerate the rebuilding process. They also have brought Brendon White in to help as well. He was a star in the making that got lost in the shuffle due to his size and lack of speed, but I feel he fits Schiano’s scheme and will excel in the defense.

They also face two mid-tier teams in Indiana and Nebraska, which should be interesting to watch. Indiana always seems to be game for contests with the Buckeyes, against their former Head Coach Kevin Wilson. For some odd reason, they always give the Buckeyes fits, but this year could be different with the Buckeyes vying for another dominant season.

Nebraska on the other hand has beaten the Buckeyes once in their time in the Big Ten. The last loss was in 2011 and I see an improved offense showing up, but the talent gap is still too large to win the game. The conference big wigs may have gotten the last laugh after Nebraska made some waves by suing and threatening to leave the conference. Let us just say they got the last laugh by giving them the Buckeyes for their first game. Allies turned into enemies for at least the first week of the upcoming season.

To finish the home slate, the TTUN comes to Columbus for another installment of The Game. This one game is always interesting and this year will be no different. In the typical TTUN style, they are already licking their chops and after the “100-point” rumor starting spiraling out of control, certain team captains are trying to turn in around to end the skid. They have suffered some major losses with COVID opt-outs and NFL draft declarations. I am not saying that they don’t have a shot, but to me, if it comes down to getting into the Playoffs with style points? I am putting my trust into Day and Fields to racking the points up in every game and if they need to–they will get it done to ensure their place in the Top-4.

Away Games: Penn State, Maryand, Illinois and Michigan State

For the away games, the first game is at Penn State and without a full-blown White Out–I really think this game won’t be as close. With Micah Parsons still debating a return, the defense will be missing their best player. Their offense that is normally good has talent, but they are unproven. This might be a good one, but with so many questions and the talent on the Buckeyes roster, I expect a close game that’ll turn ugly once the Buckeyes begin to click together. I could be wrong, but my gut feeling is that of a blowout.

Maryland is an up-and-comer team and there is no denying their talent. It is just a matter of getting them to gel together. There is talent in true freshman Rakin Jarrett and he could be a problem. The Buckeyes always seem to struggle against teams like this and I remember the point-filled contest against the Terrapins a few years ago. We will see how much change has occurred, but they are projected to do better than usual.

Illinois, the Battle for Illibuck is one of those contests that have been one-sided over the years. I remember the last loss to this team after Juice Williams took over and willed his team to victory. Lovie Smith has been developing his players and it is evident that they love playing for him, but again, the talent gap is as wide as it is tall. They’ll make it a contest, but they won’t be able to sustain it.

Lastly, at Michigan State is a game that I am afraid of. Sparty always finds a way to be that roadblock late in the season and I still have the image of the kick-air guitar loss burned into my brain. I hope that doesn’t happen and they have lacked an offense that could compete. Defensively, they’ve suffered some losses to the draft and COVID opt outs, but that is hardly an excuse. This game will be gritty and it’ll be close until Fields has his Heisman moments.

To summarize, this schedule is favorable and it should be fun to watch them pack on the points. There are some tough tests ahead, but it is completely doable. I expect an undefeated season with a few heart-racing conclusions to games. I hope you enjoyed the schedule preview and I am happy to be back to doing what I love to do. #GoBucks

MOTSAG Pretend College Football Playoffs: #2 LSU versus #3 Clemson; 1st Quarter

Semi-Finals

The last “close game” The Joey Burrow led Tigers of LSU has was October 26th against a very game #9 Auburn Tiger team that had one game plan, try to keep the ball out of his hands. The Auburn Tigers failed(23-20) but the Clemson Tigers and Trevor Lawrence played it almost perfectly in a first quarter that saw them go on top just as the quarter ended.

Etienne and Burrow lead the charge in the first quarter

Almost every scripted first drive by Clemson this season has ended up in a TD. Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne combine for all of the rushing yards until 3 and goal from the 4 yard line and an incomplete pass intended for Tee Higgins. Dabo Swinney took a time out but chose to kick the FG and go up 3-0.

The key stat here is Clemson ate up more than 7 minutes of the 1st quarter clock(7:13) and turned things over to their defense, hoping to force a three and out and get back to work quickly.

Joey Burrow was not going to have any of that and only needed 1:52 of the clock to score. Derek Stingley gave LSU great field position and a short field after a 47 yard return. After two quick hitter to Jamar Chase, Burrow found a wide-open Thaddeus Moss over the middle for the 34 yard score.

On the ensuing kick-off disaster almost struck as Joseph Ngata muffed the short kick that bounced off the back of a teammate and into his hands. He then advanced to their own 39 yard line for Trevor Lawrence.

Etienne picked up where he left of chewing up short yardages and giving Clemson better efficiency on RPO as Lawrence kept it himself a few times to gain first downs. With 3rd and 11 from LSU’s 22, Trevor Lawrence found Tee Higgins who made maybe the best catch of the season in the corner of the end-zone as time expired in the first.

Clemson heads to the second quarter leading 10-7.

MOTSAG Pretend College Playoffs: #1 Ohio State vs. #8 Memphis

A couple seasons ago the pretend college football playoff matchup between top-seeded Ohio State and No. 8 Memphis would have scared the Michigan out of Buckeye fans.
But this isn’t a couple years ago. This is now.
And now does not belong to the Memphis Tigers. The Buckeyes scored on their first play of the game and rolled to a devilish 66-6 win over the AAC champs.

Memphis came in averaging 40 points and 485 yards of offense per game and a stingy defense that allowed less than 200 yards passing per game. All week the Tigers talked about how they felt they could slow down Ohio State’s high-octane offense. They were so confident that after winning the coin toss the deferred and sent their defense on the field first.

Whoops.

Following a 25-yard kick return by Garrett Wilson, JK Dobbins took a pitch from Justin Fields and motored 75 yards for a touchdown. Coach Ryan Day felt that was so easy, he called for a surprising onside kick, which was recovered by Chris Olave near midfield.

Since he made such a nice play on the kick, Day called his number again on the first play of the possession — a slant play that totally burnt the Memphis defense for a long and easy pitch and catch from Fields.

Memphis managed two yards on its next possession and was forced to punt. The Buckeyes took over on their own 35 and methodically marched down the field, covering the 65 yards on 10 plays, using some short runs and passes to physically wear down the Memphis defense.

Both teams punted on their next possessions, ending the first quarter at 21-0 Buckeyes.

With the ball on its own 30, Memphis tried some trickeration as QB Brady White pitched to Kenneth Gainwell, who then attempted a pass back to White.

OSU’s Jordan Fuller had other ideas and picked off the pass at the OSU 30, returning it 70 yards for the score.

Memphis was actually able to move the ball a little on the ensuing drive, partly because OSU had some backups in and partly because the officials were apparently backups as well, calling several bogus penalties.

But the Tigers had a drive stall and settled for a field goal to make it 28-3.

On their next drive, the Buckeyes went 70 yards on five plays, highlighted by a 50-yard from from Dobbins. Fields called his own number to score on a 15-yard run to make it 35-3.

Memphis got another field goal shortly before halftime to make the score 35-6 Buckeyes at halftime.

On the first play of the second half, Gainwell fumbled on the OSU 35.

Two plays later it was 42-6 after Wilson turned a crossing route into a 30-yard score.

That was it for both team’s starters as Day wanted to give some younger guys a chance, while making sure the starters stayed healthy. Memphis Coach Ryan Silverfield waved the provebial white flag as well.

OSU got three TD runs from Master Teague and a field goal to account for the final points.

OSU finished with 710 yards of offense, tons on the ground in the second half, and limited Memphis to 120 total yards.


MOTSAG Pretend CFP Playoffs: Quarter finals; #2 LSU versus #7 Oregon

This should be a match-up for the ages as far as playoff games go in this first ever quarter final, but #7 Oregon hasn’t had much of a break after winning the PAC12 championship game and coming right back and playing a very game Appalachian State the following week in a play-in game.

Justin Herbert had to lead the ducks down the field on the final drive to defeat the Mountaineers 35-28.

These two teams met in 2011 and it was mostly the Tigers as they won 40-27.

Joe Burrow and his on fire Tigers of the Bayou have had a nice rest since rolling over Jake Fromm and the Georgia Bulldogs 37-10 in the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta, Georgia and appear perched for a run to possibly meet his former Buckeyes in the final.

First Quarter – The Tigers wasted little time scoring and Joe Burrow had nothing to do with it. On the first play from scrimmage for the Ducks, Derek Stingley Jr. stepped in front of an Justin Herbert quick out and took it to the house 27 yards later. The next drive by the Ducks stalled at their own 43 and after a 45 yard punt, Joe burrow and the guys took over at their 17.

The expected winner of the Heisman Trophy completed a 12 play 83 yard drive eating most of the first quarter clock and made the score 14-0 at the end of one.

Second Quarter – Justin Herbert, Oregon’s all-time leader in pass completions (827) and pass attempts (1,293), took a golden opportunity after a great kick-off return by Mykael Wright for 65 yards to LSU’s 35 yard line and then connected with Johnny Johnson III on a 35 yard scoring strike and pulled within 7 at 14-7.

That lasted for all of 15 seconds as Edwards-Helaire return the kick-off for a 100 yard score and put the Tigers back up two scores 21-7. That’s would be the score at the half and neither team had much offensive statistics to boast. Herbert finished 4-9 for 57 yards, one pick-six and one score. Joe Burrow wasn’t much better but was enjoying a perfect day throwing the ball, 8 of 8 for 75 yards and one score.

Third Quarter – Joe Burrow and the tigers got the second half kick-off and did what they have been doing all season. Continuing to be perfect in the passing category, he lead the team down the field and finished the drive with a 7 yard TD toss to a wide open Thaddeus Moss all but sealing the Duck’s fate. 35 – 7

Fourth Quarter – Justin Herbert tried to make things better for his draft prospects but finished he day with two pick-sixes and two scored himself finishing with stats he’d probably like to forget. Joe burrow finally had an incompletion but did what he has been doing to defenses all season. The former Buckeye finished the day 15 of 18 for 234 yards and three scores. Final Score from the Bayou, Tigers 42 the Ducks 14.