Recap: #9 Ohio State (6-1, BIG 10 4-0) @ Nebraska (3-4, BIG 10 2-2)

First Half

The Buckeyes won the toss and deferred, which gave Nebraska the first offensive possession of the game.  On the opening kickoff, the Special Teams unit began the game with another error with another free-kick out of bounds penalty that put Nebraska at their 35-yard line.

The Buckeye defense then stepped out on the field and forced a Nebraska punt, but their offense was pinned inside of their 5-yard line.  J.T. Barrett relied heavily on the run game but was also 4-5 despite the windy weather conditions, but J.K. Dobbins scored his 5th TD of the year on a 52-yard sweep toward the left side of the line and broke free with his speed and a well-timed stiff arm before marching into the end zone.

Nick Bosa barely missed an opportunity for another strip sack, but the defense turned Nebraska away once again, but on the ensuing punt return the Buckeyes were flagged for holding which negated the good field position.

With that penalty, the Buckeyes begin another drive in less than desirable field position, but Barrett was ready this drive.  He was 2-3 for 20 yards and he showed the willingness to air it out with a deep shot that fell incomplete.  He was more effective on the ground rushing for 18-yards to convert on a 3rd down before scampering for 6 yards for 6 more points.

The Buckeye offense is clicking after scoring on 96-yard and 85-yard drives.  Nebraska looked more efficient and engineered a drive into Buckeye territory, but a questionable holding call shuts the door on a scoring opportunity before another punt.

Barrett took the field position and drove another 80 yards for another score, this time to K.J. Hill for 16-yards on a drag route.  The Buckeye defense then stuffed another 3rd and short and got Nebraska to punt again.

On this long, 71 yard drive, Ohio State came out with another balanced attack where he mixed it up between Weber runs and with bullets to Victor before airing it out for 31-yards to McLaurin on a great corner route putting the Buckeyes up 28-0.

Stanley Morgan Jr makes his first catch of the game nearly midway through the second quarter for 8-yards.  Shortly after Big Play Baker ruined a swing pass to Ozigbo and got a huge lick in on the running back.  J.D. Spillman nearly scored on a 30-yards but was brought down by a shoelace tackle from Jordan Fuller.

J.D. Spillman nearly scored on a 30-yards but was brought down by a shoelace tackle from Jordan Fuller.  Fuller was targeted a lot on the Nebraska drive but was turned away while attempting to pick on him on a 4th down attempt.

Barrett took shot after shot, showing patience in the pocket and he found his receivers before taking it in the end zone for another rushing TD to put the Buckeyes up 35-0 with a little over a minute left in the half.

At the break, Ohio State leads 35-0 holding Nebraska to 116 total yards of offense and just 5 first downs.  Ohio State ends the half with 366 yards of offense and 22 first downs.

Second Half

Barrett continued the onslaught after taking another long drive for a score with a 9 play 75-yard drive.  He found Baugh for a big gain before hitting Berry on a corner route to add to the lead.

Nebraska beat the zone defense for a big-play by J.D. Spillman, who has had been the lone playmaker for the Cornhuskers for a 77-yard score.  He has 5 catches and he has been hurting the Buckeyes and has 143 yards so far.

The theme of the game is long, extended drives from the Buckeyes.  Barrett had another that ended this 75-yard drive with a pass to Marcus Baugh for an 18-yard score after beating man coverage.

The Buckeyes surrendered their first pass interference penalty after Sheffield was caught grabbing at the jersey.  Not a bad mistake, but at least the improvement is evident.  Afterwards, Ozigbo took a screen for 35-yards to the Buckeye 20.  Morgan made a nice grab after a mistimed jump by Ward to make it 49-14.

Barrett responds with a 15 play, 66-yard drive, that chewed up the clock before finding Hill for another red zone TD for what should be his 5th and final TD of the game.  He should finish with 325 yards and 5 TD’s on 27 of 33 attempts and 2 more TD’s with 48-yards on the ground.

Burrow and Haskins made appearances late in the 4th to get some valuable reps.  Amir Riep seals the deal with an interception with no time remaining.  The Buckeyes head toward a bye week before hosting Penn State at home.

 

 

War Room Wednesdays: #9 Ohio State (5-1, BIG 10 3-0) at Nebraska (3-3, BIG 10 2-1)

Barrett Blossoming?

As J.T. Barrett continues to become more comfortable with the new offensive coaching staff and his playmakers, he still manages to catch flak even though he is winning.  Questions about his lack of accuracy and the scarcity of deep shots downfield, people of all walks of life are still calling for his benching despite the 5-1 start.

Barrett has actually been playing well so far, he is 111-174 for 1513 yards and 16 TD’s against and just a single interception.  He also has 311 rushing yards for 3 TD’s on 60 rushing attempts.  Sure, it has been against mediocre competition but he has improved since that lone loss at home against Oklahoma.

Ohio State ranks 14th in the nation through 6 games this season in passing offense and 7th in team passing efficiency.  Barrett has led his team and for now, is the 4th best scoring offense in the nation, averaging 45.8 PPG for a total of 275 points so far this year.

Barrett will now face a string of tougher opponents and the cupcakes were essentially used to build up his confidence.  The first test will be the contest against Nebraska and their 47th ranked passing defense who has only allowed 7 TD’s this season, 6.74 YPA, 10.44 YPC and 208.8 YPG.  This will not be an easy task, but Barrett seems to be clicking and what better opportunity is there than to test himself in Lincoln.

 Right Guard Reset?

As we all witnessed, starting RG Branden Bowen suffered a major injury and he has been lost for the rest of the season.  This does not bode well for the Buckeyes, as they had trouble keeping Barrett upright last season.

This is an opportunity for Burrell, Knox and Pridgeon to earn playing time, one as a starter and the other in the two-deep.  Burrell came in the game and he did fairly well,  but Urban Meyer was stated that the contest at RG is “wide open”.

I for one thought he did quite well being thrown into the fray, but for Meyer, he wants the best on the field and RG is no exception.  All three players will compete with each other to see who bested the rest.  For now, we can only speculate who wins the competition and if that player can maintain their success.

Turnover/Line Troubles.

Tanner Lee is looking for answers as he limps into this game throwing for 1406 yards and 11 TD’s, but he has also thrown 10 picks and his completion percentage has suffered and stands at 54%.

He will face a rebuilt secondary that has struggled with takeaways, but they blanket the opposing receivers relentlessly, leaving little room for error against the Buckeyes.  Damon Arnette will be out for the first half due to a silly targeting penalty, so Ward, Sheffield and Okudah will be tasked early to stop Morgan, Pierson-El, Spielman, Hoppes and former Buckeye target Tyjon Lindsey.

Collectively they are responsible for 1333 yards and 11 touchdowns, and they will all need to perform to help Tanner Lee out if they want to win this game.

His Offensive Line also needs to help because they have given up 9 sacks and the constant pressure leads him to make terrible decisions.  Ohio State is tied for 19th in the nation in team sacks and has racked up 17 so far.  They will be active and after the Quarterback to give their secondary a shot at turnovers.

Prediction:

I expect Barrett will do his thing and he will continue his trend of not giving the ball away on turnovers.  Another slow burn type of game with the addition of a new RG, but they will piece it together before the half and before blowing the doors down.  Barrett will continue to develop his confidence and he will find a rhythm.

Dobbins and Weber will each have a score and Victor will continue his hot streak and will also find the end zone.  The defense will get at least 3 sacks and 3 turnovers because the pressure will force Lee into some, one of which will go for a score.

The Buckeyes starters will leave mid 3rd quarter to rest for their clash with Penn State, but they will have the game in hand.  This game will be a warm-up without looking ahead to next week to gain traction in the CFB Playoff conversation.

Final:  Ohio State defeats Nebraska 52-20.

Rapid Reactions: Five Quick Observations

  • The Buckeyes were completely dominant in this game.  The Defensive Line has an army, and they showed why they are considered to be a Top 5 unit.  They lived in the Rutgers backfield for the entirety of the game.
  • Offensive Onslaught, 628-209!  The Buckeye offense looked poised and confident, two things that lacked early on in the season.  Now, with the offense seemingly clicking, the Buckeyes will continue to build on their success so far this season.
  • QB and RB Depth.  Barrett, Burrow, Haskins and Martell, and Dobbins, McCall, Weber and Williams.  The depth at Ohio State is crazy, but it is a good problem to have.  Barrett had another good game, Haskins and Burrow showed that they can lead, and Martell waits for his name to be called with Emory Jones coming in after Barrett says goodbye.  The QB battle will be fierce.  Weber scored his first three touchdowns of the year, Dobbins was his usual self, running hard, and McCall lit it up and scored twice, his first two of the year and racked up 138 all-purpose yards.  Williams was unable to make the trip to New Jersey and Master Teague and Jaelin Gill will be coming in next year and the depth will once again be a trendy topic.
  • Penalty Monster.  The penalty monster appeared again and it has hurt the Buckeyes a ton this season.  Prior to the game, they were second in the nation in penalty yardage.  This game was no different as they were penalized 10 times for 106 yards with the targeting play on Jahsen Wint being the most notable one.  There was some improvement in this category though because there were no defensive pass interference and holding penalties on the corners.
  • Dixon, Zone 6 Revival.  After multiple seasons of being injured and almost walking away from the game he loves, Dixon showed the nation how talented he is and can be.  He is improving on his craft is starting to impose his will and gain separation.  The rest of Zone 6 has also improved.  Their confidence is rising and they are beginning to help Barrett’s as well.  They need to continue to improve cause their schedule will get harder as time goes by.

Recap: #11 Ohio State (4-1, BIG 2-0) at Rutgers (1-4, BIG 0-2)

First Half:

The Buckeyes began the game with the ball first, but their playcalling was sporadic, and it resulted in a game-opening punt on their first possession.  Their defense stepped up to stop the Scarlet Knights on their own first drive.

On Ohio State’s next possession, J.T. Barrett rattled off a huge run for 37 yards to put him over the 10,000-yard mark to be the first Buckeye to meet that mark.  As they inched closer toward the end zone, Mike Weber punched it in for his first touchdown of the season for the first score of the game.  On their third possession, they were forced to punt once again.

On the next Rutgers drive, they benefited from a bad punt by Chrisman, but they were backed up further after a block in the back penalty.  Rutgers drove the ball inside of the Ohio State 20-yard line, but they were turned away by the defense after Tracy Sprinkle tipped a pass to Dante Booker for the spinning interception.

On the ensuing possession, the offense was clicking as Barrett found his receivers and his Tight End for short pass plays.  J.K. Dobbins also flashed his speed and power as he broke off a 34-yard run on a 3rd and 2 to the Rutgers 44 yard line.  Mike Weber rotated in and scored on another short run to push the lead to 14-0.

After a combination of punts between both teams, J.T. Barrett caught a Rutgers defensive back looking into the backfield and before you know it, Johnnie Dixon was left by himself and he took the ball 70-yards for another Buckeye touchdown.  Dixon stayed hot and tippy-toed the sideline for another long score of 39-yards to extend the lead to 28-0.

Right before halftime, Weber scored for the third time as the Buckeyes take a commanding 35-0 lead after the half.  The yardage discrepancy was encouraging for the Buckeyes.  They led 336-77 in total offensive yardage.

Second Half:

The Defense picked up where they left off as they forced another Rutgers punt to open the second half.  Coincidentally, the Buckeyes were turned down on 4th down on the Rutgers 40, but they were just looking to run some time off the clock.

On the next Rutgers play their backup quarterback threw behind his receiver then Ward picked the ball off for their second turnover of the game.  The Buckeyes then had a 60 yarder to Dixon that was taken away because he pushed off, but the drive was eventually capped off after Barrett found Victor for a 23-yard strike.

The Rutgers then found themselves in Ohio State territory after a screen pass was successful. The Buckeye defense then stiffined up in the Red Zone as they turned away Rutgers on 4th down. Barrett finished the game with around 4 minutes remaining in the game, giving Haskins more reps for Ohio State.  He finished 14 for 22 for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns and 10 rushes for 89 yards.

Barrett finished the game with around 4 minutes remaining in the game, giving Haskins more reps for Ohio State.  He finished 14 for 22 for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns and 10 rushes for 89 yards.

Haskins took some time to get a rhythm, but he eventually lofted a pass to Demario McCall on a wheel route for a 35-yard score to add to the route, 49-0.

On 3rd and 7, Jahsen Wint committed a costly targeting penalty that gave Rutgers first down yards.  It only adds to the penalty tally, but younger players will learn.  The defense forced another punt that nearly was fumbled away by McCall, but they regained possession at the Ohio State 2 yard line.

Joe Burrow came into salt the game away and with less than 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter, Ohio State is looking to run time off of the clock.  The drive took 3:23 but it featured the forgotten man in Tote Nation Demario McCall.  He racked up 80 rushing yards as he ran for 48 yards for his second touchdown of the game and the season.  For the game, McCall has 11 carries for 103 yards and a catch for 35 yards for two total touchdowns.

Rutger drove the ball with 13 plays, which is the most plays called against the Buckeyes, but they were turned away after Hart missed a field goal in Buckeye territory.  Game Buckeyes.  This is the second shutout of Rutgers, last year 58-0 and this year 56-0.

 

Preview: #11 Ohio State (3-1, BIG 1-0) at Rutgers (1-3, BIG 0-1)

Coach Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to Piscataway, New Jersey to face a familiar face in Coach Chris Ash and his Scarlet Knights.  This contest will pit a scrappy Rutgers team that has displayed improvements, but this game should still get out of hand.

Team Stats

Points Per Game 39.3 27.3
Points Allowed Per Game 20.0 18.3
Total Yards 549.0 326.8
Yards Passing 319.3 163.5
Yards Rushing 229.8 163.3
Yards Allowed 367.3 298.3
Pass Yards Allowed 228.3 179.5
Rush Yards Allowed 139.0 118.8

As provided by ESPN, both teams both teams differ in each category, with the closest being Points Allowed Per Game.  Other than that, the offensive statistics favor the Buckeyes, but the defensive statistics favor the Scarlet Knights, with the caveat being that difference in competition.  The Buckeyes faced moderate to great offenses, Indiana and Oklahoma, where Rutgers played a turnover-prone Nebraska team and a Washington offense that is still trying to find their identity.

The Buckeyes faced moderate to great offenses, Indiana and Oklahoma, where Rutgers played a turnover-prone Nebraska team and a Washington offense that is still trying to find their identity. This is by no means an excuse or a shoe-in for a blowout, but it could still be over by halftime.

What To Watch For:

1.)  BACK TO THE START, LEGRAND REUNION.

The current Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator at Ohio State will come back to his old stomping grounds in New Jersey, where he received his first opportunity as a Head Coach.  Schiano was so successful at Rutgers, he eventually received an offer to become the Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs, which did not work out that well.

Now, Coach Meyer and Coach Schiano will face a familiar face in Coach Ash, who was a former pupil of Meyer.  He helped recruit a few of the current BIA members prior to his departure for a tougher challenge, and this game of chess will be one to watch.

A former Rutger player, Eric LeGrand who was paralyzed after a collision against Army will be in attendance to reunite with his former coach, which is a story to follow throughout the day.  It has been five years since that tragic day, but the reunion will be a sight to see even though they are pulling for their respective teams.

2.)  SCHIANO VERSUS ASH.

Both Coaches share the same qualities as both coaches put their DB’s on islands, playing similar styles.  Both benefited from Coach Coombs and both were quality recruiters for the Buckeyes, but now they are pitted against each other. The Old versus the New.

Ash has been invaluable on the recruiting trail and he has brought in a lot of talent in the secondary.  He has developed the Buckeyes prior to leaving and now his former players have thrived in Schiano’s first year, but this year has been a little rough around the edges.

There is no doubt that Schiano and Coombs will have their guys ready, but Coach Ash got some terrible news this week as his best Cover Corner Blessuan Austin suffered a season-ending injury that will leave him thin at Cornerback.  He has two capable bodies, but behind them is a lot of inexperience, which could benefit the Buckeyes offense.

3.)  QB, WR, CB & LB IMPROVEMENTS.

In what seems to be a constant topic within Buckeye Nation, will there be miscues between J.T. Barrett and Zone 6?  Last week, they improved in most departments with Barrett missing a few easy throws even though it was against an overmatched UNLV team.

His decision making was better along with the playcalling, but they still have to work out a few more kinks.  He missed a few throws, but he did well enough in a little less than a half.

His receivers also did well, showing the ability to earn yards after the catch and finding the empty spaces in zone coverage for easy receptions.  They regained their confidence and they will continue to improve against a thin Rutgers team who just lost their best player.

On the other side of the ball, the Buckeyes are struggling at the Cornerback and Middle Linebacker positions.  The Corners are placed on islands all game, but from time to time they get beat and they start grabbing at the receivers to make a play.  This often causes penalties that give the opposite team easy conversions, which often lead to scores.

The Corners are placed on islands all game, but from time to time they get beat and they start grabbing at the receivers to make a play.  This often causes penalties that give the opposite team easy conversions, which often lead to scores.

The Linebackers have improved more than the Corners with the addition of Tuf Borland, who is making plays and improving after each contest.  Big Play Baker has regressed and Dante Booker has been making plays, but he is just as inconsistent as the others.

Prediction:  49-14 Ohio State defeats Rutgers

 

Recap: Army vs #8 Ohio State

After another lackluster performance against Oklahoma, the Buckeyes face an Army team that rarely threatens teams through the air.  Even though they aren’t dangerous, the Black Knights are #2 in the nation in the rushing department.

The Buckeyes front seven need to stay disciplined and the entire team needs to make sure tackles.  This is a winnable game that they need to regain confidence in their scheme for the rest of the season.

First Half:

The Buckeyes began the game with the opening possession, and within 2:37 after receiving the kickoff, J.T. Barrett put seven on the board with a 5-yard touchdown run.  On Army’s first possession, they were forced to punt the ball away and the Buckeyes responded with a drive that lasted 4:12, that ended with another short-yardage touchdown by J.K. Dobbins.

From then on out, the ugliness seeped out both teams exchanged punts, but Army answered the call after they drove 99-yards for a touchdown after a Buckeye punt at the Army 35 yard line. Army took a huge chunk of time off the clock on that drive and it left the Buckeyes with a single possession prior to the half ending, where they added a field goal to extend their lead 17-7.

Second Half:

The second half began with Army missing a 43-yarder and it quickly turned into another Buckeye touchdown after J.K. Dobbins broke off a pair of long runs, the first for 22-yards and the next for 52-yards and another touchdown.

On the next Army possession, they fumbled the ball on a bobbled handoff which resulted in a 20-yard passing score to Terry McLaurin to push the lead to 31-7.  That was essentially the end of the Army success on the ground, as the Buckeyes buckled down and shut them down.

The last Ohio State touchdown was a 9-yarder to Austin Mack for his first collegiate touchdown reception of his career which is significant, but it was Barrett who just bested Drew Brees’ BIG 10 total touchdown record with the last score of the game to push their lead to 38-7.

After the record was captured, Dwayne Haskins took his shot and entered the game during mop-up duty.  He finished 4-4 for 46 yards, and he proved that he has the talent to take the reigns after Barrett departs.  Another week down, and looking ahead, the Buckeyes will face a 1-1 UNLV team that lost to FCS school Howard during opening week.

Another week down, and looking ahead, the Buckeyes will face a 1-1 UNLV team that lost to FCS school Howard during opening week.  They will look to improve the passing game and maintaining the balance.  The defense will look to improve as well in all areas as they face a team that might test them through the air, but for now, we will enjoy the win.  Go Bucks!

 

 

Preview: Army vs #8 Ohio State

After a long week of bickering and talk from anyone and everyone, game day is finally upon us, and it will turn the page on the previous weeks awful showing at the home opener.  There was a whirlwind of opinions from people dishing their hot takes after the Oklahoma loss at home.  A lot of people got into the conversation, ranging from notable analysts, former Buckeyes, hardcore fans and even potential recruiting targets found themselves in the storm.  Most notably, two top tier 5* targets in OT Jackson Carman and DE Micah Parsons, who were calling their shot and stating their desire to pass on Barrett and go to their “boy” Dwayne Haskins.

A lot of people got into the conversation, ranging from notable analysts, former Buckeyes, hardcore fans and even potential recruiting targets found themselves in the storm.  Most notably, two top tier 5* targets in OT Jackson Carman and DE Micah Parsons, who were calling their shot and stating their desire to pass on Barrett and go to their “boy” Dwayne Haskins.

We all weathered the storm and now an opportunity to right the ship and turn the page is almost here.  The Army Black Knights are 2-0 and they will test the strength of the front seven for the entirety of this contest with an efficient rushing offense that ranks 2nd in the nation with 835 yards and 11 touchdowns on 113 attempts, averaging 417.5 yards per game.

On the other side, the home team Ohio State Buckeyes are surrendering 60.5 yards per contest, holding their opponents to 121 total yards on 64 rushing attempts.  They are allowing 1.89 yards per rush, while only giving up a single rushing touchdown so far this season.

Ohio State is #32 in the NCAA in rushing offense for 459 total yards in 85 attempts for 4 scores. They are averaging 5.4 yards per rushing attempt and 229.5 yards per contest and they must establish a balance to control the pace of the game.

The right side of the O-Line suffered against the constant pressure, so this game will be needed to regain their swagger.  They got beat often and were caught off guard by blitzing defenders, so they really need a boost.

Barrett on the other hand also needs this game to re-establish himself as the starting QB with everyone and their mother bashing him over the lack of down the field pass attempts and the lack of accuracy in his passes.  He is 39-70 for 487 yards and 3 touchdowns against one interception. He is averaging 243.5 yards per game, 6.96 yards per attempt and 12.49 yards per completion, which isn’t bad but he needs to show a lot of improvement in both the accuracy and the production department to truly improve and become more successful.

This Army team appears to be no threat to the Buckeyes through the air and through 2 games, as they are 2-10 for 17 yards.  They are averaging 1.7 yards per attempt and 8.5 yards per game, but they will be a could find a way to involve the running backs, similar to what Oklahoma did.

The Buckeyes linebackers were getting beat by dump-off passes, which could work to Army’s advantage during the game. The linebackers were often out of position and looked confused, so let’s hope they worked out the kinks.

The secondary improved, but tackling was an issue again as they were constantly looking for the big hit instead of wrapping up for the sure tackle.  They need to build on their performance again this week.

Prediction:  41-9 Buckeyes

After that embarrassing loss at home, it will drive the cause the Buckeyes to take a step in the right direction.  The offense improves and executes better, but will still be a work in progress. There will be a balance between the run and pass, and a big play or two will occur, with emphasis on improving the play-calling situation.    

The defense racks up TFL’s against the Army rushing attack forcing them to attempt more passes.  I am calling for a forced fumble and a pick to happen due to the immense pressure that the Rushmen place of the Army O-Line.  

 

Ohio State Projected Depth Chart 2017

With under a week left of the dreaded offseason, another year chalked full of expectation is upon us.  After a dreadful, nightmarish showing in last seasons CFB Playoff, Coach Meyer and company will prepare themselves for another run at the title.

Projected Starters for 2017:

QB:  J.T. Barrett

RB:  Mike Weber

WR:  Johnnie Dixon

WR:  Austin Mack

Slot/H-Back:  Terry McLaurin

TE:  Marcus Baugh

LT:  Jamarco Jones

LG:  Michael Jordan

C:  Billy Price

RG:  Brandon Bowen

RT:  Isaiah Prince

DE:  Sam Hubbard

DE:  Tyquan Lewis

DT:  Dre’mont Jones

DT:  Tracy Sprinkle

WLB:  Jerome Baker

MLB:  Chris Worley

SLB:  Dante Booker

CB:  Denzel Ward

CB:  Damon Arnette

Nickel:  Kendall Sheffield

S:  Damon Webb

S:  Erick Smith

K:  Sean Nuernberger

P:  Drue Chrisman

J.T. Barrett will return for the final chapter in his career.  Barrett will lead another talented offense in their quest for another title.  He will most likely hold every, if not most of Ohio State’s records and he will be able to obtain a few BIG records too.

Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins were neck and neck up until now, but due to an injury during practice, Haskins will serve as the backup QB.  This is a case of plain bad luck, and it really opens the door for Haskins to audition for the starting job in the 2018 season.  True Freshman Tate Martell is another interesting prospect who might just see some time during garbage time, but we will just have to see.

Weber will resume duties as the lead back of Tote Nation.  Behind him, he will have a true freshman, J.K. Dobbins to relieve him.  Dobbins has quite the following as he surpassed Antonio Williams and Demario McCall.

Zone 6 took a hit after Samuel and Brown left for the NFL, but the players that are on the team are sneaky good.  With the lack of a deep threat last season and a combination of poor play calling and the lack of confidence, the offense sputtered and was predictable.

This season will be different with Coach Wilson and Coach Day.  Both will provide a quick paced and high tempo attack that will leave opposing defenses gasping for air.  Mack, Dixon, and McLaurin are all speedsters that have big play ability and behind them are bigger stronger receivers like Victor, Harris, Grimes and Gardiner.

The O-Line returns 4 starters from last season, which helps Barrett remain upright.  The Slobs are all over 6’4″ with Price being the shortest of the bunch.  Prince was a liability, earned the title of starter at RG, but he is wedged between Price and Prince just in case he needs help.

The D-Line or the Rushmen returned the starters from last year and their backups.  They will terrorize teams with relentless pursuit.  Baker, Worley and a healthy Booker return to bolster their LB group.

The secondary proves to be of concern because they basically have to reload once again, after losing three first rounders to the NFL Draft.  Damon Webb and Denzel Ward return, but Damon Arnette, Kendall Sheffield will be the next two corners up, while Erick Smith will assume the other Safety spot.

Overall, I think the Buckeyes have what it takes to win the BIG onward to another Playoff berth, but crazy thing could happen as the season develops.  I will watch it as it progresses, but the talent is certainly there.  The drama has yet to unfold, but with the season fast approaching, I cannot wait to go through the emotions with you.

 

 

Preview: Ohio State vs Indiana

 

When:  Thursday, August 31st @ 6:00 PM on ESPN

Where:  The Rock, Bloomington, Indiana


With the 2017 College Football season fast approaching, I could not help but preview opening day of the upcoming season.  After my brief break due to my move back to the states, I am proud to say that I am back MOTSAG faithful!

To open the 2017 season, Ohio State will collide with a seasoned Indiana team that is capable of putting up huge numbers on opposing defenses, but that was under former Head Coach Kevin Wilson, who coincidentally was dismissed by Indiana and is now the Offensive Coordinator at Ohio State.
In an unusual turn of events and because of some luck, Coach Meyer jumped at the chance to improve their offensive deficiencies by employing Wilson.  Wilson has a proven track record of reinventing offenses under his watch with stints at Miami (OH), at Northwestern and at Oklahoma. He will bring a quick tempo attack to Ohio State, and it is what the Buckeyes lacked after Texas Coach Tom Herman left.
The search for improvements did not stop there, as Coach Meyer plucked another young coach from the NFL ranks to bolster their staff in Quarterback Coach Ryan Day.  Day, a Chip Kelly disciple, will be tasked to improve the QB play.  Day and Wilson will work side by side to resurrect an anemic Buckeye offense that was shut out in last years CFB Playoffs.
J.T. Barrett will lead the team for his last season donning the Scarlet and Gray for a Thursday game at Bloomington, Indiana.  With him, he has 4 returning starters along the O-Line, but a new RG that has yet to be announced.  Bruising RB Mike Weber returns and TE Marcus Baugh is back as well.
Ohio State will break in many first year starters at WR, with Dixon, Campbell, and McLaurin leading the way.  Ohio State also has a mix of older and younger players at the position vying for playing time in Hill, Mack, Victor, Harris, and Grimes, so we will have to see how the offense adapts to their newer, faster system.
The defense returns the majority of the front seven and their backups.  The biggest question would be the secondary, which lost 3 first rounders to the NFL Draft.  The projected starters at CB will likely be Arnette, Sheffield, and Ward with Okudah as the fourth man up.  While Wade, Williamson and Riep will be looking for playing time in during garbage time.
At the Safety spots, Webb is the only returning starter, while the other spot is up for grabs between Erick Smith and Jordan Fuller, who no matter who wins, both will play this season.  Both bring different playing styles, but both would do well when called upon.
Indiana has a bit of a QB battle going as Richard Lagow is trying to fight off a Redshirt FR Peyton Ramsey, who did well during the spring game.  They will have 5 returning starters on offense and a BIG leading 9 on defense led by Tegray Scales.  Scales will attempt to stymie his former Head Coaches new team in the season opener.
Prediction:  44-20 (Ohio State)
The Barrett led offense will shine in the opener, with obvious improvements across the board.  It will be a balanced attack with 200+ yards passing and at least 100 on the ground.  The WR’s will be the biggest improvement and the TE will be featured more frequently than the previous seasons.  O-Line will improve as well with Prince and the new RG being the key players, but also the key matchup.  
The defense will be stout, but the secondary with the new starters will give up a few huge chunk plays before the lock in.  The Rushmen package will be lethal the LB’s will give Indiana fits.  I look for them to have a least 2 sacks and a forced fumble, while the secondary snags 2 interceptions. Scales will lead the defensive charge and he will be a problem.  He will be near the ball the entire game.  

Post Spring Game Depth Chart: Defensive Line

The biggest strength of the Ohio State defense, the Rushmen, will wreak havoc this season.  After losing multiple starters to the NFL Draft over the past two years, Ohio State managed to return their key D-Linemen for at least one more season in the Scarlet and Gray.

At Defensive End, both starters from last year, Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis have returned and the will lock down the two starting positions for the Buckeyes.  Behind them, Nick Bosa, Jalyn Holmes and Dre’Mont Jones wait patiently to spell the aforementioned starters or during the Rushmen Package.

Defensive Tackle is the most open out of all the positions with Dre’Mont Jones returning and Tracy Sprinkle returning from injury from a season ago.  Michael Hill also has spent some time as a starter, and he will look to build further because his eligibility is running out.  Sprinkle was supposed to be the starter coming into last season, but an injury prevented him from starting.

Jones, Sprinkle and Hill will be fighting for the starting spot, while trying to stave off Landers who shined during spot duty.  Davon Hamilton will be nursing his broken foot and is this years Sprinkle, with an unfortunate injury.

The depth at Defensive Linemen is similar to what Coach Meyer had at Florida and the talent is in place.  Year after year, they team adds a couple of highly touted and quality recruits, and all of them train to make each other better.

A few names to watch for are Robert Landers, Jashon Cornell, Haskell Garrett, Jerron Cage and Chase Young.  They add to the depth of the team and they all will be looking for a more permanent role on the team.  The biggest advantage is that they could all play and most of the DL are versatile and could play multiple positions.  It will be up to Coach Johnson to decide, but this will be an exciting group of players to watch for years to come.