Tulsa Will Probably Be No Tussle For The Buckeyes

Before I progress into my early predictions for the 2016 Ohio State football season, I want to take a few moments to congratulate the twelve young men who were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, as well as the three young men who signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents. Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Eli Apple, Taylor Decker, Darron Lee, Michael Thomas, Vonn Bell, Adolphus Washington, Braxton Miller, Nick Vannett, Joshua Perry, Cardale Jones, Tyvis Powell, Jalin Marshall, and Chase Farris – thank you for all of your contributions to Ohio State football, from 2012-2015. Best of luck to you all in what I hope will be lengthy and successful NFL careers…#GoBucks

Here’s a tweet that I am not sure if Ohio State fans have truly contemplated…The first time since 2008 that NO member of the Boren family will be on the roster.

Below are some other impressive tweets that detailed the impressive 2016 NFL Draft for Ohio State…


“ Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something…” ~ Thomas Edison

Leave it to Thomas Edison, an Ohioan and considered “The Father Of Invention”, to appropriately summarize the goals for the 2016 Ohio State football team. No rules – just accomplish something.

“Something” is a pretty vague and open concept. Considering how much talent Ohio State lost to graduation and the NFL Draft, considering how I have written throughout spring practice about how 44 players on Ohio State’s roster are either redshirt freshmen or true freshmen…Damn right, Mr. Edison. There are no rules. Ohio State fans are just looking to see what this team can accomplish against a much tougher schedule in 2016 than 2015, with tremendously talented, yet inexperienced, players.


Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Game 2)

2016 OSU Opponent Ranking: 12 out of 12

Players Recruited By Ohio State: N/A. To the best of my knowledge, there are no players on Tulsa’s roster that Ohio State actively recruited or offered a scholarship.

Game Date: September 10, 2016

Kickoff Time: TBD

Location: Ohio Stadium

Rationale For The Ranking: Offensively, Tulsa is led by senior quarterback Dane Evans. Evans had a solid 2015 season, throwing 25 touchdowns and 4332 yards. Defensively, Tulsa surrendered points quite easily in 2015, averaging 40 points a game to the opponent in 2015. For a young team such as Ohio State, this game certainly will be an opportunity to work on every aspect offensively, before the big test down in Norman, Oklahoma, on September 17th.

Prediction: Tulsa’s head coach Phillip Montgomery did a solid job with the Golden Hurricane in 2015, leading them to a 6-7 record. Montgomery is a former Baylor offensive coordinator under Art Briles, meaning the Buckeyes can expect to see Tulsa throwing it all day long in Ohio Stadium on September 10th. With Ohio State having a young but talented defensive line, and inexperienced secondary, there may be some anxious moments, but look for Ohio State’s superior talent to be able to pull away in the second half. There is an old coaching axiom that a team makes its biggest improvement from game one to game two. Guess when these two teams meet? Game two, on September 10th.

Bidding Best Wishes To Buckeyes As They Leave For Possible NFL Bounty

For several members of the 2012 recruiting class, it began with a 56-10 victory over Miami University on September 1, 2012, in Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer’s first game as Ohio State’s head coach in Ohio Stadium. True freshmen such as Joshua Perry, Jacoby Boren, Michael Thomas, Tommy Schutt, Taylor Decker, and Adolphus Washington all participated, albeit as backups in mop-up time, for a team coming off a 6-7 season in 2011. Cam Williams, a highly-touted recruit, contributed later in the season against Alabama-Birmingham, as a special teams coverage player. These were recruited players who signed on for a team that was going to be denied a bowl berth at the end of the 2012 season, despite the fact that these players signed in 2012 had absolutely nothing to do with the transgressions that led to the penalty.

Some of the players who helped to contribute to Coach Meyer’s tremendous 2012 season were players who signed to play for former Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel, battled through the tumultuous 2011 season under interim Ohio State Head Coach Luke Fickell, and were strong enough to stay during the transition to Coach Meyer. The most dynamic of these players was Braxton Miller, but Miller was joined in the 2012 season by classmates such as Bryce Haynes, Nick Vannett, Chase Farris, and Joel Hale.

Even though 2012 was an undefeated season, Coach Meyer knew that reinforcements were desperately needed to effectively transform the Buckeyes into the type of team that would be capable of challenging for B1G Conference championships – national championships were still too far to contemplate. In February 2013, players such as Joey Bosa, Vonn Bell, and Ezekiel Elliott were among those who signed with the Buckeyes and played during the 2013 season; much to Coach Meyer’s chagrin, so many of the talented players were regrettably redshirted in 2013.

During the 2013 season, assistance came in the form of some of the 2012 redshirted players, such as Warren Ball on special teams. Remember that Ball verballed to Coach Tressel, stayed with his commitment during 2011 under Coach Fickell, and was willing to help the team, even in a reduced manner, under Coach Meyer. It could be argued that one of the biggest contributions from the 2012 class came when most needed and most unexpected, as Tyvis Powell, a safety who redshirted in 2012, came up with an interception to preserve a victory in Ann Arbor over That Team Up North in 2013. Powell was the first player to verbal to Ohio State and Coach Fickell after Coach Tressel resigned in May 2011.

In 2014, several of those talented but redshirted freshmen from the 2013 recruiting class were ready and eager to contribute on the field for the Buckeyes. Jalin Marshall, Eli Apple, and Darron Lee seemingly came out of nowhere to play prominently. A former Georgia Tech scholarship player, who chose to walk-on at Ohio State, by the name of Jeff Greene contributed on special teams. Perhaps the biggest contribution came from arguably the most unheralded player from either the 2012 or 2013 classes, a player Urban Meyer seemingly did not want, by the name of Cardale Jones.

In 2015, a player named Jack Willoughby decided to end his collegiate career as a Buckeye, after a successful four year career for Duke. Even though Willoughby had not taken nearly as long of a road as so many others within the program, Willoughby’s contributions were tremendously appreciated by the coaching staff, his new teammates, and the Buckeye faithful.

There are so many memories from this group of Buckeyes, from the 2012 season until the 2015 season. Fifty wins over a four year span, equaling a record held by Boise State. I feel at a loss for words, so I will simply write…

Thank You.

Buckeyes ‘Gopher’ A Hot Start To November Stretch Run

Quite a relaxing bye week, huh, Buckeye fans? To be honest, I truly do not have the energy to go over everything related to J.T. Barrett’s suspension, after Shannon Sommers (@smsommers84) covered it so extensively on this week’s Men of the Scarlet and Gray podcast.

Loyal and long-time followers of Men of the Scarlet and Gray may recall how I wrote about Minnesota not necessarily being a pushover, back before the season started. It looks like Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer is of the same mindset, with the comments made after one of this week’s practices…

Say what you will about Minnesota lacking explosive speed at the skill positions. I will merely remind Ohio State fans that Minnesota is well-coached and fundamentally sound, despite the calamitous ending to the game against That Team Up North on October 31st.

Below are three critical areas I will be keeping an eye on as Ohio State and Minnesota kick off in Ohio Stadium at 8pm EST on ABC ~

1. How will Cardale Jones play as the unquestioned starter at quarterback – Last season, Cardale Jones was thrust into play, due to the season-ending injury to J.T. Barrett. With Barrett completely out of the picture, the team rallied around Jones…you know how that wonderful script ended. In a similar fashion, with Barrett suspended, will Jones go back to his carefree approach to playing quarterback that served him, and the Buckeyes, so well at the end of the 2014 season? And if Jones does play that way, will it be enough to earn Jones the starting quarterback job back from Barrett for the remainder of the 2015 season?

2. Braxton Miller as the backup/red zone quarterback – Ohio State fans became weary with Jones unable to lead the Buckeyes to touchdowns earlier this season. J.T. Barrett regained the starting quarterback position with his ability to fully execute the offense. With Barrett suspended, Coach Meyer has stated a willingness to use former quarterback and current wide receiver Braxton Miller as the backup, and possibly, the red zone quarterback. Will Miller be able to throw the ball, or is Miller’s shoulder still injured enough to preclude Miller from truly being more than just a wildcat quarterback?

3. Minnesota’s Confidence – Losing Jerry Kill to an unexpected retirement was bad enough. Losing a home game, in the manner and fashion that Minnesota did, truly defined the expression of “adding insult to injury”. How will the Golden Gophers respond after such a double dose of disappointment?

Prediction: Look for Cardale Jones to come out of the gate, playing with a confidence level that Ohio State fans have not seen this season. Even with Minnesota putting eight men in the box to stop Ezekiel Elliott, look for Jones to capitalize on some deep passes for big gains. Minnesota will put up a good fight, but I like Ohio State to pull away in the second half. I have it Ohio State 35, Minnesota 14.

Buckeyes Look To “Black Out” Penn State

Ohio State defeated Maryland 49-28 in what was arguably the best offensive performance by the Buckeyes in the 2015 season. Using a two quarterback system, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett led Ohio State to a combined five touchdowns; the other two touchdowns were scored on the ground by Ezekiel Elliott. Ohio State was able to mix its traditionally strong running game, with play action passing to Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall. The common football maxim is that if you are playing two quarterbacks, you may not have one – no matter how you feel about it, Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer may have unlocked the secret to a productive Ohio State offense for the remainder of this season.

Next up in Ohio Stadium are the Penn State Nittany Lions. Ohio State fans can recall how the Buckeyes needed to rally at Beaver Stadium in double overtime last season, until Joey Bosa sacked Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg by pushing Nittany Lions running back Akeem Lynch into Hackenberg’s leg. Ohio State fans will fondly hope that this game against Penn State will closely resemble more of what happened the last time Penn State visited in 2013, when Ohio State cruised to a 63-14 rout.

Ohio State will unveil a special black uniform for the night game against Penn State. If going to the game, be sure to wear black, or be prepared to face the wrath of Shelley Meyer…

Black uniforms can be debated positively or negatively from now until the conclusion of the Penn State game. In my estimation, Penn State is the best team that Ohio State has faced so far this 2015 season.

Here are three things I will be keeping an eye upon when the game kicks off at 8pm EST on ABC…

1. Penn State’s offensive line versus Ohio State’s defensive line ~ Penn State has given up 19 sacks through the first six games of the season, with ten sacks in the opening game loss to Temple. Ohio State’s defensive line, led by Bosa and Adolphus Washington, will pin their collective ears back on passing downs. Will Penn State be able to protect Hackenberg? Will Penn State use screens or other quick passing plays to try and negate the Ohio State pass rush?

2. Penn State’s Opportunistic Defense ~ On the latest Men of the Scarlet and Gray podcast, our guest Kevin McGuire noted how Penn State’s defense has been capitalizing upon turnovers in their five victories. With the exception of Ohio State’s win over Maryland, the Buckeyes have turned the ball over at an alarming rate. Will Ohio State revert back to its bad habits against the Nittany Lions?

3. Ohio State In The Red Zone ~ Using Barrett opened up the offense in a positive way against Maryland. Will Ohio State be able to build upon the momentum moving forward against Penn State?

Prediction: New uniforms and a night game are tremendous energy builders, but any game comes down to the team that is able to consistently block and tackle their opponent. Penn State is closing the gap talent-wise with Ohio State, but is not there yet with the Buckeyes. Look for Ohio State to pull away in the second half, behind the strong Buckeye offensive line and the running of Ezekiel Elliott. I have it Ohio State 35, Penn State 21.

Buckeyes Back On Road To Battle Hoosiers

4-0 Ohio State at 4-0 Indiana. How many of you thought it was going to be like this, back when thinking about this game as it related to the schedule?

You can put your hand down, Kyle Swick of The Crimson Quarry. By the way, thank you again for appearing on The Men of the Scarlet and Gray podcast with Shannon Sommers and me to preview this game.

Back to business. Ohio State took a step in the right direction offensively against Western Michigan, running a faster tempo offense behind the quarterback play of Cardale Jones. While Jones played better than in previous contests versus Hawaii and Northern Illinois, Jones also left points on the field by being late with deep passes; one of the three was intercepted, and two of the passes were almost intercepted. Jones also had some time management issues at the end of the first half, taking a costly intentional grounding call that led to the clock running out on the Buckeyes, missing an opportunity for a field goal.

All of what I wrote up above are fixable, and probably will be addressed going forward, especially the deep passing fundamentals that are crucial for the offense to succeed. Below are three areas that I will be focusing upon when Ohio State and Indiana get going in Bloomington at 3:30pm EST on ABC/ESPN2.

1. Ohio State’s Run Defense Versus The Indiana Running Game ~ Ohio State gave up 169 yards last week to Western Michigan, prompting concern from the Ohio State fan base, as well as Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer. Indiana is led by UAB transfer Jordan Howard. Howard has already rushed for 675 yards this season, and is coming off an impressive 168 yard game at Wake Forest. The interior defensive line, led by seniors Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt, need to rebound against Indiana as B1G play begins.

2. Ohio State’s Turnover Problems ~ A problem area from the end of last season, Ohio State has been entirely too generous with the football. Interceptions and fumbles are becoming far too commonplace this season for Coach Meyer to feel comfortable.

3. Braxton Miller’s Status In The Offense ~ It has become more and more evident that the coaching staff is trying to incorporate Miller into the offense, and more and more evident that the offense bogs down whenever this takes place. Yes, Braxton Miller is a dynamic player, but is it so important to get Miller the ball that the entire offense stalls out? Keep an eye out to see if the coaching staff lets the game flow better, before getting Miller the ball in situations that seem or feel forced.

Prediction: Ohio State is the best team Indiana has faced so far this season. While Indiana has talent across the board offensively, the Indiana defense has been giving up an average of 32 points a game, ranking them 97th defensively in this category. Indiana did not improve its team outlook by suspending DL Darius Latham prior to this contest. Look for Ohio State to use this game to continue to fine tune and improve upon its offense, while also working to shore up its run defense. I have it Ohio State 42, Indiana 21.

Northern Illinois Poses A ‘Husky’ Challenge For Ohio State

The words of caution and concern have been raised by me in the past, in case you forgot. Northern Illinois, the team that has defeated other B1G programs such as Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Purdue, will be entering Ohio Stadium to face the top-ranked Buckeyes in week three of the 2015 season. This game will mark the first time Ohio State and Northern Illinois have played since the 2006 season opener, when Ohio State won 35-12 over Northern Illinois.

Almost lost in the focus of this game is that former Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel, as well as former Buckeye football players Joey Galloway and Tim Anderson, will be honored with inductions into the Ohio State Hall Of Fame. Congratulations to these individuals, as well as all of the former Buckeye athletes who are immortalized with this tremendous honor.

Courtesy of buckeyegrove.com, below is a video clip of Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer describing what lies ahead for Ohio State with a talented Northern Illinois team…

Below are three areas I will be keeping a close eye on during the game…

1. Will Ohio State “Feed The Zeke” Against The Huskies? ~ Ohio State is 2-0 to start the 2015 season, but the offensive attack has been somewhat inconsistent and lacking the identity of the traditional power running game associated with Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes. With four of five offensive linemen returning, are the challenges simply a reflection of early season chemistry issues? If Ohio State can establish its traditional running game by running the ball well up the middle with Ezekiel Elliott, look for the rest of the offense to fall into place.

2. Can Ohio State Shut Down Northern Illinois’ Running Game? ~ If Ohio State can shut down Northern Illinois’ running game, with RB Joel Bouagnon as the key player, it will allow Ohio State to unleash its pass rush against Huskies QB Drew Hare. Hare is a steady quarterback who rarely makes mistakes; Hare has not thrown an interception yet this season. If Ohio State can keep the Huskies in third and long situations, the opportunity to wear the Huskies down with the Ohio State running game (see item # 1 in my preview) is that much more likely.

3. Has Ohio State Figured Out Its Quarterback Issues? ~ Nobody wants a quarterback controversy. All a quarterback controversy will do is divide, and possibly fracture, the locker room. Cardale Jones, off to a slow start, needs to play a smart game – instead of trying to force a big play, making a smart play is the way to approach this game. While J.T. Barrett should get playing time, introducing Barrett into the game too early can only fan the flames of a possible quarterback controversy.

Earlier this week, on The Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast, Shannon Sommers and I discussed this game in greater detail. While I respect Northern Illinois, I believe Ohio State will benefit from a full week of preparation, coming out with more energy and better focus. The Huskies will keep it interesting for the first half, but I see Ohio State slowly but surely pulling away in the second half to make it Ohio State 42, Northern Illinois 17.

Will The Warriors Want To ‘Come Out And Play’ Ohio State?

Congratulations to Ohio State on the impressive 42-24 opening victory on the road at Virginia Tech. Ohio State not only was able to avenge its lone loss in 2014 by defeating the Hokies, but the game marked the dynamic return of Braxton Miller for the first time since The 2014 Orange Bowl.

The 1979 movie “The Warriors” is a personal favorite. It is well worth the rental if you have never seen it; scrounge some change from your car or couch, and I am guessing you will be able to have enough for the rental. Anyway, below is one of the classic clips that I felt I had to include in my preview, as Hawaii’s team name are the Rainbow Warriors. Wouldn’t it be tremendous if the Ohio State P.A. announcer included this on Saturday, with Urban Meyer’s face superimposed on the screen of the Rogues’ leader? (I would tell you more, but I truly don’t want to spoil the movie for those of you who have not seen it.)

Earlier this week, Shannon Sommers and I previewed the home opener for Ohio State, as the Buckeyes will welcome in the University of Hawaii for a 3:30pm EST kickoff that will be televised on The Big Ten Network. This game will mark the first time that Ohio State and Hawaii have met on the gridiron. Ohio State comes into this game on only four days of rest, while Hawaii is coming off ten days of rest; Hawaii played Colorado on 09/03/2015. As I stated on this week’s Men of the Scarlet and Gray podcast, traveling to/from Hawaii is a physically exhausting experience, as the trip to/from Ohio will take about nine hours of total flight time.

Here are three quick items to keep an eye out for with Hawaii at Ohio State…

1. Cardale Jones Is The Starting Quarterback, But… ~ Look for J.T. Barrett to get substantially more playing time than what happened against Virginia Tech. It would not be surprising to see Barrett enter the Hawaii game while the contest is still in doubt, as Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer may want to keep Barrett fresh. Ohio State fans certainly remember how the 2014 team was forced to play three quarterbacks during the course of the season; why would the coaching staff not have the same pressing concerns? Here is something to contemplate – if this game gets out of hand, and Ohio State builds a truly substantial lead, will redshirt freshman Stephen Collier earn his first playing time as a Buckeye?

2. How Soon Will The Suspended Players Return To The Lineup? ~ Ohio State welcomes back defensive end Joey Bosa and wide receivers Dontre Wilson, Corey Smith, and Jalin Marshall. All are talented players, and can only help the team in a variety of ways going forward. Will Coach Meyer play them in the second or third series, as a manner of continued discipline? On The Urban Meyer Call-In Show on 09/10/2015, Meyer stated that Parris Campbell is a starter, as well as that Curtis Samuel and Braxton Miller will play at H-Back, the same position that Wilson and Marshall have also played.

3. Youth Can, And Should Be Served ~ Jones, Knox, Taylor, Lisle, and Prince. Sounds like a prestigious law firm, and maybe it will be someday in the future. (Jamarco) Jones, (Demetrius) Knox, (Brady) Taylor, (Evan) Lisle, and (Isaiah) Prince represent the listed second team offensive line, from left to right. With Taylor Decker, Jacoby Boren, and Chase Farris all seniors, plus Pat Elflein a redshirt junior who could leave after this season for the 2016 NFL Draft, Ohio State may be in the exact same predicament that the program had in 2014, with four players to replace along the offensive line. Why not play the inexperienced backups, to gain that necessary experience? Ezekiel Elliott will probably rush for over 100 yards by the half; what is there to gain by tiring Elliott out against Hawaii, when players such as Bri’onte Dunn or Warren Ball can take some carries, keeping Elliott fresh for the important stretch run that will begin in November?

Prediction: Hawaii enters this game with a victory over Colorado, but traveling across the mainland into Ohio Stadium is a very tall order. Hawaii has a talented quarterback in Max Wittek, and will throw a 3-4 defensive scheme against Ohio State that the Buckeyes do not routinely encounter. The talent, depth, and experience across the board will just be too much for Hawaii to keep pace.

Earlier this spring, I ranked the opponents on Ohio State’s 2015 schedule, and I ranked Hawaii last. Even the Hawaii correspondent we e-mailed, @dontwarriorboutit, predicted this to be a rout for Ohio State, with a 61-17 prediction. I have it 63-10, as Ohio State will try to keep it from getting out of hand, but it may be difficult with so many talented players, eager to impress the coaching staff, in the hope that impressive plays may garner them more playing time.

3 Thoughts From The Mind Of Minnich ~ Hokies Will Come ‘Loaded For Bear’ Against OSU

“Loaded For Bear” is an old expression, meaning someone or several people are ready for a difficult challenge. You could make the argument that although Virginia Tech effectively disrupted and dismantled Ohio State’s offense in 2014 using the Bear Front Cover 0 scheme, it will be the Buckeyes who are truly ‘loaded for bear’ as they begin the 2015 season in Blacksburg at 8pm EST on 09/07/2015.

Three Quick Things I will be keeping an eye out for during the game:

1. The Bear Front Cover 0 Scheme: How quickly will Virginia Tech use it against Ohio State, and how effectively will Ohio State be able to neutralize it? As stated up above, and as any Ohio State fan remembers from 2014, Virginia Tech used the Bear Front Cover 0 to its maximum effectiveness last year in Columbus. Why would Virginia Tech possibly deviate from something that worked so well? All offseason, Ohio State has practiced on how to defeat the scheme. The chess match between Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster and Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and Ed Warriner will be fascinating.

2. Special Teams Truly Need To Be Special: Besides a stifling defense, Virginia Tech has made a sterling reputation off its special teams units, often blocking punts that swung the momentum in their favor against their opponent. Cameron Johnston is a tremendous punter, but needs to be prepared for the possibility of the Hokies going all out with a punt block scheme.

3. It Truly Is ‘Miller Time’: Braxton Miller returns to the field of play for the first time since January 2014. How much of a factor will Miller be as an H-Back, or as a listed punt returner? The aforementioned Foster will be on high alert any and all times Miller steps on the field for the Buckeyes.

I believe this game is going to be a tougher game than many Ohio State fans want to acknowledge. Blacksburg is going to be loud, raucous, and well-liquidated after a whole day in preparation for this game. Virginia Tech will not only run the Bear Front Cover 0 scheme, but look for various blitzes and stunts that will test Ohio State’s offensive line and the starting quarterback; for the record, I believe that will be J.T. Barrett, but I anticipate Cardale Jones getting playing time as well. Both Chris Spielman and Joey Galloway believe this will be a close one; who am I to argue with Buckeye legends? I have it being close until the fourth quarter, with Ohio State pulling away, to make it Ohio State 28, Virginia Tech 17.

MotSaG Podcast with the Fighting Gobbler’s Dwight Lester

Chip Minnich and myself had the opportunity to discuss the Virginia Tech and Ohio State rematch in Blacksburg, VA. We discussed a lot about the game from the stadium atmosphere, players and everything else in between.

The three of us also made some predictions on the biggest games for this upcoming weekend. Have to see who we took and how we did, we will keeping score amongst ourselves.

Chip and I also talk about the Tim Beckman terminatrion at Illinois. We also discuss the Noah Brown injury and who needs to step up then we wrap up the show talking about the newly elected captians. We even give a prediction about who we feel will be under center when the game starts Monday night.

It was a great honor discussing the match-up with Dwight Lester. You can enjoy hos work over at fightinggobbler.com or you can hit him up on twitter @HokieHiVP107.

Stanley Jackson Offers Insights On Playing QB For Ohio State (Part Two)

The battle between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones for the starting quarterback position will be the most scrutinized area by both the fans and the media as the Buckeyes prepare for the 2015 college football season. Everyone has an opinion on how it will turn out, but I thought I would go straight to a source who is as well-versed on the subject as anyone.

Stanley Jackson (@Jacksonville8) is a former Ohio State quarterback who knows a thing or two about what it is like to go through a quarterback battle, having experienced it himself with former teammate Joe Germaine during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Mr. Jackson is an analyst for the Big Ten Network and WTVN 610 radio in Columbus, Ohio. Married with four children, living in Marion, Ohio, Mr. Jackson was kind enough to participate in a telephone interview after a work day at Buckeye State Bank, where he is owner and vice-president. The first part of the interview dealt more upon Mr. Jackson’s career, where part two focuses more upon the impending quarterback battle between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.


CM: What if J.T. Barrett winds up as the starter? Just from my perspective, could you see maybe Cardale Jones getting the second half?

SJ: Coach Meyer has a history of platooning guys, with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. Here’s the problem with that. Both of these guys have the talent to possibly win the Heisman Trophy or be an All-American. They are both special. I don’t like platooning. I think you have to make a choice. I think back to when Joe and I were platooning, and neither one of us were picked as All-Big Ten; the year Joe was the starter, Joe was All-Big Ten. I would love for them to say that this is an open competition; whoever comes out on top is going to be the guy. As good a run that Cardale Jones had, Cardale became the starter because J.T. Barrett was injured – I don’t think a player should ever lose a job due to injury. I like both kids. I think they are both very worthy, they both deserve it, I think it is going to be a hard fought battle. I would hate to see a platoon system. I hope Coach Meyer picks a guy, and goes with him, no matter who it is. You can sometimes run two different offenses, and that can become confusing for the group as well.

CM: How surprised were you with the news that Braxton Miller was changing positions? Was that something you anticipated?

SJ: I am not very surprised. It was a tough decision for Braxton. My gut tells me that the arm has not healed enough for Braxton to be able to make all the throws. Very rarely do you see a kid make a decision like that when they can still play quarterback and switch; they have a love for the position and they want to prove everyone wrong. You look at Denard Robinson, who has emerged as a good running back in the NFL; everyone knew just from his pure stature that he was not going to play quarterback in the NFL. It took him losing his shoulder at Michigan before he made the position switch. I grieve with Braxton that he had to make the choice, and Coach Meyer is telling everyone to pump the brakes, but I think it is more about Braxton’s health than about a possible NFL career. If Braxton goes out and runs a 4.3, benches well, runs a tremendous shuttle time, the NFL will look at him for sure, because they want athletes. I think Braxton would like to go out with a bang, but I think it is difficult to win the Heisman as a wide receiver or an H-Back. The last wide receiver to win the Heisman also returned kicks (Notre Dame’s Tim Brown in 1987). Also, all of the talent at Ohio State is working against him – are you stealing touches from Mike Thomas, Jalin Marshall, Curtis Samuel, Dontre Wilson, Ezekiel Elliott? All of those players are special football players. It is a tough thing.

CM: You mentioned earlier about your career and how you had a period of growing up, needing to mature, and things you may have done differently. Ohio State recruited two quarterbacks in Joe Burrow and Torrance Gibson. What kind of advice would you give to those players as a former Ohio State quarterback as the season gets closer, as someone who has been down the path they are currently following?

SJ: That’s easy, whether you are redshirting or not. That’s another very interesting battle, because Braxton has moved to the H-Back, so you have to find the third quarterback. Two five-star quarterbacks coming in, both had outstanding high school careers. One of those guys is going to compete to be the third guy. Not that it means whoever wins the battle this year is going to keep that pole position, but that could put you in the catbird seat for when J.T. Barrett graduates. That’s an important race there. Either way, redshirting or not, what I would tell both of those guys is don’t waste a year. It is very easy to waste this year and lay back, not watch film like you’re a starter, not throw balls like you’re a starter, not be attentive at practice like you’re a starter. Then if they take you and have you run the scout team it can make it even easier for you to check out. Don’t check out on these minutes; this is your foundation year. You are building a foundation for the rest of your career at Ohio State. The reality for me is I was in a situation where I was the third string guy behind Bob Hoying and Bret Powers. Tom Hoying, Mark Zban, and I all competed for the third string spot all fall camp, and it was exciting then, but once the battle was over, it was not exciting anymore. Tom and Mark were running scout team, and they were getting more reps than I was because I was the third string guy, and I was watching most of the time, and it lost its luster for me. There were a lot of days when I wasted time, I checked out, and I wasn’t learning or getting better. I wasn’t throwing balls, and I didn’t stay extra after practice; a lot of times, I was probably the first guy off the practice field, so I wasted the year. Don’t waste the year. Every moment is vital. Get better every play.

CM: Last question, and this is more of a personal request. You work for The Big Ten Network as an analyst – I love when they show these Ohio State classic games, but they never show Ohio State defeating Alabama in The Sugar Bowl, or Ohio State defeating Oregon for the national championship. Anyone you can talk to at BTN about playing those games?

SJ: Don’t worry; they are chomping at the bit to play those games. Those are probably the two most watched games in the history of Ohio State football, maybe even The B1G with the beginning of the playoff run. I am not 100% sure, but as we were working those games, we could not show all of the clips. Those games were shown on ESPN and Fox Sports. I am not sure what the deal is with ESPN and how long they get that stuff, but eventually the license will run the course and BTN will be able to show those games. BTN will love to show those games. Those games are still being shown on ESPN. I will certainly go on BTN and ask that question for you.

CM: Do you know if you will be an analyst for BTN at any Ohio State games, like maybe the Hawaii game on September 12th?

SJ: I think they are trying to keep me away from doing any Ohio State games; I have about five games this season. This is my second year providing color commentary. Glen Mason is also a Buckeye, and he is the main guy. He will get to do most of the Ohio State games on BTN.

CM: Your BTN duties begin soon?

SJ: BTN Live, then Big Ten Football And Beyond on Wednesdays, and I will be scattered across the network on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays.

CM: You will also be working with Coach Bruce, right?

SJ: That is fair to say. We have a podcast, and we are presently in negotations with WTVN 610.

CM: It is so great to hear you speak about all of the positive things that have come about after your career at Ohio State.

SJ: Thank you. Please be sure to send me a copy of the article when it comes out.

CM: Will do. Thank you, sir.

I cannot thank Mr. Jackson enough for his time and patience with participating in this interview. Please be sure to follow him on Twitter @Jacksonville8, as well as Mr. Jackson’s media opportunities via The Big Ten Network and WTVN 610 AM in Columbus, Ohio.