Eleven Warriors Roundtable, Week One: The Middies

By Jeff Beck on August 29, 2014 at 10:12a
Eleven Warriors Roundtable

Believe it or not, we're one sunrise away from the greatest achievement known to man: The Ohio State Football Season. So, I've tapped some of the greatest men known to man to help us wade through the last remaining questions for tomorrow's matchup against the Navy Midshipmen. DJ, Jeremy and Michael, you're up. Brace yourselves...it's the Eleven Warriors Roundtable: Week One.

It's J.T. Barrett's first competitive start in two years. How does he handle it?

DJ: I think J.T. Barrett will be fine. I'm sure there could be some nerves in the first couple drives, but I'm about as high on him as one can be with a redshirt freshman who hasn't made a competitive start in two years.

Jeremy: I think Barrett will have some nerves initially, which is natural of course. How he fares later in the day is directly related to the new offensive line's performance. If he gets time to run through his progressions and feels comfortable in the pocket, I think he could have a big afternoon. 

Michael: Unknown, which is the exciting thing about it. That position is a microcosm of the whole team. We know the talent is there and we presume the coaching is, but until they take the field, we have to be prepared for literally anything. I’m simultaneously cautiously optimistic and terrified. I am Schrödinger's fan.

Give me Barrett's end of game stats...

Michael: Tough question, but I’ll guess 13-of-19 for 180 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT with an additional 65 yards on the ground. I expect J.T. to distribute the ball rather than be the focal point of the offense, and I believe they'll stick mostly to the short passing game with minimal downfield shots while trying to run the ball a lot.

Jeremy: Barrett is not going to be hamstrung because I think Ohio State wants to make him feel empowered as the de facto “leader” of the offense. They’ll give him the reins and see what he can do and I think the numbers will make Buckeye fans happy. I see him in the 225 yards and three touchdowns range through the air and 40-ish yards on the ground.

DJ: 175 yards passing, 75 yards rushing, two touchdowns and perhaps a turnover.

What scares you most about Navy?

Jeremy: My biggest concern is young linebackers that over-pursue on the option and Navy’s penchant for cut-blocking and potentially injuring the Buckeyes' already shrinking defensive line depth. Guys like Bosa, Schutt, and Bennett will need to be cognizant of where their legs are at all times.

DJ: Their cutblocking. Honestly, it should be illegal in college. Also, the fact they have nothing to lose. 

Michael: Their offense requires you to have 11 guys playing assignment football. With inexperience at linebacker and in the secondary, there are bound to be breakdowns, but hopefully not catastrophic ones. Defensively, they try to limit home runs and make you use a lot of plays to score. That could wear on a young, inexperienced quarterback.

Navy finished second, nationally, in rushing last year. How do they fare this weekend?

Michael: I think they’ll be close to their average, because they’re so fundamentally sound and Keenan Reynolds is so good at reading the defense. My hope is that Ohio State makes them settle for field goals.

Jeremy: It’s hard to adequately prepare for the triple option and I think the Buckeyes will struggle with it as most teams did last year. I don’t see any situation where Navy doesn’t end up with 250-plus yards on the ground. The key for Ohio State’s defense this weekend is to make sure they don’t sell out to stop the run and open themselves up to get burnt behind the secondary, which is what happened a few times in their last meeting with the Midshipmen.

DJ: Somewhere around 200, but only because they're so run-based.

Who leads Ohio State in receiving Saturday?

DJ: Corey Smith; he'll have seven catches.

Michael: Dontre Wilson will catch the most passes—maybe six. I expect Tom Herman

Is Corey Smith set for his first breakout game?

to try to get him the ball in space quickly.

Jeremy: I’m going to predict Corey Smith. It seems the writing is on the wall for the JUCO transfer to be the breakout star at wide receiver and that will start this weekend. Buckeye fans will see a homerun hitter who can create space on his own and a guy J.T. Barrett looks too often.

The Buckeyes are nearly a two touchdown favorite. Thoughts?

Jeremy: I think eventually this is just right. The game will be back and forth early but the Buckeyes should be able to pull away in the second half as talent overcomes nerves. Don’t be surprised if Buckeye fans go into the half with a lot of head shaking though. There’s bound to be some rough patches.

DJ: I think the spread is right, but I don't think Ohio State will cover. (I do think they'll win, however.)

Michael: Away from home with a redshirt freshman making his first start, I think it’s probably too much, but I would appreciate a big lead as far as my nerves are concerned.

Who will you be keying on from each side?

DJ:  For Ohio State, Curtis Samuel. Urban Meyer has been raving about him since he stepped foot in Columbus, and I'm interested to see the percentage of carries given to him. On the other side, Keenan Reynolds, partly because he's the straw that stirs the drink and partly because he's the only Navy player I know.

Michael: For OSU it's Barrett, because his performance is crucial and will tell us a lot about what our expectations should be for the season. All eyes will be on J.T. That said, I’m really interested to see what Jalin Marshall can do.

For Navy it's obviously Keenan Reynolds. He's a dark horse Heisman candidate and according to Michael James of the Birddog Blog, he is the best quarterback Navy has had in the modern era. What makes him dangerous is his intelligence at reading the option and his arm strength and accuracy in the passing game.

Jeremy: On the Buckeyes' side of the ball it's Corey Smith. I think he’s going to have a breakout afternoon. For Navy, the player to watch is of course the quarterback, Keenan Reynolds. Last year Reynolds ran for over 1300 yards and had 31 rushing touchdowns. 31. Navy will pressure the edges of Ohio State’s defense and Reynolds is a master running the triple-option, while remaining a threat to throw the ball as well. Keep Reynolds under 100 yards and the Buckeyes win easily.

Gareon Conley or Eli Apple? Who do you have starting opposite Doran Grant?

Michael: I think Apple will start but we’ll see a lot of both players until one can separate himself from the other.

DJ: *Flips coin* Gareon Conley.

Jeremy: These two are very similar - and both very good - options. Conley may be a bit more physical and because of that I’ll take him in the starting spot because the ability to support the run this weekend is more important than natural cover skills.

Give me your final score prediction...

Jeremy: Ohio State 31 Navy 21

DJ: 37-27, Ohio State.

Michael: Ohio State 34, Navy 28, with me chugging Maalox in the fourth quarter if Navy has the ball last.

“Playing the first game of the season at a neutral site is...”

Michael: …like spaying or neutering my pet—I realize it’s sometimes necessary but I don’t feel very good about it. I prefer my college football to be played on campus.

Jeremy: ...a nice opportunity for the players and fans to see a new environment. However, count me in as someone who’d rather have home-and-home situations. I’m a fan of college football, and much of that is the pageantry and tradition of college football. I bet most of Navy’s football players would prefer the chance to play at Ohio Stadium as opposed to playing in MB&T Stadium if they had the option.

DJ: ...not cool. I would rather open at home or some place like Auburn.



longstb's picture

I think your takes on cut blocking is spot on.  There are rule changes this year to more aggressively protect the QB from hits below the knee.  What about the D-line?  An injury is what worries me most.


+8 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

Should also be wary of holding calls by Navy that get overlooked. I remember quite a few in the 2009 game that weren't called for some reason. Their WR's are masters of the no-call hold. 

+2 HS
Zimmy07's picture

There was a pretty vicious facemask that also went uncalled.  I think it prevented a TD as well.

Woody16111's picture

I disagree.

Like it or not the QB is on a different level than the other players so your going  to get different rules for that position and we do. 

The cut block is very effective - especially when your having trouble with bigger, faster D Lineman. It worked wonders for Denver in the mid 90's. The Broncos O Line was under sized for NFL standards and employed various blocking schemes to compensate. That line was one of the best in the pro's and they have 2 Super Bowls to show for it.

Like any technique in football - there is a right way and wrong way. If you do it wrong, bad things can happen. The cut block is not inherently dirty.

FROMTHE18's picture

all three think Navy gets 3 TDs. Interesting. 

+1 HS
Barnsey69's picture

I think those 11W rocks glasses are getting some frequent use...respectfully disagree. Defense stuffs Navy.

I know they were #2 rushing team in the nation last year, but versus this schedule?

Indiana, Delaware, Western KY, Air Force, Duke, Toledo, Pitt, Mighty Notre Dame, Hawaii, South Alabama (is there campus on an old oil rig platform in the gulf?), San Jose State, Army, and Middle Tenn State in the bowl game. Not exactly a murder's row of top CFB run defense...just sayin. 

Again, the gut says domination, both sides of the ball.


Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

+11 HS
ibuck's picture

Rationalizations? I am hoping the Buckeyes' superior athletic talent will prevail. But if there's an absence of focus or confidence, Navy has a chance. OSU is replacing a slew of starters with a bunch of inexperienced players. I just hope OSU's run game will eat up clock, yards and score TD's.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

gobucks96's picture

If OSU finds a quick solution to Navy's rushing attack this could be true. Anytime you are limited thru the air, comebacks are difficult. Turnovers/penalties are very problematic on that offense. 1st game of the season isn't out of the world to expect penalties and sloppy play.

awlinBrutus's picture

I say dare Reynolds to throw, shut down the run and open up the no huddle!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 55-13 TOSU    O   H  


SnooBucki's picture

I don't recall when I've been this clueless on what to expect from our guys for the season opener. We all know that we have talent but when you look at the losses we had at certain positions it makes you nervous. I'm ready to get this show started!

+1 HS
buckuar's picture

Ditto to this.  I don't remember a year when I was so UNSURE about the first game of the season.  Granted, we usually open with an opponent at home, which helps, but also with one that is fairly "pedestrian."  I will be in knots until the end of the first quarter tomorrow...  Once I see them in action for the first time since the Orange Bowl, I'll feel better.  I've also gotten so used to having Brax out there that this is the first time in ??? years that we know NOTHING of the starting QB...  Should be FUN!

robobuck's picture

That's because we have an entirely new team after the DL. Add in the grants, Powell a couple WR and one O lineman and that's about it for returning starters. Wow.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

kgratz's picture

I understand the 4 new starters online but when those 4 new starters have 60+ lbs and Warriner is coaching them I dont see a problem

How Firm Thy Friendship

+3 HS
Vinsaniti's picture

I agree with the guys play college football on campus at the historic stadiums. Neutral sites are garbage and show you the corporatized NFL stadiums we all watch college football to get away from.

sivaDavis's picture

Watched last years Duke vs Navy game last night on YouTube... Yes I know I'm pathetic. But they held Navy to 7 points and killed Reynolds all day. They played a similiar defense to what Ash has been implementing. Press corners. Walkout LB. Fast safeties. They had a perfect gameplan for stopping Navy. They got Navy in a lot of 3rd and long situations and created turnovers. I know we are all pretty nervous about this game. I would be even more nervous if it was mid season, like a week before MSU, UM or PSU. But I'm confident that Urban will have them ready. A lot of time to prepare for this, not overlooking Navy and talking to past coaches who have had success against Navy... I think offense scores in the 30+ range. 38-10 good guys. 

Did I mention that Duke's QB was 31/38 and threw for 3 TDs... I'm excited for tomorrow.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+10 HS
GVerrilli92's picture

No, you wanna know pathetic? Having a dream about the game last night.

What's bad is I remember everything. For some reason we we were up 58-38 and Navy scored 3 straight TDs to win the game in the 4th. I know that kind of scoring is impossible in this game, but what a freaking nightmare.

I got a gray kitty, white kitty, tabby too, and a little orange guy who puts snakes in my shoes. Got mad MC skills, that leave ya struck, and I roll with my kitties and I'm hard as f*ck.

+2 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

I bet you woke up pissed, haha

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+1 HS
GVerrilli92's picture

Dude, my scumbag brain had me going crazy.

Had to check on here first thing in the morning to make sure it was Thursday.

I got a gray kitty, white kitty, tabby too, and a little orange guy who puts snakes in my shoes. Got mad MC skills, that leave ya struck, and I roll with my kitties and I'm hard as f*ck.

Dmac3212's picture

I had a dream and I woke up thinking it was Saturday all pumped......

+1 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

Now I'm even more nervous.  I mean I'm that way anyway but geez......

schlichtersbookie's picture

It sucks that will not be able to see the changes that our defense has made until next week vs Va Tech.

A Buckeye born and bred, a Buckeye til I'm dead.

+1 HS
BlockO's picture

52-6...I have never seen Meyer as giddy about a team in his 3 years here at osu. I have a feeling that we will come out swinging. Navy will have around 150 yards rushing. We will have a punt return for td, fumble recovery and a blocked punt.

"faith seeking understanding” (fides quaerens intellectum)

HilltopHustle's picture

Do us a favor and stay away from commenting if this game is close. K thx.

-10 HS
allinosu's picture

You can't predict that close and think we will beat VT next week. We win by 24.

+2 HS
hetuck's picture

Wonder which conference is providing the officials? You can bet Meyer/Fickell will start working them for chop blocks from the start.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

BuckNutzGasMan's picture

Does anyone know what TA&M QB (Ken Hill?) was rated coming out of HS?  If JT plays half that well we are in for the season of our lives.

zeversole's picture

Did you see how quickly the Manziel references stopped after the first half? He's his own quarterback now. Can't say I've seen anyone step out of a heisman winner's shadow quicker. 

+1 HS
achillesx's picture

Kenny Hill - 6'2" 210lbs, 24/7 composite rankings: 0.9090 rating, 230 overall, 10th dual threat QB, 34th best player in TX

JT Barrett - 6'2" 205lbs, 24/7 composite rankings: 0.9348 rating, 137 overall, 3rd dual threat QB, 17th best player in TX

Barrett's rankings are AFTER he injured his knee, too. I think we'll be fine. :)

+11 HS
BuckNutzGasMan's picture

Thanks for the info.  IM SO EFFING PUMPED FOR TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!

+2 HS
BeardyBuckeye's picture

I haven't entered a season with so few expectations or assumptions since Justin Zwick was considered a legitimate option at quarterback. Justin Zwick!

All of the ambiguity surrounding the team and season is somewhat refreshing. Nothing feels set in stone and nothing given. As a fan, I feel a fair amount of humility entering the season - with no expectations, I'll be able to appreciate every phase of the game a little bit more.

One thing is for certain, however: Buckeye football kicks off in 25 hours, and I couldn't be more excited!

+2 HS
Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

Conley is more physical than Apple? It looked like the opposite during the spring game.

+1 HS
jonping67's picture

This game will not be close come the 4th quarter. OSU has to much depth and talent. The only way Navy stays within 21 points is if we lose the turnover battle. The only way we lose is if we have 3 more turnovers than Navy.
OSO 41 Navy 20

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

@Michael...  You said you're worried about our "inexperienced linebackers"...  Please explain.  We have 2 returning starters.  If the game is close, I don't see Fickell subbing in those young guys,

@Jeremy...  What do you mean by "shrinking defensive line depth"?  I thought we had 10 guys we could rotate in and out.  That doesn't include the raw and talented freshmen that came in.  

Michael Citro's picture

What I said was "inexperience at linebacker and in the secondary," which I meant as a whole (probably should have just said "back 7" to be more clear). D-line play is normally not a big factor against Navy, unless you're knocking O-linemen back into the backfield on contact. (Possible, but not every play.)

1/3 of the starting Buckeye linebackers are new and one is in a new position. And obviously new faces abound in the back four. Those particular 7 must work together in concert to stop Navy's attack, which is quite efficient and experienced. They have to play disciplined and they are the 7 I worry most about staying disciplined, making the right read, and taking the proper angle to the ball.

Also, Keenan Reynolds is very good at what he does (Urban Meyer called him NFL caliber) and Navy is potentially a Top 25 team (already has received votes) and will be bowl-bound. Being bigger/faster doesn't matter against a team like Navy. They're used to being smaller/slower. Reynolds will try to find the one guy on D a little out of position and that's where he'll go with the ball (when it's snapped, he has no idea where it's going).

Should be an interesting game but I expect a fight from the Middies.

ibuck's picture

I think your analysis is accurate. My Naval Academy friend said Navy has a lot back on offense, but he insisted that the Buckeyes have much better talent, and predicted a slaughter. I told him that Navy may do a lot better than he expects. I don't think OSU covers the spread, but I'm OK with being wrong. We'll see tomorrow.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

southbuc's picture

This feels like 2002!

+3 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

I think navy doesn't score as much as everyon thinks they will. I think our defense is going to surprise us. 42-17. I would put money on that. I know the ground game is legit, but I have a good feeling about this.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

tcm1968's picture

No first game jitters for me. Just don't see this being close. We'll do what you do to a team like this. Score a bunch early and make them have to give up their game plan. OSU scores 40+ and scores from all over the place ( return game, defense, running and passing). I think the only thing that keeps us from hanging 50/60+ is Meyer's respect for a program like Navy and what Navy means in the bigger picture. Fully expect it to be 14-0 FAST and never a game. Here's hoping both teams fight hard and neither school suffers an injury. Go Bucks!

+1 HS
BuckeyeJAK's picture

I would Like to see JT look off defenders, They also need to throw a few deep balls to show Virginia Tech he is capable. Defenses will stuff the box until we prove it a bad idea. I agree our defense holds and gives the offense plenty of chances. Jones should also play meaningful time.

Mark May is a mental midget

Liening's picture

An attaboy to Michael for the Schroedinger's Cat reference. I love it that we can enjoy 11W and increase our understanding of both football and particle physics!


+2 HS
schneidzzz's picture

I feel like it's Xmas Eve and I'm seven years old waiting to see if I get a Millennium Falcon from Santa. 

DC-town's picture

So much fun...I'm excited to see the db's and how thy handle the press, although this is a running door all team.  I'm pumped to see how the D looks under Ash.  Jalin Marshall and dontre (+20 lbs)...the WR...EZE with the staring role and oh yeah Joseph Thomas Barrett.  

The jolly fat man is brining it strong this Christmas morning....Git Tee Up

'Piss excellence' -RB

bucks4nuts's picture

I havent a clue... Even with Miller I wouldnt have a clue.. I battle myself." The athletes on offense" "Well we have to get them the ball" "Reshirt Freshman have shown they can play.. dating back to last night".."The option game that is tough to stop" Urban Meyer is the coach"

Good God let it be tomorrow already. Go Bucks

OSU 42--Navy 17

"To The House"

dwcbuckeye's picture

Very conservative estimates IMO.  puts scarlett colored homer glasses on  I believe JT is going to Kenny Hill them and put up 500 yards.  In all seriousness I give him a better than 50% chance of eclipsing Braxton's all time best passing yards (I think around 250).

Navy rushing; Not going to happen, they get less than 200 or I start yelling at the tv.

It's going to be glorious either way tomorrow.  Football is finally here.

+1 HS
buckguyfan1's picture

Michael, Jeremy, or DJ... Who wins in a beer chug contest?

+1 HS
Michael Citro's picture

I am terrible at chugging. My guess is our resident Marionaire would put us to shame.

buckguyfan1's picture

Vegas agrees Michael.

+1 HS
RunEddieRun1983's picture

The only thing frustrating me is this thought that our defense isn't prepared for the option.  Doesn't the Buckeye offense operate out of the option to run the ball?  I mean it's not a triple option, but at some point you would think these guys were ready.  Navy can't hold a candle to the Buckeyes in terms of talent, I think Ohio State romps early, and often, and even though Navy will play the TOP game, Ohio State will dominate, 66-14.

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

Gametime's picture

I'm throwing caution to the wind. I think we route em and make a statement! Go Bucks!

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

+1 HS
ChillitownBuck30's picture

One thing that hasn't really been mentioned, special teams.  I think it's highly possible we have a TD from a kick or punt return.  We are at a huge advantage in that department if you ask me.  Field position could be enormously critical in this game.

“Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.”

+1 HS
tosubuckeye's picture

I understand our "lack of experience", but as multiple readers have consistently pointed out on this site "That's why they are at The Ohio State University".  More than reloading the Meyer scheme takes into account "the fit mode", and that's where I think J.T., Eze. Dontre, Jalin, Bosa, Apple, and other Meyer-recruited players talents will rise to the top. I have never seen Coach as relaxed and confident as I have seen him with this group. I'm excited about tomorrow. I think both sides of the ball we will do extremely well. Our guys are talented and well-coached. I don't believe there's another recipe for success. J.T. projections:  28/34, 345, 5 td's; 8 for 76, 1 td.  Defense: Navy u 150 rushing, 3 fg's.  GO BUCKS!!!!



zeeman60657's picture

Front 7 will stop Navy, hold them under 150 yards rushing.  OSU wins big 45-17.  Urban will take out starters in Q4 as to not embarrass a service academy.