If nothing comes of this one, the NCAA should just give up the pretense of even trying to look even-handed -
Great observation, YCS -
Remy Matt. If we can duplicate some of the achievements of the 1916 season in 2016, we'll be looking good.
Undefeated conference champs, including wins over Indiana and Wisconsin. Throw in a record-setting scoring game and a couple of All-Americans - and we're on our way.
The crazy thing is those are all very achievable - even reasonable - goals for this team -
I like Burrow too, Stu. I'd even agree he's possibly already a more accurate passer. I also like his height. But there's so much more to it than that. You mentioned Burrow being a great kid and a leader - and that may be true. I'm sure we'll find out how much of a leader he is eventually.
But right now, I think leadership may be JT's greatest quality. It's probably safe to say he is the undisputed leader of this team. I also believe JT is much more than a "bulldozer as a running college QB". If he has the kind of season I think he's capable of, he could be an early-round pick.
I'm just glad we have both JT Barrett and Joe Burrow on the team. It's entirely possible we'll need them both this season -
As everyone knows, we'll be heading in to Norman with a very inexperienced team. But the Sooners are losing half of last year's pass rush and two of their top three wide receivers. Unlike many of our "replacements", they have some serious doubts with many of theirs.
It's also encouraging to note how poorly their o-line fared verses Clemson's pass rush in last season's play-off match-up.
If our o-line and - and especially, our secondary are up to speed by game three, it's not outrageous at all to think we could emerge victorious -
Kinda. But the resemblance stops from the ears down -
I think we'll be able to run on them - controlling the game. No comeback necessary -
Yeah, Lawclub. John Elway was a pretty good QB as I recall. He just happened to have a stonger arm than some of the other greats. I saw him playing live years ago. The guy was uncanny -
Good question. Obviously, we'll be dramatically better at quarterback. And since we beat you guys getting Mike Weber, I'd say that's a decided edge also. You guys get wide reciever. I'm definitely taking the Slobs over a returning UM O-line that was kind of ordinary last year. The potential up-side is too great. Because it's kinda like comparing apples to oranges - I'm only giving a slight nod to Butt at tight end.
You guys don't really feature an H-back, per se (although, I'd have to say that's kind of Peppers' role when he plays offense) But when he's healthy, our Curtis Samuel is extremely dangerous. So that's another point. I know it's not fair - but this is 11Warriors - not Hail to the Victors. Just kidding. We'll toss him in with the wide receivers. But remember - you owe me one.
You guys get my vote a DT - but not at DE. Our Linebackers will be oustanding this year. McMillan may be the best MLB in the nation. If I had to pick a weakest position group for UM it'd be linebacker. We should get two points for that. And you know my position on playing Peppers at SLB. Make it three points.
I'll give you guys safety - but not corner - and I'm a bit of a Jourdan Lewis fan (possibly because he's constantly overshadowed by Peppers - even though he's actually better at his position). But he's not that much better than Gareon Conley - if at all. And Marshon Lattimore may end up being better than either of them if he can stay healthy. Plus, we're ridiculously deep at corner. The coaches would feel confident starting either back-up.
Ohio State probably has the best over-all special teams play in the nation. We had the best average starting field position differential in college football last year. So every time you see us pooch that short kick-off in to the corner, don't laugh. The percentage differences between successful drives that start at the 25 or better - verses those that start at the 20 or worse are dramatic. We take advantage of that better than anyone.
I imagine you wouldn't want to talk about your punt team at all. Too soon -
So it goes like this:
QB - OSU
RB - OSU
WR - UM
TE - UM
OL - OSU
DE - OSU
DT - UM
LB - OSU
CB - OSU
S - UM
ST - OSU
That's UM - 4 OSU - 7
We're probably not that far off on our over all predictions, WB. Perhaps just getting there in different ways. Although, I am a little more optimistic. I see an extremely talented team getting up for and winning most of the "bigger" games. But I also see the inexperience raising it's ugly head when we least expect it.
You say 9-3. I say 10-2 with a very good shot at 11-1. But I simply do not se 8-4. I'm looking at match-ups. That's why I like us against OU and UM. I'm very worried about Sparty, though, as any sane Buckeye should be.
Until Franklin shows me something - I'm not thinking Penn State will be a factor at all. He's a good recruiter - but that's about it, in my opinion.
Like you - I think Wisconsin or Nebraska could be laying in wait - and I might include Northwestern in that category.
I imagine we agree - no matter what, it's silly to predict an undefeated season in this day and age. There weren't any last year or the year before. So I'm saying one loss somewhere along the way is practiclly unavoidable in any given season. I think there's a chance that second loss won't happen this year, though - and here's why.
I believe UFM is on the precipice of building the same kind of year-in-year-out powerhouse that Saban built at Alabama. It may already really be there and the sloppy offensive play we saw last year culminating in the loss to MSU was more of a hiccup than a "thing".
I think UFM has gotten things down to where, he can absorb losing that many guys to the NFL and be just about as good the next year. There won't be pressure from elevated expectations, etc., this year. They'll be inexperienced - but they'll be every bit as talented, in my opinion. It'll be a much hungrier team than last year's and because of that - I'm saying they may be just as good or possibly even better -
UFM and Harbaugh use their tight ends differently. Ours are more of an integral part of our running game. Yours get more opportunities to catch the ball. Naturally, it's little of both in each system - but I'd say it's safe to say that.
So just because our tight ends won't have as many receptions - that doesn't mean it's necessarily and "advantage". Remember that when you see Peppers getting upended by a wham block from Marcus Baugh.
UFM may use his tight ends a little differently - but it wins games - and they still get drafted. Our last two starting tight ends are currently on NFL teams, by the way
It's sometimes a bit of a sore subject around these parts, but I really do think we'll see more passes going to our tight ends this season than in recent years. It wouldn't take much.
As you may know, Meyer rather famously passed on Butt to go after Baugh when they were recruits. I'm sure Baugh hears it all the time. You may see him emerge as a receiver a bit this year - but in our offense, he's still not going to have Butt's receptions.
Looking at it from an "assemble your best team" standpoint - I like how we're situated even better. I'm sure you've heard the old adage - "it's best to build a team from the inside-out". Our three off-season captains this year are our quarterback, our center and our middle linebacker. You don't get much more "from the inside" than that.
I guarantee you Raekwon McMillan will be on the Butkus watch list - and Elflein will be on the Rimington. Of course, JT's name is aready getting mentioned for numerous awards - including the big one -
Wasn't Hoke always referring to their rival as "Ohio"? I suppose Rutgers is a pretty good step up fom the Bobcats -
Additionally, it's not like middle schoolers haven't been offered before
Why am I suddenly thinking of our game October, 22nd?
How can you can tell this article was written by Johnny and not DJ?
Puppies instead of kittens -
I'd say the D lines are close - but it depends what you're focusing on more. I'd give UM the edge at both tackles. But I think we're exeedingly talented at defensive end - two deep (or more). With Lewis, Hubbard, Holmes, Bosa and Cooper - we may have the best defensive end rotation in the country this year.
Since Michigan's been having so much trouble running the ball in recent years, but they've been good in pass protection, it should be strength against strength. But even so - that match-up should favor us.
On the other side of the ball, there are some unkowns with our O-line - but we've recruited extremely well. Almost everywhere you look it's another high 4-star competing for a spot. As you say - it could take time for them to gel - but the talent is certainly there. and they're very well coached. Plus, our system is a little easier to learn than Harbaugh's. By the end of the season (when we play) I have confidence we'll have the better O-line.
I'm giving UM the edge at wide receiver - but only because they're more experienced. Our young guys are extremely talented. And there's no question Butt is a fine tight end - but this year, you may see why Meyer went after Baugh, instead. That may not be quite the advantage you think it is.
You don't have to remind be about the secondary. Anytime a defense is starting two new safeties there's reason for concern. Hooker and Webb looked great in the spring game - but it was just the spring game.
Our corners will be as good as anybody's, though. Gareon Conley is a little ahead of where Eli Apple was at this point in his career - and Apple was a first round draft pick. Marshon Lattimore may be the best athlete of the bunch - he just needs to stay healthy -
I heard an old businessman I really respected put it this way when asked which party he preferred. He was (and is) freaking out about the national debt. He said (and I'm paraphrasing) "One party is driving us over a cliff at 100 miles per hour and the other party is driving us over a cliff at 70 miles per hour". As a confirmed independent, I got a kick out of that.
I think that's part of the reason theres such a "tip over the apple cart" mentality taking hold on both sides of the political spectrum right now.
But even though, we're not taking sides - that's probably as close to "political" as I'd want to get here at good ol' 11W -
I was a safety, mainly. But depending on the opponent, we'd move guys around a little, so I played some other positions, too. I fielded my share of punts - and I also returned kicks. There's a significant difference. That's why I thought it might be nice if I pointed it out as gently as possible, right off the bat.
My first year in high school, I got to play scout team quarterback. That was challenging - but a whole lot of fun, too.
I was the back-up kicker one year - but for some strange reason they didn't need me for that the next season -
I know our opponents, and think you are undervaluing them, and honestly overvaluing how well our talent will play, and maybe overvaluing how much talent we really have.
That's where we differ - in a nutshell. Out of the teams on our schedule, the one I'm most concerned about is the one that's beaten us two out of the last three years. Michigan State. Until proven otherwise, in my opinion, the B1G championship will go through East Lansing. Not Ann Arbor.
And speaking of AA, I do not believe they'll have the horses to turn that team around enough in one year to go from a clearly inferior team to suddenly beating us. Especially, since they don't even know who'll be starting at quarterback, yet.
Plus, I'm still not buying in to the Harbaugh hype. I think he's a good offensive coach. Not great. Last year's team was led by it's defense. The offense was rather ordinary.
I think a lot of folks are severely overestimating them. I think they'll do exactly what they did last year. Lose to the best two or three teams on their schedule - and beat eveyone else. It's a very weak schedule - so I'll say 10-2.
I've watched the OU - Clemson game a couple of times. I defy anyone to re-watch that game (paying close attention to their pass protection - and their inability to handle a savvy quarterback who can also run) and then tell me they see how the Sooners should be 9 point favorites over an Urban Meyer-led Ohio State team - with JT Barrett at quarterback and our pass rush. They have some serious concerns with their pass rush and their receivers this year as well.
Also, their defensive scheme does not match-up well with our style of offense (like it didn't with Clemson's). I don't think I'm under-valuing the Sooners at all. I think nearly everyone else is over-valuing them - particularly as they might match-up with us.
The only thing that might favor them to such a degree is our relative lack of experience. I realize that's what Vegas is banking on - but I think they're wrong.
But - I suppose that's why we have these discussions. You think I'm too high on our guys and underestimating our opponents (except for MSU - I'm not underestimating them, I assure you). I think you're overestimating a couple of our opponents and underestimating us.
Of course, the "experts" agree with you. But they've been wrong before. As they say - that's why they play the games -
Not to be picky - but the headline says kick return. But in the body of the OP you talked mainly about punt returns. Again - it's no big deal - but you might want to fix that. Although I'd be just as interested in discussing kick returns as well.
Dontre was battling that nagging foot injury last year or we might have seen more of him in general. Unfortunately he still seemed to be struggling with that foot during spring drills. If I knew he was going to be healthy this season, I might have gone with him. But that apparently remains in doubt.
I have no idea why the coaches apparently haven't seriously considered EGW for punt returns. He really seems like a classic candidate.
Demario McCall could make you miss him in a phone booth. But I don't see UFM trusting a true freshman with that job.
it's really a good question. Who has the surest hands - but still has a little wiggle?
Why did an image of Mel Brooks dressed up like Louis the Sixteenth just pop in to my head? -
Agreed, Hovenaut. Coming in to the program at 6'6', 240" - he could become a monster after a redshirt year with Coach Mick. I really like the idea that he's already a fine blocker, too -
Oklahoma struggled with Clemson's pass rush in their play-off game - a lot. One of the strengths of our team is our pass rush. That could literally be "overwhelming".
Speaking of a pass rush - we're not sure if the Sooners will have much of one. After losing half of last year's pass rush, they're counting an a true freshman who wasn't even an early enrollee to take up the slack . That would be like us counting on Nick Bosa to start and dominate right off the bat. He may do just that - but at least, we're not counting on it. Sure - we'll have two new o-tackles - but it might not matter.
Oklahoma fans can dispute it all they want. But they do not have the some level of talent on their roster that we do. Look at the last four recruiting classes. But even more importantly, look at how our staff has been devloping those kids. UFM and Marotti are known as the best there is for a reason.
I can see the DBs and the WRs. But why would you take Michigan's OL or DL over ours? While their pass protection was OK, UM's rushing offense was quite weak last year. I'll take our chances with our younger guys than guys we know have their "limitations" - to be kind. UM's line will mainly be seniors. If they were going to be a great line they'd have shown some signs of it by now.
I love our defensive line. Especially the ends. I think Michigan's DL will be better this year than they were last year - but by no means, great. It's at least a wash - but I'll take out boys.
And - oh, by the way - UM doesn't even know who will be starting at quarterback, yet. That might be a factor.
I think some folks may be buying in to this "inexperienced" mantra a little too much, WB. Many of our "new starters" will not be as inexperienced as a lot of people seem to think. While we have a ton of kids with freshmen eligiblilty on the roster, if we wanted to, we could still field a team consisting mainly of starters from the '13 and '14 recruiting classes, believe it or not -
I've noticed encountering someone you already kinda know in a different environment can really enhance the relationship. Good stuff -
turn on the faucet; and potable water comes out
Unless you're in Michigan
All kidding aside, Navy. Good point -
I'm open about my political views, GB. And they're quite simple. I believe in a monarchy - - - as long as I'm the king -
Neither may indeed, be the wisest choice this cycle, GB -