We badly need playmakers on the outside. We have a logjam of potential receivers but none have really established themselves. I am sure that Gibson has a big arm and is an elite athlete, but we all know it takes more than that to be QB at Ohio State. I do love the idea of a guy taking direct snaps who, unlike Braxton last year, is a legit threat to throw the ball.
MSU game this year was like a Twilight Zone episode. Did not recognize at all what we were doing on the field. Just a mess. When we lost to Sparty in 2013, definitely felt like we should have done more with Hyde. VT loss, it's sad looking back at that game how much we put it on Barrett to win it for us, way too soon in his time as a starter. INTs aside, the kid made some big plays for us that night. Clemson game what stands out is that Miller was unable to throw. What might have been in that game if Kenny G is throwing that final pass to Philly Brown. He likely gets it over the LB and we score and win the game.
Nice to see us at the top, for now. Likely that another school nudges ahead with last push and NSD commits. But still, it's a good thing.
Im more impressed and excited by what happens on the field. What I love more than our ability to gather 4 and 5 star guys (including guys like Mike Mitchell and Kyle Dodson who haven't panned out for different reasons) is how we take guys like Marshall and Lee and in three years convert from good QBs to great NFL prospects at other positions. I'm more impressed by a culture that has skill guys like Evan Spencer and Corey Smith throwing themselves around like wrecking balls on special teams. I'm more impressed with a program that has Braxton Miller doing whatever is needed to be a part of it.
The only thing even somewhat defensible in this is that the commit happened three years ago to the previous coach. New coaches withdrawing an offer is not that outrageous. But the timing of it? He's had a year to cut this kid loose if he doesn't want to honor the offer, and he waits until two weeks out? Doubtful the kid has much time to schedule other visits and many other programs that he might have been interested in have likely already filled that need in this class.
The pieces are there to contend for the playoff, and the weight of defending a title is off their backs. Lots of new faces mean lots of guys who even if on the roster a couple years ago are driven to get back to the top and be a contributor in a big way. OL has a few question marks, but running zone read I think there is some margin for error and flexibility to adjust for it that other offensive schemes don't have. DL lost a lot, but I think it's wrong to think of Hubbard, Munger, Hill, and others as being green. They played plenty.
Time for Zach Smith to deliver and, as in 2014, coach up a lot of talent. This year's pass numbers were disappointing. Even with the QB battle, after Brown and Smith were lost to injury there was no one that really contributed significantly apart from Jeff Greene making a few plays. Not saying that McLaurin or Campbell or Clark was supposed to become a big weapon but would have expected someone to produce more than they did.
Excited to see what Gibson can do. I hope he doesn't grow discouraged and takes some inspiration from what former QBs like Marshall and Darron Lee have done at new positions.
And even though Tennessee has been bad recently, they are still a mile ahead of my Cleveland Browns in terms of how close, as an organization, they've come to a Super Bowl title. Came up short by a half a yard and doing poorly now, but you have some success in the past 20 years, at least.
Not surprised by Alabama and Clemson at the top. Not surprised by the range of projections for OSU. A little surprised by Michigan's composite being ahead of ours. Much like us, in 2015 they did not play Wisconsin or Iowa. They had a strong win over BYU, and the three other strong teams they played, they lost to. Just really not sure what they proved. Their offense in 2015 was carried almost exclusively by their passing game, and they lose Rudock. We smoked them at the end of the year, at their place. I just saw nothing from their running game, and outside of Jabrill Peppers very little from their defense, to merit them being in the top 10. But whatever. Too early, anyways.
But to OSU, I sort of like us starting outside the top 5, or even outside the top 10. After a 2015 where our schedule did not permit a loss, in 2016 with our road games I think a one loss OSU is a very strong and battle-tested playoff contender.
I know it will sound more impressive when the Silver Bullets devour opponents next year to say that we only returned 3 starters on defense, but it sure feels like Sam Hubbard was among the starters in 2015.
I think if he has good instincts for how to handle himself and contibute on the field when the ball isn't in his hands (as a blocker, making the proper reads in the option game, knowing as a receiver where the soft spots are in the defense), he could be the guy from game 1. But Samuel might get the nod in September.
1. He threw beautiful deep balls all season in 2014 until his injury. He's not going to flick his wrist and throw it 45 yards as Cardale did against Oregon, but he'll be fine.
2. We gutted ND's defense with mostly short-mid range passes.
3. For all the lauding of Cardale's arm strength (and he does have an incredibly strong arm) rarely in the three game stretch did he hit people on deep balls in stride.
Bright Spots -
1 - Offensive backfield - Barrett returns, and looks to have a healthy off-season for the first time as a significant member of the program. The prospect of what he's capable of when he doesn't spend most of the year recuperating is really, really exciting. Samuel is available, and somewhat battle tested. Dunn has shown himself to be reliable. And Weber, we know he's going to be hungry to get some carries. The biggest loss I think in the run game is what Elliott brought when he didn't have the ball in his hands, in pass protection and blocking. Elliott is one of the top 3-4 backs in OSU history, but I think Samuel or Weber will have a lot of success with Barrett and the zone read, if the line comes together.
2 - Secondary - Lots of departures from the secondary, but Webb, Lattimore, Burrows, and a couple of others have seen playing time because of injuries and playing a good amount of nickel and dime in 2015. I think Schiano and Coombs will do just fine getting us ready in the back of the defense.
3. - Hunger - "The Grind" is done. A lot of the remaining roster wasn't a part of the 2014 run. Of those that were, most were role players at best. Barrett won a title but has to be aching to be the starter from wire to wire on a team that goes to the playoffs. Samuel played a part in the title run, but was largely silent in 2015, and is ready to remedy that. New defensive players all over the place, and young receivers eager to redeem what was in 2015 not the strongest unit, and possibly was the weakest unit.
With Oklahoma in September and several other big road tests this year, this team is unlikely to go undefeated. But if the trip to Norman speeds up their maturing and chemistry as a team, we could be looking dominant again by November and shocking the world again.
He applied but was denied. He would have needed to be injured in, like, week 2 or 3 instead of the Indiana game.
Given our schedule this year, even as defending champs, I think everyone knew we needed to win out and run the table. We had MSU at home, without their starting QB. Yes, we lost on a FG in the final seconds in horrible weather conditions, but it was in our house and they were short-handed. It's debatable whether, absent the turnovers we got from them, we would have scored at all. It was about as ugly as a 3 point loss can be.
Watching MSU get embarrassed, I too wondered what might have been. But with Bama playing as angry and focused as they did, I'm not sure anyone including us was keeping them out of the title game.
I think it was a lot of things. I think mentally the uncertainty got to Barrett and Jones a bit (both have admitted to forcing things in ways that were a little out of character early in the season). Given the time and exhaustive effort it seemed to take from Herman to eventually do such a masterful job in helping Cardale change his habits and attitude as a player, part of me wonders if Beck just was not able to develop a similar rapport with him. I fault Beck for the ways our game planning for much of the season seemed to fail miserably with getting skill players the ball in ways that best took advantage of their skills. I fault Beck for that because Warriner and Meyer both knew the roster pretty well. We had three solid receivers that were fully healthy this year. One of the three had just transferred to the position, two of the three H-backs. Not having depth at receiver killed our passing game. The unit needs to step up quickly. Our top returning weapons from 2015 in the pass game are Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson, neither of which made a lot of noise last year.
Not too worried about the defense. Sad to see Powell and Bell go partly because as they got exposed a lot the last two years I think they have some work to be NFL ready. But Webb and Erick Smith and Burrows have all seen a good amount of time in the secondary. Lattimore or Glover-Williams will step up and fill in well at the other corner. I think Conley's come along really well. Compared to Apple, he was the weak link, but he's solid. Really excited to see Nick Connor, and Booker has already seen some time, as has Worley. And what about Justin Hilliard? Is he still on the roster? Hubbard, Lewis, Holmes, Munger, Hill, etc., will not immediately be dominant, but it will not be a huge drop-off.
More concerned with offensive line questions, and the fact that our top returning receiver is Samuel or Wilson, neither of whom are true wideouts.
He's ready. I think he goes in the first couple of rounds. Good size and speed, great hands, physical, good instincts.
Curious how they decide when someone is likely to be drafted. There are just so many sources, so many "experts" making predictions on these things. Seems like the last two years, there have been Buckeyes that left early having been "advised" by God knows who that they'd go in the first few rounds only to drop to six or seven or go undrafted altogether. Getting harder to trust draft projections.
Unlike with Tyvis, who does not look "NFL ready" to me, I think Apple looks ready to match up with guys at the next level. I wish him well.
Really curious to see who emerges with this "outside talent" JT mentions. Very likely Thomas is gone, as he is NFL ready. Hope Marshall sticks around as he is, in my opinion, a 3rd or 4th rounder in the draft right now. He should stay and work on things one more year. Noah Brown returns, Dontre should be healthy, but who else? Time is now for a stable of 4-star talent at WR to start making plays and turning heads when it matters. Campbell faltered this year. I thought we'd see Mclaurin but that didn't happen. People keep talking about KJ Hill and Torrance Gibson, time for these guys to start contributing. Could have used a couple of them in 2015. JT is not a gunslinger type but he's more than skilled enough a passer to give them opportunities.
Several losses on the OL, but I agree with a few others that some should be replaced by as good or better potential. Boren was very solid, but not elite. Farris, while I appreciate all that he did as part of this 50-4 run, struggled a lot at right tackle. Price and Elflein are a solid anchor in the middle.
What excites me most about 2016 with so much new blood is I think we are sort of back to a place like 2012, not in the sense of being a "clown show" but with Meyer having so many new starters on whom to re-establish his work ethic and principles. I envision an off-season that resembles the demanding intensity of the "training days" series from a few years ago.
I think as much as we can utilize that, we should. It will be tough with so many new faces but JT definitely has the football IQ and comfort level to do it. Let's see if Meyer pays a visit to Stanford and other programs this off season where they coach up their QBs to make those sorts of on-field calls. With so many new faces, it will likely be a few games before we can go fast. But then again, who knows. A healthy JT and a strong spring with the new offense fully intact, anything is possible.
2016 is easily the toughest schedule since Tressel's tenure, maybe since the home and home with USC. Oklahoma on the road for OOC, and a pass happy BG as we break in new starting safeties and two new starters at LB. I'm sure Meyer is excited by the challenge and to coach up the new kids, but we are losing a lot of leadership. Barrett will have plenty of weapons but will he have blocking? Weber will no doubt be great with the ball in his hands, but will he be useful to the offense when it isn't? I like the state of things with our DEs, but there are questions with the rest of the front seven. The positive of the schedule is that we open conference play with Rutgers and Indiana to build some momentum and confidence before heading to Wisconsin. We don't play Iowa but we are still pretty much drawing the B1G West's best shot. Fortunately, after the trip to Norman where if we lose its early enough to climb back to contention, we won't see anything as tough until we head to East Lansing. Return to playoff is possible. 10-2 regular season seems more probable.
I wish him well. I'll miss his wit, and his toughness. He is not as skilled a safety as Bell in my opinion, but he's got a great instinct for finding the ball and making plays. I think that will serve him well. Would have loved to see him for one more year, partly because I think another season would have moved him up in the draft and in guaranteed money. But Godspeed, Tyvis.
Reading between the lines from what's been said about the QB battle, In September Cardale was the better choice because JT was possibly not quite 100% and even if he was medically 100% he was not as crisp and consistent on account of so much missed time. By October, his health and level of play had finally caught up to expectations, and he saw more time and then took the starting spot. It was unfortunate, but the coaches went with the best guy at the time, which in September was Jones. That's all that could be asked.
I wanted to see more run plays, especially in the red zone in the 4th quarter on the field goal drives. But to be fair, one of the FG drives stalled by pass plays included a perfect throw to Thomas for a TD that was dropped. Another, that ended with Barrett taking a sack, was a play where Braxton was open in the end zone but Barrett didn't see it. Yes, some pass plays were missed opportunities to hit them with Zeke and the run game, and killed the clock when we wanted it to keep running, but opportunities were there for TDs on those drives.