40-23 Ohio State
It is quite puzzling how much ESPN and other media outlets/personalities have been harping again on OSU's schedule, and even using it as a reason as to why OSU will be fine without #5. I realize many of the B1G schools are looked down upon right now, and truthfully some of it is warranted (c'mon Michigan, pull your own weight for once, would ya?!?!). However, overall there are many really good teams this year if the talking heads were to actually look closer.
The non-conference schedule has even been bashed to a degree, which makes zero sense. VaTech is a traditional power. Cincinnati has been a good program for years now. Navy has outpunched their weight class for years now. That is three good to very good non-conference opponents. Problem is none are a heavyweight, and according to some the only way to have a tough schedule is to play an SEC or PAC12 conference schedule, and play at least one top 15-20 team in the non-conference.
It's up to Wisconsin and MSU to win their big matchups right out of the gate, OSU to beat VaTech, and Michigan to beat ND. Wins over ND, VT, Oregon, and LSU in the non-conference would serve notice that the B1G is back this year. For once in what seems like forever, the league needs to perform prior to conference season.
I don't think it is as much taking Oregon/Philadelphia's play calling or style of play on the field, but more of the behind the scenes stuff Chip Kelly does with his teams that is so different from everyone else. Chip has a method to all his madness, from the way his teams practice to the nutritional aspect, like @ChemicalWaste said.
Sure, OSU has gone to the faster-paced, spread no huddle offense, but otherwise Urban has his own identity he brings to the table that he wants to see from his team. But, if he sees different ways of doing things from the norm, and he feels it will help his team on the field, you better believe he's going to heed the advice of some other successful coaches.
Make it two votes for Jalin Marshall on offense.
Defensively, I feel like Darron Lee, who many have talked about already because of his surprising move up the depth chart, is going to be someone's name we hear called a lot on Saturdays.
Why couldn't Cardale Jones be a Blake Bell/Tim Tebow (freshman yr) type of QB? In goal line situations, or 3rd/4th and short, you have a 250 lb. Mack truck behind what should be a good run-blocking line, and possibly with guys like Rod Smith and Bri'onte Dunn serving as wing backs to also help block.
Tebow, especially as a freshman, prided himself solely in converting short yardage situations. Urban and the offense had a few variations, including some quick screens, jump passes, playaction, etc., but for the most part they allowed Tebow's size, strength, and desire to take over and he was rarely stopped. I don't know exactly how hard Cardale runs, but based on how he looked running the ball last year he seems like a guy who can convert in short yardage.
This gives Cardale a sense of place and purpose on the team, keeps him engaged after I'm sure some disappointment at initially losing the backup job, and hopefully brings up his confidence even more should he be needed to spell Barrett. I don't like the "traditional" 2-QB system, but the way Urban did it at Florida with Leak and Tebow was pretty unique. I'd take those results this year in a heartbeat.
Let's say the worst news possible on Braxton comes to light today - MRI reveals structural damage, requiring surgery and essentially putting him out for the season. This may mean the last of Braxton at OSU.
This may also mean "The Era of JT" has begun. Starting as a RS Freshman, with potential weapons around him. He can grow into the position and the situation. He doesn't have to be required to win games, but instead be more of a manager at the start. If Braxton really is done, this may mean 3-4 years of JT Barrett starting at QB for Ohio State. That may not be the greatest scenario for this year, but for the future of the program, it could mean everything. A talented 3rd or 4th year starting QB for one of the most athletic and talented teams usually means a legitimate championship contender.
Zwick was a big name/hot commodity mostly because of his production beginning with his time at Orrville, and then after transferring. He was a big, athletic kid who played well at a young age, but he did not have the pure and necessary QB skills needed to thrive at the next level.
Danny Clark seems to be a kid who is aware of the hype around him, but who does not let it affect him negatively. Instead, he seems determined to prove the hype is justified, or that he can be even better than the hype. Either way, his maturity and work ethic at this age points to a first-class leader who any team can rally around. Gladly, OSU will be that team in a few short years.
Couldn't agree more. I said it on a different story that there is just something special about Jalin's high school film. He competed against top-level Ohio high school competition, and absolutely dominated. He has football speed and a knack for breaking tackles. Combine that with hopefully fully developed hands to haul in passes from Braxton, et al, and you've got a potential star as a hybrid player.
Great opportunity with a brand new coach who loves what Aaron represents, and what he brings to the table every day. From what I've read (may have even been on 11W), his main competition for that 3rd PG spot is a European guy who has vastly underperformed so far as property of the Warriors, and it would actually save the Warriors money to cut him and sign Craft instead as the 3rd PG.
Count me in as another one on the Jalin Marshall bandwagon. I'm not exactly sure what it is/was about his high school highlight tape, but as soon as I saw that I was smitten with him as a "hybrid" type of player. The injuries he's suffered certainly have slowed down the talk of Jalin and his potential, but he's a guy who the coaches seem to love and has always been on the verge of doing something big, just to have an injury.
I could definitely see Marshall as a breakout player this year on the Ohio State offense.
I don't think there is a very good chance of Russell being one-and-done, in my opinion. In college, we see a 6'4 shooting guard as the perfect height, body structure, etc. for the position. He's a shooter who can handle the ball a little, but should primarily be a scorer.
In the NBA, 6'4 means you are slight for the 2-guard, and likely a combo-guard needing to have some elite PG abilities to be a high/lottery pick. Russell may have those qualities in time (or even now), but he won't get much of a chance to showcase those skills as a freshman with Shannon Scott on the roster. I feel like two seasons is his minimum stay at OSU.
My biggest gripe with Dalton is his inconsistency (or consistency - depends on how you look at it) against pressure. He's consistently bad against pressure, or even the threat of pressure. Normally, you face good defensive teams in the playoffs who like to pressure the QB, or who can consistently get pressure through their defensive front or through exotic blitz packages. Dalton struggles mightily in recognizing blitzes, and then making good, quick decisions in the face of pressure.
This is not a knock only on Dalton - most QB's in the league struggle with this concept. However, if you're making $19 million per season and have been given the keys to the Ferrari that this offense is, with some major weapons, then I'd say you had better be able to figure out how to attack a blitz.
No, this is not the worst thing in the world. But, the goal in the NFL is not to make the playoffs. It is not even to win one game in the playoffs. The goal is a Super Bowl win, and I'm not sure Dalton has the capacity or ability to lead a team to the promised land. Luckily, he does have a talented defense and some real offensive weapons on his side, so it is not impossible to achieve. However, if you're making this kind of money you should be part of the solution as to why a team wins/makes a Super Bowl appearance, rather than it happening in spite of him.
There's some talk on Twitter about this, and I wonder myself if this formation could possibly morph into more of a 3-4-3, with Cameron dropping deeper between Omar and Besler, and Fabian/Beasley getting up the field into the attack to put pressure on Belgium's wings. Belgium, much like Germany, do not really have fullbacks - instead having guys who play centrally for their clubs. They also like to attack from their wings, so if the US can force pressure on Belgium's back four, it may cause Hazard/Mertens to have to retreat a bit to help in defense.
I don't know.. it's tough to do something new like this all of a sudden - hopefully Jurgen's had this idea of Cameron as CDM in his back pocket for a while and just hadn't shown it yet.
Read on Twitter (Grant Wahl) that the US were told by coaches (and are presenting to FIFA) their formation is a 4-3-3 rather than 4-5-1. Doing this to suggest "an attacking mentality."
Jurgen still says he's available, but he won't be starting obviously. I don't think we'll know if he's really "available" until he enters the game, or just doesn't make an appearance. My guess is he doesn't play today.
The lineups are out:
Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Kompany, Van Buyten, Vertonghen, Witsel, De Bruyne, Fellaini, Hazard, Mertens, Origi
US: Howard, Johnson, González, Besler, Beasley, Cameron, Jones, Bedoya, Bradley, Zusi, Dempsey
Just saw a stat that the US was the only group winner in 2010 to lose their Round of 16 game. Might they have some payback, to become the only 2nd place group finisher in 2014 to advance to the quarterfinals?
I'm at work and can't hardly contain myself... sooo unbelievably pumped to watch this game and cheer on the Red, White, and Blue! #IBelieve
I guess I'm stating more of what I would do. Bradley hasn't been himself as the attacking mid. Whether he's tired or not, he looks it at times when on the ball. He also has had very few options ahead of him. This is a game where the US need more of the ball. Slotting him further back allows him to win more balls, and then still pull the strings in the attack. He can pick his spots on when to make runs forward. Probably his best trait (that we've been unable to see with his current role) is the late runs he makes into the attacking third that can go unaccounted for by the defense.
Also, Belgium is much stronger on the wings than they are in central midfield. The three man center midfield for the US isn't as necessary to control Belgium as it was against Ghana, who are much stronger and dominant centrally than on the flanks. Playing the diamond midfield, especially the way the US have played it recently, leaves the flanks open quite often. Against Ghana and Germany, the US were content to give up the overlapping runs outside. Hazard and Mertens/DeBruyne are too good to allow them a head of steam coming at the backline.
Dempsey needs the ball facing the goal to be most effective. He's done well replacing Jozy, but he's not going to win many foot races, and he's not going to hold the ball up as well as Jozy. IMO, he needs to play more of the #10 role, but be of one mindset - attack attack attack!
This is the question. If Jozy really is available to play I agree he probably should start. You ride with him as long as he can go. If you bring him on late and he can't go or reinjures himself, you've wasted a sub. However, maybe he really is feeling better and the risk I speak of is not relevant. I don't know, but I'd tend to think that risk still exists.
IF he plays, it could shift the lineup quite a bit. Do they play him alone up top? That would be a lot of running for Jozy and a lot of holdup play. If they put him up top with Dempsey, then either Beckerman comes off, or Jones has to play more of an outside mid role.
Personally, if Jozy is available to go for the first half or a bit longer, I'd go 4-4-2 with:
I'd have Dempsey play as more of a #10, or withdrawn striker. Make sure he pairs up with Altidore so each has an outlet. In a perfect world, you have the lead with 30 minutes to go. I'd sub on Yedlin at outside mid for either Zusi or Bedoya (whichever needs it more), bring on Mix for Jozy and put Dempsey back up top as a lone striker, with Mix as a true attacking mid. Then, hopefully you continue the lead and can sub on Beckerman for Jermaine Jones to play the destroyer role and you have more of a 4-1-4-1.
This puts Bradley in his more natural role of holding mid, and it gives him the ability to have the ball and play to targets he hasn't had for basically the entire group play. Yet, he can still pull the strings of the attack. He has run A LOT in this tournament. Maybe it is time to allow him to pick his spots instead of constantly generating the attack as well as dictating the defensive pressure.
Believe me - my comment wasn't meant to paint a broad stroke and include every single youth player in that group. Obviously there are plenty of individuals who do commit themselves to the game, and some groups who commit together. There special circumstances and outliers to the general public. However, in general I believe what I wrote holds true.
I coach a bit. Our team is generally pretty successful in our area. Yet, we're filled with some kids who love the sport and spend some of their free time touching the ball, and others who don't understand the game at all. It's just something for them to do and be involved in. And that is fine, but as a "soccer nation" we have far too many talented players who just don't commit themselves to their craft until later in their playing careers, or haven't familiarized themselves enough with the game.
COMPLETELY agree with you here. If you don't like soccer, fine. Just don't tell me it's dull, the players aren't "tough" or "courageous", or attack it in general. If someone wants me to explain why I love it, I will. But there's no need to convince anybody.
Two teams at two different ends of the spectrum that hopefully give AC a good chance at catching on. The Sixers are terrible and need players who can make a difference. The Warriors could be going for championship pieces (trading some assets and getting rid of some salary to take on Kevin Love), which could leave them with a few roster spots open and only the league minimum to offer.
Good luck to Aaron - hopefully he makes a great impression on the court and somebody gives this kid his chance!
Welp.. At least you said it's your opinion. No downvote from me. But, I strongly disagree. You may have more physical confrontation in football, but that doesn't make you any more courageous or determined than an athlete of a different sport.