It's a bye week, but much like Coach Meyer we're still hard at it. You think Eleven Warriors takes a week off? Don't be a dunce. Even though your boys in Scarlet and Gray wont be taking the field, we've still got a ton to talk about. So step right in, make yourself at home and flush twice if needed.
This week we've got Michael "When I Hit The Parking Lot I Turn Heads" Citro, Ross "The Body" Fulton and Johnny "Ginsu" Ginter. Let's roll.
Carlos Hyde was a beast last Saturday, but Jordan Hall aint no slouch. When Hall comes back from injury, what’s his role?
Michael: I expect Hall will get some of Hyde’s carries in the running game and perhaps see a little time in the slot. I don’t expect a sea change at this point, but you never know. We could finally see some diamond formation with Hall and Hyde.
Ross: I think Hall will be the No. 2 back. He will get the carries Rod Smith got against Northwestern, in addition to being used on inverted veer and option plays. I expect him to get 5-10 touches a game, but he's not going to take carries away from Hyde, nor are they going to take Philly Brown out of H receiver, as he, along with Miller and Hyde, are the Buckeyes' primary playmakers.
Johnny: Uhhh Wally Pipp? That isn't a slam on Hall's ability as a player; he's obviously very good and showed it by being one of the best backs in the country during his stretch as the starter. But he's also had all of five carries in the last three games, and four of them took place in the FAMU game. Also getting four carries in that game? Devonte Butler. Who? Exactly.
Bottom line: Carlos Hyde is a better every down back and Dontre Wilson is a better lightning in a bottle dude. Hall is unfortunately the odd man out.
What’s going on with Bradley Roby? Tell me everything you know. Make me feel better about our All-American corner looking pretty average.
Michael: I seem to be one of the few who isn’t overly concerned about Roby. They asked him to do a lot of new things against Wisconsin — be the force guy on the jet sweep, cover an all-conference receiver without help, flip from his customary boundary spot to the field side, etc. His coverage on Jared Abbrederis was actually very good on a few of those big plays, like the first touchdown, but he simply got beat. It happens.
Against Northwestern I thought he was playing within the scheme. He looked bad on the slip screen, but at least he “triggered” like he was supposed to (he simply missed). The soft cushion Ohio State has played also doesn’t make him look good. I think Roby will clean up the missed tackles from the Northwestern game and be fine.
Ross: People are over-reacting about Roby. He is a corner, which often means he is more noticed when something goes wrong. Yes he has had some breakdowns and missed tackles. Ohio State needs to him to play better. But he is not the primary problem with the Buckeyes' pass defense.
Johnny: He might actually just be pretty average. There, that is everything I know. Also I apologize for not making you feel better.
The secondary is clearly the weakness of this team. How do they get better?
Michael: I think they’d get better if the coaching staff showed some confidence in them and let them play tight on the receivers. I personally believe both Roby and Doran Grant can cover anyone in the Big Ten fairly consistently. Of course, you can’t play press coverage against spread teams with dynamic running quarterbacks, but there aren’t many of those left on the schedule. Also, I don’t have the recognition Ross has, but I don’t think Ohio State is mixing its coverages enough.
Ross: Short of Christian Bryant coming back, tackle better. Giving up completions is one thing, but allowing offenses to turn them into big plays is another. That is how teams get easy scores. If the Buckeyes get a consistent pass rush their pass defense will be better.
Johnny: Fundamentals. The scheme is probably sound overall, but busted coverages, missed exchanges, poor tackling and a general lack of discipline is making a below average secondary look completely terrible at times. This Bye week is incredibly important because guys like Pitt Brown and Vonn Bell need to really get up to game speed, and quickly.
Urban Meyer told Kenny Guiton to start warming up last Saturday. Was he serious, just trying to light a fire under Braxton, or a little bit of both?
Michael: I think it was both. In the heat of the moment Meyer was angry with the turnovers. But when he had time to cool off and think about what a benching of Braxton Miller would mean, he realized that was probably the wrong thing to do. I’m glad he didn’t yank Miller.
Ross: If you want Meyer on the sideline during games he is an intense guy. I think he was frustrated and lashed out by telling Guiton to warm up. But then he cooled off and thought the better of it.
Johnny: Purely motivational. You start warming up your backup QB for one of two reasons: to put your backup QB in, or to kick your starter's ass a little bit. Braxton sure looked like a different dude after that, didn't he?
In a hypothetical world where the Buckeyes make the B1G championship game (don’t wanna jinx it) who would you least like to see them go up against? Why?
Michael: I would least like to see them play Michigan twice in a row. I feel like you put together your best game plan based on seeing a team once, plus there’s a bit of a revenge factor that can come into play, especially if it’s only a week later. I don’t mind playing Northwestern again because I believe Ohio State took their best shot, played poorly, made a lot of mistakes and still won on the road on a sloppy field. I think the Buckeyes roll the Cats in the sterile environs of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Ross: A team that is 8-4. I don't worry about them playing any other Big Ten team but I would like the game to be against a top 15 team.
Johnny: Michigan. Michigan Michigan Michigan. They might, might, be on track for figuring some things out on offense, and their defense is probably only going to get better. But honestly, most of this is predicated on my heart just not being able to take that concentrated stress two weeks in a row. DON'T LAUGH I HAVE A CONDITION!
Here’s another hypothetical (what else are bye weeks for?) If the Buckeyes take care of their business and go undefeated, will they be in the National Championship game? Discuss.
Michael: I think so. It’s a statistical anomaly for multiple teams to go undefeated. It could very well happen, but I think the momentum of a win over Michigan and the Legends (Leaders?) Division champion would probably get Ohio State over the hump. Those are usually very widely viewed games by the voters.
Ross: More than 95% chance yes. The only way OSU would not is if there are more than two undefeated teams (Louisville doesn't count). That has only happened, what, once in the last 20 years? So those are pretty good odds.
Johnny: Nope! I think there are going to be at least two other undefeated teams (thank you, ridiculous scheduling year), and Ohio State could still get shut out. But hey, good news: right now I'm leaning toward us dropping a game at some point.
Halfway through the season, who is your offensive MVP? Why?
Michael: Difficult question. Miller has mostly played well but missed a couple of games with a knee injury. Kenny G was great in his absence but didn’t really play against top quality competition. Carlos Hyde only recently returned from suspension. Hall was the clear front runner for this but barely played against Wisconsin and missed the Northwestern game. I’m going to be very unconventional here and say Jeff Heuerman. His outstanding blocking has been a huge asset to the running game, regardless of who totes the rock.
Ross: With Miller and Hyde missing significant time I say Jack Mewhort. The Buckeyes lean heavily upon their offensive line and Mewhort is the Buckeyes' best and most consistent linemen and perhaps offensive player.
Johnny: I was going to put Philly Brown, but then I asked my very insightful and beautiful and amazing and incredible and MENSA member girlfriend what she'd say, and she very astutely suggested Kenneth DANGER Guiton as the midseason offensive MVP. And dammit, she's right. Kenny G performed better than our wildest expectations, and somehow created a QB controversy between him and a preseason Heisman favorite. Good on you, jazzman.
Who is your defensive MVP? Why?
Michael: Ryan Shazier. He’s been a stud, as we all expected, but he’s also doing a lot of things better this year in terms of not overpursuing, missing fewer tackles, and getting off of blocks much quicker. He’s a machine and it has helped Ohio State’s cause that the D-line has mostly kept opposing offensive linemen off of him.
Ross: Michael Bennett. He has been the key to the Buckeyes stopping the run and getting a pass rush and has solidified the crucial 3 technique position. He is difficult for teams to block with one lineman and is the leader of the defense.
Johnny: Michael Bennett. He's been the most consistent member of the best part of the defense. Shazier has been incredible, but inconsistent. Bennett is finally living up to expectations and even better, still has another season after this one to hone his craft.
In lieu of the Buckeyes, what game are you most looking forward to watching this weekend?
Michael: I’ll be interested in that Michigan-Penn State game because I think a lot of what we’ll see will be applicable when the Buckeyes face both of those teams.
Ross: Oregon-Washington. After watching Marcus Mariotta and the Ducks some this week I am interested to see them play a top 25 team.
Johnny: Oklahoma and Texas, if only to see Mack Brown's ritual sacrifice pyre live on TV at halftime.
If you could ask Coach Meyer one question, what would it be?
Michael: Would you adopt me, please?
Ross: If he had to choose would he rather have dinner with Clay Travis or Matt Hayes?
Johnny: "Can you please stand still so I can stare dreamily into your eyes?"