If you guys remember around Thanksgiving time, I posted a thread discussing conversations that I had with my uncle. To remind you, he is a college football coach at a military college in NC, and played college football at Ohio University in the mid-to-late 90s. You guys seemed to really love the unbiased opinions that he gave towards Ohio State. Like I said before, he is not really a fan of any Power 5 team, but he follows religiously and Ohio State is one of those teams he follows.
Last weekend, my Uncle and I met up to play a couple rounds of golf, which led to some more great football conversations that I thought you guys might enjoy. Like before, I'll paraphrase some select points from our conversation.
- Guess we will start with the one you all probably care about the most. Yes, he thinks Ohio State will reach the CFP this year. Not only reach it, but reach it as the #1 seed (You mean a playoff situation with no drama for us Bucks??). His early prediction is 13-0.
- Reason for concern for OSU? The Penn State game. Late September at night. Said 1 loss will not eliminate you, but worries of a 2016 situation. Penn State loses a lot of talent, but they get MSU, WISC, and Iowa all at home, in addition to OSU. So it's possible they go 8-1 in the Big Ten, which would keep Ohio State out of the Big Ten title game if they lose.
- Talking about how the Big Ten has risen from the dumps to one of, if not the most, competitive conference. "High School football. When the southern schools, and a few others (like WVU and Oregon) began running the wide open spread, there were only so many prospects that fit this style". Said 7 on 7 was huge in the South before making its way North. Now, nearly every high school in America is running the spread, or some version of it.
- However, he thinks this High School Football transformation has also helped teams like Wisconsin. He fears kids aren't stressing the fundamentals enough at an early age. "When you run the spread in High School, it just allows that 4-star kid to go wild. He can use his speed/strength to do whatever he wants. Obviously, this happens in any offense, but the spread, with zone concepts, takes it to a new level" Teams like Wisconsin, or in our case Iowa, have found ways to take some of those kids' athleticism out of the game.
- Was J.K. the best freshmen RB you've seen at Ohio State? "Close, but I still think Clarett was slightly better. Everyone talks about how Urban's offense inflates QB stats, but I believe it inflates Running backs stats as well. With your guys' zone blocking scheme, the RB gets the ball and either runs straight downhill, or to the outside. That is it. Clarett was asked to run with an NFL style blocking scheme. Also, you can't forget that J.K. was running on an offense that scored 45 ppg, and averaged over 500 yards. Clarett was the offense." He sourced Zeke when he said a couple weeks into his Cowboys career, how he now really had to learn to be patient and read blocks, instead of just "full speed ahead" at OSU.
- Talking about how many road night games we play. Warning: Uncle is not a whiner. "Get over it. You're Ohio State. It comes with the territory." He also thinks the night games OSU plays has helped the entire conference.
- Discussing Urban so quickly turning Ohio State into a Top-5 team every single year, and how it has taken Harbaugh longer. "First off, Urban had the background to back up his fame. He proved he could take a team to the top. Sure Harbaugh is a good coach, but so far, he is the guy who can take a 6-6 team, and make them go 9-3. But not the guy that takes a 9-3 team, and makes them go 11-1 or 12-0." Said there is a huge difference. Also said that Braxton Miller should have a statue at Ohio State. He was somewhat joking, but did make a great point. "Without Braxton, that 2012 team goes 9-3 at best. So you have to recruit your next star QB, and then you have to develop him for 2 years. Having Braxton from the start expedited the process so so much."
- Talking about Joe Burrow, who my Uncle knows through his dad (coach at OU). "I think its a good thing for everyone involved. I'll never hold anything against someone who is making a possible million dollar decision (referencing Burrow having a shot at the NFL now). For you guys, Haskins can now make mistakes and not look over his shoulder. Every single time Cardale did something bad in 2015, a section of the stadium started "JT JT" chants. That's a bad situation for everyone, especially 18-22 year olds."
- Most important position for the Bucks this year is Linebacker he says. Again, he reminds me once again that O'Korn had a wide open touchdown (or big gain because Ward was 100% running him down) on the game sealing interception due to Jerome Baker being bit by play-action. He insists that I attach the video with the comment "Hey, at least they fixed the issue of not stopping the short dump pass". Noting the 3 man party Ohio State was having on the top of the screen. Says he in certain this film was watched by scouts multiple times, and was the reason he was selected in the 3rd round even though he may be the most gifted LB in the class. Also if you watch the documentary about Michigan on Amazon, you will hear the coaches during this play. They knew they had Ohio State beat before the snap of the ball, which shows, as Ward and Baker are beat. But then you get to hear the cries of "No No John". And it is great.
Figured I'd end on that video, because the outcome was in fact, great. If you have any questions, just ask because we talked about so much more and we may have discussed your exact question or at least something relevant to it.
Thanks guys and Go Bucks!