We all know the main story. Ohio State has a loaded roster, albeit thin in some spots, heading into Ryan Day's first full campaign as a head coach.
The Buckeyes have a schedule that is challenging in-conference, with a few tests outside of the Big Ten.
With award candidates at seemingly every position, Ohio State is set for another prime season. But, as we know, little things can sometimes trip up the best teams. What could that be for the Buckeyes, and how can they eliminate it?
Not Being Complacent and Underestimating Opponents
The last two seasons, this is what has taken down the Buckeyes. After big wins over Penn State, Ohio State went on the road twice to Iowa and Purdue and was absolutely trounced in both games. Does the name Rondale Moore sound familiar?
The first early test for Ohio State will be against a Cincinnati team that won 10 games last year and now travels up to Columbus in week two. You can bet that the cast of names on Cincinnati's roster or coaching staff that have ties to Ohio State- Luke Fickell, Marcus Freeman, Garyn Prater, Tavion Thomas, to name a few- will have a chip on their shoulder entering Ohio Stadium that day.
This year, the game after Penn State is Michigan on the road. Hopefully the Buckeyes will have no problem getting up for that one, or else there will be bigger problems.
Urban Meyer was known as a master motivator. Ryan Day and company will need to follow suit and try to avoid the losses that stung Meyer in his last two years with Ohio State.
Knowing Your Role
In every successful organization, you have to "know your role" whether this is a pee-wee football team, a Fortune 500 company, or the school PTO, you have to know your role in order for the organization to be successful with all of its legs moving the same direction.
Football is like a centipede. It only works if all of its legs are moving in the same direction.
Last year, it seemed as though Ohio State players were out of position, making stupid penalties at the wrong time, or doing other dumb things that resulted in games becoming a lot tougher than they should have been. If the Buckeyes can cut down on all that and become a much more disciplined football team, they will be successful in the long run.
The Big Plays
I'm not sure if this is a "little thing" but Ohio State was absolutely destroyed by big plays last year, starting in game one.
It only took Artavis Pierce 11 carries to run for 168 yards and score two touchdowns.— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 7, 2018
He'll look to build off that performance when @BeaverFootball takes on Southern Utah this weekend. pic.twitter.com/wtRlo4t5mg
This was a trend that started in the first game and continued literally the entire season, including against Maryland, where Anthony McFarland victimized the Buckeyes twice on back-to-back drives.
It almost cost Ohio State against Maryland, and did cost them against Purdue. Big plays just absolutely destroy any momentum built up, and Greg Mattison, Jeff Hafley, and company have to make that the number one focal point as they try to improve a defense that struggled mightily at several different times last season.