Urban Meyer said Monday he hasn't talked to his team about the playoffs. Hard to believe he doesn't begin his morning by reading my latest ramblings about his team. He would learn a thing or two if he did.
For example, the only thing derailing the playoff train would be Michigan beating Wisconsin this weekend.
- First look at all-white uniforms vs. Michigan.
- J.T. Barrett preparing for Horseshoe curtain call.
- Buckeye title odds slashed from 75/1 to 16/1.
- Who should start at linebacker?
- Help put a life-size statue of Woody Hayes in his hometown of Newcomerstown, Ohio.
Word of the Day: Poltergeist.
FOR THE TEAM. After Ohio State's defense looked like it had never seen a two-tight end set against Iowa, there was consternation about the Buckeyes missing Dante Booker and Jerome Baker against Michigan State.
The linebackers, led by Tuf Borland in the middle and Malik Harrison and Chris Worley on the outside, responded with the unit's best game of the year.
Going forward, that leaves questions about future roles when Booker and Baker return to form.
With Worley starting in place of Baker at weakside linebacker, Tuf Borland starting at Worley’s usual position of middle linebacker and Malik Harrison in place of Booker at strongside linebacker, Ohio State’s starting linebackers combined for 22 total tackles – including four tackles for loss and three sacks – and suffered none of the coverage issues that plagued the Buckeye linebackers in Iowa City and some of their other previous games this season.
Considering how well Ohio State’s linebackers played against Michigan State, and how poorly they played the week prior, should the Buckeyes make permanent changes to their linebacker lineup even when Baker and Booker are healthy?
It should be safe to assume that Baker, who leads all linebackers in snaps played this season by a wide margin, will return to the starting lineup as soon as he is healthy. He’s one of the most talented linebackers in the country, even if he hasn’t always played up to his ability this season. Meyer said Saturday that Baker was in line to be cleared this week and that he expects to play Saturday against Illinois.
Booker will play when he returns, but I don't think Booker will get his spot back. There's no denying the elevation of play with Borland in the middle, and that was before Worley proved he still knew a thing or two about playing outside linebacker.
It's always unfortunate to see a guy like Booker get passed over, but the local team has two losses and there's a tournament bid on the line.
SCHIANO VOLUNTEERS? Tennessee will be used as leverage by competent agents looking to secure more lucrative contracts from more stable employers.
But eventually, there will be a new frontman next year in Knoxville. One well-connected national reporter says Schiano is a candidate, though a "wild one."
One other wild-card candidate is Ohio State DC Greg Schiano. He made Rutgers respectable after years of ineptitude. He’s very smart, is extremely organized and has picked up some good things from his time under Urban Meyer. He interviewed for the USC vacancy a couple of years ago and has turned down some other decent head coaching opportunities in the past year-plus. I’m told there is some interest in him.
Schiano could do better than Tennessee. And what's funny is the Vols think they can do better than Schiano. They could, but they won't.
EJECTIONS, A PROBLEM. Big Ten referees have ejected four Buckeye defenders this year for targeting. The only problematic one, for me, was Denzel Ward against Maryland.
Obviously a majority of fans have different opinions than me on this. But they should know Nick Bosa admitted he saw his and Dre'Mont Jones' ejection coming.
Bosa was ejected against Iowa and Jones against Michigan State, both for hits on the quarterback. And Bosa said they both knew they were gone.
"I knew I was going to be ejected and Dre knew he was going to be ejected when we saw the flag hit the ground," Bosa said after Saturday's win over Michigan State. "It's a pretty consistent calls. You can't argue it. You've just got to be careful because football is changing a little bit."
The problem for the linemen is staying away from the head of the quarterback. Bosa explained why he basically gave Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley a brief headbutt that led to his ejection as he tried to knock down a pass by matching his hand to Stanley's throwing arm as the defenders are taught to do.
To me, the guy on the couch not required to make split-second decisions while rushing the quarterback, the rules are clear. I don't see how this keeps happening (other than Ward's).
The silver lining is none of these have come in the second half. Still, I remained terrified this nasty habit will raise its grotesque head at the worst possible time.
EGW WORKING FOR NEW SPOT. Former Ohio State safety/wide receiver Eric-Glover-Williams left the team earlier this year, is working towards a new spot in 2018.
From Bill Greene of scout.com:
Former four-star Ohio State defensive back Eric Glover-Williams left the program back in August, and is now enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Glover-Williams will be eligible to enroll at a Division-I school in January of 2018, and he is currently starting to enter back into the recruiting process.
"We are in the beginning stages of talking to schools about transferring and going back on scholarship next January," Jerry Williams, the player's father stated. "The only school we've really talked to is Kentucky, and they have been helpful so far. The classes Eric is taking now will allow him to enroll at Kentucky, as long as he maintains a 2.5 GPA and earns his associate degree."
Glover-Williams' father also added Ohio State is helping him find a new team next year, which is always good to see. Would be cool to see him ball out in a smaller pond. Talent was never his problem.
JTB DRAFT STOCK. Good to see J.T. Barrett is as divisive in NFL circles as he is among the Ohio State fanbase:
I asked three NFL scouts for their opinion: will #OhioState QB J.T. Barrett be drafted? Varied responses:
- "My gut says no"
- "Prbly but not by us"
- "Oh yeah, he's this year's Dobbs"
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) November 13, 2017
As a Browns fans, I have stared into abyss of the NFL's quarterback problem. I don't think Barrett will win a Super Bowl as a starter. An NFL team will take a flier on him, though.
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