Ohio State football starts spring practices this week.
The 2023 football season will be here before you know it.
Let's have a good Monday, shall we?
STROUD, JSN SHINE AT COMBINE. C.J. Stroud and Jaxon Smith-Njigba were among the best performers at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday. Why? Because they did well at what they do well. In other words, they majored in the majors.
Stroud described himself as a "ball-placement specialist" during his interview session with the media on Friday. When he stepped on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium to participate in a quarterback throwing session, that's exactly what he was. Everyone from NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah to NFL coaches, scouts and executives were impressed with how well he threw the football.
C.J. Stroud is so smooth. pic.twitter.com/JBlFxO5exM— Eleven Warriors (@11W) March 4, 2023
QB1. pic.twitter.com/JICWE4O8ae— Eleven Warriors (@11W) March 4, 2023
For two years at Ohio State, Stroud's accuracy made him one of the best quarterbacks in college football. Everyone in Indianapolis knew that coming in, and they were still blown away by how well Stroud throws the football. That's an impressive feat from the Inland Empire, California, native.
As for Smith-Njigba, he called himself a top-five receiver and, even more, a top-five player overall at the draft because of his playmaking and pass-catching ability. What did JSN do during drills on Saturday? Prove that he is a playmaker and pass-catcher with how well he moved in workouts and how easy it was for him to catch footballs. Funny how that works.
C.J. Stroud to Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Just like old times. pic.twitter.com/mU1NJrDPhd— Eleven Warriors (@11W) March 4, 2023
Yes, NFL coaches, scouts and executives will still have questions about Stroud's athleticism or Smith-Njigba's speed. But those can be answered when both perform at Ohio State's pro day later this month.
For now, those people know that Stroud and Smith-Njigba are elite at what they do best, which, in my opinion, should outweigh any potential negatives the former Buckeyes have in their games. Both of them feel as sure a thing as sure things get. I guess we will see if NFL teams feel the same when April 27 arrives.
STROUD BUILDS DREAM TEAM. Last month, Stroud appeared on several television and radio shows in the days before the Super Bowl between the Eagles and Chiefs in Glendale, Arizona.
Stroud was asked all the essential questions – how he would rank himself among quarterback prospects in the draft, what kind of player NFL teams would receive if they drafted him and more. However, beyond the expected questions, USA TODAY requested he select players to place on an Ohio State dream team. Here is how he answered:
@sportsseriously This Ohio State team would be unstoppable #ohiostate #ohiostatefootball #buckeyes #cfb #collegefootball #cjstroud #dreamteam #fyp #fun #game #nfldraft #nflcombine ♬ Swear By It - Chris Alan Lee
To recap, here is a chart that shows Stroud's Ohio State offensive and defensive dream team – a roster he claims is "crazy" and would be undefeated if it were assembled to play a college football season today:
|QB||C.J. STROUD||FS||MALCOLM JENKINS|
|RB||MIYAN WILLIAMS, EZEKIEL ELLIOTT||SS||JOSH PROCTOR|
|WR||CHRIS OLAVE, GARRETT WILSON||CB||JEFF OKUDAH|
|WR||MARVIN HARRISON JR.||CB||DENZEL WARD, MARSHON LATTIMORE|
|WR||JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA||OLB||BARON BROWNING|
|TE||JEREMY RUCKERT, NICK VANNETT||MLB||RYAN SHAZIER|
Besides the fact that Stroud's dream team doesn't have an offensive line, I think he made an excellent roster of all-time Buckeyes. But that doesn't mean I am without questions.
First, Miyan Williams as Stroud's RB1? That decision confounded me when players like Archie Griffin, Pete Johnson, Eddie George, J.K. Dobbins and several other Ohio State legends were available for selection.
Also, I must address that Stroud picked Williams for his dream team over TreVeyon Henderson. I'll admit, that made me raise an eyebrow. However, I believe Stroud's selection, while curious, shouldn't cause rumors or speculation for the pecking order of Ohio State's running back room in 2023. After all, Stroud chose Williams over all of the names mentioned above, which speaks to how much Stroud liked playing with Williams as a Buckeye, more so than what he thinks of Henderson as a ball carrier.
Defensively, Stroud's dream team would be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks, mainly because any one of Chase Young, Cameron Heyward or Nick and Joey Bosa could crush their bones in an instant, so I have no questions about those picks. Still, I wonder if Stroud's other selections were the best options.
How about players like Tom Cousineau, Randy Gradishar, Chris Spielman, Andy Katzenmoyer, A.J. Hawk and James Laurinaitis at linebacker? Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield at cornerback? Jack Tatum, Mike Sensibaugh and Mike Doss at safety?
With all those names available, I don't think Stroud is necessarily wrong for his picks, but he's not necessarily correct, either. That's the beautiful part about dream teams – Stroud made the team for himself, he likes it, and that's all that matters.
Consider this for the comments: If you were to make an Ohio State dream team, which offensive and defensive players would you select?
FUNNY HOW LIFE WORKS. Former Ohio State offensive lineman Harry Miller was a five-star recruit in the class of 2019. The No. 30 overall prospect and No. 2 center, he seemed like a shoo-in to play in the NFL three or four years after his arrival in Columbus.
But that's not how it all worked out for Miller.
After the 2021 season, Miller stepped away from football to prioritize his mental health. Since then, he's been on a journey to spread a message of mental health wellness and remind others that it's OK to discuss topics like anxiety, depression and suicide.
That journey continued over the weekend as Miller spoke at Ohio State's TEDx convention at the Mershon Auditorium, an experience Miller didn't think he'd have years after his football career with the Buckeyes began.
Had you asked me what Id be doing this weekend a long time ago, I would have said the NFL Combine. Things have a funny way of working out. pic.twitter.com/7wIjtytXrd— Harry Miller (@h_miller76) March 4, 2023
While Miller would have expected to be at the NFL Combine, he told NBC4 in Columbus last week that he doesn't regret his decision to leave football. In fact, he feels like he's right where he is supposed to be.
“I was playing college football. I was studying mechanical engineering. Everything was going exactly as it should but still, I felt this way. So I think that just served, fortunately, to legitimize that and make it a fair reality to accept for people to not easily dismiss it like others,” Miller said.
“Talking about it now, it sort of feels like I had this Lego that I assembled with this really particular instruction booklet and it was pristine and perfect. But it was precariously on this high shelf and it fell and tumbled and it became all these scattered miscellaneous pieces. And I’ve been able to reassemble it into something that is much more in my image. Something that feels more of what I’m supposed to be doing."
I think Miller is right. Things do have a funny way of working out. I love that perspective, and I love that Miller feels as if he has finally found where he needs to be, perhaps even his calling. I can't wait to see what he will do in that space for years to come.
For those interested in listening or watching to Miller's TEDx talk, visit the official website here, click the watch button at the top of the screen and hit "View Talks" underneath the "Currents" tab. Miller's time begins at the 1:27:18 mark.
A HISTORIC FEAT. Ohio State women's basketball may have fallen short in its efforts to win the Big Ten Tournament on Sunday. However, the weekend was still full of incredible achievements for the Buckeyes – chief among them being a 24-point comeback to beat Indiana, the largest comeback in the Big Ten Tournament history.
Buckeyes against the Hoosiers— Ohio State WBB (@OhioStateWBB) March 5, 2023
Relive the biggest comeback in B1G tournament history. pic.twitter.com/j3gfxJKgaT
I posted the recap for Ohio State's win over Indiana on our website, and if I may, let me pull back the curtain on the process required to write what we in the industry call a "gamer." It will do well to show just how incredible the comeback was.
At the start of the game, Ohio State was ice-cold from the floor offensively and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, and defensively, I'm not sure they could have guarded a parked car. The Buckeyes made only five of 17 shots (29%) in the first quarter compared to the Hoosiers' nine makes on 15 attempts (60%). Those numbers provided Indiana with a 23-12 advantage after one.
Ohio State's offensive woes continued in the second quarter, as did Indiana's offensive success. At the 1:12 mark, the Hoosiers were up by 26 points, 46-22, after a Sara Scalia 3-pointer. A made basket from Rebeka Mikulasikova and a free throw from Cotie McMahon were the half's final points, and Indiana led 46-26 at the intermission.
At the half#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/hiDc0vnKXJ— Ohio State WBB (@OhioStateWBB) March 4, 2023
At that point, I felt comfortable enough to write the recap as if Ohio State were heading toward another blowout loss at the hands of the Hoosiers.
But after the break, Ohio State dominated Indiana. What once was a 99.9% chance for the Hoosiers to win the contest – literally, look at the chart below – trickled down in favor of the Buckeyes until they had that same probability for a victory at the end of the game.
Un. Real. pic.twitter.com/4zH7bOPluO— Wyatt in Big Ten Tournament Mode (@hooplawyatt) March 4, 2023
With each offensive point and defensive stop for the Buckeyes, I returned to the recap and deleted words. "Ohio State fell to Indiana" turned into "Ohio State beat Indiana" as "Taylor Thierry scored X points in the loss" turned into "Taylor Thierry scored X points in the victory."
Of course, there were much more complex corrections than that, but those were the main actions required as Ohio State continued to chip away at Indiana's lead. And it wasn't until Kevin McGuff's squad inexplicably completed the largest comeback in Big Ten Tournament history that any of those changes could be made official, which caused some scrambling to edit the article before I posted it to the website.
The bottom line is this. I believed the game was over when they went down 24 points late in the second quarter, so much so that I decided to write the recap as if the outcome was set in stone. But Ohio State had other plans – history-making plans – which caused me to learn an important lesson: Never count out the Buckeyes.
Never count out the Bucks! pic.twitter.com/ED73TLInUO— Ohio State WBB (@OhioStateWBB) March 5, 2023
SONG OF THE DAY. "Willows" by Hans Williams.
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