Excellent hire, especially if Coach Coombs can successfully make the transition from sole position coach responsibilities to coordinator. Working with Coach Mattison should help in this regard.
The ability to adapt, of which Coach Day referred, also includes the critical in-game adjustments, the adaptation necessary to always stay one step ahead of the opponent. I remember Coach Hafley speaking of this last year, from series to series, even from play to play, and I believe, based on last year's performance, Coach Day recognizes this important aspect too and the need to continuously improve this aspect of a consistently winning football team.
If Bijan Robinson doesn't back out from his silent commitment to the Buckeyes late in the 2020 recruiting cycle, out of respect, I presume as widely reported, due to his family's wishes to play closer to home, this criticism of Coach Alford isn't happening. Nothing Coach Alford could do to prevent that.
Coach Alford and Coach Day have to focus on their top 3 RB prospects for 2021 and then go out and get 2 of them.
A quick Google search didn't yield an answer, but I wonder if there is any data on the overall college production of elite-ranked high school RBs? My sense is that, compared to other positions, many of the most elite RBs in high school don't pan out and often lesser regarded high school RBs end up developing into very good college RBs, if they get good coaching.
In particular at RB, #1, 2 or 3 high school recruits often don't excel in college, but frequently a #10, 11 or 12 rated back, or even lower, who are on an upward performance trajectory, does. This is true at all positions of course, but particularly at RB. Just a theory that I have no data to back up.
While recruiting prowess to reel in elite talent is important for any position coaching, having an eye for high school running backs who have a much higher ceiling for college ball is critical too, as well as the ability to develop that talent. Coach Alford, IMO, has, for the most part, demonstrated those skills.
It is a bit of a mystery why Ohio State has not been able to land elite RBs of late, although JK Dobbins was the national #2 all-purpose back in his class, although the Buckeyes have not lacked for elite production at the position, especially of late.
The RB room is full of talent that I have confidence Coach Alford will coach up for next year, and beyond then landing 2 of the most promising from 2021 is a top priority. Identify who they are and focus on the top 3 or so, paying particular attention on them.
You're absolutely right. I remember commenting at the time that it was a great pass by Haskins and an even better catch by Mack. Austin Mack deserves more credit for making the play.
Agree, except the better team didn't win.
Yes. Make the plays and the Buckeyes win, no matter the officials.
Buckeyes had Clemson at 16-0, even when settling for 3 FGs instead of TDs. Needed to put them away at that point, but, to Clemson's credit, they took advantage and fought their way back into the game, aided by some very questionable calls.
Ohio State could have, and should have, won by 3+ TDs, even with the officials. Can't wait for next year and another shot at them.
J.K. Dobbins was the #2 rated APB in his class, and in the Top 50 nationally, when he was primarily recruited by Coach Alford and signed with Ohio State. He turned into a pretty good back, #2 all-time at Ohio State, under Coach Alford.
It is an interesting question why Ohio State doesn't consistently land very high profile RBs and should be a focus of the entire coaching staff. But it is more complicated than simply laying it on Coach Alford. And, IMO, running back is a position where less high profile high school prospects can be developed into very good college RBs. Coach Alford targeted, and landed, both Master Teague and Marcus Crowley, to name just two, long before they rose in prominence nationally.
Great to see a more detailed analysis of OL performance, that also has the Buckeyes as the #4 unit in D1 in 2019, with only Alabama, Georgia and Oregon (#1) ranked above them.
Yes Oregon, game #2 next year, on the road, with their best lineman returning next year and touted by the ranking site as a Heisman candidate.
Without Joe Burrow at LSU, and with fewer injuries to key players, Alabama most likely would have been a playoff team, and serious NC contender, this year.
Underestimate Nick Saban and the Alabama program if you choose, but, IMO, they'll be in the hunt again next year.
I agree that this year the Buckeyes demonstrated over the regular season that they were, it is reasonable to conclude, the best team in the country. And, certainly early in the game, they dominated Clemson. In that respect, the Buckeyes are there, if they can maintain it consistently.
But they have to win playoff games and NCs to be fully elite. They are poised to do that.
Ohio State still has to demonstrate that it is on an elite level by, as the ultimate proof, consistently winning playoff games and NCs. Clemson and Alabama have done that, each winning 2 NCs in the 4 years from 2015 to 2018, and if I remember right, playing each other in the NC game, with only an appearance by Georgia breaking their dominance. Alabama was a little down this year, but don't fool yourself, they'll be back in the hunt next year.
Ohio State is, IMO, the only team immediately poised to challenge them. And next year they will.
You do realize that Coach Alford was the primary recruiter for a 0.9791 4-star RB out of La Grange TX, J.K. Dobbins, who turned into a pretty good back at Ohio State, finishing his career as the #2 RB in Ohio State history. Whoever replaces Dobbins, also recruited by Alford, will be a very good back for the Buckeyes.
And, IMO, if there is a position on the field that is less dependant on high school star rankings to produce a high-quality college player, it's running back. Although not landing many high-profile prospects (excepting Dobbins), Coach Aford has been very good at spotting RB talent and developing it.
Shaun Wade coming back makes the secondary situation MUCH less uncertain. It's very good news.
Add Darnay Holmes as a transfer and things look even better.
Yes. The Week #2 game at Oregon, especially, is going to need very good play from the DL, in order to take pressure off the secondary.
KJ Hill. Quiet consistency.
Excepting this year, Alabama has had more recent success in the playoffs. Based on recruiting and coaching, most prominently, Alabama will most likely remain elite.
Ohio State is close to both Clemson and Alabama, and in many respect is right there with them, just not yet in on-field playoff petformance.
Winning in the playoffs is what ultimately makes a program elite, especially winning championships.
Clemson and Alabama have, in recent years, done it. Ohio State has not. That, IMO, is the only thing missing from putting the Buckeyes in that catagory.
I think you're right. For on-field playoff performance, Clemson and Alabama are elite by themselves right now.
The next level is Ohio State, Georgia and Oklahoma, but I think the Buckeyes are the only 2nd tier team among that group right now. Texas and Washington took a step back this year and Oregon, and perhaps Florida, needs another year or two to show that they're in the hunt too. No one else in the ACC even close. Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan not nearly there yet.
Is there anything specific that the Buckeyes need to focus on, other than the obvious answer to win playoff games, to consistently join the top tier?
Since both involved losses to Clemson, I'd rather have many saying that the Buckeyes rather clearly demonstrated that they were the better team, but the game didn't break their way, than to be quite embarassed in a 31-0 blowout. No doubt, 2019 it is.
The defense will be a question mark again, just like last year, and especially if Wade declares, but I'm more confident now that the coaching staff, along with Hafley's replacement, will do an excellent job of preparing the high level of talent that will be on next year's team.
Second game at Oregon will be an early challenge for the newly reloaded defense, however.
#4 in the CFP rankings would tend to indicate that they were well regarding and, in that sense, a very good team. However, this year there were three teams that especially stood out, OSU, LSU, and Clemson.
The Sooners losing all those players to suspension really hurt them, especially on defense, although they probably would have lost rather decisively anyway even with them playing.
Of all 4 including Wade, I would see Wade and Dobbins as most likely, although not very likely to actually happen, Okudah as a possible and Chase Young as quite unlikely.
My sense is that after returning from his suspension, Young didn't play with tbe same fire that he had before, although in fairness he was being double and even triple teamed alot and being held much of tbe time too.
You're right. And I certainly don't want to further prevent anyone from moving on to the NFL according to the current rules if that's what they wish to do. But I lament that the college game, in this respect IMO, has changed so much.
And I suspect, although I have no data to back it up, that Ohio State was a leader in this change, beginning some time in the 1990s.