Five for Friday: OSU's Goals for Saturday's Game
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Saturday's game against Florida A&M is not one of those games where the Ohio State coaching staff is going to go into the game just hoping to come away with a victory. They are going to have additional things that they want to accomplish.
In a game where the Buckeyes are 50-point favorites, the coaches will get a chance to make this weekend more meaningful by getting a look at more players, and in more situations. They have to utilize every bit of this game to accomplish something that will help them moving forward.
With that in mind, here is what I'm thinking the Buckeyes want to do this Saturday.
1. Win. This is always number one, and just because they are playing Florida A&M doesn't mean they can forget the most important goal of every game. Once you start assuming wins you start losing. That's the type of arrogance that has you skywriting hashtags in rival cities.
2. Stay healthy. This is a close number two to winning, and if somebody does get hurt, it can be as detrimental as a loss. If they only accomplish the first two goals, the coaches will be able to write the weekend off as successful.
Photo by Jim Davidson
3. Play three quarterbacks. Urban Meyer now knows all too well that playing just two quarterbacks for two years in a row is pushing things. Things worked out last year, and so far this year Kenny Guiton has again been up to the task. But with Braxton Miller only set for limited snaps this weekend, there's no earthly reason for Guiton to finish this game out in garbage time. They'll be able to accomplish a pair of positives by resting and protecting Guiton, while also getting the third quarterback—likely Cardale Jones—the first action of his career, and against Florida A&M, the moment shouldn't be too big for him.
4. Get the shutout. The Buckeyes have yet to shut out an opponent under Urban Meyer. In fact, the game against San Diego State was the first time the Buckeyes have held an opponent under double digits on Meyer's watch. Florida A&M's offense is ranked 110th in the nation – in the FCS – with 228.3 yards per game. This team should not move the ball far enough to score.
Photo by Jim Davidson
5. Good work for Carlos Hyde. The Buckeyes are going to need Carlos Hyde next week against Wisconsin, which means they'll need him to get up to speed this week. Running backs talk about the need to find a rhythm, so this game needs to provide Hyde with the proper beat. The coaches want to get the young players as many touches as possible, but they also need to get their best running back ready for their biggest game to date.
Bonus: Career days for some freshmen. I'm already thinking this could be Dontre Wilson's first 100-yard rushing day, and I don't think it will take any more carries than he normally gets. Ezekiel Elliott's career high is 36 yards, and he could very well break that in one carry. Warren Ball's career high is just six yards, so it would be a bit of a disappointment if he doesn't set a new mark for himself on Saturday. This could also be the first time that we see the ball in James Clark's hands, and we're all anxious to see his speed put to some use. Defensively, we could see some youngsters in the secondary who get more time than they have the rest of the year combined. If they are going to get the shutout, those players will need to make it happen.
Photo by Dan Harker
Bonus: Continued linebacker improvement. Ohio State will get to play more two and three linebacker sets after playing very few last week. Urban Meyer said on Thursday that Joshua Perry still needs to take that next step, but it's not going to happen quickly if he's never on the field. Meyer has been nothing but supportive of Curtis Grant, and he's happy where Grant is right now. We don't know if he's ready for Wisconsin yet, but we'll soon find out. The Buckeyes still need depth, and Camren Williams, Joe Burger and Trey Johnson should get some pretty good minutes this week.
Bonus: Break some tackles outside of the hash marks. If the Buckeyes are going to continue throwing the quick screens, it would behoove the receivers to start breaking some tackles. Given that this is the worst defense they will see the rest of their lives, the Ohio State receivers should be able to shake free of defenders more than they ever have before. If they can't, then it might be time to start making some adjustments in either the personnel or the playcalling.
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