Anybody can look forward to 10 things, or 40 things, or 85 things, but it takes a special lot to look forward to 100 things.
But you being Buckeye fans, and them being the Buckeyes, 100 things is just a drop in the bucket. Fortunately for all of us, 100 things is also the max that I can probably get away with throwing at you. Actually, 40 is probably the max, but my motto has always been, “Get from Point A to Point B two-and-a-half times more than you needed to.”
It’s not a great motto.
Anyway, let’s get back to looking forward. When we left you last, we had just completed items 100-91.
90. The first home run from Demario McCall.
You should definitely be looking forward to this because how many times will you get to say, “I told you so!” to Urban Meyer? You clamored all year for Demario McCall to see the field last season when the games were still in doubt. The offense needed help and you knew he was the guy to help, but it just never happened. So when McCall hits his first homer this season, you should not hesitate to run to Twitter, or your email, or your mailbox and let the Ohio State coaches know that you were trying to tell them a year ago to get McCall in the game. This should also get your foot in the door about that whole four-quarterback package you’ve been thinking about lately.
89. Finding the next Malik Hooker.
This isn’t actually about finding the next Malik Hooker, but rather the next All-American who waited his turn and then became a legend. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but recruiting has been kind of good under Urban Meyer, so there is always talent waiting to emerge. Who is that guy this year? Is it Dante Booker? Matt Burrell? Demario McCall? You probably named three different players than I did, which is a good indicator of what is to come.
88. “Garbage time.”
“Garbage time” is in quotations because we know it’s not actually garbage time, but that’s what it’s always been called. This is when you get to see Dwayne Haskins and/or Joe Burrow play. This is where you get your best glimpse of the future of Ohio State football. You can already start deciding whether you’re in the Haskins Camp or Burrow Camp. You’ll probably end up choosing your camp based on what that jerk Kevin in acquisitions does. If he’s Team Haskins, then you’ll be on Team Burrow. That’s how it always goes. You can’t stand to be on the same side as him anymore. Nothing has ever been the same between you guys since he got that promotion that you wanted. You got him back when you went and married his sister out of spite, however. Now you’re in line for the family fortune. How’s that for acquisitions, Kevin?
87. Johnnie Dixon’s knees winning Big Ten Comeback Joints of the Year.
This is Johnnie Dixon from the spring game. There is room for him in this offense.
86. Chris Worley vs. Saquon Barkley
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is arguably the best player on Ohio State’s schedule. Chris Worley is the middle linebacker in charge of stopping him. How can you not look forward to seeing this? These are two of the more prominent positions in all of college football history, so it’s always going to be an interesting matchup. You could argue that in Raekwon McMillan’s two seasons as a starter, Barkley got the better of him, rushing for around 290 yards total. Can Worley stop that run?
85. Seeing who the next Pat Elflein or Billy Price is.
It’s not a stretch to suggest that Pat Elflein would not have been offered by Urban Meyer had Elflein not already been committed when Meyer arrived. Unrelatedly, Billy Price played on the defensive line before he played on the offensive line. Relatedly, they are both All-Americans. So who is the next under-the-radar Buckeye offensive lineman to emerge and show promise? Elflein didn’t really show what he could do until late in his redshirt freshman season in 2013 when Marcus Hall shot a double birdie in Michigan Stadium on his way back to the locker room. Price started all of 2014 as a redshirt freshman. Last year, Michael Jordan was a surprise starter and he’s on his way to similar accolades. Who will be that guy this year? If you want to predict Matt Burrell, I’d probably agree with you.
84. A new punter to remember you haven’t seen yet this game.
When the offense was going good, at some point you’d look over at somebody and ask, “Has Cam Johnston even punted yet today?” Well, now that Johnston is off to the NFL, you’ll be asking the same question of redshirt freshman punter Drue Chrisman. The good news for you is that you should be asking this question a bit more than you did a year ago.
83. Damon Arnette continuing on the path.
When Bradley Roby came to Ohio State he had a plan. The first step was redshirting as a freshman, then contributing as a redshirt freshman, and then leaving for the NFL after four years. Roby could have left after his redshirt sophomore season, but it wasn’t part of the plan. That plan was passed down to Eli Apple, Gareon Conley, and Marshon Lattimore. Of course, Apple and Lattimore didn’t quite follow the entire path, but that can happen when you’re projected to be a Top 10 pick. Arnette played quite a bit as a redshirt freshman, much like Conley and Lattimore did. Now he is in line to start as a redshirt sophomore. What happens on the path next is up to him.
82. An arrogant offense.
This is something that J.T. Barrett is looking forward to even more than you are. He has been vocal in his dislike of the “hurry up and wait” playcalling of Ed Warinner over the last two years. While that likely won’t go entirely away with Kevin Wilson, there will be much more up-tempo playcalling. That’s where the arrogance comes in. The offense needs to be cocky enough to almost not care what look a defense is giving. Now, Barrett will still have to make calls, but they won’t be spending 25 seconds trying to find the perfect play. Instead, they’ll be arrogant enough to know that either 1) they’ll make it work with execution; or 2) if it doesn’t work, there’s always the next down. The arrogance of knowing that no defense is going to slow you down for an entire game can be a self-fulfilling prophecy with talent, execution, and playcalling.
81. An arrogant defense.
Urban Meyer likes arrogance. They try to coach it into their players in some respects. During the spring a year ago, Meyer said that Malik Hooker was playing well, but that he wanted him to become a more arrogant player. Based on what Hooker did in 2016, I’m guessing Meyer got what he wanted. An arrogant defense is a confident defense, and you can’t be confident without knowing every aspect of your job. The better prepared this defense is, the more plays they make. The more plays they make, the more arrogant they become. Wanting more of that is only natural.