Football Hayes & Cannon

Opponent Watch: 3 Things to Watch For From Penn State

“In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins…” ~ Ulysses S. Grant

A proud son of Ohio, hailing from Point Pleasant, former Civil War general and the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant would be a strong advocate for as much advanced scouting of the enemy as possible before a battle was engaged.

While I have the utmost confidence in Urban Meyer and his strong staff of assistants, below are three areas I will be keeping an eye on when Ohio State kicks off against the Penn State Nittany Lions in what could prove to be the decisive game for winning The B1G East Division.

To put this in perspective, Penn State has several players beyond those named Saquon Barkley whom Ohio State once recruited ~ RB Miles Sanders; TE Mike Gesicki (more on him below); offensive linemen Ryan Bates, Steven Gonzalez, and Sterling Jenkins; DE Shane Simmons, and defensive backs Garrett Taylor and Lamont Wade.

There could be other players I may have inadvertently overlooked, but the point I am trying to make is Ohio State went head to head with Penn State for these players and lost them when it came time to sign on the dotted line. Respect the talent coming into Columbus, as the Ohio State coaching staff most certainly does.

Keep An Eye On Who Draws Penn State’s DaeSean Hamilton

Lined up in the slot, Hamilton is listed at 6’1″, 206 pounds, and is coming off a game versus Michigan where he caught 6 passes for 115 yards, averaging 19 yards a catch. Ohio State’s secondary has improved since the opener at Indiana and against Oklahoma, but still gave up repeated big plays to Nebraska’s J.D. Spielman (11 catches for 200 yards, with one touchdown that went for 77 yards). No matter if it is Kendall Sheffield or Damon Arnette, coverage of Hamilton will be a crucial factor in this game. Will Ohio State try to cover Hamilton with a safety, as Michigan tried (and failed)?

Penn State’s Mike Gesicki Is A Match-Up Nightmare

Listed at 6’6″, 250 pounds, Gesicki can cause problems if Ohio State tries to cover him with a linebacker or safety. Maybe Ohio State will try a combination of both, with the linebacker in short yardage coverage being shaded with help from a safety in obvious passing downs?

Saquon Barkley Is Just As Much Of A Threat As A Receiver Than As A Runner

Barkley will get his touches, no doubt about that. How Ohio State tries to defend him is another story. Will Jerome Baker be up to the task of covering Barkley out of the backfield? Others have tried, few have succeeded. If the weather forecast holds up with rain, Ohio State may be able to contain Barkley by stacking the line of scrimmage, but the threat of Barkley as a receiver out of the backfield looms large.

3 Responses

  1. I think our best defense against the “things to watch” would be our front 4 terrorizing the PSU O-line. If that happens, Barkely gets tripped up, and on passing plays, McSorely has to unload fast, timing is off…I hope

  2. …DB’s…it’s a penalty if you don’t turn your heads…

    1. Completely agree. Hoping that Coach Schiano has the DBs ready to play on Saturday afternoon. Thanks for the comments.

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