If you watched all of Saturday’s game between Ohio State and Iowa this past Saturday, you probably saw a few players that you think might be on the verge of losing their respective jobs as starters.
Based on OSU’s official depth chart released on Tuesday, however, no changes are coming. And based on defensive coordinator Greg Schiano’s comments Tuesday night, that certainly holds true for the defense.
“We’ve been tinkering all year as far as repetitions, but no wholesale things,” he said.
This was at least the second time this season that the linebackers have been very disappointing.
I’ve seen people say that it’s time to give the younger players like Baron Browning and Keandre Jones an opportunity, but I don’t think that would help at all. Given the regression that we’ve seen from Jerome Baker and Chris Worley, I put much of those struggles on coaching, and right now Browning and Jones are receiving that same coaching and playing in the same system, so why should we expect them to outperform trusted veterans?
Even Tuf Borland, who everyone loved against Army, has been pretty quiet since that game.
I asked Schiano if he needed to simplify the defense and he didn’t think that was the answer. He said the defense needed better focus. At the time I took that to mean the players need to focus better, but watching the interview again, that could be taken as if the entire defense needs to better focus — including the coaches and what they are doing to prepare their players. That will be a follow-up question down the road.
The fact that five linebackers play regularly right now and none of them are actually fixing the issues should tell you most of what you need to know at that position.
I had somebody ask me on Monday if we could see some changes at safety, but there’s nowhere to go. The two best options here are Damon Webb and Jordan Fuller. Isaiah Pryor is still a year away, but I expect him to be very good at Fuller’s position next year, while Fuller will slide over to Webb’s free safety spot, which is what he played last year as a true freshman.
Now, we were never told who earned Champions status after the Nebraska win, but I think it’s very concerning that the only time (I believe) Webb has earned Champion status was after the Army game, which was when he was basically playing linebacker.
The entire back seven has had breakdowns this season, which means that you should probably expect more of them moving forward.
On the offensive side of the ball, Urban Meyer said he is looking to keep defenses from taking away the running backs on the read option, so we’ll see how that goes this week. J.K. Dobbins needs more touches and any time he is held under a dozen carries, the opposing defense should send a fruit basket and their undying gratitude.
On the injury front, H-back Parris Campbell has been medically cleared and should play this week. They missed his kick returning and explodability on offense last week. Mike Weber is still listed as an OR with Campbell, however.
While we’re talking about Weber as the kick returner, I’m going to have to agree with everyone else in the world and ask, “Why?” This would seem to be one way to get Dobbins — the more explosive of the two — more touches.
I mean, if you’re not going to hand the ball to him, at least let the opponent kick the ball to him.