Not-So-Incredible Shrinking Man
The Ohio State football roster prior to the spring listed just three returning scholarship defensive ends. With the move of fourth-year junior Jashon Cornell from defensive tackle to defensive end, however, that number grew to four.
Now with a full two-deep at the position this spring, the Buckeyes can get an idea of what the defensive ends are capable of doing. Expectations are very high for incumbents Nick Bosa, Chase Young, and Jonathon Cooper, but Cornell worked hard in the offseason to make this move possible.
“Well, he’s gone from 283 or 281, he’s about 274 right now,” said defensive line coach Larry Johnson. “So it’s not a lot, but it’s enough to transition the speed, and playing in space is really important. Plus it gives us another guy that we can probably add to our Rushmen package because he can rush the passer also. There’s a reason why we do it.”
All (Good) Hands on Deck
Much has been made about Urban Meyer’s comments a few weeks back about offensive coordinator Ryan Day’s involvement with the wide receivers this season.
According to Day and receivers coach Zach Smith, as well as the Buckeye receivers, nothing has changed. As a coordinator, he was involved with the receivers last year as well.
The Ohio State football program also has assistants to the assistant who help out with the receivers, such as Keenan Bailey and former Buckeye Brian Hartline.
The Buckeye receivers know they aren’t done getting better, and so they soak in any knowledge that comes their way. And Hartline isn’t the only former Buckeye who stops by to help out.
“There’s always room for improvement,” junior receiver Austin Mack said. “We have a great coaching staff with Coach Zach, Coach Hartline, and Keenan Bailey, just helping us, to move us to be the best that we can. Even having Joey Galloway and Santonio Holmes coming back to help us, giving us information. Just helping us to reach that next step. There’s always room for improvement.”
“The motto is separation and being efficient,” Mack said. “Those two words are really emphasized going on to this spring. Just making sure that everything is clean and being elite.”
Kicking to the Curb
There is a proposed rule being tossed around in college football regarding kickoffs. Specifically, the idea that any fair catch on a kickoff inside the 25-yard line would result in a touchback.
Given Urban Meyer’s preference to attempt to pin opponents inside the 5-yard line, which then forces them to return the kickoff, this could have a negative impact to the weekly Ohio State football game plan.
“Haven’t given it a lot of thought,” Meyer said initially. “It’s the toughest play probably in sport and in football. I haven’t given it enough thought because I think it just came out. I haven’t really thought about it. And I’ll have an opinion at some point. I know Coach Schiano and I have already talked briefly about it.
“But kickoff, the history lesson around here, kickoff has been dynamic. I know we’ve had a couple of bad ones, but when you start talking about the accumulation of yardage gained by pinning the team down around the 10-yard line, we did a five-year, six-year study of it, it’s been overwhelmingly positive. So that’s a weapon we’re having taken away from us.”
The More Important Things
If how far a quarterback can throw a football was important, coaches and scouts would never have to worry about arm strength, because the weaker arms would have been weeded out long before they got to any higher level of football.
Superior arm strength is certainly a bonus, but there are several things that the Buckeyes look for before they concern themselves with a quarterback’s fastball.
OSU redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins is dealing with that now. His arm is not a question, but he still has to show that he can do the more important things.
So what is his day-to-day approach to prove to the coaching staff that he can be the Ohio State starting quarterback?
“Just kind of what J.T. [Barrett] showed them, that he owned the offense on the team and that not everything is about how you throw the football, so that’s what I’m doing every day,” he said. “How can I get this person better? How can I talk to the offensive line and give them something different that they haven’t experienced before?”
Very excited to see the new version of OSU offense unfold. Ball security will be imperative. LJ’s defensive line should be stellar once again. Can’t wait!
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