Spring football is underway for the Buckeyes and March Madness is here as well for the OSU basketball programs (and wrestling). In other words, there’s a lot going on in the world of OSU athletics right now.
It has been a while since I put out the Bat Signal for a Mailbag, and so I thought there would be no better time than the present to see what’s on the minds of those who care about such things.
I will probably try to get back to a regular schedule on these if there is a need.
Let’s get started.
How many games is M*ch going to lose this year? — BasicDefense
It’s a question as old as time — How many games is Michigan going to lose this year? I always start by looking at the road games. This year, that’s Notre Dame, Northwestern, Michigan State, Rutgers, and Ohio State. Then I look at the tough games at home, and that would be Nebraska, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Penn State. We still don’t know if Shea Patterson is going to be eligible, but I expect that he will be. Even if he isn’t, Michigan fans still have high hopes for Brandon Peters at quarterback. Or at least they used to. Once Patterson transferred in, the love for Peters dried up like a puddle in the sun. Perhaps they can find that love again if Patterson is denied immediate eligibility. Whoever the QB is will have the benefits of some of the best skill in the Big Ten, and a much-improved offensive line thanks to Ed Warinner. Urban Meyer says the quarterback is a product of the players around him, and Michigan has proven that the last few years. They will prove it again in 2018, but this time in a good way. Defensively, they’ll be outstanding again, but they have to find some depth so that they don’t fade again. So with all of that being said, I think they lose at least two of those road games. Can Nebraska or Maryland steal one in the Big House? Maybe. But right now, I’m leaning toward a 10-2 season.
What are you more interested in next weekend: OSU basketball or OSU wrestling? — RandyH
While I can’t wait to see Snyder vs. Coon III, my answer here is basketball. I do enjoy Billy Baldwin’s annual appearance on ESPN during the NCAA wrestling championships and his knowledge of the sport because it’s just…odd. But the Ohio State basketball team is about to embark on something that nobody expected this season, and while I don’t expect their stay to last long, it has been a fun season.
What will transpire on the court in March if OSU is going to make it past the sweet 16? — BUCKEYE_Bomber
Ohio State has to take care of the ball and Keita Bates-Diop needs help. That help has to come in the form of great perimeter shooting from everyone — not just the guards. Chris Holtmann feels like playing KBD and Kaleb Wesson together can sometimes clog things up for KBD on offense, but if everyone is considered a threat from deep, the court will open up more for Bates-Diop to take over. Even though KBD is the best player on the team, and Jae’Sean Tate is the heart and soul, the Buckeyes are only going as far as C.J. Jackson can take them.
Could you see Demetrius Knox getting run at Center? — @marshotel72
Only if they don’t like what they’re getting from two of the three veteran options. Right now, they’re going with Brady Taylor, Matt Burrell, Josh Myers, and true freshman Matthew Jones. If Greg Studrawa doesn’t like what he is seeing from two of those top three, then maybe they see what Demetrius Knox can do, and they switch him out with one of the current centers. I don’t know if that is going to happen, but it would be a surprise if there are no further moves on the offensive line after just one week of tinkering.
What freshmen are standing out? And will Nicholas Petit-Frere compete for a starting spot? — @Jus10Adams
There are eight true freshmen who enrolled early, and seven of those are healthy enough to participate in spring ball. It’s too early for any of these guys to be earning meaningful raves, but what I can tell you is that this is a very mature group who continues to lean on the leaders to learn the right ways to do things. In terms of the second question, no, I don’t see Nicholas Petit-Frere being able to compete for a starting spot, but I do know the staff wants him involved in the two-deep so that he can get some playing time and compete for an open spot next year after Isaiah Prince graduates and heads off to the NFL.
Think Ohio Stats blocks Nebraska from the transfer list if Joe Burrow doesn’t win starting job? — @bdunk975
I don’t know, but I’m as interested in this question as you are. Again, I hate talking about this so matter-of-factly while Joe Burrow is still a Buckeye and could absolutely win the starting quarterback job. I believe that Urban Meyer would definitely not want Burrow to transfer to a school on OSU’s schedule the next two years. However, his whole desire to let Burrow know where he stands after the spring is for the benefit of the player and his family, so trying to throw up a barricade on where Burrow could go would seem to be contrary to those desires. But Meyer did also say that his first priority is to the team, and then it is to Burrow. So perhaps the blocking of destinations would come under the purview of the team, the team, the team.
Some info out there about Davon Hamilton killing it on the DL. Care to comment? Thanks! — @christo49599802
Fourth-year junior nose tackle Davon Hamilton will be carrying plenty of expectations this season. Fellow nose tackle Robert Landers said he has made the biggest jump of anybody on the defensive line. At 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, he has the size for the spot, and with two nose tackles graduating from last season, he saw an opening for opportunities this year. He has attacked that opportunity, and it probably doesn’t hurt that the Buckeyes brought in the best defensive tackle haul in the nation in 2018. Larry Johnson is very comfortable with his defensive tackles right now, and Davon Hamilton is one of the reasons why.
Why hasn’t Joey Burrow transferred yet? Do you expect him to? — @cwagg7
He hasn’t transferred yet because he is still competing to be the starting quarterback at Ohio State. And since he graduates in May, there is no reason to transfer before then. As a graduate transfer some time after May, he would be eligible to play this season. Everything right now is in a holding pattern, except for the fact that Burrow is charging forward in his desire to lead the Buckeyes to a national title in 2018. Do I expect him to transfer? I expect him to transfer if he is clearly beaten out at QB this spring. What I wonder is what happens if there is no clear winner? Does Burrow have the be the clear-cut guy this spring in order to stay? I don’t know where the ledge is in terms of his decision. Will it be based on winning the job, losing the job, or not yet winning the job? I don’t know.
Do you see Urban changing philosophies if Haskins wins the job? — @GRob1022
Urban Meyer’s offensive philosophy is a power running game in a spread offense with a quarterback who can keep plays alive. That won’t change with Dwayne Haskins. What will change is an over-reliance on the quarterback run because that’s not what Haskins excels at. Meyer wants to use his players to do what they are best at, and for Haskins, that should be throwing the ball. Will the offense look different? The players are expecting it to. There should be more passing and more handing the ball off. The quarterback run isn’t going away, but it won’t be seen as much. At least, that is the expectation.
What is the ceiling on a tournament run and is 1-1 a failure? — @ttdball
I think the ceiling is probably two wins, so there is no way 1-1 could be considered a failure. I think it is also wrong to consider 0-1 as a failure. Just getting to the tournament is a successful tournament run. This season shouldn’t be happening, and that fact doesn’t change just because this season is actually happening. I understand that people want more, but they have already been given more than they could have ever expected. Don’t let the final game of the season be what you remember from this season. There were too many successes to just think of the failures.
Do you think Taver Johnson is an underrated hire? I mean, think of the Red Bull savings alone with Coombs gone. They might be able to have one less fridge at the Woody now. — @PoisonLenny
Taver Johnson may be an underrated hire on the outside, but I think he was the first guy I mentioned on one of the episodes of Accost the Field after Kerry Coombs left. The fit was almost too natural to think it could happen. The good news for Buckeye fans is that not only does Johnson intend on continuing what Coombs has done, he has also seen some things with technique that he believes he can improve on. In terms of the Red Bull, I know you’re trying to make a joke here, but my heart goes out to the distribution center in Columbus that will now lose hundreds of jobs as they move down to Nashville to meet the demands down there. It’s a nice gesture by Red Bull to agree to pay a portion of the relocation fees if employees wish to move to Nashville, but uprooting an entire family is never an easy decision.