I watched that game, you watched that game, all of God’s children watched that game. My prediction was along the lines of 55-17. Didn’t think that the defense would give up that many passing yards to a winless team who hadn’t scored a touchdown, or that the passing game would struggle so much. But there are some positives from yesterday’s performance.
The overall thinking for me is that what this team is dealing with is growing pains. Growing pains, especially when you’re prepping for a growth spurt is painful (that could be a Sunday message for any pastor on here.) I believe that’s what Ohio State is going through, which with such a young and inexperienced team, it’s expected. Now, that brings me to my first point.
The young guys stepped up. Williams, Simon, JTT, Martinez, Burke and even Hickman played pretty well on defense I thought. JTT almost had a sack, Williams had a sack. BURKE HAD A PICK (thanks refs), Martinez had a pick 6, etc. On offense, Henderson. Not even going to go into more detail with the greatness that he showed. Ryan Day isn’t afraid to play the young guys, and it pushed the older guys to up their game. Haskell Garrett at times showed flashes of what he accomplished last year. Tyreeke Smith was probably the defensive end that was able to get pressure on the QB (and he got held a few times). Burke held down his side of the field, which put pressure on the outside corners, Banks and Brown. Banks I thought did pretty well, Brown had good moments as well. So it’s safe to say that the corners aren’t necessarily the issue, especially Burke.
The mistakes are fixable mistakes. Now, I have to admit, I love Stroud, and I think he can be more than a game manager. However, if his shoulder is a problem, then he needs to heal up. I think he knows that, but he wants to show his toughness and not lose his starting spot to Kyle McCord. You don’t want it to get to the point where the shoulder becomes a MAJOR problem. For his sake, I do hope he can heal up fast and play to his 5-star potential. But, overthrows can be fixed. Olave dropping passes can be fixed. And the good news, you have Akron next weekend. Perfect time to get the offense in rhythm.
The defense took small steps this week, as crazy as that sounds. They played 2-high safeties. They played the single high safely. They blitzed and tried new things. Now, things HAVE to be fixed. Mass substitutions have to be limited, especially since it confuses the defense. When the defense wasn’t confused yesterday, they made plays. When they were confused, you had wide open players running down the middle of the defense. I think maybe they’re still shook that Tuff Borland lined up against Devonta Smith last year in the National Championship game. Good news, that can be fixed, and a part of me feels that it will be fixed, especially since we did see schematic changes yesterday.
Last positive: WE HAVE A KICKER! And to be honest with you, both kickers are talented and I think that in the next few years, Ohio State is in good hands.
Long story short, the young guys will get better and get more confident. The defense has no choice but to get better. Yesterday, they did a fantastic job against the run. I think that when young guys push older guys, it creates not only good depth, but competition, which will require them to step up their game. And look on the brightside, with the youth that’s on this team, the Buckeyes will be a powerhouse in the coming years.