"I feel like he's more in charge of everything, he has a louder voice. When you've got a leader like that at quarterback, people are going to listen to and respect him. Not that they didn't respect Cardale, but I feel like he has a greater feel of being a leader on the field."
- Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett on J.T. Barrett via Craig Merz, Associated Press
Ohio State has made the change at quarterback that many have been clamoring for lately, and it sounds like teammates have even more confidence in redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett than they did in Cardale Jones. The leadership qualities of Barrett have been known for quite some time though, especially when he was named a team captain before the season despite Cardale Jones being the starting quarterback for the first seven games of the season. While both quarterbacks didn't have a great start to the season in the time they played, lately the offense has been running a lot smoother under the direction of Barrett.
It feels like it's hard to go wrong with either Buckeye quarterback taking the snaps, but in Urban Meyer's offense the ability of Barrett to run the football seems to be what makes Ohio State tick. Barrett might not have the ability to throw the deep ball quite like Jones, but with how Barrett runs the football helps to allow the Buckeyes to run the tempo offense that makes them hard to stop. Teammates were clear to say they would rally around whoever was taking the snaps for the Buckeyes, and right now it is Barrett who they'll have to get behind. Ohio State needs Jones to stay involved in the offense though, because as last year showed, it is never known when a backup will be needed to make big plays.
"The Australian. He is really, really good at his job."
- Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer on punter Cameron Johnston via David Briggs, Toledo Blade
Obviously when Ohio State is punting, it means Urban Meyer's offense is doing something wrong, but at least he has a weapon like Australian punter Cameron Johnston to flip the field for the defense. After punting just 45 times in 15 games last year, Johnston's work-rate has been up this year, punting 33 times through seven games. Even with the increased use this year, Johnston is still booming punts, currently sitting seventh in the nation with a 46.33 yard average per punt. Not only do Johnston's punts have distance, but they also have precision, as he ranked first and second the last two years in the percentage of punts downed inside the 20.
Johnston is just the latest in a line of punters who have come over from Australian to make an impact in college football. The last two winners of the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation's best punter, have come from Australia, and Johnston is making quite a case to be the make it three in a row. Currently there are over 30 punters from Australia kicking for colleges here in the United States, and the pipeline doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. Former Australian Football Player Nathan Chapman is at the front of helping young punters move on to the United States, showing the players that punting is a great way to earn a free education. With the success Johnston has had for the Buckeyes, it wouldn't be surprising to see if Urban Meyer looks Down Under for another punters soon.
"When I was leaving Tech, I had opportunities to go elsewhere on scholarship, but to have that chance to come here and be a part of something great, I didn't want to pass up that opportunity. Whatever it took to get up here, I made that happen. It wasn't a big sacrifice for me. I just wanted to be a part of the Buckeyes."
- Ohio State fifth-year senior Jeff Greene via David Jablonski, Dayton Daily News
Following a 2012 regular season in which he led Georgia Tech with 18 receptions, it would have been easy for Jeff Greene to transfer to a school where he might have more of an opportunity to make an impact as a wide receiver. Instead Greene decided to transfer to Ohio State as a walk-on with no guarantee that he would see much time at wide receiver for the Buckeyes. This year Greene has been making a huge impact on special teams, where he earned a champion grade following Ohio State's 38-10 win over Penn State on Saturday night.
With Ohio State losing Devin Smith and Evan Spencer to graduation, as well as Corey Smith and Noah Brown for the year to injury, it might be easy to think of using the 6-foot-5 Greene at wide receiver this year. But even Greene knows that might not be the best option, since even though he has the size, Greene knows he isn't the fastest wide receiver. Where Greene is at his best is as part of the special teams unit, which was a big reason why Ohio State was able to win a national title this year. Greene is just happy to be contributing anywhere on the field for the Buckeyes, and even coming in he that he might not be making a impact as one of the skill position players, he just wanted to be a part of a team that he knew was destined for greatness.
"We are very excited to be bringing the Ohio State University to Wembley and can't wait to see what they have in store for our fans. This will be very different to anything we have done at the International Series games before and we know the band is planning something spectacular to celebrate and commemorate being in the UK."
- NFLUK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood via WBNS-10TV
While most Ohio State fans will be just getting up on Sunday morning following the Saturday night game against Rutgers, the Ohio State University Marching Band will be the halftime entertainment for the NFL's International Series game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars in London. The band has one last rehearsal here in Columbus today before they will depart later tonight for London. This trip will mark the first time the band has played outside of the United States, with the NFL paying all of travel costs for the band.
The performance by the band during halftime won't be televised, but they did give Ohio State fans a little sneak preview of what might be in store when they perform across the pond, as last week's performance at halftime against Penn State was a "British Invasion themed show". One aspect of the show that should be interesting for those in and around Wembley, is Ohio State's hotel is close enough to the stadium to allow the band to march from the hotel in formation to the stadium, which should resemble how the band does on Saturdays at Ohio Stadium with their "ramp entrance".
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