"One thing I have prided myself for my whole life as a football player is trying to be a master of everything. That's why I go out and play every week. That's why I go out on the field. I go out there and I want to be the best player on the field. I work to be the best player in the nation, and I mean, I believe I'm the best player in the nation."
With 15 straight games of 100 yards rushing or more, it may feel like there's nothing that running back Ezekiel Elliott can't do. Last year he starred in the final three games of the year as Ohio State won a national championship, and now the junior has been the constant in an offense that has gone through a number of quarterback changes. But even Elliott will tell you there's some things that he isn't that good at, mainly spelling and staying awake at the movies. Luckily for the Buckeyes, they aren't competing for a national title in either of those things.
While Elliott may be famous for his game-breaking runs, he is just at good at not only keeping his quarterback clean, as well as opening up holes for some of the other skill position players. Not only can Elliott take hits, but he is just as good at dishing them out, which is why Urban Meyer toyed with the idea of using Elliott at defensive back, since he wasn't sure Elliott would become a superstar at running back. Elliott might not be able to do it all, but he is already a national champion, with a good chance to repeat, and it wouldn't be surprising to call him a Heisman Trophy winner next month.
"I need his help with Cardale. He had a very good relationship with Cardale and still does. We really care about these kids. The whole world has seen what's happened here."
Last year Ohio State was able to get into position to make the College Football Playoff with their second-string quarterback, and after J.T. Barrett was injured against Michigan, their third-string quarterback finished off the season as Ohio State won the national title. For most of this year, the debate has been whether Jones or Barrett should be starting, and it looks like Meyer finally has the answer before Ohio State gets ready for the games that will make-or-break their season. It's not like Meyer hasn't juggled two quarterbacks on the way to a title before, but at Florida that was a different situation with Chris Leak being the starter and Tim Tebow being used in certain situations.
The fact that Meyer not only was able to lead his team to the title last year with Cardale Jones late in the season, but it might be even more impressive that his team is undefeated so far this year with everything that has gone on at the quarterback position. It's pretty rare to see national title contenders use two quarterbacks during the season, but Meyer pretty much has it down to an art form. Even more impressive is Meyer has juggled the two quarterbacks this season without losing the locker room. His team has faith that he is going to do what puts them in the best position to win, and it's the reason Ohio State is still a major threat in the national title race.
"Like I talked about with Chase after the game, I think an issue with him is just his confidence. There are times in practice he looks great. He's a really good athlete. He's fast. But I think sometimes he gets in the games and he overthinks it. I've talked to him and he'll say 'I thought this was going to happen'. But you don't have to make it overcomplicated. Block the guy. Do what you practice. Take your set and punch."
Often times it's hard to find fault in a 28-3 victory, but standards are a little higher when you're the defending national champs. Last week during and after the game against Illinois it seemed like offensive lineman Chase Farris was the target of much criticism from Buckeye fans for his play during the game. It hasn't helped that Ohio State has switched quarterbacks on a number of occasions this year, which means they have to block differently for J.T. Barrett, who is three inches shorter than Cardale Jones.
With Shilique Calhoun and the Michigan State pass rush it's justified for Ohio State fans to be nervous about the offensive line play right now. Even though Ohio State has already squared off against the potent Penn State pass rush, Taylor Decker thinks Michigan State's defensive line is even better than the Nittany Lions. With a loss ending Ohio State's College Football Playoff hopes, even more pressure will be on the offensive line this year, but it's not like they haven't been through this before, with four starters returning from last year's title-winning team.
"The campus is twice as big, the medical center is twice as big, we have twice as many students, and the athletic program is 15 times as big."
Michael Drake has been on the job as president at Ohio State for over a year, and what a year it has been. The biggest notch on the president's belt so far is something he didn't really have a part of, with Ohio State's football team winning the first College Football Playoff, but he has been a part of a lot more than just that. The university continues to grow academically, allowing it to become even more selective with their admissions, and allowing it to work towards the goal of becoming a top-10 public university.
Drake isn't nearly as outspoken as his predecessor E.Gordon Gee, but so far all is positive from Drake's time on the job so far. The biggest controversy Drake has had to deal with was allegations improper behavior by the marching band, which led to the firing of the band director. Even with that controversy, the football team was able to bring in $72 million in revenue last year during their championship run, and it's possible another trip to the College Football Playoff will be in the works this year. As the university continues to grow, it's hard to think of many better presidents to lead the way than the one Ohio State has right now.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Spring of 2016 will bring a new modern barbecue restaurant to the University District.
- Some relief will come next month for those tired of the traffic problems at I-270 and U.S. 33 in Dublin.
- There is still a few hours left to sign up for the Color Me Scarlet and Gray 5K.
- Sadly EI has announced 'The Soup' has been cancelled.
- Not sure what's funnier here, the Dion Waiters missed layup or Enes Kanter's reaction.