"With so many shiny toys to play with -- Braxton Miller as Wildcat quarterback, Curtis Samuel as a receiver, Jalin Marshall on jet sweeps -- it's almost as if they forget sometimes they've got a tailback, Elliott, who finished last season with three straight 200-yard games."
Mandel talks about how the quarterback situation at Ohio State is a complete mess in his eyes, as well as how Urban Meyer may have become even more confused as this season has gone along. He acknowledges the fact that losing Tom Herman to Houston was a big loss, and that Ed Warinner and Urban Meyer are still trying to figure out the offense. He believes that with so many weapons on offense, Ezekiel Elliott has gotten lost in the mix.
I'm not sure if the statistics would back up this claim. While Elliott perhaps should have seen the ball more against Virginia Tech, he has gotten a total of 61 carries in the first three games of this season compared to just 27 during the first three games of last season. Elliott hasn't tons of explosive runs that many expected early on in the season because of the offensive line play, which has been worse than what many anticipated heading into the season, but there is plenty of time to get it right when it counts.
"It was inspiring. You're part of one of the greatest programs of all time, if not the greatest. You're part of the greatest traditions, greatest rivalries, great games, greatest players, greatest culture and greatest atmosphere."
If you haven't heard by now, Ohio State is playing Western Michigan on Saturday in the 'Shoe. Western Michigan's coach, P.J. Fleck, was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 2006. David Drew of mlive.com describes the impact that Ohio State and then-head coach Jim Tressel had on him and his career.
Fleck described seeing in the GA office that every GA or assistant coach that had gone through Ohio State had gone on to become a head coach that was on a wall, filled from top to bottom. Fleck said he wanted his picture on that wall one day, but isn't sure whether it is or not, since he has not been back since. Of course to no surprise, Fleck mentioned that there is no game day experience like the one in Columbus, Ohio on Saturdays.
"So [Sam Hubbard] called a guy who had become a trusted mentor, and who had been there before. [Rocky] Boiman, like Hubbard, was a high school football player from Cincinnati before going on to Notre Dame -- where he was recruited by a young assistant coach named Urban Meyer."
Bill Landis tells the story of how Sam Hubbard's relationship with Rocky Boiman, who was recruited by Urban Meyer when he was at Notre Dame, helped him settle nerves before the start of Ohio State's season against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Hubbard was replacing Joey Bosa, who has been widely regarded as the top prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. The shoes he was trying to fill weren't exactly little, and Hubbard needed advice.
Hubbard called Boiman the Sunday before the game for advice, and whatever Boiman told him, it worked. We saw how effective Hubbard was in the Virginia Tech game, with four tackles and a sack. He has continued that stellar play through the first few games of the season, and has been an integral part of a defense that has been the strong point in what has been a slow start for the defending champion Buckeyes.
"You prepare for one defense and they come on another one. When we double team we can move people and we can displace them. That odd defense, we just have to prepare for it better and have some better answers and just execute."
The offensive line has been perhaps the most criticized part of the entire Buckeyes squad since the season has started, and rightfully so. With so much talent on the line, expectations for the Slobs were sky high. They returned a bunch of talent, and have guys that have been on mock draft boards, and preseason watch lists.
So what has been up with the sloppy play? Taylor Decker attributes it to schematic changes when the game comes along. They haven't been prepared for those changes when they come in the game, and the adjustments have been hard to come by, according to Decker. Others have suggested that it could be a championship hangover, but it is perhaps a bunch of college kids going through the motions knowing that the teams that they are playing against are far below their talent level. It's not so farfetched when you have a bunch of 18-21 year olds around.