"I haven't even been at this position for a full year. I"m going to keep taking all the coaching knowledge and the more experience I get, it's only up from here."
Even though he was a true freshman last year, there was chatter Urban Meyer was trying to find a position to get Sam Hubbard on the field because he was just too good to keep on the sidelines. The talk never materialized, but after Hubbard worked with the tight ends and linebackers, he finally found a home at defensive end during his redshirt season. It didn't take long for Hubbard to make an impact this year, as he was called into action to fill in for the suspended Joey Bosa in the Virginia Tech game. Even with Bosa projected to enter the NFL Draft after this season, the future still looks bright for Ohio State at defensive end.
For many it might be a bit of surprise to see just how quickly Hubbard has adapted to his new position, but for his high school football coach it wasn't shocking at all. Cincinnati Moeller coach John Rodenberg predicted at Moeller's 2014 senior banquet that Hubbard would be a NFL first-round pick at defensive end. In high school Hubbard was not only a five-star prospect at safety, but he also earned All-America honors as a lacrosse players. Fast forward to today where Hubbard is tied for the Ohio State team lead in sacks through three games. One thing that might be helping Hubbard so far this season is his inexperience at defensive end, since he hasn't formed the bad habits that some more experienced linemen might. If Hubbard can continue his meteoric growth at his new position, it's exciting to see where he might be a year from now.
"Cardale is going to start. It's like any position, if someone is going to replace you, they've got to beat you out. That's the approach we're taking, and they're both ready to go."
After the performance of quarterback Cardale Jones and the rest of the Ohio State offense against Hawaii and Northern Illinois, many were ready to see J.T. Barrett get a shot to start for the Buckeyes to see if he might be able to kickstart the offense. Yesterday head coach Urban Meyer squashed those wishes when he announced Jones would still be the starter this week for Ohio State against Western Michigan. While Meyer said Barrett hasn't done enough to beat out Jones to claim the starting quarterback job, ESPN's Austin Ward dove deeper into the battle to find a few more reasons as to why Jones is still the starter.
Since last year, Ohio State's offensive philosophy has shifted to more of a pro-style offense, which better suits Jones' skill set. With the size of Jones, as well as his arm strength, he is the prototypical quarterback to run Meyer's offense. Pro scouts have to be drooling over Jones' attributes, and he just brings some dimensions to the offense that Barrett can't match. The good thing is that while the quarterback position may be a hot debate point amongst fans, there are no indications that it is tearing the locker room apart. Had Meyer thought it would disrupt the locker room, he probably wouldn't have selected Barrett as a captain. Also, while the quarterback position has gotten a lot of flack so far, the offensive line and the loss of offensive coordinator Tom Herman could also have a lot to do with Ohio State's sluggish start on offense so far this year.
"Jim Tressel is on the headset in the second quarter going, 'If we don't get this fourth down boys, the game is over.' And I've never heard Jim Tressel ever panic or ever say anything (like that). You knew you were in trouble."
Buckeye fans might point to the injury to Ted Ginn Jr. after the opening kickoff when the national title game against Florida was decided, but according to Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck it came on a 4th & 1 in the second quarter. Ohio State was at their own 29-yard line when Jim Tressel decided to try and break Florida's momentum by going for it. Tressel knew if his team wasn't able to pick up the first down the game was over since the Buckeyes would be giving Florida great field position. Beanie Wells wasn't able to get the yards needed, and Ohio State wouldn't score the rest of the game. According to Fleck the injury to Ginn Jr. was huge since they had a game plan was focused around him, but the 4th & 1 was the nail in Ohio State's coffin that night.
Saturday the coaching matchup from the game against Florida in 2007 will come full circle in a way. Then-Florida coach Urban Meyer is now coaching Ohio State while Fleck has moved up the coaching ranks for a grad assistant for the Buckeyes to holding the position of head coach at Western Michigan. Even Jim Tressel will be in attendance on Saturday at Ohio Stadium for the second week in a row. In just a few years as a head coach Fleck has been identified as one of the best young coaching prospects in the country, but he'll certainly be tested in the stadium where he got his start when he leads his team against the top-ranked Buckeyes.
"Goals are starting to fall, people are feeling good, and the team's chemistry is getting there. I think overall, we are in a good spot."
The start to the Ohio State men's soccer season was less than ideal after going 1-4 in their first five games. Things are looking up for the Buckeyes though after ties against 11th ranked Akron and 13th ranked Penn State in their past two games. Against the Zips, Ohio State scored a season-high three goals, and would've earned the victory had they not allowed Akron to score a 77th minute goal. The Buckeyes returned to Columbus for their first game after four straight on the road on Sunday, but a Penn State goal in the second half denied Ohio State a much needed victory.
Ohio State will try and roll their momentum over into the next game when they host Dayton on Friday night. The matchup means a lot to Ohio State goalkeeper Chris Froschauer, who transferred to Columbus from Dayton. The contest marks the second match in the past three in which the Buckeyes have battled an in-state opponent. Ohio State has two other in-state opponents on the schedule this year, as they'll host Bowling Green and Cleveland State. Following the match against Dayton, the Buckeyes will next be in action on Tuesday night, when they host Louisville.
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