“Ohio State is tied with Notre Dame for the most Heisman winners, each with seven. If the Buckeyes want to get to No. 8, who's the next most likely candidate to win?”
- Bill Landis, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Ohio State doesn’t have a Heisman finalist this season, and that’s fine. The Buckeyes have a very talented, young roster. Curtis Samuel might have been able to contend this season if he had a few more touches here or there, but he was great regardless. Ultimately the goal is to get into the College Football Playoff and a national championship, but there’s plenty of talent with room to grow on Urban Meyer’s roster, and Landis points out some great prospects, some you may or may not have considered. Of course, J.T. Barrett has to be on the list. He won’t be high up on NFL draft boards this season after the offense struggled at times, with Barrett missing terribly on some throws. But the talent is absolutely there, as we saw his freshman season.
In the case that Barrett doesn’t come back, Joe Burrow or Dwayne Haskins could, as two very talented quarterbacks. Curtis Samuel is listed, but it’s hard to imagine he stays after this season. Landis says that Mike Weber is arguably the most likely candidate, which seems accurate. He had a monster freshman season, and can only get better from here. K.J. Hill and Demario McCall are mentioned as skill players who could, especially in the flashes they showed this season. Malik Hooker says he’s coming back next season, and if he does, he’s definitely somebody to keep an eye on. All of this talk should also have you excited for the 2017 season.
“This was worse than Ohio State basketball losing nonconference games to Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech last year.”
- Bill Landis, Northeast Ohio Media Group
In case you missed it last night, Ohio State’s men’s basketball team lost to Florida Atlantic last night. It was a game that they had a 97% chance of winning, which concluded in an overtime loss. It was particularly surprising because of the way they had played the No. 6 team in the country, Virginia, just a week ago (on the road, too!). Yet Tuesday night may have been the worst loss the Buckeyes have had under Thad Matta, and it was a tough one to watch as things unfolded against a team ranked No. 240 in the country, according to KenPom. The shock factor of losing that game undoubtedly adds to just how bad it was, but in a similar fashion to last season’s team, we never really know what to expect of the Buckeyes.
One thing everybody does recognize, is that things need to get better. "We go to Virginia, we play the best basketball we can play since I've been here," guard JaQuan Lyle told Landis. "The past two games I feel like we've taken two steps back. Why? I don't know, but we've gotta fix it now." Matta understands change needs to be made, and the mannerisms of his team in which ultimately led to their fall last night. “We've gotta get these guys to understand that the game tonight is a great lesson that you have to swing the game to your terms,” Matta said. “Tonight we couldn't do it. We played on our heels the majority of the game, and that's something we've got to get better at.” Matta’s been a great coach at Ohio State, and while this loss was pretty dang bad, we’ve also seen some good from this group. It’s just a matter of which is going to stick.
“Each offseason here at Ohio State begins with a symbolic gesture: Urban Meyer will hand the keys to the program to Mickey Marotti.”
- Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY
Most credit to the success or demise of the Ohio State football program will always lie on the shoulders of the incumbent head coach, in this case Urban Meyer, and his coaching staff. But it’s the work that goes on before Meyer gets a hold of his squad that helps set the tempo for how the season is going to go. That’s where assistant athletics director of sports performance Mickey Marotti comes in. Marotti takes the team from January, and work with them into fall camp on their strength and conditioning, and it makes a big difference.
“I’m the leader of this program right now while they’re all recruiting,” Marotti told Myerberg. “I’ve got to make sure that all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. We can’t put our guard down, and we can’t let it slip. We can’t. That’s the approach I take.” Marotti’s got a lot of power when you consider nutritionists, doctors, trainers, equipment people and the sports-performance team have to go through him. “A lot of it comes to me, goes through me and never gets to (Meyer),” Marotti said. “If it gets to him, it’s a bad deal. It’s not just like you were late for some workout or missed treatment. It’s like, something bad.” So when you see a player make an extra effort or quickly get to the right spot, or make a tough tackle that requires amazing strength, think of Marotti.
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