"I have a pretty good role in the offense, better than (for tight ends) in past years. The way it's looking right now, I have a pretty good role in the passing game. We've changed some reads to where I'll be the first read ... or if the first read's covered, I'll be the second read."
It seems like every year Ohio State fans hear about how the team is planning to get the tight ends more involved in the passing game. The last couple years it is a little more understandable about how those plans never really materialize when the Buckeyes have had other offensive threats like Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas, and Jalin Marshall to lean on. This year could be different though, since Ohio State is so young at their skill positions. One reason where there is some optimism for an increased output from the tight ends is because Ed Warinner has moved from offensive line coach to tight ends coach so that he can focus a little more on his offensive coordinator duties. After seeing the problems Clemson had with Alabama tight end O.J. Howard in the national title game, he is looking for ways to get the Buckeye tight ends more involved in the game if the matchups are right.
The player who could most benefit on some of the increased usage the tight ends might get is redshirt junior Marcus Baugh. So far during his career in Columbus, Baugh has had to sit behind tight ends Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett. Both of those players are now in the NFL, so it is Baugh's time to shine. So far Baugh has only caught three passes as a Buckeye, but one of those was a 27-yard reception against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Baugh also earned the trust of his coaches during the season last year, averaging 38 plays per game the last eight games after only 15 plays per game in the first five. Baugh has the size, athleticism, and hands that are very attractive as a tight end, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him make some noise in this young Ohio State offense.
"We have been working with each other the whole summer so we built that bond and that chemistry on the field. Once you build that chemistry on the field, you can work together and play together."
It's no easy task to replace players like Darron Lee and Joshua Perry, but at least Ohio State has the luxury of having Raekwon McMillan to lead this year's group of linebackers. McMillan has already started to establish himself as the latest great Ohio State linebacker, but after having Lee and Perry to lean on the last two seasons, this year the spotlight will be firmly on McMillan. After leading Ohio State in tackles last season, now McMillan will be hoping the linebacking corps don't miss a beat this year even though they'll have two new starters.
Unlike when McMillan started to see time for Ohio State as a true freshman, this year's new starters have already seen some time on the field for the Buckeyes. Chris Worley and Dante Booker have taken some snaps for the Ohio State defense, as well as contributing to the special teams unit. Even though Booker and Worley may be the new starters at linebacker, it doesn't mean they'll be cut any slack. Ohio State linebackers have always been held to a high standard, and this year will be no different. The trio has already spent time in the offseason working together so when the season kicks off they'll be comfortable playing next to each other the field, as they try and help the Buckeyes return to the College Football Playoff.
"I'm approaching this year as a make or break year. I'm going to make it or it ain't going to work. I'm really trying to focus in on this year. To me, this is a huge year."
Entering his third season in the NFL, running back Carlos Hyde hasn't exactly gotten dealt the best hand. After being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Hyde is already on his third head coach. Hyde started out in San Francisco by backing up veteran Frank Gore in 2014 before taking over as starter in 2015. The former Buckeye running back put the NFL on notice when he rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener, but injuries throughout the year only allowed him to appear in seven games. Now Chip Kelly takes over for Jim Tomsula, who was fired after the 49ers went 5-11 in 2015.
Even though there isn't much on the 49ers depth chart behind him, Hyde doesn't exactly feel like his role in Kelly's offense is safe. That's why the third-year pro is focused on making this year his best. Hyde has spent the offseason getting used to the up-tempo offense that Kelly likes to run, but he is hoping he can mirror what LeSean McCoy did in two seasons under Kelly in Philadelphia. As long as Hyde is able to avoid the injury bug this season, it's likely that he'll have a huge season, since Kelly will likely find ways to get the football into his running back's hands early and often.
"The history of golf, nor Ohio State athletics, cannot be spoken of without this historic venue. Opened in 1916, Scioto Country Club has been thought of as one of America's great golf courses for nearly the entirety of its century-long existence, a credit that will be recognized this year when it hosts the U.S. Senior Open starting Thursday and running through Sunday."
For most golf fans around central Ohio the only chance to see the professionals play in Columbus is when The Memorial comes to Muirfield in June. This year the capital city gets an added bonus, as the U.S. Senior Open teed off at Scioto Country Club earlier today. The USGA is returning to Columbus for a major tournament for the first time since 1986 when Scioto Country Club hosted the same tournament. Even though Scioto might not be as popular as courses like Augusta National and Pebble Beach, it is still ranked one of the top 50 courses in the world by Golf Digest.
This weekend's tournament will have a decidedly scarlet and grey feel, but that's not just because the course is a couple miles from Ohio State. Scioto Country Club was the course in which Buckeye legend Jack Nicklaus took his first golf shot in 1950. Nicklaus will be serving as honorary chairman for this week's event. While Nicklaus will be overseeing the event, Ohio State will have four former Buckeyes competing in the event. John Cook, Joey Sindelar, and Rod Spittle will all be paired together for the first two rounds of the event, and Brian Mogg will be also be in the field. Mogg, Cook, and Sindelar all helped Ohio State capture the 1979 national title. Hopefully a great weekend of golf is in store for fans in attendance, and it doesn't take 30 years for the USGA to make their way back to Columbus for another major.
STICK TO SPORTS
- The Perseid meteor shower will take place on Friday and Saturday.
- Chipotle is offering happy hour at participating Ohio locations on Thursdays in August and September.
- An odd passenger was found on a flight from Columbus to Las Vegas.
- Swedish Fish Oreos? What a time to be alive.