“After spending a few days at OSU last week, it was pretty obvious there is a new batch of talent primed to take their place in the spotlight.”
Ohio State sent a dozen guys to the NFL last year, including five in the first round. Ohio State is going to have another nice draft in 2017, but not quite the numbers that the 2016 class provided. Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, and Gareon Conley have all been projected as first-round picks, with some having Lattimore and Hooker in the top five. That exodus of talent always raises questions from outside parties, but Ohio State still has plenty to work with going into the 2017 season, as Feldman points out.
He likes Binjimen Victor, who should help J.T. Barrett down the field in Kevin Wilson’s offense. According to Feldman, “Victor’s now up to 195 while also having gotten faster, going from being a high 4.5 (40) guy to probably a high 4.4 guy.” That sounds very promising. Urban Meyer also told Feldman that he’s seen an improvement in Barrett. “J.T. kinda went stagnant and I’ve really seen a jump now.” Other players like A.J. Alexander and Luke Farrell were noted to have improved, along with Demetrius Knox and Malik Harrison.
2017 should be fun, y’all.
"Last year we weren't getting off the ball like we should have. This year I think we're gonna be more pass-rush driven, more of a defensive-line-driven team."
Ohio State’s defensive line wasn’t terrible last season, but they feel that they could have done better. According to Landis, the team had a five-year low with their 28 sacks last season. He indicates that Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes, Sam Hubbard and Bosa had 18.5 of those. Landis has a few good suggestions for how to fix this. One is that the Buckeyes should find a way to get all of their top pass rushers on the field at once. He says they can do this by having players like Hubbard and Holmes be stand-up rush linebackers.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson wants to fix that issue as well. "We talked about that, the ability to get to the quarterback," Johnson said. "We deflected a ball, had some knock downs and tipped balls -- and that's all great -- but at the end of the day we have to get the quarterback on his back. That's been our goal in spring ball, we've got to rev up our pass rush, especially from the inside-out."
Ohio State has the talent to fix the issues, and plenty of strengths elsewhere to make up for any shortcomings.
“Several offensive linemen in the Ohio State football program have likened their approach to strengthening and reshaping one another to an assertion in Proverbs: Iron sharpens iron.”
The Ohio State offensive line feels it benefits from going up against great defensive talents in spring practice. The Rushmen package is a handful, but they enjoy the competition.
“We look forward to having that challenge,” center Billy Price told Hass-Hill. “We look forward to going against those defensive line guys every single day. Because, again, I got the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year (redshirt senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis) across from me all the time. I got guys who are going to be on the first-team Big Ten list this year.”
The offensive line has had its highs and lows over the past couple of seasons, but they’re used to playing with each other by now. “There’s a lot more continuity and chemistry within the offensive line as the guys going from one year to two years now, and I think you’ll be able to see that,” Price said.
Ohio State fans will absolutely welcome that idea.