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Ohio State’s Tate Martell could be secret weapon in beating Oklahoma

While he may not play on Saturday night, Martell is still having an impact leading up to the game.

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“You want to tackle them so bad, and they take advantage of it. I don't know how they do it. I remember one time I tackled Tate, and he spun out of it it.”

- Jalyn Holmes via Bill Landis, Cleveland.com

J.T. Barrett is the starting quarterback at Ohio State and, barring injury, it will stay that way for the rest of the season. But that doesn’t mean backup quarterbacks can’t have an impact on a team’s success, especially this week when the Buckeyes prepare to face off against the Oklahoma Sooners. Baker Mayfield, the star quarterback for the Sooners, is quite the creator on offense and as he goes, so does Oklahoma. To help replicate his creativeness, the Buckeyes have put the ball in freshman quarterback Tate Martell’s hands for the Ohio State defense to practice against. It’s a common tactic used by college football teams to try and emulate an opposing quarterback with a player of similar traits and it’s fair to say that Mayfield and Martell share similar playstyles.

Martell’s knack for making plays with his legs should help the Buckeyes prepare for Mayfield yet again after taking care of business in Norman, Okla., last season. This time around, though, the defensive secondary is much more green. With Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley all moving on to the NFL, we saw the early struggles from Kendall Sheffield, Denzel Ward & co. had against Indiana on Thursday. But with the help of Martell, the defense will have plenty of time to prepare for the No. 6 team in the land.

“With him saying that, I don't know, everybody has their opinion. But I think I'm an accurate quarterback. I think I displayed that on Thursday. And (I'm) just trying to get better in that aspect.”

- J.T. Barrett via Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com

Indiana head coach Tom Allen made an interesting comment about Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett following Thursday’s game. The Hoosiers for much of the game dropped eight men into coverage fearing the wide receivers’ speed, and dared Barrett to make plays with his arm. It’s not the first time a team has done this against the Buckeyes, but it was the first time a coach has blatantly come out and suggested that the strategy was because he doesn’t view Barrett as an accurate quarterback. While his comments weren’t all that misplaced, it was still surprising to see a coach speak so bluntly about an opposing player.

Barrett, meanwhile, disagrees as does his head coach Urban Meyer. Meyer did cite some previous struggles Barrett had with his accuracy but pointed to the fact that he’s much improved. Not to mention that often times the wide receivers are dropping passes that are right on the money when thrown. Barrett has dealt with criticism nonstop since the 2015 season, but he’s handled it well. Saturday night against Oklahoma will continue to help his cause (and prove the doubters wrong) if things go the Buckeyes’ way.

“You talk about Larry Johnson and Tyquan Lewis, you can't get better than that. You can't say this is a better combination of coach and player. They work their tails off, and they're so close. They're fun to watch.”

- Urban Meyer via Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com

Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com did a great piece of the relationship between Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis and his defensive line coach Larry Johnson. The article mentions how these two share a similar mindset and attitude about things and how both sort of needed each other when they came to Ohio State. Johnson became the defensive line coach when Lewis was just a redshirt freshman who hadn’t seen any playing time. Now, Lewis is a consistent top performer on defense garnering national attention and multiple awards both nationally and within the Big Ten conference.

Johnson, of course, had coached at Penn State for quite some time and thought he might be done with it after his tenure had ended with the Nittany Lions. But thanks to some of his family, he was convinced to keep going and has now seen Lewis, Sam Hubbard, and more grow up under his watch and coaching.

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