Ohio State takes on Minnesota at noon on Saturday inside Ohio Stadium, but if you still need a push to get you ready for the Buckeyes first meeting with the Golden Gophers since 2015, this week’s trailer for the game should do just the trick.
The Buckeyes head into Saturday’s contest as heavy favorites over Minnesota, who lost 48-31 to Iowa last week. While it normally might be tough to get fans excited for a game in which they are 30-point favorites, you might want to check your pulse if this doesn’t at least get you a little bit excited for Saturday’s contest.
The key takeaway messages towards the end of the hype video are “Win the Moment” and “Finish the Job for the Brotherhood”. So far this year Ohio State has done just that, sitting undefeated this year after six games.
“We’re definitely not to our potential yet. We’ve still got faith in our talent and our coaching. We’re getting better every day. These are just little things we have to adjust to play better.”
Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State fans have been spoiled by the cornerback play over recent years. With Kerry Coombs as cornerbacks coach, Ohio State produced a number of first round draft picks. Now with Coombs on Mike Vrabel’s staff with the Tennessee Titans, Ohio State’s cornerbacks have largely struggled to start the season.
Taver Johnson returned to Ohio State to take over for the departed Coombs, but so far some of his coaching strategies haven’t quite worked out. Ohio State’s usage of press man-to-man coverage over zone coverage has left many holes for opponents to rack up big plays. So far the risk/reward that comes with playing press man-to-man coverage hasn’t worked out in Ohio State’s favor.
Despite the abundance of big plays that have been given up by the cornerbacks so far this year, they are still staying positive about their play. Overall, Ohio State cornerbacks have generally been in good coverage position, they are either just getting outworked by opposing wide receivers or been flagged for penalties by the referees.
The Buckeye cornerbacks know they have the talent to be one of the better units in the nation, and they are continuing to get better. It has taken longer than many have hoped for this year’s crop of cornerbacks to produce under Johnson and the rest of the defensive coaching staff, but they are confident they are close to getting there. Arnette and the rest of the Ohio State cornerbacks feel like they are getting better every day, and soon enough they’ll get back to the type of play that has been expected from the unit in past years.
“We’ve become more polished receivers. We’ve added more little tweaks and techniques to our game. We think about the game completely different than we did a year ago. I just feel like when we go into a game now, it’s completely different than it was in the past.”
Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell via David Jablonski, Dayton Daily News
Ohio State’s wide receivers have underperformed over the last few years, but that certainly hasn’t been the case this year. With the Buckeyes moving to more of a pro-style passing offense, Ohio State’s receivers have gotten a chance to spread their wings more this year.
Last week all six wide receivers earned champion grades in the 49-26 win over Indiana, where quarterback Dwayne Haskins was four yards shy of breaking Art Schlichter’s single-game record for passing yards in a game. Parris Campbell currently leads the wide receivers with 35 catches for 501 yards and seven touchdowns.
What makes Ohio State’s wide receivers so tough to slow down is they can beat you in many different ways. Whether it be with the speed of receivers like Campbell or Terry McLaurin, the sure hands of K.J. Hill, or the athletic ability of Binjimen Victor. For opponents, if they are able to slow one or two of Ohio State’s wide receivers down, then there are still guys who can take advantage of the defense.
The production of Ohio State’s wide receivers is even more impressive considering everything they went through just a month before the season. After Ohio State fired wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who recruited all the receivers who are currently flourishing, the group had to adjust to Brian Hartline as their new wide receivers coach. The transition has been seamless, and the receivers are actually playing at a higher level now than they did in recent years under Smith. What the receivers have done so far this year is just a testament to their toughness, and now even bigger things are expected.
“You have to have the mindset, ‘I’m about to kill this dude. I’m about to hit this block.’”
Ohio State tight end Rashod Berry via Colin Gay, The Lantern
Ohio State’s tight ends have caught just four passes for 49 yards and two touchdowns this year, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a crucial part of the offense. The biggest value the Buckeye tight ends are providing is with their blocking. If Ohio State didn’t have tight ends that could put in the work that guys like Luke Farrell, Rashod Berry and Jake Hausmann are currently doing, the Buckeye offense might not be racking up yards with the ease that they currently are.
It isn’t like the Buckeyes don’t have talent at tight end, as three of the four tight ends came out of high school ranked in the top 10 at their position. With Ohio State having plenty of talented wide receivers on the roster to make plays in the passing game, the tight ends are being counted on to do some of the unappreciated things to help the offense keep humming.
The switch to more of a blocking role has been a change to what they had been used to in high school, where blocking isn’t nearly as emphasized as it is in college. In high school, Berry said he didn’t block at all, and he wasn’t excited about stepping into that role at Ohio State, but he knew it was something he had to do if he wanted to get on the field.
Now that Berry and the rest of the tight ends have learned what is expected of them when it comes to blocking, they have embraced their roles. They know they’ll get their chances in the passing game, but they know right now blocking is more important right now than catching passing to help the Buckeyes win right now.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Four String Brewery has closed, whether it is temporary or permanent still remains to be seen.
- Stack City, a burger bar in the Short North which has been open seen August 2015, has closed its doors.
- Weezer and The Pixies are coming to the Schottenstein Center in March.
- Ahead of Friday night’s drawing, the Mega Millions jackpot has risen to $548 million.
- The U.S. Postal Service is proposing a five-cent increase to first-class stamps, which would be the biggest increase since 1991.