“The low point definitely was the way we went into the Big Ten Tournament already defeated. Our team didn’t even want to play in the NIT. People were done. That was the low point, practices leading up to the Big Ten Tournament, instead of us saying, ‘We can do this,’ it was us saying, ‘We don’t want to do this.’”
Jae’Sean Tate has seen both the ups and downs throughout his career at Ohio State, but he’s getting to experience the best of it for his final season in Columbus. With his last home game coming Tuesday against Rutgers, Tate will have a chance to help the Buckeyes get closer to a Big Ten championship. That’s something that no one expected this season, and to top that, a trip to the NCAA tournament is included. Tate talked about the lowest point from his time at Ohio State which came last season when the Buckeyes made the NIT but the team wasn’t all that invested or interested in playing.
Tate is second in scoring on the team, only behind Keita Bates-Diop, and provides such energy on the court that it helps get the team involved and focused. With 22 wins this season, Tate couldn’t really have asked for much more from his final year with the team and he’s certainly not going to let it come to an end right now. The Buckeyes still have work to do both in the Big Ten and in the NCAA tournament.
“Campbell is intriguing because at times last season, he did emerge into the kind of game-changing factor the Buckeyes envisioned last year. In other instances, he didn’t quite have the impact needed in that critical H-back role in coach Urban Meyer’s power-spread offense.”
Austin Ward from Land of 10 broke down who his favorites are to have a breakout year in 2018 for Ohio State. His offensive pick was wide receiver Parris Campbell who was inconsistent this past season but came up with big plays in crucial moments as well. The defensive pick was rising sophomore defensive end Chase Young, who saw some early action last season but will get plenty more snaps with Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis having left. These are some solid choices, though I think Campbell was likely to have a much better year this season just based off the personnel change. With Barrett out, Haskins is likely to replace him and I would suspect that means throwing more which helps Campbell.
Defensively Young is definitely a guy to watch out for. Jeffrey Okudah is another player that is certain to shine next season after the way he performed against Sam Darnold and USC in the Cotton Bowl. Okudah replace Denzel Ward in the secondary, and there didn’t seem to be much of a difference in the defense that night so that’s a big credit to his play.
“The good news for Billy Davis is that he has no shortage of talent to work with at linebacker this year — although that was also true last season when his unit was widely viewed as having underachieved.”
One thing that can be overlooked often times is the impact assistant coaches have on a team. So Ward took a look at the assistant coaches on Ohio State’s staff that face the most pressure entering the 2018 season. His pick was linebacker coach Billy Davis. After a relatively average season in the linebacker department, the Buckeyes will want to improve upon their performance from a season ago. Davis will have the talent to mix and find what works, and Ward thinks that Malik Harrison will be key in that transition.
I think it’s also a key season for Kevin Wilson. With J.T. Barrett gone, it will be interesting to see if that opens up the playbook passing-wise. The Buckeyes have two monster running backs in J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, so it will be hard not to focus on the run, but if Dwayne Haskins proves his arm is superb, then it could open up a lot of things for the Ohio State offense.
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