“You kind of have a target on your back, but you are Ohio State Buckeyes. If the things weren’t going on that were going on, everybody wants to beat you.”
- Terry McLaurin via Colin Gay, The Lantern
When Ohio State players met the media yesterday for the first time since fall camp started at the beginning of the month, it was clear that there was a quiet focus amongst the group. They have been put through an incredibly trying trial by fire over the past few weeks, and it appears that they are using the experience to get closer as a team, and focus on their ultimate goal.
“There is pressure to win every game here at Ohio State. That’s our goal,” McLaurin said. “Whether [Urban Mayer] is here or not, we have to perform at a very high level because really, at the end of the day, Buckeye Nation only cares about ‘W’s’ and no matter who the players are or who the two-time team captain Parris Campbell admitted that the team would be playing with a chip on its shoulder because of the turmoil that they’ve been through this fall.
“I think we are very angry, just with all of the adversity that we have gone through,” Campbell said, “everything that has happened in the past, you know, us not having our head coach, us being a man down, I think there are a lot of variables going into it.”
Much has been made about how New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick— a friend of Meyer’s— is able to manufacture grudges and slights to give his team an emotional edge on the field. Going into the 2018 season, it appears that the Buckeyes won’t have to find a vaguely disparaging comment from an opposing coach, or watch an ESPN personality on a loop saying that they’re overrated, because the OSU players appear to be using the suspension of Meyer as the little bit of extra motivation that they need.
Unfortunately for the Oregon State Beavers, they are the first opponent to be on the receiving end of this new anger. When you combine a team as talented as these Buckeyes are with a need to prove people wrong, anything can happen.
Woods on how excited he is: "I'm real excited. This is one of the best teams I've been on. With how close they are, I haven't been on a team like that. I'm really excited to play with these guys for a whole season."— Derrick Webb (@dw1509) August 29, 2018
Every time that a former assistant who will not be named tweets, or a new batch of investigation documents are released, I get more and more excited for college basketball season. The hardwood Buckeyes are heading into a season that saw a significant percentage of its production (and even more of its leadership) graduate.
However, what’s remained—and been added—is a genuinely likable and exciting group of players. No, they might not be as talented as last year’s team, but they will likely be very entertaining to watch. The team’s recent trip to Spain appears to have accomplished its ultimate goal: it bonded together a group of players that lost nearly all of the upperclassmen that they counted on last year.
In his article, Webb points out that while Wake Forest graduate is still getting comfortable with new team, he understands what his role will be when the Buckeyes tip it off later this year.
“Coach is letting me get acclimated with everything and see how each player is. But that leadership role is going to be big,” Woods said. “I’m vocal, I’m talking at all times. If a guy is having a tough time on the court or off it, they know they can always come to me. I’ve always been like that, no matter what team I’m on. I want to be somebody (his teammates) can confide in.”
With Keita Bates-Diop, Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams, and Andrew Dakich no longer there to keep the the ship pointed in the right direction, Woods, C.J. Jackson, Andre Wesson, and Micah Potter will need to step up and fill that void if the basketball Buckeyes want to get anywhere near the heights they reached last season.
“The New York Jets clarified their crowded quarterback situation on Wednesday, trading Teddy Bridgewater and a sixth-round draft pick to the New Orleans Saints for a third-round pick, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.”
- Rich Cimini, ESPN
This is likely incredibly bad news for former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett. After signing with the Saints as an undrafted free agent, Barrett saw some playing time in the preseason as he fought for a spot on an NFL roster. However, with a now-healthy Teddy Bridgewater being added to the New Orleans roster, it appears that Barrett will likely be the odd man out between Bridgewater, future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, and former NFL starter Tom Savage.
There is no doubt that Barrett has the toughness, leadership, and football IQ to be an NFL quarterback. The question has always been whether or not he has the arm. The Saints have until 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 1 to finalize their 53-man rosters. If Barrett doesn’t make the cut, he will be available for other teams to claim through noon the next day.
STICK TO SPORTS
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- How Harry Potter changed the world.
- Cult favorite, sci-fi musical “Be More Chill” is working towards a Broadway transfer.