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Change in philosophy could mean an increased role for Ohio State freshmen in 2019

Guys like Garrett Wilson could see a heavy workload next season.

NCAA Football: U.S. Army All-American Bowl Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

“Age is just a number. Best players PLAY!!”

- OSU wide receivers coach Brian Hartline via Twitter.

The decisions made by Dabo Swinney at Clemson may have changed the college football landscape forever. At the beginning of the season, senior quarterback Kelly Bryant returned for his second year as the team’s starter. After leading the team to a College Football Playoff semifinal game a year prior, where they lost 24-6 to Alabama, it seemed like the obvious choice. However, after just four games, Swinney announced that true freshman Trevor Lawrence would be taking over as the team’s QB. The move, while surprising to some people, paid off as well as it possibly could have, with Lawrence leading the team to a National Championship victory.

At most schools, seniority rules. The older and more experienced guys usually take up most of the starting spots on the depth chart while the freshman, albeit talented, have to wait their turn in line. The same was true at Ohio State, when a player as talented as Dwayne Haskins sat behind a senior J.T. Barrett for a full year, not getting the starting role until Barrett had graduated. However, the Buckeyes seem to have caught on with what Swinney did with the Tigers and according to a tweet by Brian Hartline, they may adopt a similar approach.

The 2019 season will be a clear indication of whether or not OSU fully adopts this method of the best players seeing the field regardless of age. If so, guys like five-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson should see large chunks of playing time despite a deep core of wide receivers. The same should be true at quarterback, where the competition between Justin Fields and Tate Martell should be won based on performance and not on seniority.

The philosophy around college football is changing, and we will see if Ryan Day is willing to respond to these changes.

“Washington is actually more Buckeye than Wolverine. He just made a one-year stop in Michigan. He grew up in Columbus as the son of a former Ohio State player, and in 2017, he worked for long-time Buckeye Luke Fickell at Cincinnati”

- Doug Lesmerises,

Ryan Day has been very active in his first few weeks as the new head coach of Ohio State, and has started to shake up the coaching staff in tremendous fashion. After the Buckeyes defense ranked 93rd in yards allowed and 71st in points allowed while seemingly having enough talent to be much better on that side of the ball, it was clear that changes needed to be made among the coaching staff. Those changes were made, as Day stole two Michigan assistants in Greg Mattison and Al Washington.

It is no secret that Ohio State’s linebackers did not look good this season, seeming like more of a scheme and positioning issue than a player issue at times, which is why the Buckeyes brought in Washington. At just 34 years old, Washington is an up-and-coming coach and lauded as an excellent recruiter. Despite his age, Washington has already been coaching in college football for 12 years, working alongside Day at Boston College before moving on to Cincinnati and Michigan each for one season.

Mattison, at 69 years old, is a much more experienced name. Mattison, who will serve as co-defensive coordinator, has coached nearly four decades, mainly specializing in the defensive line and as a defensive coordinator. He also has some NFL experience, functioning as the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator for two seasons and their linebacker coach the year prior. In three of his last four seasons at Michigan, the Wolverines ranked top 20 in total defense and top 30 in scoring defense.

“Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields plans to ask the NCAA for immediate eligibility and hopes to have an answer on his 2019 future in the next six weeks, according to the attorney helping him with the request.”

- Dan Murphy, ESPN

While many Buckeye fans are already expecting Justin Fields to be the starting quarterback in 2019, he must still go through the process of requesting immediate eligibility from the NCAA. His attorney Thomas Mars, who helped six former Ole Miss players transfer in 2018, including Michigan QB Shea Patterson, predicts they should have an answer within six weeks, which would allow Ohio State to know Field’s eligibility before the start of spring practice.

Fields, the No. 2 overall prospect in 2018, spent last season as the backup to Jake Fromm at Georgia. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound freshman was the highest rated dual-threat QB in the class, and is Ohio State’s highest ranked player ever. He finished his freshman year with 328 yards and four touchdowns pass and another 266 yards and four TDs rushing in limited playing time. Once granted eligibility, he is expected to compete with redshirt sophomore Tate Martell to fill the shoes left by Dwayne Haskins’ NFL departure as Ohio State’s starting QB.

Around Campus

Women’s Basketball

The Ohio State women’s basketball team returns home to take on one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten: Indiana. The 25th-ranked Hoosiers have opened up conference play 3-0 and find themselves at 14-1 overall. The Buckeyes, however, have won 12-straight against Indiana, and have won 31 of the last 35 meetings between the two teams in Columbus. Ohio State currently sits at 4-8, losing their last five contests including an 0-3 start to Big Ten play.

Men’s Ice Hockey

Senior forward Mason Jobst and sophomore goalie Tommy Nappier were both recognized for their performances against Michigan State last weekend. Jobst was named First Star of the Week by both the Big Ten and the NCAA after scoring two goals and registering five assists in the two-game series against the Spartans. Nappier was named Big Ten Third Star of the Week after stopping all 29 shots he faced in the game on Saturday. The Buckeyes return home to take on Michigan this Friday and Saturday in Columbus.

Men's Volleyball

Redshirt sophomore Jake Hanes hauled in two weekly awards after Ohio State’s 2-0 opening weekend, including co-Offensive Player of the Week (Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) and National Opposite Hitter of the Week ( Hanes was responsible for six points in the two wins over Charleston and Penn State, attacking .469 (37-7-64) in seven sets.

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