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As Ryan Day takes over Ohio State, there's pressure on Jim Harbaugh to win in 'The Game'

As spring football continues, we look at how the Wolverines and Buckeyes are shaping up for 2019.

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NCAA Football: Ohio State at Texas Christian Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

“Meyer is gone, replaced by former Ohio State offensive coordinator Ryan Day, and the rivalry enters a new phase. Harbaugh couldn’t beat Meyer’s Ohio State. Could he get the better of the Day-led Buckeyes?”

-Paul Myerberg, USA Today

Now that spring football is more than halfway done, we are beginning to see how programs are taking stock of what they have/don’t have in preparation for the 2019 season. Up in Ann Arbor, one thing that Michigan Wolverines’ head coach Jim Harbaugh will have to navigate is replacing two coaches (Al Washington and Greg Mattison) who joined new head coach Ryan Day’s staff at Ohio State.

For both Day and Harbaugh, they enter into another chapter of the greatest rivalry in all of sports. Since returning to Michigan as head coach, Harbaugh never beat Urban Meyer, going 0-4. Two of those losses (2016 and 2018) came when Michigan was on the doorstep to a Big Ten Championship Game and potential College Football Playoff berth.

With Meyer gone, there’s huge expectations for Harbaugh to win against OSU this season. Especially with it being Day’s first true season at the helm, if Harbaugh doesn’t win this year, he may never.

On Day’s side, he has to keep up the momentum that Ohio State has built up in the rivalry over the past two decades. Jim Tressel only lost once to Michigan, and Meyer didn’t lose at all in six match-ups. The last OSU loss was in 2011, when Luke Fickell was the interim coach.

I would argue that that UM win wasn’t a true win because OSU didn’t even have a full-time head coach, and was just trying to get through the season in one piece. The last time that Michigan beat Ohio State with a full-time coach was in 2003, when the Wolverines punched their ticket to the Rose Bowl after beating Tressel and the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor a year after OSU’s BCS National Championship.

As spring football 2019 rolls forward, we’ll begin to see how each team develops closer to what we will see on the field this fall, and most important, how they will look on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Joe Flacco will be the Broncos’ quarterback for 2019, but don’t sleep on the team snagging Haskins or Drew Lock if one of those two falls to 10.”

-Peter Schrager,

NFL Draft predictions are ramping up again, as another fresh batch of mocks have come out. One of the shakeups is with quarterback Dwayne Haskins, as some are thinking that the New York Giants won’t be selecting him at No. 6 after all. Regardless of how much the Odell Beckham Jr. trade has changed the dynamic for the Giants, some predictions are pointing to Haskins not going No. 6 to the NYG, but sliding a bit further down to No. 10.'s Peter Schrager has the the record-setting OSU signal-caller going to the Denver Broncos tenth overall, even though the Broncos acquired elite Super Bowl-winning QB Joe Flacco in the offseason.

If this were to go down the way that Schrager predicts, it appears that Haskins would be the heir apparent to Flacco — which isn't actually a bad plan, considering the Broncos’ elite defense and John Elway at the helm.

Haskins is the third QB off the board in this mock, with Kyler Murray going No. 1 to Arizona, and Drew Lock going No. 6 to the Giants. Still towards the top of the board is Nick Bosa, who Schrager has going No. 2 to San Francisco.

“He’s the back now,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “He’s going to have to make those 5 or 6-yard hard runs where he’s going to finish them for seven or eight and maybe not try to hit that home run. His carries are going to be up. He’s going to be the lead dog, and we have to find some depth there.”

-Kyle Rowland, Toledo Blade

While he isn't in this year's draft, J.K. Dobbins has the perfect opportunity to become one of the top running backs in next year's class.

Kyle Rowland of the Toledo Blade reported on Day’s plans to utilize Dobbins as the main rusher for Ohio State in 2019. In past seasons, Mike Weber was the bulldozer that got the tough yards when the Buckeyes really needed them, but now, it'll be the Texas-native that gets that chance.

Interestingly, this would seem to run counter to how Dobbins has been used thus far in his career. Instead of getting those short yards for a first down, he would was primarily used in an effort to break off huge rushes that made highlight reels and picked up chunks of yardage.

The strategy may be changing around him, but Dobbins is still one of the most electric rushers in recent OSU memory. As a freshman, he ran for a school-record 1,403 yards and made an immediate impact en route to a Big Ten Championship and Cotton Bowl victory. Last season, he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark again, helping the Bucks become king of the conference for the second time in as many years. With Dobbins taking on the RB1 roll all on his own in 2019, who knows what the talented runner will be able to do?

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