Ohio State released their game trailer today for Saturday’s contest against Indiana. With the Buckeyes opening up their Big Ten schedule against the Hoosiers, the hype video highlighted Ohio State’s storied history in the conference. The Buckeyes have either won the Big Ten outright or been crowned co-champions 37 times, including taking home the conference title in each of the last two seasons.
A special twist to this week’s video is it was narrated by former Buckeye Terry McLaurin, who was an Indiana native before attending college at Ohio State. McLaurin closed out his Ohio State career last year with 35 catches for 701 yards and 11 touchdowns. After being taking in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, the speedy wide receiver impressed in his NFL debut, hauling in five catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.
“I feel like I’ve played really fast, but at the same time I have a lot of stuff to work on. Always working, trying to find some way to improve.”
Davon Hamilton might not be stuffing the stat sheet so far in 2019, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t making a huge impact on the field. The defensive tackle was able to get an arm on Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder before Chase Young and Malik Harrison were able to finish off the sack.
Hamilton knows at defensive tackle a lot more hard work is needed to make an impact, since defensive tackles are responsible for doing a lot more of the dirty work on the defense. Putting in hard work is nothing new for the Pickerington native, who was the 998th ranked prospect when he came out of high school.
Heading into his final season at Ohio State, Hamilton worked to improve his speed, shaving four tenths of a second off his 40-yard dash time. The increased speed that Hamilton has now pairs well with the strength he already had, making it even more difficult for opposing offensive linemen to keep him out of the backfield.
What has helped Hamilton make more of an impact this year, is how he is sharing time with Robert Landers and Tommy Togiai at defensive tackle. With not having to play every snap, it helps keep the trio fresher and put more pressure on the offensive line. The more havoc that Hamilton and the other defensive tackles can create, will only allow for Ohio State’s talented crop of defensive ends to find their way into the backfield. The numbers might not show it, but what Hamilton is doing is vital to the new look Ohio State defense.
“When teams start to spread out, start getting a little looser that way, we like to go with the bullet position.”
After an offseason where the introduction of the “bullet” position to the Ohio State defense was much talked about, through two games there hasn’t been much usage of the safety-linebacker hybrid position. There is some pretty simple reasoning as to why there has been limited use of the new position, though. Florida Atlantic and Cincinnati both used a lot of two tight end formations, which didn’t call for the Buckeyes to shift out of their base defense much.
When Ohio State hits the road on Saturday to take on Indiana, we could see a lot more use of the bullet position on defense. Indiana runs more of a spread offense, which is more of what the bullet position is designed to help slow down. Through two games, Indiana quarterbacks have thrown for 767 yards. The Hoosiers will certainly give Ohio State’s retooled pass defense their biggest test of the young season.
With the bullet position likely to be on the field more this weekend, that means more playing time for Brendon White. Through two games, White has been largely invisible, playing just 33 snaps and record five tackles. The reduced time of the field was tough to stomach for White, who was a key defender in the second half of the season for Ohio State.
Even though they haven’t had much use for the bullet position on defense yet this year, the Ohio State defense is playing great football through two games. Last time out, the Buckeyes shutout Cincinnati 42-0, which helped to calm White’s frustrations about not being on the field as much. Now as Ohio State starts to take on more teams who use the spread offense, it’ll be interesting to see just how much the bullet position adds to a defense that is on the rise.
“I’m OK, making the hits. As long as somebody catches the ball, we’re good.”
Shaun Wade is laying the lumber so far this season, and it is leading to some turnovers for the Ohio State defense. Early in the game, Wade laid a hit on a Cincinnati wide receiver that resulted in a deflection that Chase Young couldn’t haul in. Later on, Wade was lining up to lay another big hit on a Cincinnati wide receiver and interrupted the route, allowing Tuf Borland to intercept the football.
Wade is Ohio State’s third cornerback behind junior Jeff Okudah and senior Damon Arnette, but Wade might be playing the best of the trio right now. Against Cincinnati, Wade recorded his first career sack and forced a fumble in the rout of the Bearcats. The redshirt sophomore is currently Ohio State’s slot cornerback, but that role is going to expand next year, as Arnette will have graduated, and Okudah could enter the NFL Draft.
With each week, Wade gets better on the field and he sees his role expand. In the week leading up to the Cincinnati game, Wade felt he was as well-prepared for a game as he has ever been, and it certainly showed on the field. With how talented Wade is, this could only be the tip of the iceberg for the cornerback, with even bigger performances in store in the near future.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Looking for some great beer, food, and music on Saturday after the Indiana game? Crafted Fest will be held Saturday afternoon at the Columbus Commons.
- SIP Local will be opening in the space in Clintonville vacated by Actual Brewing earlier this year.
- The owners of Pat & Gracie’s are opening Matt & Tony’s Wood Fired Kitchen in the old CBC Restaurant location in the Brewery District.
- Slack has launched a dark mode for macOS, Windows, and Linux.
- LeBron James’ attempt to trademark “Taco Tuesday” has been denied.