As the calendar turns from September to October, not only are we now in Spooky Season and Pumpkin Spice Season, but in this weird, upside-down year that is 2020, we are finally in what can be officially be designated as Ohio State Football Season.
With 23 days to go until Ohio State kicks off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, we are finally starting to get the actual football news that we live for here in Buckeye Nation. So, here in today’s Buckeye Bits, we will get you caught up on everything that you need to know as Buckeye football quickly approaches.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Gene Ross, LGHL
After he decommitted from Louisville, Zen Michalski got a rush of crystal balls for Ohio State. So it is likely only a matter of time before we get a BOOM from the three-star offensive lineman.
As the Buckeyes opened up the padded portion of camp yesterday, I had a few questions that I wanted to see answered before games start later this month, and today (as you will see below), we got some clarity on a few of them.
Gene Ross, LGHL
I had forgotten how nuts this game was. Gene does an incredible job of reconstructing the entire thing with stats, info, and highlights. Check it out.
Brett Ludwiczak, LGHL
I’m going to talk more about this topic in a bit, but as always, I would like to proclaim from the mountaintops, #FreeDemario.
From around the gridiron...
On Thursday, we heard from Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day as part of his weekly radio show (check out all of the biggest news here), and he was joined by linebackers coach Al Washington and a number of Buckeye backers; you can get the highlights of the LB section of the show here.
That unit has gotten a lot of derision over the last few seasons for a number of reasons, but it appears that there is cause for optimism from the Silver Bullets yet again.
Colin Hass-Hill, Eleven Warriors
Despite former LB coach Billy “Best Man” Davis’ insistence, Baron Browning is finally moving back to the position that best fits his incredible athletic abilities. After working inside at the Mike position for the last few years, mainly backing up Tuf Borland, it appears that Browning is going to finally be able to move outside for what could be his final year in Columbus.
While Browning concedes that his time in the middle gave him a better understanding of how an entire defense works, being moved to the strongside (Sam) linebacker position will give him the chance to allow the athleticism and instincts that made him shine as a five-star prospect.
With Borland in the middle and Pete Werner moving to the weakside (Will) position, this will give the Buckeyes an incredibly balanced and experienced corps. During the radio show, Washington explained how this move will make Werner an even more important part of the defense than he was last season when he played not only Sam, but also what was essentially the newly created Bullet position.
In 2019, I — for one — was a big proponent of playing Werner, Browning, and Malik Harrison as the Buckeyes’ main linebackers, because as much as everyone in the program loves Borland, I thought that the more athletic grouping would help OSU prevent big plays by the better offenses that they would see in the postseason.
This year, with no bye week(s), and a much shorter break between a potential Big Ten Championship Game and a semifinal berth, Washington will need not only his first team backers to be able to keep up with increasingly talented offensive opponents, but the backups like Dallas Gant, Teradja Mitchell, K’Vaughan Pope, and others will need to be ready as well.
Jack Emerson, The Lantern
In yesterday’s article (linked in the section above), I wondered who OSU wide receiver coach Brian Hartline would put in the slot position this season after the sure-handed K.J. Hill graduated. My sentimental choice (as it has been since 2016) was for him to #FreeDemario, but it appears that super sophomore Garrett Wilson is moving to the inside, and honestly, that is the smartest move.
The speedy, 6-foot receiver averaged 14.4 yards per catch last season, and demonstrated an impressive ability to make plays in his rookie season, all while lining up on the outside. Even though Wilson won’t necessarily have the opportunity to make the showy, downfield catches that most WRs dream of, by moving inside he will likely see his targets (and therefore catches and yards) increase; after all, Hill led the team in 2019 with 57 receptions from the slot.
Weird season, weird CFP Committee schedule.
SCHEDULE UPDATE— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) October 1, 2020
The first @CFBPlayoff selection committee rankings of 2020 will be revealed November 24. The committee will issue four sets of rankings before Selection Day on December 20.
It all leads to the #CFBPlayoff #NationalChampionship on January 11. Who’s in? pic.twitter.com/1mtEuGq7CR
Jacob Benge, BuckeyeGrove
With all due respect to Coach Day, December is going to be a battle between over has better players, just like September, October, and November are every year. I know that on some level coaches want to make everything into a referendum on effort, but look, Ohio State is so much more talented than the rest of the Big Ten, whomever they play, no matter what the weather circumstances are, they are going to win unless all of the wheels come off, and the spare is flat.
So yes, preach mental toughness to your team; reenforce the importance of focus; but in reality, just get them prepared to play (as healthy as possible) when the holidays roll around.
Tom Dienhart, Gold and Black
In the article, Brohm admits that while he would like to see even 20% of Big Ten stands filled with fans, he knows that’s likely not going to happen by the time the season kicks off. However, I do think that there is a chance that The Horseshoe, Ross-Ade Stadium, The Big House, Beaver Stadium, et al. do see fans at some point this fall.
With fans allowed to attend games in the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 — not to mention the NFL — it’s only a matter of time until the powers that be in the B1G also come up with a way to make it look like they are being as cautious as possible, while also getting some sort of gate and concession revenue.
Finally the XFL is Coming BACK to the Field, if you SMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELL What the Rock. Is. Cookin’!
XFL returns SPRING 2022— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) October 1, 2020
As owners, we’re proud to champion our XFL players, coaches, cities and fans into an electrifying 2022 season!
It’s an uphill battle - but we’re hungry, humble and no one will outwork us.
A league of culture, passion & purpose. #XFL✊ #Spring2022 pic.twitter.com/jY0VWGj33Y
From around the hardwood...
Did Kyrie’s shoulder injury also impact his brain?
KYRIE IRVING ON KD: "I felt like I was the best option on every team I’ve played for down the stretch. This is the first time in my career where I can be like that mother*****r can make that shot too.”— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 1, 2020
Via #TheEtcs | @boardroompods
This man was the Robin to LeBron James’ Batman in 2016, and he has the audacity to say that he’s never played with someone that the team could count on down the stretch? Bro, please.
From everywhere else...
After the hell that was the first nine months of this year, we deserve this.
Welcome to October 2020 - One of the best months in sports history pic.twitter.com/kELmh3sfOZ— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) October 1, 2020
I kind of love that FOX snuck “Smackdown” onto this calendar.
It’s flippin’ awesome that Drue Chrisman is on this list.
Record 199 Semifinalists named for 2020 NFF William V. #CampbellTrophy Presented by @MazdaUSA— Football Foundation (@NFFNetwork) October 1, 2020
Award recognizes best football scholar-athlete in the nation for combined academic success, football performance & exemplary leadership
: https://t.co/Kne4s1mMIM pic.twitter.com/mHjoZWEzlg
And now for something completely different...
That’s the former Spider-Man character they decided to bring back?
Now, keep in mind that the upcoming “WandaVision” Disney+ series, and the “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” film are going to play with the multi-dimensional concepts that were important in “Infinity War” and “Endgame.” So, I could see Jamie Foxx’s return as Electro being either a cameo from another world in the Spider-verse, or a different version of the character than he played in “Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
Either way, I am here for all of the weird stuff coming down the pike from the MCU.
After some unexpected start and stops, I am back to posting a column every single day from preseason camp until whenever Ohio State’s football season ends. Some days they will be longer and in depth, some days they will be short and sweet. Let me know what you think of this one, and what you’d like to see me discuss in the comments or on Twitter. Go Bucks!