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Buckeye Bits: Changes coming to Ohio State’s linebackers, outdoor football in December

All of the latest Ohio State news from around the beat and beyond.

Penn State v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

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...

A BOOOM is on the horizon for Ohio State

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.

Six questions we want answered in Ohio State’s fall camp


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.

12-for-12: Ohio State’s Perfect Season - Game 7 vs. Wisconsin

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.

Garrett Wilson moving to slot, Demario McCall looking to make an impact at wide receiver for Ohio State

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.

Baron Browning Sees Ohio State Finally Using Him as a “Pure Athlete” the Way He Always Wanted

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.

Football: Garrett Wilson’s Move to the Slot Opens Up New Opportunities for the Buckeyes

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.

Day: December will be battle between who is ‘mentally tougher’

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.

Brohm no fan of Big Ten fan ban: ‘I wish we had some people in the stands’

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’!

From around the hardwood...

Did Kyrie’s shoulder injury also impact his brain?

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.

I kind of love that FOX snuck “Smackdown” onto this calendar.

It’s flippin’ awesome that Drue Chrisman is on this list.

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!