Nine days, fam. We are just nine days away from Ohio State football. And as the games approach, we get more and more actual, on-field news about what this team will look like. Without media members having access to practices, the majority of info that we are going to get this season is going to come from coaches, and head coach Ryan Day graced us with some interesting nuggets today.
So, get caught up in this Thursday edition of Buckeye Bits.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Tia Johnston, LGHL
OSU’s safeties and special teams coach gave some great insight into what his units will look like on a Zoom media call yesterday, so check out Wednesday’s Buckeye Bits to get caught up.
Look, it’s been a while since we’ve had something to look forward to, so the start of OSU’s football season has come at the perfect time.
Caleb Houser, LGHL
You have to imagine that had the pandemic not upended everything, Ohio State’s 2021 recruiting class would look very different. Perhaps they would have still gotten that amazing rush of commitments over the summer, and perhaps they would have landed one or two more five-star prospects by now. Of course, we’ll never know, but they still have a chance to put a big ole bow on the class between now and February.
Gene Ross, LGHL
What was designed as a way to generate some feel-good content while actual football was on hold is wrapping up quicker than planned, but looking back at 12 incredible Buckeye wins is a great way to get hyped just as real games are about to resume.
With all eyes on the football team getting back to action in nine days, we’ve all but forgotten about the men’s basketball team. However, Chris Holtmann will likely have another interesting squad to work with again this season.
From around the gridiron...
Ryan Day Radio Show: Jonathon Cooper’s No. 0 Jersey, Protecting the Team from COVID-19, and Contingency Plans for Positive Tests
Kevin Harrish, Eleven Warriors
In addition to some insight into how the Buckeyes are dealing with COVID-19 concerns (which I will talk more about below), Ryan Day said that he has been pleased with the physicality that his team has shown in practices, especially given the odd circumstances of the fall camp. He said that while you won’t ever really know how well-conditioned your team is until the first game, he thinks that they are where they need to be.
After saying that third-year player Nicholas Petit-Frere has the edge at right tackle over freshman Paris Johnson, Day also made a point to praise the development of mountain posing as an offensive lineman, Dawand Jones, calling his preseason performance a “pleasant surprise.”
The head coach also discussed the depth in the linebackers’ room, specifically pointing out presumed starters Tuf Borland, Pete Werner, and Baron Browning, but also mentioning sixth-year player Justin Hilliard. He said that the experience in the unit is the “strength of our defense.”
Day said that Justin Fields has returned as an even more motivated player than he was last year, and that having a season under his belt makes a huge difference. I wonder if this picture has anything to do with why the QB is so motivated:
Dan Hope, Eleven Warriors
One of the most interesting questions of the fall was how the return of Kerry Coombs was going to impact what type of defense the Buckeyes played this year, as previously, he has always been associated with a two-safety look.
Well, comments from coaches over the past two days indicate that they will stick with the single-high safety base defense that worked pretty darn well for OSU under Jeff Hafley (now the head coach at Boston College) and Greg Mattison.
However, there is a much higher likelihood of the Buckeyes changing up their looks this season than there was in 2019. Hope does a great job of explaining what those different approaches on defense could look like.
Ohio State plans to stick with its single-high base defense from last year, but with different personnel this year, the Buckeyes have reason to vary their defensive looks more regularly.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 15, 2020
A breakdown of what could stay the same, what could change and why: https://t.co/PIp5vCvRsu pic.twitter.com/1hPYhnZGcF
Robbie Weinstein, 247Sports
It means that there’s no better time to give him a lifetime contract than right this very second. Speaking of which, the Ohio State vs. Nebraska line referenced in the tweet below isn’t all that interesting to me, but peep that TTUN vs. Minnesota number...
Bill Landis, The Athletic
For my money (literally, because I am a subscriber), the work that Bill Landis does at The Athletic is second to none. And while I don’t think that there is anything earth-shattering in his projected two-deep (we won’t get an official depth chart until the Friday before the Nebraska game), he does a great job of breaking down each position group and explaining who to expect in different situations.
This is especially important when it comes to the defensive line, as the depth there is pretty limited due to a number of injuries. I’d also take a look at who he has as the starting safety, as it is not who I thought it would be when the 2019 season ended.
Roster Update: We've placed DE Sam Hubbard on the Reserve/Injured list.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 15, 2020
From around the hardwood...
Ohio State men’s basketball held their first day of practice on Thursday
My columns this week have been focused on my excitement for the upcoming Ohio State football season, but I am also really intrigued by the basketball team this year. There has been a tremendous amount of turnover as three young players decided to transfer, and both of the Wesson brothers moved on.
However, with some impressive players transferring into the program and underclassmen coming into their own, I think that there is a lot of reasons to be optimistic about what could be a really fun season.
I’m sure this has nothing to do with LeBron James being the reigning king in Los Angeles.
From everywhere else...
Nathatn Baird, cleveland.com
So, as coronavirus cases are spiking in Ohio, the Cincinnati Bearcats’ game against Tulsa this weekend has been postponed. For a while, it was easy for Ohio State fans to clown on all of the positive tests in the SEC (although, I would advise against anyone clowning someone getting a potentially deadly disease), but now that things have gotten worse in our own backyard, it’s probably a good time to look at how Ryan Day and his staff are handling things.
On his radio show that I mentioned earlier, Day confirmed that the team is holding meetings on the practice field in an effort to avoid being in the closer confines of the the meeting room, and he is advising his players to assume that everybody they come in contact with already has COVID-19.
Honestly, that’s pretty good advice for everybody, football player or not, and another reason why we all should be wearing masks. Because, what this pandemic has done is put a lot of people in some really sad situations, and while this is a small issue compared to people who have lost loved ones, it is still really unfortunate that parents have to make this kind of sacrifice, just to make sure that their kids stay healthy.
Seriously, there is no one better than Ohio State football’s social media team.
Introducing “Voices,” a new web series empowering our student-athletes to use their platforms.— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) October 15, 2020
In Episode 1, the Buckeyes spoke out to help bring back the 2020 season, redefining the culture of #Fight. #GoBuckeyes
Watch the full episode: https://t.co/HZdEYwex6X pic.twitter.com/0W1MHueq6N
And now for something completely different...
I think he’s got a decent shot to win!
Because of the pandemic-shortened season, only two performers were eligible for nomination in the Best Actor in a Musical category when the Tony nominations were announced today, and yet, only one received a nomination. If that’s not the most brutal snub in awards show history, I don’t know what is.
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!