People are hating on Ohio State fans again. It feels good to be back.
But I mean... don’t we have the right to be cocky? Has the Big Red Cobcast seen our schedule? Have they seen our quarterback?! (In all seriousness, our Matt Tamanini hosted the Big Red Cobcast host, Pat Janssen, on Monday’s “In Conversation” episode, and he’s super great).
Alright people, three days until Ohio State hosts their first opponent of the year in an empty ‘Shoe. Keep scrolling for all of today’s headlines and updates from inside the Woody Hayes facility, and then leave your score predictions in the comments! (You will win nothing but bragging rights for guessing correctly.)
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Meredith Hein, LGHL
With a roster like that, an empty stadium is neither here nor there.
Gene Ross, LGHL
Members of the 2021 class have organized a get-together in Columbus called “Buckeye Bash,” and while the players will not be able to speak to coaches or tour the facilities, the plan is for them to all watch the game together. Gene has the list of who will be in attendance.
Gene Ross and George Eisner, LGHL
You read that right. Our infamous Hangout in the Holy Land podcast is back with two new hosts, Gene and George. In this season’s premiere, the duo previews Nebraska, discusses their expectations for this year’s team and somehow manages to end the show by bringing up 2015 Michigan State, as only true Buckeye fans would.
I’m not proud of my contribution to this staff project.
From around the gridiron...
Yesterday, we heard from the offensive powers that be, Ryan Day and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa. Today, we got to hear from the other side of the ball, as co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison met with the media for the first time this year, along with a few players – middle linebacker Tuf Borland, left tackle Thayer Munford, cornerback Marcus Williamson and wide receiver Chris Olave — to preview their opponent and give an update on how the Buckeyes are looking defensively.
Per usual, Eleven Warriors’ Dan Hope did a great job of posting the interview via Twitter thread, so I grabbed all of the main takeaways from there.
First, an update on defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, who Mattison said is still day-to-day.
Haskell Garrett is “day-to-day” in his recovery after he was shot in the face in August, Greg Mattison said. Mattison said he has been in every meeting and every walkthrough and doing everything he can be ready to play, but he doesn't know right now when Garrett will be cleared.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
Mattison then gave some updates on Ohio State’s linebackers, calling them “a special group,” with specific praise for Pete Werner, Tuf Borland and freshman linebackers Cody Simon and Mitchell Melton.
Greg Mattison on Tuf Borland: “This year, he is a totally different linebacker than last year in my opinion.” Said Borland is faster, stronger and more vocal because of his confidence. “I think the sky's the limit for him.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
Greg Mattison said Ohio State freshman linebackers Cody Simon and Mitchell Melton “really have looked good.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
In regards to the addition of Kerry Coombs as his co-defensive coordinator, Mattison said he primarily focuses on the front seven while Coombs focuses on the back end, since those are their specialties.
With Kerry Coombs coaching from the field, Greg Mattison will coach from the press box this year, which he says will be the first time he's coached from the booth since he was at Texas A&M in 1990.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
Next at the podium was Borland, who, like the rest of last year’s team, is out for vengeance after last year’s Fiesta Bowl loss.
Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland on his motivation entering the season after the College Football Playoff loss last season: “That motivation comes from not finishing the job.” pic.twitter.com/v74C0M49Wo— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
While that game sits in the back of their minds (and my mind tbh), Borland emphasized that the team’s focus is solely on Nebraska, especially since they don’t have a few games before Big Ten play where they can work out their kinks.
Arguably one of the biggest challenges Ohio State’s defense face as they prepare for Saturday is that the Cornhuskers have two eligible starting quarterbacks, but Borland said they’re prepared for any scenario.
Tuf Borland on Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez: “His skill set gives us challenges, gives everyone challenges, any time you have a running quarterback.” Borland said the Buckeyes have to be prepared for both Martinez and Luke McCaffrey at quarterback.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
Next up was cornerback Marcus Williamson, who will replace Shaun Wade as the slot corner while Wade will play on the outside. Williamson said he “can’t say enough” about how much Wade has been helping him learn the position.
Ohio State cornerback Marcus Williamson said he is feeling “real comfortable” at slot cornerback and feels he has been able to bring a veteran mindset and presence to that position. “I've prepared for this moment for a long time.” pic.twitter.com/WyI4MkH66Y— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
Williamson said wide receiver Garrett Wilson, now playing slot receiver, is an “amazing athlete” and that he “brings a different level of speed that you don’t always see on the inside generally.” You can read more about that, and how it translates to his responsibilities against Nebraska, here:
Facing Garrett Wilson in practice has helped OSU slot corner Marcus Williamson prepare for matchups such as Saturday's with Wan'Dale Robinson. But the Buckeyes are preparing for the talented sophomore elsewhere, too. https://t.co/IcZ5jSJqPi— Nathan Baird (@nwbaird) October 21, 2020
Thayer Munford had a lot of positive things to say about sophomore right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, saying he’s “a lot bigger than he used to be.”
Ohio State left tackle Thayer Munford on right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere: “He's going to work, and he's going to protect Justin as well as anyone here ... by the time he's done here, he's going to be one of the best offensive tackles in his class.” pic.twitter.com/7UO0uG8X3q— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
Munford said watching his film from last year motivated him to work on becoming more powerful in the run game and more fluid as a pass blocker.
“You’re going to see a different Thayer,” he said. You’re going to see a different offensive line, too ... we are a force to be reckoned with right now.”
Thayer Munford: “I do think we are going to be the best offensive line in the entire country this year.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
Last but obviously not least, wide receiver Chris Olave, who said Shaun Wade is “probably the best corner in the country,” and that, besides Wade, Sevyn Banks and Cam Brown are the toughest cornerbacks to go up against in practice.
Also, this is the final call for jumping aboard the “The Juiceman” train.
Chris Olave said him and Jameson Williams have gotten really close this offseason and they “push each other every day.” Olave described Williams as “one of the most talented dudes on the team ... His speed is off the charts, his talent is off the charts.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
As for his own talents, Olave said he’s “just trying to be consistent,” and “trying to be the best in the country at what I do,” which should be easy for him because, well for one thing, he’s just a crazy good receiver, but also...his quarterback is Justin Fields.
Chris Olave on Justin Fields: “In this building, we think he's the best player in the country.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
For more quotes and insight from the Buckeyes above, check out Eleven Warriors Presser Bullets:
Lots of good quotes and insight from Greg Mattison, Tuf Borland, Marcus Williamson, Thayer Munford and Chris Olave today: https://t.co/EtHSApZxtq— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 21, 2020
Watch this if for no other reason than the chemistry lesson at the end.
Day’s face is like “you seriously have to ask?”
Honestly not the list I expected. What do you think?
Around the hardwood...
Ohio State requested to allow Bucknell transfer guard Jimmy Sotos to play immediately in the 2020-21 season, but the NCAA said “nope.” Sotos has only one year of eligibility remaining.
The NCAA denies a waiver for Bucknell transfer guard Jimmy Sotos to play immediately, and Ohio State plans to appeal. https://t.co/ABpBxH21hQ— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 21, 2020
How do we feel about these new unis?
From everywhere else...
Florida has shut down its program as over 20 players and staff have tested positive, including Dan Mullen.
Eight days after doubling down on crowds at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, seven after postponing the LSU game, 4 days after HC Dan Mullen contracted COVID and a day after announcing 25 players have tested positive for COVID, Florida has temporarily shut down their football program. https://t.co/BfxkFR8Dts— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) October 21, 2020
We just have to hope and pray that the same doesn’t happen to Buckeyes, even though the state in which they reside is doing a piss-poor job at keeping numbers down.
In the past day, 2,015 new cases have been reported in Ohio, and our numbers continue to rise at a rate that should concern all of us. 216 new hospitalizations were reported in the past 24 hours – the highest number of hospitalizations ever reported in a 24-hour period in Ohio. pic.twitter.com/3hGfRGk4bR— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) October 20, 2020
Look, it’s not the SEC’s best news day.
NEWS: #LSU is self imposing penalties for FB violations connected to booster payments, including reduction in 8 scholarships, sources tell @SINow.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) October 21, 2020
School banning Odell Beckham Jr. from its facilities for 2 yrs for handing out cash.
From @PatForde and me- https://t.co/dNJh77mOZL