Alright, give it to me straight. How are we feeling about Saturday? Nervous? Confident? Queasy? I’d say that I am “cautiously optimistic.” Look, I didn’t like what I saw in the Rutgers game. I didn’t like it one bit. And it does not make me feel good about Indiana and their pass-happy quarterback. But maybe I’m overthinking things. Maybe because it was a night game against ~Rutgers~ in an empty stadium, players’ were in a “can we just get this over with” state of mind. This week is much different in that they got a couple extra days to prepare for the Hoosiers in light of last week’s game being canceled. They know Indiana will be the toughest team they face in the regular season and will adjust their mindsets accordingly. And they’re aware of what they need to fix from said Rutgers game. So I really do think the Buckeyes are going to win this game, I just don’t think it’s going to be a walk in the park (which is how I prefer my football watching experience). But, at the end of the day, even if the secondary decides to stay home again and the running backs don’t feel like getting first downs...say it with me folks...we’ll always have Justin Fields.
Speaking of which, let’s get to today’s Ohio State news where we hear the players and coaches themselves give their thoughts on No. 9 Indiana.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Connor Lemons, LGHL
The NBA Draft is tonight and Connor tells us what the experts are predicting for Kaleb Wesson’s fate.
Gene Ross and George Eisner, LGHL
Gene and George are back on the mic this week to talk all things Indiana— how they feel about Hoosiers’ hot start and how they think things are going to play out on Saturday.
Gene Ross, LGHL
Can Ohio State land the No. 1 WR in the country? Gene has all the updates and rumors for you in this morning’s State Secrets.
Matt Tamanini, LGHL
All you need to know is Matt used the phraise “gird your loins” in this article.
Biggest news of the day...
Ohio State announced that there will be no family members at games for the next 28 days, including the game against Indiana. This also goes for basketball and hockey games that are scheduled for the remainder of 2020.
The university will revaluate the decision to allow families to the last game of the season against Michigan on Dec. 12.
Ohio State has announced that there will be no family members at the game against Indiana, or for games in the next 28 days.— Wyatt Crosher (@wcrosher) November 18, 2020
"Family members of the players and coaching staffs of teams competing this fall will no longer be permitted into any university sporting event." pic.twitter.com/RMAc0fKQGr
The Big Ten finally announced the 2020-21 men’s basketball schedule (a week before the season opener its fine).
If you don’t feel like reading the release, here’s the Buckeyes’ schedule:
Nov. 25 – Illinois State (2 p.m., ESPN2 or ESPNU)
Nov. 29 – UMass-Lowell (4 p.m., BTN)
Dec. 2 – Morehead State (5 p.m., BTN)
Dec. 5 – Alabama A&M (TBD, BTN or BTN+)
Dec. 8 – at Notre Dame
Dec. 16 – at Purdue
Dec. 23 – Rutgers
Dec. 26 – at Northwestern
Dec. 30 – Nebraska
Jan. 3 – at Minnesota
Jan. 6 – Penn State
Jan. 9 – at Rutgers
Jan. 13 – Northwestern
Jan. 16 – at Illinois
Jan. 23 – at Wisconsin
Jan. 27 – Purdue
Jan. 31 – Michigan State
Feb. 4 – at Iowa
Feb. 8 or Feb. 9 – at Maryland
Feb. 13 – Indiana
Feb. 18 – at Penn State
Feb. 21 – Michigan
Feb. 25 – at Michigan State
Feb. 28 – Iowa
March 6 – Illinois
What the Buckeyes are saying...
A few players and coaches met with the media on Wednesday to discuss their preparation for Indiana, and QB1 was up first.
Fields is not exactly known for throwing interceptions, and he said he makes it a point of emphasis to make sure he doesn’t. He said he thinks most of Indiana’s 10 interceptions are due to quarterbacks’ panicking under pressure.
Also, in what universe is Fields going to answer this question with a “yes” or a “no?”
Asked whether running backs should be involved more in the passing game, Justin Fields responded, “I like to do whatever Coach Day thinks we should do to win the game. I'm not gonna tell Coach Day how to run this offense.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) November 18, 2020
Regarding Indiana’s defense, which he says is toughest defense they’ll face this season, Fields said he and Josh Myers work well together to identify blitzers, and that he trusts the O line to get their issues fixed quickly.
Fields says Indiana's defensive scheme is different from anyone they've played this year. They don't really run any more coverages, but the blitzing and their ability to disguise that pressure makes it a challenge.— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) November 18, 2020
Brian Hartline was up next, and said that Jameson Williams and the rest of the freshmen have really stepped up, and that everyone is happy with the distribution of the ball because, well, it’s clearly working.
Hartline says he's good with the balance of the passing game right now, with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson getting most of the catches.— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) November 18, 2020
As long as they continue to win, everyone is going to be happy with the distribution of the ball.
He also touched on freshman WR Julian Fleming and his improvement since the Rutgers game.
Brian Hartline said he had coached Julian Fleming on catching technique, and he didn't necessarily take it to heart the way he should have, but he's been more focused since the drop against Rutgers.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) November 18, 2020
Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison took the mic next. He said tackling was easily the the biggest issue for the backup defenders who played against Rutgers in the second half.
Mattison says Indiana is the best team they’ve prepared for so far, and that quarterback Michel Penix “can put the ball where he wants to put it” and that “its going to be a big challenge.” However some good news coming out of the secondary:
Greg Mattison said he thinks Ohio State's secondary has had its best week-and-a-half of practice since the Rutgers game.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) November 18, 2020
In regards to preparation, he’s crossing all his T’s and dotting all his I’s.
Mattison says they're playing the younger guys as much as they have because they know it's a shorter season and "you need to get those younger guys some playing experience."— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) November 18, 2020
Without the three non-conference games, they have to do it now.
Last but not least, Zach Harrison, who said he’s progressing every single day.
Zach Harrison meeting with the media now.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) November 18, 2020
On his progress this season: “I'm getting better every day.” He thinks that if that keeps happening, everything will fall into place. pic.twitter.com/L8VhX0xUSq
Harrison reiterated the importance of the defensive ends rotating to keep everyone fresh, which really pays off toward the end of the game.
Harrison said Larry Johnson tells them he has five starters, but that Jonathon Cooper starts every week because “he’s the OG.”
Harrison says the importance of hard work has been something he's learned from Jonathon Cooper. He says Cooper has really taken him under his wing, and been critical on ways he can improve his pass rushes. He says Cooper is like that for everybody.— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) November 18, 2020
For more quotes, check out Eleven Warriors Presser Bullets:
More updates from today's press conference with Justin Fields, Brian Hartline and Greg Mattison (Zach Harrison still to come): https://t.co/VGX1OcKoY2— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) November 18, 2020
I don’t know...none of it?
Two Buckeyes sit atop the NFL’s Rookie Ratings!
Tag your favorite LSU fan!
For a laugh...
I know we’re supposed to hate these guys this week, but I highly recommend following Crimson Quarry — SB Nation’s Indiana blog — on Twitter.
“Michigan could’ve dominated Indiana if it didn’t have five 3-and-outs, picks on its last two drives and Michael Penix’s 342 yards and 3 TDs” https://t.co/BO3zpVqENq— crimson quarry (@crimsonquarry) November 18, 2020