We have almost made it through this hellscape of a year that has been 2020, and fans of Ohio State will be looking to open up 2021 with some instant gratification if the Buckeyes are able to knock off the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl on New Years Day. The rematch everyone has been waiting for is now just three days away, and there is a ton to talk about leading up to latest installment of the College Football Playoff.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
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From around the gridiron...
After being named first-team All-Americans by the Associated Press on Monday, both Wyatt Davis and Shaun Wade are now one step closer to consensus All-American status, as the pair received first-team All-American honors from Sporting News on Tuesday. The publication also named Haskell Garrett and Josh Myers as second-team All-Americans. For Garrett, it is his second second-team All-American selection of the postseason despite only being a third-team All-Big Ten selection.
There was another round of Sugar Bowl interviews on Tuesday, as we got to hear from some of Clemson’s players as well as Tigers offensive coordinator Tony Elliott. Elliott began his time praising the Ohio State defense, specifically pointing out Pete Werner as a guy who really jumps out on film. Despite so many losses from last year’s team, he expects a similar challenge.
Elliott said the Ohio State defense is similar to last year despite the change in personnel. He said the only difference really is the names and the faces for the #Buckeyes.— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) December 29, 2020
Clemson guard Matt Bockhorst discussed his relationship with Justin Hilliard, whom he played alongside at St. Xavier High School. Bockhorst has a lot of respect for Hilliard, and is excited that the talented linebacker is finally able to showcase his skillset after an injury-plagued career in Columbus.
Clemson left guard Matt Bockhorst on his high school teammate Justin Hilliard: “I really appreciate Justin, and look up to him, and he's someone that I really respect.” Said he thinks Hilliard is a “special athlete” who's finally gotten to show how good a player he is.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 29, 2020
Tight end Braden Galloway discussed Ohio State’s success at covering tight ends this season. After their struggles locking down the position in previous years, the Buckeyes have done a much better job this time around thanks in large part to guys like Hilliard, Baron Browning and Pete Werner.
Clemson tight end Braden Galloway said Ohio State has done a good job matching up with tight ends this year depending on the formation and such and he just has to see what the players are good at. pic.twitter.com/PEVmuvxZtV— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) December 29, 2020
Trevor Lawrence is looking forward to yet another matchup against Justin Fields. The two have been linked together throughout their entire careers, and it will just be one more chance at a head-to-head battle between two of the nation’s best quarterbacks.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence meeting with the media now.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 29, 2020
On Justin Fields: “We're friends. We got a good relationship ... At the end of the day, it's just fun getting the opportunity to play a team like Ohio State.” pic.twitter.com/wXoPAbeUgi
Clemson’s top receiver Amari Rodgers doesn’t see these two teams as rivals, and I don't totally blame him. An Ohio State victory would certainly change that.
Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers said he doesn’t see this game as a rivalry. "I feel like they (Ohio State) have more beef with us than we do with them." pic.twitter.com/1PtpG6ujRu— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) December 29, 2020
Star running back Travis Etienne sees a tough task ahead, as Ohio State has been strong against the run all season. Last year, the Buckeyes held Etienne to 36 yards rushing, but Lawrence torched them for 107 yards.
Clemson running back Travis Etienne on Ohio State's defense: “They're structured to stop the run, so that's a challenge within itself.” pic.twitter.com/lM25nBETFj— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 29, 2020
Finally, wide receiver Cornell Powell is looking forward to matching up with the Buckeyes’ defensive backs. He says the team doesn’t feel like the wideouts played their best game in last year’s matchup, and they want to do a better job in the rematch.
Wide receiver Cornell Powell said Clemson has a lot of respect for Ohio State’s DBs, both this year and last year. He said the wideouts have been challenged to show what they can do in this game after struggling a bit last year. pic.twitter.com/MdiHl4nOC6— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) December 29, 2020
On the Ohio State side of things, Chris Olave has officially returned to practice — and we didn’t even need a blurry Bigfoot-style zoom-in shot to prove it!
This one is less blurry pic.twitter.com/caOU4lG9CC— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) December 29, 2020
We also got to hear from some of the Buckeyes on the defensive side of the ball on Tuesday, beginning with Shaun Wade. You know he is a guy who is especially looking forward to this matchup given how his night ended last time around.
Wade said that his targeting penalty changed momentum and gave Clemson an edge last year. He followed up by saying there were a number of plays that Ohio State didn’t make that also played a part in the outcome.— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) December 29, 2020
Wade gives his own take on the rivalry — one that all OSU fans will agree with.
How would Shaun Wade characterize the Ohio State-Clemson rivalry?— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 29, 2020
“I characterize it as we've never beat Clemson. So we gotta beat them.”
Haskell Garrett was next up at the podium, and he says he is still weighing his decision on whether or not to return next season. In terms of his All-American status, Garrett says he is more concerned with preparing for Clemson.
Haskell Garrett says he hasn't made a decision of whether or not he'll be back at Ohio State next year. "No, I haven't. I'm still debating that." Says he'll go over it after the season.— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) December 29, 2020
Pete Werner spoke next, and he is confident the defense has fixed the issues that plagued them against Indiana.
Werner said he can’t wait to show the nation that Ohio State has bounced back from the issues the defense showed against Indiana.— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) December 29, 2020
Jonathon Cooper has fought through a lot to get to this point, and he is very happy to have Ryan Day on his side. When asked if he would be returning next season, he laughed and said “probably not.”
Jonathon Cooper on Ryan Day's leadership this season: “Coach Day has been amazing through all of this. I couldn't ask for anything more ... I feel like with Coach Day at the front of our team and being our leader, he's done a spectacular job.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 29, 2020
Justin Hilliard said the team that runs the hardest and hits the hardest will win the game, and he is excited to go up against his former teammate in Bockhorst.
Ohio State linebacker Justin Hilliard on going up against his St. Xavier High School teammate, Clemson left guard Matt Bockhorst: “I'm sure there will be a lot of words said.” Said Bockhorst was a guy who loved contact in high school, which is “my kind of guy.” pic.twitter.com/i3ayvWkyno— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 29, 2020
Kerry Coombs wrapped things up on the interview session, and he expects to have a good portion of their players back on Friday that they were missing against Northwestern.
Kerry Coombs said Ohio State is “hoping to be much closer to full strength on Friday” at safety after having only three healthy safeties for the Big Ten Championship Game.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 29, 2020
Ohio State knows they must cut down on the amount of big plays they let up, and that is a tall task against an explosive offensive like Clemson’s.
. @OhioStateFB DC @DB_CoachCoombs on prepping for CLEM's offense which is elite at creating the big play with @Trevorlawrencee at the helm: "Their explosive tape is the longest tape you've ever seen."— Tim May (@TIM_MAYsports) December 29, 2020
This is nothing more than a Larry Johnson appreciation post.
Highest-graded rookie edge defenders since 2015:— PFF (@PFF) December 29, 2020
1. Nick Bosa, 49ers (2019) - 89.8
2. Chase Young, WFT (2020) - 87.7
3. Joey Bosa, Chargers (2016) - 86.6 pic.twitter.com/jGEmyTil4B
Dwayne Haskins certainly did not help his own cause in Washington, but he was set up to fail from the start with a bad franchise who hasn’t been able to successfully develop a quarterback for two decades and a coaching staff who didn’t even want him from the beginning.
Dwayne Haskins failed Washington, but they failed him too https://t.co/65vHn2Irs7— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 29, 2020
And on the flip side of the coin, J.K. Dobbins seems like a perfect fit in Baltimore.
️ UNLEASH J.K. DOBBINS pic.twitter.com/eRES9vBkjw— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) December 29, 2020
From around the hardwood...
Ohio State hoops will look to bounce back against Nebraska on Wednesday night, but they will have to do so without guard Musa Jallow, who will miss the contest due to COVID-19 contact tracing. Jallow has been awesome off the bench for Chris Holtmann this season, averaging 5.7 points per game while bringing a tremendous defensive presence to the floor.
OSU coach Chris Holtmann says Musa Jallow will miss Nebraska game Wed due to contact tracing— Steve Helwagen (@SteveHelwagen) December 29, 2020
Jae’Sean Tate is posterizing dudes in the NBA. We love to see it.
From everywhere else...
I present to you, today’s Worst Twitter Take of the Day™
The funniest part about this asinine statement is that Reporter Karle over here has “Went fishing once with Nick Saban” in his Twitter bio. Ratio’d into the ether.
.@AlabamaFTBL coach #NickSaban held his @rosebowlgame newser today & a reporter addressed the coach as “Hi, Saban!”— Rick Karle WVTM 13 (@RickKarle) December 29, 2020
His name is Coach Saban.
Here’s why: https://t.co/9sNm0r4jeg#Respect #RollTide @NDFootball
Picture via @UA_Athletics & Rose Bowl pic.twitter.com/UQr8wWkxg4
As someone who has just started researching into the cryptocurrency game, this kind of thing is very intriguing to me. Will be interesting to see how this pays off down the road.
An NFL first: #Panthers OT Russell Okung will receive half of his $13M in salary in Bitcoin. As part of a partnership with @in_strike and thanks to creative payroll solutions from the #Panthers, @russellokung will fulfill the goal he set when he tweeted “Pay me in Bitcoin!”— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 29, 2020