I’d like to open today’s Buckeye Bits by wishing a happy birthday to a true Ohio State legend. A man who stepped into a nearly impossible situation and led the Buckeyes to one of the most improbable of national titles. A quarterback whose first three games as a starter all ended with trophies. That man, as you probably already guessed, is Cardale Jones.
Thrust into action for the first time against Wisconsin the in 2014 Big Ten Championship, all Jones did was complete 12 of his 17 passes for 257 yards and three TDs in a 59-0 rout of the Badgers. He followed it up with back-to-back victories over Alabama and Oregon as the Buckeyes secured a National Championship in the first ever College Football Playoff.
I was a freshman at Ohio State at the time, and I could not have been welcomed to Columbus with a better football season. While the magic of Cardale Jones didn’t last for all that long, he forever cemented his legacy with the program in that ridiculous three-game stretch. Happy Birthday, 12-gauge.
Now let’s get to today’s headlines!
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Ohio State five-star RB commit set to visit for ‘Buckeye Bash’
(Dan Hessler, LGHL)
Official visits have been put on hold with the recruiting dead period extended through the end of this year, but that isn’t stopping Ohio State commits from organizing their own meet-up. A bunch of future Buckeyes are planning on heading down to Columbus on Oct. 24 as part of a player-led initiative that is being called Buckeye Bash, where they will watch the season opener against Nebraska from somewhere on or near campus.
Buckeye Clips: NFL Week 3 highlights
(Gene Ross, LGHL)
The NFL is racking up injuries at an alarming rate, and another few Buckeyes fell victim to the injury bug this weekend, including Chase Young and Denzel Ward — although neither guy appears to be in danger of missing significant time. On a more positive note, Jeff Okudah recorded his first career NFL interception, Joey Bosa bulldozed an offensive lineman, and Sam Hubbard picked up his first sack of the year.
From around the gridiron...
On Tuesday we got to hear from wide receivers coach Brian Hartline as well as a few of Ohio State’s wideouts. Hartline was the first to speak, and he talked about the embarrassment of riches the Buckeyes have at the position group. While guys are still working out at the same spots they were in spring, they are not set in stone as to who will specifically line up at the X, Y and Z spots just yet.
Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline meeting with the media this afternoon.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 29, 2020
On his depth at wide receiver: “I'd argue that we're as close to three-deep as ever.” Said he has no qualms about moving receivers between positions if it gets the best players on the field. pic.twitter.com/xLcd8NxW5I
One great story to follow heading into the season is that of wide receiver Kamryn Babb, who after numerous injuries to begin his Ohio State career is now healthy and looking good in practice.
Hartline calls Kamryn Babb “a special individual” and it’s great to see him out there catching footballs and making plays after the injuries the last two years.— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) September 29, 2020
In terms of Chris Olave, who we will get to shortly, Hartline said he never even really thought of opting out this season even if Ohio State did not get to play this fall.
Wide receiver Chris Olave said he would have returned to Ohio State had the fall season remained canceled. “That's a guarantee,” he said. Olave didn’t want his last play in college to be from the Fiesta Bowl.— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) September 29, 2020
Hartline lauded the work of many of the guys in his crowded wide receiver room, including the growth of Jameson Williams, the consistency of freshman Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Garrett Wilson’s seamless transition to the slot. Also, he alluded to Ryan Day potentially having some ideas for Demario McCall — a guy many Ohio State fans have been waiting a long time to see play a role in this offense.
At the end of the day, Hartline says that the guys who exhibit the most consistency will get the bulk of the playing time in games.
Brian Hartline said the wide receivers who are the most consistent in practice are the players who will most likely see the most playing time in games. Wants to be able to rely on receivers to do the right things both as pass-catchers and in other areas of the game.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 29, 2020
Olave was the first wide receiver to speak on Tuesday, and he talked about how hard it was to get over that final play in the Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson. At times during quarantine, he would go work out two to three times a day to get his mind off it. Olave says he still hasn’t really fully gotten over it, and he is coming into this season with a chip on his shoulder.
Chris Olave on the Fiesta Bowl interception: "When I found myself getting bored and I was going through it, I just went and worked out." He says he was working out two or three times a day.— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) September 29, 2020
He says he still hasn't gotten over it. "I still got that chip on my shoulder."
Wilson was up next, and he talked about how watching K.J. Hill play the slot last year was big for him, and how he likes watching guys like the Packers’ Davante Adams because he is someone who can play both outside and in the slot.
Both he and Olave said they are excited to put on pads tomorrow, as Sept. 30 marks the first day the team will move to fully padded practices this offseason.
Both Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave and are looking forward to putting pads on and starting real football tomorrow.— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) September 29, 2020
Jameson Williams was next at the podium, and like Olave before him, he had high praise for Justin Fields and the work he has put in to make himself and the team better. Personally, Williams said he more focused on everything this year, and has been putting together film of NFL receivers to help make himself a more complete player.
Jameson Williams on Justin Fields: "Everything with Justin is different. He's become a football gym rat."— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) September 29, 2020
McCall was the last guy to speak, and he said it has been frustrating to not find a consistent role at Ohio State to this point in his career. It has only added more fuel to his fire and provided him extra motivation for his last season in Columbus.
Demario McCall said he just wants to a find a role in the offense. That can be at receiver or in the backfield. “I’m a role player."— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) September 29, 2020
Shifting gears from today’s press conference, BIA > DBU.
DBU? Most Defensive Backs drafted since 2000:— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) September 29, 2020
32 - Ohio State
25 - Alabama
25 - LSU
24 - Florida
24 - Miami
24 - Virginia Tech
20 - FSU
19 - Clemson
19 - Notre Dame
19 - USC
18 - Georgia
18 - Texas
17 - Penn State
16 - Iowa
16 - Nebraska
16 - Oklahoma
16 - SCAR
16 - Utah
Move over, Dos Equis guy. Harry Miller is the most interesting man in the world.
The content you never knew you needed...but you're getting anyway.— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) September 29, 2020
Offensive lineman & 4.0 student @h_miller76 breaks down the science of time & entropy in the blockbuster movie Tenet. ⏱⏳ pic.twitter.com/yiWr4lar5K
From everywhere else...
It is no surprise to anyone that Kerry Coombs — who I'm pretty sure is made up of 100 percent caffeine — is a big fan of National Coffee Day.
* insert Bugs Bunny cutting Florida off the map of the US meme *
We really need to just saw Florida off and let it float away https://t.co/vzSFa1f957— Connor Lemons (@lemons_connor) September 29, 2020
Yet another COVID cancellation this week, this time in the Sun Belt.