Every day for the entirety of the Ohio State football season, we will be asking and answering questions about the team, college football, and anything else on our collective minds of varying degrees of importance. If you have a question that you would like to ask, you can tweet us @LandGrant33 or if you need more than 280 characters, send an email HERE.
We, as Ohio State fans, have lived a fairly charmed college football life during the first six weeks of the seasons; never really tested, very little has gone; our quarterback is the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, and the team is increasingly looking like the top squad in the country.
While, there have been a few blips on the radar, earlier this week, we wanted to check in with fans to get their thoughts halfway through the season, and today we are checking in on what ya’ll had to say.
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Question 1: Other than C.J. Stroud, who has been the team’s first-half MVP?
I’m not gonna lie, this one kind of surprised me. It’s not that I don’t think that Tommy Eichenberg deserves the mid-season MVP honor, but I didn’t think that nearly half of Buckeye fans would pick him. I thought that the more dynamic play-makers would garner the most votes; honestly, I thought Rout Man Marv was going to be the consensus winner, but honestly, I am glad that Buckeye Nation went in the other direction.
The turnaround on defense has been pretty incredible through the first half of the season. And while, admittedly, the Buckeyes haven’t exactly played the challenging of offenses yet, the fact that OSU is currently No. 7 in total defense and passing defense and No. 15 in scoring defense and rushing defense is bordering on mind-boggling, and a lot of that is because of how much better the Buckeyes linebackers have been this season.
New defensive coordinator (and linebackers coach) Jim Knowles deserves a ton of credit, but so do the players. Eichenberg and Steele Chambers have become two of the best backers in the country and are completely changing what the ceiling is for this team this season.
So, kudos to you, LGHL readers for picking a totally appropriate, if not somewhat surprising selection for the first-half MVP.
Question 2: Other than Jaxon Smith-Njigba who do you think will have the biggest second-half breakout/turnaround?
I like where your heads are out with having two edge rushers in the top three, but I kind of think that those guys are who we think they are. Because of how athletic they are, both defensive ends will continue to get game-planned against by opposing offenses, limiting their abilities to make Chase Young-levels of negative plays, and, quarterbacks and offensive coordinators are going to do what they can in order to get the ball out as quickly as possible.
So, while I would love one of the edge guys to have a huge second half (I picked J.T. Tuimoloau to be a Heisman finalist), I don’t think that’s in the cards for a variety of reasons. Therefore, I have to look elsewhere for my selection, and how I generally think about these things is I look at a position that is going to get a ton of opportunities to prove itself and a talented guy who has underachieved or not competed thus far this season.
Through six games, the Buckeye cornerbacks have clearly been the weakest spot on the team. However, all of the coaches (and most media members and fans) have realized that their coverage has been good, it’s just that they have failed at the point of reception that has been lacking.
While Denzel Burke was not perfect as an emergency starting true freshman last season, he was demonstrably better in 2021 than he has been in 2022, so I am going with him to go with him. He has been injured dating back to fall camp with a myriad of maladies, so if over these two weeks without a game, he can rest up, get a bit more healthy, I think we could see a marked improvement from CB1 the rest of the way this season.
Question 3: On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being disastrous and 10 being perfect, how would you rate the first half of Ohio State’s season?
I appreciate you all being level-headed and not getting too amped up on this question. Well done, friends!