Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: What are you asking Santa to bring the Ohio State football team this Christmas?
Jami’s Take: Marvin Harrison, Jr. Superpowers against Georgia
How have you been? Is it cold at the North Pole? I can’t imagine it’s any colder than the time I jumped in Mirror Lake in sub-zero temperatures with snow falling. Not even an original Four Loko could keep me warm that night. Do you have Four Loko at the North Pole?
I have been extra good this year. I stood up for other schools’ players even when it was hard (Hendon Hooker and Blake Corum). I did not set my roommate’s bed on fire even though she went to M*chigan (but if you feel so inclined, please bring her a lump of coal). I only threw one thing at Jim Harbaugh’s televised face, a great improvement from the 17 things I threw last year.
And since I was so good, it would mean so much to me if you could bring me one present: A birthday rematch against TTUN.
Actually, I suppose that’s a really broad gift, so let me be more specific: So that we might beat Georgia on New Year’s Eve and so that I might attend a National Championship Game on my birthday just down the street from my house and so that we might have the chance for revenge and redemption against Michigan, I am asking you to please give Marvin Harrison, Jr. some superpowers in the game against Georgia.
Between the Bulldogs and the Buckeyes, this game is sure to be an offensive back-and-forth. Even though I will go to my grave angry that Stetson Bennett was a Heisman finalist when he is not even the strongest player on his own offense, there’s no question that the Bulldogs are a formidable opponent on that side of the ball. Plus, Georgia’s weakness all season has been their secondary. That means if OSU can capitalize on the talent of our wide receivers, that could be the key to a Buckeye victory.
Now surely, we know it will take more than just a strong pass game to win against Georgia. This is a great football team we’re playing, and the Buckeyes will have to fire on all cylinders if they’re to come away with a win. The defense will have to shut down Georgia’s game, our special teams has no room for error, and our run game will need to take off. BUT knowing that Georgia’s secondary is a weak spot for them, the Buckeyes need to exploit this and connect through the air early and often. C.J. Stroud will have a great opportunity to prove why he finished higher than Bennett in the Heisman rankings. And since I do not and cannot wish injuries upon human beings, Santa, a superstar performance from Marvin Harrison, Jr. on the receiving end could really help us out.
Mr. Harrison Jr. has a whopping 1,157 yards on 72 receptions this season, with 12 touchdowns and an average 16.1-yard gain on each reception. Against AP Top 25 teams, he’s gone for 361 yards in 22 receptions. And so, Santa, if you could help us out, we’re going to need him and Stroud to connect for many many yards on New Year’s Eve. I’m talking lights out.
If you can do this for us Santa, we’ll be sure to leave some Buckeye candies out for you. They stay fresh a lot longer than peaches, I can promise you that.
Say hi to Mrs. Claus and give the reindeer lots of pets for me. Have a safe trip next weekend. I can’t wait to see if Buckeye Nation made your Nice List.
Matt’s Take: A New Offensive Play-Calling Philosophy
Dear Mr. Claus,
As Jami said in her letter to Santa, the UGA defense has been excellent this season (and for the majority of Kirby Smart’s tenure), but when their relative weakness has been against passing attacks. We saw it against LSU in the SEC Championship game in which a pair of Bayou Bengals combined for 502 passing yards — albeit many of those because they were down by three touchdowns at halftime, they had to essentially abandon the running game.
Statistically, Ohio State has an elite passing attack, but I can’t shake the feeling that they have feasted on lesser competition and refused to take full advantage of their ridiculous conglomerate of talent, simply because the play-calling never seemed designed to highlight what they did best. Instead, Ryan Day appeared intent on forcing the dodecahedral peg into a very, very square hole.
So, my wish to you, Kris — can I call you, Kris? — is that you bring a brand new, shiny offensive philosophy down the chimney for Coach Day. It should involve short passes (but not bubble screens), crossing and mesh routes, north-and-south running plays, a little bit of holiday razzle-dazzle, some moving the pocket, and the well-timed deep bomb.
Far too often this season, it has felt that despite a two-time Heisman finalist quarterback and the best collection of receiving talent in the country, Day has tried to run to set up the pass, rather than the other way around. There should absolutely be a balance between the two in this new gift play-calling philosophy you are bringing, but instead of Urban Meyer’s outdated 250-250 goal, it should be something more akin to 350-150 (or even 400-100).
ESPN’s Bill Connelly highlights that Ohio State’s receivers are the best in the playoff at catching contested balls, so even if Georgia’s DBs are able to keep up with Marvin Harrison Jr., a healthy Emeka Egbuka, and a more surehanded Julian Fleming (can you bring him some more reliable hands/gloves for Christmas as well?), I would trust our guys to go and get it.
Been playing with @SportsInfo_SIS pass data for next week's big CFP preview.— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) December 13, 2022
* Ohio St dares you to test 'em deep, and UGA doesn't do that
* UGA: big guys in space
* TCU throws horizontally a LOT, and Michigan Ds that well
* Nobody goes deep like TCU
TO THE CHARLIE DAY CHART: pic.twitter.com/qCBqqK73Rm
I know that I have been very down on Ryan Day’s playcalling as of late, but I am thoroughly and completely open to being wrong if he can pull a rabbit out of his hat on New Year’s Eve. So, if you can bring him that new philosophy, I will be very happy and will be as good of a boy as I can possibly be all 2023.
Who has the right answer to today’s question?
This poll is closed
Jami: Marvin Harrison, Jr. Superpowers against Georgia
Matt: A New Offensive Play-Calling Philosophy