Throughout 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.
Believe it or not, Buckeye fans, but we are just over a week and a half away from the Cotton Bowl when your Ohio State Buckeyes will take on the Missouri Tigers. As the final game of the 2023 season approaches, we asked OSU fans for their thoughts on which players they were most looking forward to watching in the game and what they are hoping for the 2024 season in our weekly fan survey.
Below are their answers, and I threw in my thoughts on the topics as well. So, take a look at what your Buckeye brethren said, and if you want to throw in your two cents, hit up the comments at the bottom of the page.
Question 1: What non-quarterback are you most excited to see get additional playing time in the Cotton Bowl?
The top two answers on this one make a ton of sense to me because Buckeye fans want to know what the players that will potentially be the biggest weapons on offense next season look like. The thing is, we don’t actually know if they will be the biggest weapons next season, or how much they will actually play in the Cotton Bowl, which is while to say just 11 days out. Now, of course, the team might already know what TreVeyon Henderson, Emeka Egbuka, and Marvin Harrison Jr. are going to do for the Dec. 29 game against Missouri and for the 2024 season, but we don’t. And while I have absolutely no problem with that, it does make answering questions like this difficult.
Nonetheless, getting a better look at Dallan Hayden in a primary-back capacity would be great. He looked tremendous in his limited action this season — and last — and if Henderson does not return, I would be comfortable going into 2024 with him as RB1, especially if he has a great showing in the Cotton Bowl.
My answer to this question was C.J. Hicks. Alongside Sonny Styles, the linebacker came to Columbus with sky-high expectations in 2022, but has yet to see the field consistently. Despite that fact, the coaches have continued to talk him up, so I don’t think that he is on the path to being a bust. But, with Tommy Eichenberg off to the NFL, and the general consensus being that Steele Chambers has played his last game in an OSU uniform, this seems like the time for the former five-star recruit to grab his spot as a starting LB.
We know that Cody Simon will return in 2024, so unless Jim Knowles decides to change his scheme, there is a very real possibility that the starting linebackers will be Simon and Hicks. So, I would love to get a nice, long look at that duo in the bowl game.
Question 2: What is your biggest, actually possible roster/personnel Christmas wish for this Ohio State football team?
I have long been on the “Ryan Day Needs to Give Up Play-Calling Train,” so, for me, that is always going to be No. 1. I don’t actually have a preference if it’s Brian Hartline taking over, Justin Frye, or someone new to the staff, I simply continue to believe that it is imperative that the head coach passes those duties to someone else.
However, in terms of actual roster and personnel changes, I am of the opinion that Day needs to make some significant changes. My colleague Gene Ross has been all over the Parker Fleming fiasco, but I think OSU needs to make more changes than just that. I am of the opinion that Day needs to gratefully, graciously, and respectfully help transition all of the coaches remaining from the Urban Meyer era out of the program, except for Hartline.
Whether that is in the legendary Larry Johnson retiring, Tony Alford finding an offensive coordinator or head coaching job, or Corey Dennis getting a chance to be an OC, I believe that it is time for the staff to be 100% Day’s.
I know that all three of these men provided varying levels of continuity during the transition from Meyer to Day, and Johnson and Alford especially have been consummate professionals helping to lead incredibly productive units over the years; this is not to dismiss Dennis’ contributions, just that he doesn’t have the years under his belt that the other two do, and obviously the quarterbacks have been greatly impacted by Day’s involvement.
I am going to dive into my thoughts on the coaching staff in a longer article later this week, but between recruiting misses — especially significant, down-to-the-wire flips — and position groups not showing the progress that is needed, I think it would be beneficial for the program to start fresh-ish and bring in new voices and experiences.