Kevin Wilson and his Indiana football team will be looking for a 2-0 start in the Big Ten when travel to Columbus tomorrow to take on Ohio State at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 EDT and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Peegs.com caught up with Tim Moody from Buckeye Sports to get the latest on an OSU team team that comes in with a 4-0 record overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten.
1) To say the Ohio State offense is playing well would be the understatement of the year. Talk about what makes this unit so outstanding and so difficult to stop. Talk about the play of J.T. Barrett and who the top play-makers are for the Buckeyes?
J.T. Barrett has obviously be incredible this season, and throughout much of his career. He's not Ohio State's top playmaker, though. That'd be H-back Curtis Samuel. Right now, he's on pace to have more than 1,000 yards rushing and receiving, which is pretty much unprecedented. Everything starts with Barrett, though, and he's got the mind to keep the offense running smoothly. Samuel is the biggest playmaker, but after that you have to watch for Mike Weber to run the ball. He's been close to dominant this season as a redshirt freshman.
2) Even though it has been rare what have been the issues for the OSU offense when they have not been able to move the ball? What is the best way to slow them down (if there is one)?
So far, we haven't seen what happens when Ohio State is forced to throw the ball. The Buckeyes have had their way on the ground in every game this season, meaning there's very little pressure on Barrett to make plays through the air. His best traits are his ability to run the offense, and his decision making in the read option. He's missed badly on a few throws this year, but he's never really been in a situation where mistakes have cost the Buckeyes. Stopping the run is definitely the key for any team facing Ohio State.
3) As good as the offense is the defense might be even better. Who are the names to know on that side of the ball and what makes them such an outstanding unit?
It's hard to single out anyone on defense. Middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan is probably the best player on that side of the ball, but the defensive backfield has been incredibly impressive. Gareon Conley is a future early-round draft pick at corner – probably this coming spring – and Marshon Lattimore (CB) and Malik Hooker (S), along with the third corner, Denzel Ward, have all been outstanding so far this year. The three cornerbacks rotate pretty evenly, which keeps their legs fresh. That's probably been the key to the defense this year.
4) When the defense has allowed an opposing offense to get going a little bit what was the formula? What is the best way to attack them?
I'm not sure throwing the ball a ton is the best plan against Ohio State – the Buckeyes already have nine interceptions this year – but running hasn't proven to be much easier. Getting the quarterback moving around outside the pocket might be the best plan of attack.
5) Talk about the Ohio State special teams and how they played so far this season. Who are the names to know on that unit?
Cam Johnston is the best punter I've seen, so he is probably the highlight of OSU's special teams. The kicker, Tyler Durbin, is in his first season actually playing football and he's untested. I don't think Ohio State would want things to come down to a field goal. The return game is OK, with Dontre Wilson as the main threat, but the Buckeyes' haven't broken a big one this year. On kick coverage, Eric Glover-Williams and Rashod Berry are freak athletes who make an impact. Berry is a big defensive end who runs down with DBs on the coverage unit. You don't get that often, if ever.