The entire conversation will be available in next week’s print issue of Buckeye Sports Bulletin, but here is a sneak preview with our thoughts on the playmakers that the Buckeyes have stockpiled and how they might be used next season.
Ryan Ginn: I learned that they are going to have a boatload of weapons and they can use them in a lot of different ways. I think when you see Curtis Samuel out there with the wide receiver and you’re like, “Wow, he can play wide receiver or running back. He can line up out wide.” Noah Brown can play the tight-end style “H” or wide receiver. Mike Thomas is the only guy who is really set, he’s going to be on the outside.
They can use Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson in a number of ways, they can pretty much use a mix and match lineup that can terrorize defenses. Then you get in to the factor of maybe different lineups may be suited to different quarterbacks or different situations like goal line versus a normal situation. When you get into package-type lineups, they could do some really interesting things. The amount of talent they have right now, it’s impossible to think about how recently they called them a clown show.
Blake Williams: It seemed like early in the Urban Meyer era they were trying guys out at different positions more to just find somebody who can play that position, sometimes forcing square pegs into round holes just to try to find a guy to fit that spot. Now they are moving guys around because they can. They are playing with the toys they have and trying to find the best way to get their best guys on the field. They didn’t move Curtis Samuel to “H” because they desperately needed an “H,” they have Marshall and Wilson, they moved him to “H” because, “Oh, he can also do this and that might make us better.” It’s not out of necessity.
Jeff Svoboda: It feels like they haven’t really missed on any of the skill guys they’ve gotten since they got here. They’ve had some guy get injured a little bit – James Clark and Johnnie Dixon got injured – but if you think about Ezekiel Elliott, Marshall, Samuel and even the Parris Campbell’s of the world they’ve hit on. They went from, “Boy the offense is fun at times but it’s pretty much Braxton left, Braxton right,” to how do you get all these guys on the field and get everybody touches? Does that prevent you from getting into a rhythm? Last year they had the certain number of guys who were going to be on the field and they got used to playing with each other and now you run the risk of , “OK, if I put this guy in this situation, he might be best at that, but would he be better if he was playing more plays and getting into a rhythm?”
RG: You know other teams are in trouble when Ohio State can go into Brooklyn and get Curtis Samuel and New Jersey and get Noah Brown and they are just as devastating as SEC guys. Everyone just assumed that Meyer would pluck guys out of Florida but he is winning with northern kids now. It’s incredible. The only thing that has stopped anyone so far is injuries.
Terry McLaurin was basically anonymous last year and he caught a touchdown in the spring game and it was a good catch. He beat Damon Webb. That’s what, their eighth-best option right now? That’s not a knock against him, that’s just the way it is.
BW: I think the two playmakers I don’t see coming out, I know they want to rotate, but Zeke obviously the one, two and three at running back as long as he stays healthy. And assuming he stays healthy I think Michael Thomas is the other guy who is penned in to that role and I don’t think he is going to get rotated in for as much as some other guys. After that I guess I don’t know if it could become a problem to have that many good guys. It’s a problem you would rather have. When asked what depth they developed after the spring game offensive coordinator Ed Warrinner said definitely wide receiver was where they made the most strides. There are some other spots where depth is a concern, but wide receiver isn’t one of them.
JS: And that’s a spot where they definitely needed to get better. It will be interesting. If you think about it you have six skill position spots, you have a quarterback, so whoever that is, you’ve going to have Zeke on the field, you’re probably going to have Michael Thomas and you are probably going to have Nick Vannett, so that gives you two guys to play with. One is generally an “H” and one is generally a full-fledged wideout, but it’s not like you can put all these guys on the field. If Samuel is on the field and Jalin moved out wide, that’s great but then Corey Smith isn’t on the field. If Corey Smith is on the field you can only play one of the other two guys and then where does the next guy go? That’s not counting Noah Brown or Dontre Wilson or Parris Campbell. There are real issues on this team and we are kind of discussing this like it’s an actual problem., but it will be really, really legitimately interesting to me to see how they use guys next year.