Zach Smith (Scout)

Bank Bag: OSU Post-Spring Game Part-III

Ohio State has concluded spring football, and the Buckeye staff will hit the road during the evaluation period. Bill Greene is here to answer questions from BSB subscribers on this and any other issues.

peeblesbuck: I know you've stated on multiple occasions that you feel OSU will go undefeated and win the NCAA Championship this coming year. Do they have the studs in place to make it two or even three in a row?

BG: Man, that is so darn hard to win one, that it's impossible to start calling for two or three in a row. Ohio State probably has to get to the point where they own the Big Ten East, and go undefeated against the others in the division, to almost guarantee they get to the Big Ten title game. If you get one title every ten years or so, you are elite. Other than Alabama. 

DukeFan43: You mentioned before the spring that there was a lot of dead weight in the TE room, implying the three freshmen weren't performing. Have they "righted" the ship? Urban has said on multiple occasions that it's the most improved unit but he has a way of using the press to motivate and play games with the team.

BG: You really can't go by his statements at all. For me, I need to see it. Baugh has been an underachiever. Alexander is OK. I have heard better about Farrell, and I do like Hausmann, but I'm not sure Hawkins can cut it. I think they need two in this class, and I think they're getting Jeremy Ruckert. 

DukeFan43: You seem pretty convinced Mike Weber is going pro, but he doesn't seem like anything more than a late round pick to me. Am I missing something here? 1000 yards is impressive, but in this offense players like Jordan Hall were on pace to gain >1000 yards.

BG: The shelf life for runningbacks is so short that starting two years at Ohio State should be enough to show the NFL exactly who you are. I know he WANTS to be out after this year, but he needs to keep progressing as a player. To come back and take hits for free for another year probably isn't what he wants to do, and the recent history at Ohio State shows that when it's close between going or staying, they almost always go. 

mancow3: Bank, What is the first Buckeye game that can remember? Who was your biggest influence growing up that helped create your love for the Buckeyes?

BG: My first OSU memory is when they upset Purdue in 1968. I was a kid and that game has always stuck in my memory, with Jack Tatum helping them take down Mike Phipps and LeRoy Keyes. I never was that wacked-out, crazy fan that most of my friends were. I just love college football, and always have. I've always been more of a lover of the game than a lover of a team. In all sports. 

DukeFan43: Jack vs Tiger, both in the prime of their career. Who you taking? 

BG: You couldn't go wrong with either, and they're going to be ranked one or two by everyone. To me, championships matter. Just like in team sports. The majors are the titles people care about. And 18 tops 14. Period. Jack also finished second 19 times in majors, to Tiger's 6. Jack had 48 top-3 finishes in majors, blowing Tiger away here as well. There are other stats that would favor Tiger, but I'm not all that interested in the Motorola Western Open. 

BuckeyeNatural: How many DB's does OSU take this cycle? How many CB's to Safety's? How does the CB rotation work this year? Do you think they do a 3 man rotation outside again like last year? How much does Okudah and Wade play? and who gets most of the nickel back reps? Does McCall stay at RB or does he move over to H-Back come fall? How about KJ Hill? Does he stay at H-Back or do they move him outside come fall? Who do you think wins the starting OG spot? How many rushing yards do you think Weber finishes the year with? How many passing and how many rushing yards does JT finish the year with?

BG: I think they will take four DB's in this class. I think Sheffield and Ward are the starters, with Arnette at the nickel. I could see Wade and Okudah challenging to get in the rotation, much like Ward did last year. Those two can play either corner or safety, so they should both be in the mix. I think McCall stays at RB for now, because they have Campbell and Hill playing the slot. I think Burrell could be the one standing if Knox doesn't solve his issues, and Pridgeon doesn't get better. I would think Weber should be similar to last year, and 1,000-1,200 should be expected. I would think he gets over 3,000 passing yards this coming season, and runs for around 500 yards. Those should be the stats he's HOPING for too, LOL. 

EncyclopedicBuck: I know you picked OSU to go all the way and win a title in 2017, but by watching the spring game I simply did not see a national championship team out there. But, in fairness, it was very, very difficult to even tell when the game was basically touch football. I wanted to see some action--QB's running for their life, solid tackling, the DL in the quarterback's face forcing errant throws, and so-on, but I know I was dreaming, especially when a week(?) earlier Dan Mullen, Meyer's close friend and an assistant at 3 of his coaching stops, and Miss. State had to STOP their spring game after a huge and brutal hit on I think a running back. Meyer simply couldn't stop a spring game with 84,000 people attending, so he went with an extremely conservative approach. Urban had to do what he had to do, but spring games don't tell me anything and simply no longer excite me.

Tell me, what did you see out there last Sat.? Is this a national championship-winning team in '17?

It looked like the same JT; RB is a big ? other than Weber; Burrow and Haskins have much better arms than Barrett; the DL will be dominant, while I hope the OL is much better than last season; there were a few of the same old dropsies by the wideouts, although they looked really good for the most part and need to avoid the injury bug; and the DB's got burnt a few times, so they need to improve, but they lost a huge chunk of their unit to the NFL Draft. The LB unit will be decent, but I wasn't watching them that much in this game for some reason.

BG: The spring games are NEVER good evaluation days. Never. There are things you can take away, like Johnnie Dixon, Malik Barrow and Justin Hilliard being healthy enough to compete. If you're going in person, you hope for good weather and a great day out with the family. Not much more, to be honest. Alabama had their spring game Saturday and I watched about three minutes before turning it off. Unless you're a die-hard fan, there's nothing to see with these things. I was prepared to do my usual game breakdowns, but the two-hand tap made that unnecessary. I do not blame Meyer or OSU for the approach, because he is responsible for his team. Period. 

BG: J.T. Barrett will be judged very quickly on who he is under Kevin Wilson, the first game on the road at Indiana and then back home for Oklahoma. There really was nothing that happened last week that can tell us anything about next season, good or bad. Of course Burrow and Haskins have better arms than Barrett. That should not be a surprise. The hope has to be that Kevin Wilson's coaching takes J.T. Barrett and the entire offense to levels they have not attained since 2014 under Tom Herman. The offense has been a mess since Urban started playing around with the QB's, going from Cardale to J.T. to Cardale to J.T. again. And taking over game-planning and play calling. My hope for an undefeated season rests on these great coordinators doing what they were hired to do. Schiano did that last year. Now it's Wilson's turn. I think they get it done. 

drewsus: Is Denzel Ward the next first round pick from the OSU secondary? Of the 5-star cornerback who does OSU have the best chance of landing? How closely are national recruits paying attention to the draft success from OSU's secondary over the past two years?  Why do kickers and punters max out at 3 stars on the recruiting services? Is it because it's too difficult to progress their transformation from HS to college? Having a great punter/kicker is such a weapon at the college level. You can't tell me that Cameron Johnston wasn't a 5-star player for OSU throughout his career. What is it like to play under and coach alongside Kevin Wilson? Is he in the Urban Meyer mold of of being incredibly demanding 24/7? Will Chase Young redshirt this year given the depth at the position? What do you see as the career trajectory for Zach Smith? Do you see him going to a lesser school to get his feet wet as an OC?

BG: 1- I love Denzel Ward and see him leaving after this season, probably a very high draft pick. 2- Anthony Cook. 3- These recruits DEFINITELY look at the NFL draft, and it might be the top selling point for them. 4- No clue on kickers and punters and their rankings. 5- I've been told that Kevin Wilson is very intense and very demanding, but that was as a head coach. He will need to be more of a teacher and less of a motivator at Ohio State. 6- Chase Young should be on the field this year, even with a stable of great DE's. They don't like to redshirt great talents. 7- Tough call on Zach Smith. I would think Urban will advise him on just what is best for his future in the coaching profession. It would seem like it's time to take on more responsibility, either at Ohio State or somewhere else. 

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