Established October 31, 1996
Advertisements Disabled
Advertisements Disabled

More Football

Ozone Links
Ten Things We Learned from Ohio State's 49-7 Win Over Rutgers
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — Is there even anything left to learn about the 2015 Buckeyes? Well, considering that they appear to be picking up steam over the last few weeks, I would think there is plenty yet to learn.

So what did we learn on Saturday night? Let's take a look.

1. The Ohio State offense is back.

I kept telling people leading up to the game that it would be a little obvious to expect the Buckeye offense just to pick up and explode like last season just because J.T. Barrett stepped in, but that's pretty much what happened. Barrett played just three quarters and two snaps in the fourth quarter, but he led Ohio State to seven touchdown drives, and there's little doubt that if Urban Meyer was so inclined that the Buckeyes could have added a couple more scores as well.

If you would like, you can also add Barrett's fumble at the Rutgers 20-yard line on OSU's first possession. Ohio State left at least three touchdowns on the field, and this was against a team that gave Michigan State everything they could handle. There is still room to get better, but the staff did a great job of picking guys that they wanted to get involved. At one point it was almost as if they were simply handing out touchdowns.

"Okay, let's let Curtis Samuel get this one because it's been a while for him."

And then two plays later J.T. Barrett is throwing down the sideline to a wide open Curtis Samuel.

At any rate, this looks like the offense that we remembered from times past. Barrett froze safeties with his eyes, and then later froze linebackers with his legs. Defensive coordinators hate having to prepare for this offense with Barrett at quarterback, so why not continue making them miserable?

2. Joshua Perry makes a very big difference to this defense.

It's unfair to be too critical of Dante Booker for losing leverage a couple of times against Penn State because he was thrust into his first significant action ever. However, when Joshua Perry is in the game those same issues just don't come up that much. That's what happened on Saturday night at Rutgers, as Perry helped the Buckeyes hold the RU running game to 104 yards rushing on 29 carries (3.6 ypc).

There were still a couple of big runs as Paul James had a 25-yarder and Robert Martin added a run of 19 yards. On Rutgers' 22 other runs by tailbacks, however, the Knights rushed for just 63 yards (2.9 ypc). Perry adds a level of calm and expertise to the defense that is missing when he's not out there. Dante Booker will be fine next time, but he is just a sophomore, and really no different than Joshua Perry when Perry was a sophomore. Repetition is the key, and Booker got some key reps recently, but nothing replaces a talented senior.

3. The lack of depth in the secondary is the biggest concern right now.

The passing game looks okay, the running game looks good, the offensive line is coming together, the defensive line has rotated bodies successfully all season long, the two deep at linebacker is as good as it's been in a while, but the secondary cannot take anymore hits.

At this point the loss of Vonn Bell would probably be more devastating to the Buckeyes than the loss of J.T. Barrett or Ezekiel Elliott, and now you're cussing at me for even mentioning anything of this nature.

It wasn't until very late in this game that the Buckeyes went completely to the bench and it led to the only touchdown that Rutgers scored. The Buckeyes only have three scholarship safeties who can play at this point, which is a terrible position to be in with upwards of seven games remaining. The No. 3 cornerback is redshirt freshman Marshon Lattimore, and everyone else behind him is a true freshman.

Remember how completely devastated Urban Meyer looked after losing Christian Bryant in the Wisconsin game in 2013? There was nobody comparable behind him and that could end up plaguing the Buckeyes again in 2015. Ohio State has lost both of their second-team safeties, and with starting nickel back/No. 3 cornerback Damon Webb out as well, they have stretched Lattimore pretty thinly. He will be better off for it next year, but he needs to hold up right now as well.

If the Buckeyes can stay healthy, then they have enough on the roster to make due, but there is no other alternative.

4. The lack of a deep threat for OSU has been overblown since day one.

You know what's better than having one deep threat? Having four. That's what Ohio State has right now in Curtis Samuel, Jalin Marshall, Braxton Miller and Michael Thomas.

Against Penn State, the OSU coaches on offense said that the Nittany Lions were taking away the deep ball and so they didn't call for it much, and when they did call for it, Cardale Jones didn't let it go. I don't know if Rutgers tried to take away the deep ball against the Buckeyes on Saturday night, but if they did, it didn't work. One week after not completing a pass longer than 21 yards against Penn State, J.T. Barrett completed passes for 30 and 45 yards downfield to Curtis Samuel and Braxton Miller, respectively.

Despite the loss of Devin Smith, the Buckeyes still have plenty of talent at receiver, as proven by the fact that they can lose Noah Brown, Corey Smith, Dontre Wilson, Parris Campbell and Torrance Gibson and still go to guys down the field when necessary.

5. Michael Thomas is one of the very best WRs at OSU in the last 20 years.

I was wondering today where Michael Thomas would fit among the best Ohio State receivers in the last 20 years, and I could only definitely put him behind David Boston, who is still the best OSU receiver of all time in my opinion. The thing is, and I know I've said this before, but Thomas reminds me so much of Boston in the way he makes defenders miss on the sideline that I may have to put Thomas at No. 2 on my list. I think I would go with Santonio Holmes at No. 2 if I had to put this list together, but I would be torn on No. 3 for sure, and I can make an argument for Thomas there very easily.

I wonder what kind of numbers Thomas could put up in an offense that only had him and maybe a running back and a complementary receiver. In a 15 game schedule he could have 100 catches and 1,600 yards receiving. He is a complete pass catcher who can move the chains on third down, or get open deep, or take a quick out, ditch a cornerback and outrun a defense for a 50-yard touchdown. He blocks, he's strong, he's big and fast. He's a rare combination and you've got maybe seven more games to watch him in the Scarlet and Gray.

Read 6-10 on Page 2
* * * * *
To Contribute by mail Make checks and mail to:
Ozone Communications, LLC
1351 King Avenue, Ste 100B
Columbus, Ohio 43212

Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Contribute to the-Ozone.

(c) 1996-2019 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, rebroadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Advertisements Disabled