Established October 31, 1996
Advertisements Disabled
Advertisements Disabled

More Football

Popular Links

Ozone Links
Buckeye Football Notebook: 'That's something that I've got to be more aware of'
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — Mike Weber (No. 2) and Curtis Samuel (No. 7) are both in the Top 10 in the B1G in rushing yards per game. They also have fewer carries than anybody else in the Top 10 (Weber 54; Samuel 32).

Clearly, they have both been effective in doing what they have been asked to do. That effectiveness is why there is no real pecking order when it comes to who is running the ball for the Buckeyes.

"We don’t have it set up that way," running backs coach Tony Alford explained. "It just comes down to what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to establish. If this guy fits with a particular play or set then that’s who we’ll use. It’s not like we’re going to use him first, him second, we don’t approach it that way."

Where there is a bit of a pecking order right now, however, is with the two freshman tailbacks Demario McCall and Antonio Williams. McCall played in the first two games, while it looks like like Williams will end up redshirting.

What is it about McCall that has him ahead of Williams at this point?

"Demario has some explosive features about him," Alford said. "That’s not to say that Antonio can’t play, he’s going to be a good player too. They’re both still young, have a lot to learn about the college game and the rigors of the day in and day out, but they’re getting better both of them. Demario is the faster, more explosive kid right now."

For several reasons, this is going to be an interesting matchup this weekend. Yes, you have Urban Meyer going against one of his former assistants, but you also have a Rutgers offense and defense that, in principle, is virtually a mirror image of Ohio State's offense and defense.

While that puts both coaching staffs a bit ahead of the game in terms of preparation, it also puts them behind the eight ball because they have to figure out how to make themselves different enough to have success in this game. They have to eliminate as much familiarity as possible, while still being true to what they do.

"There’s some familiarity, but I’m sure Chris (Ash) will have some wrinkles and do what he does," Alford said. "Right now it’s just us, making sure we worry about us getting better every week."

While at its most base, "focusing on self" is the right answer in almost every situation like this. Familiarity may breed contempt, but in football it also needs to breed execution.

"At the end of the day we’ve got to go out and play," Alford said, downplaying Ash's knowledge of what Ohio Sate does on offense. "Guys have to go out and make plays and you’ve got to put your guys in position to make plays. Really it comes down to the training and just go make plays. Go play this game. Let's not make it more complicated than what it is. You coach your players and now they’ve got to go make plays."

After three games, Buckeye quarterback J.T. Barrett has 39 carries, which ranks No. 16 for most rushing attempts in the B1G. It's the same number as Michigan starting tailback De'Veon Smith, who has played in one more game than Barrett. Those 39 carries are also seven more than Curtis Samuel.

This week, Barrett was asked if his coaches had begun talking to him about trying to minimize injury while running with the ball.

"That’s something that is starting to come up a little bit being that we’re getting to the meat of the season," he said. "That’s something that I’ve got to be more aware of and keep that on my mind because I think I do a pretty good job of getting down, but there’s also some hits that I probably don’t need to take."

The Buckeye defense began rotating cornerbacks in the spring, which isn't all that unusual when you're trying to get young players a bit of experience. Then they did it in fall camp as well and it began to look like Kerry Coombs' dream of rotating cornerbacks in the actual games would be coming true. After three games of this rotation, it is obviously working pretty very well.

After playing over 1,000 snaps last season, Gareon Conley is currently on pace for just over half of that this season. Heck, if he has his way, Coombs would like to lower those projections even more by adding another cornerback into the rotation.

"Actually we had hoped for Damon Arnette to play a little bit more," he said. "Of course he’s playing snaps at nickel, but he’s played corner and he’s going to play more. He’s a very capable player. Again, we rotate defensive linemen and nobody ever asks about it, and I know it’s unusual at our position, but it’s only because we’ve been able to recruit and develop some really, really talented kids."

* * * * *
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) 1996-2020 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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

Advertisements Disabled