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Nebraska vs Ohio State: Knowing More About the Buckeyes

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You need to know more about this team we’re playing today.

Oklahoma v Ohio State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

I got hold of Alexis Chassen from our sister site for Ohio State, LandGrantHolyLand, to find out more about the Buckeyes. After I asked, I’m not 100% sure I really wanted to know.

Ohio State spent the entire offseason blaming Tim Beck for last year’s offense. This year, the Buckeyes showed a lot of the same problems, at least early on, and offensive woes cost them the Oklahoma game. What was the problem early in the year?

It seemed like a combination of a quarterback lacking confidence and a new offensive coordinator and quarterback coach who had to learn to adjust to game-time J.T. Barrett. He’s got a lot more weapons in terms of receivers compared to last season, but they didn’t do him any favors the first couple of games with a large number of drops.

The offense appears to have worked out its problems in the past few games, scoring 54 against UNLV, 56 against Rutgers, and 62 against Maryland. Has the offense really worked out its problems, or was the competition horrible?

The competition may not have been the best, but it gave Ohio State’s offense some time to experiment with different schemes. The stats show the Buckeyes tend to throw first, and rely on their rushers on 3rd and 4th downs, which is something that has shifted as the weeks have gone on.

Another boost to the passing game is the rush attack. The Buckeyes welcomed back Mike Weber after a lingering hamstring injury kept him limited the first three weeks of the season. With Weber in the backfield, alongside true freshman J.K. Dobbins, Barrett has more options than he knows what to do with. He’s improved the past few weeks in making all of his check downs and worst case scenario is one of the better rushing QBs in the college football.

Who is Ohio State’s best receiver? Is there a stand out, or will the Buckeyes do this by committee for the rest of the season?

There have been a couple of guys who have started to take the lead in terms of top target, but for the most part the deep threats include K.J. Hill and Binjimen Victor, with Parris Campbell making the most of his short receptions with impressive runs after the catch. Hill and Victor have the height most defenses disdain, and Campbell’s burst after catch is nearly impossible to stop. I haven’t even mentioned Terry McLaurin or Johnnie Dixon yet, so they’re likely to finish the year out by spreading the ball around.

What is the overall expectation for this year’s team? Is it the same every year - reach the College Football Playoff or bust?

While it’d be easy to say that Ohio State fans expect the Buckeyes to play in the College Football Playoff every year, that isn’t entirely accurate. We might be a bunch of homers, but we tend to be somewhat realistic. That being said…this is one of those years that should include a postseason run for a championship. This is J.T. Barrett’s final season at the helm and the last season the Buckeyes boast a veteran QB and veteran center (Billy Price) and is expected to be back to “reloading” in 2018. Ohio State is currently ranked No. 1 in the S&P+ (over Alabama) so it could happen.

How many NFL players will be drafted off this year’s Buckeye team?

Before the season started, draft Twitter was looking at about 18-20 players from this year’s Ohio State team heading to the NFL. Honestly, that sounds like a lot to me – especially considering the record-setting haul we sent to the draft in 2014. But that’s what they say.

While obviously, not all of them would be drafted – or even end up on a final roster – some of them could hear their name called in among the seven rounds. Realistically, I could see 7-8 guys getting drafted, but 12 players at least invited to OTAs.

Can your corners and safeties catch the ball?

/weeping

After having secondary players taken in the first round of the past few drafts, the Ohio State corners and safeties should not be good. Unfortunately (for opponents) Urban Meyer and his crew are some of the best recruiters in the country and have a guy just waiting in the wings for a shot. So, yes. The Buckeye corners and safeties can catch – although it did take them a few weeks to snag their first Pick-6 of the season… so, there’s that! Plus, we don’t have Malik Hooker anymore, so that should help too.

Prediction?

Ohio State 42, Nebraska 14 -- and Tanner Lee commits three turnovers, one returned for a score.

[Jon: ouch. In 11 years of doing this I think that has to be the most lopsided prediction I have ever seen.]