Shiny Stars and His Guy Friday
Hopefully you can hear me over the howling by Patriot haters in the media and public. If those folks want to complain about one-sided officiating deciding a big game, I suggest they look up the name Bill Levy and watch Super Bowl XL. Be careful, you might come away traumatized. Lotsa stuff happened in the last few days, here’s my take on it all.
A total of five newly ex-Buckeyes played in the two all-star games on Saturday. J.T. Barrett, Chris Worley and Damon Webb in the East-West Shrine Game in St.Petersburg, Florida, while Marcus Baugh and Michael Hill showed off their skills in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl played at the Rose Bowl. Here is a quick take on each:
Barrett: He went only 5 out of 12 for 69 yards and and a touchdown. He also had a fumble returned for a touchdown (by a Wisconsin Badger no less) and he was the victim of two drops, one of which would have kept a last-minute drive alive. While many feel he has improved as a passer since early in the season, he still has work to do, but what scouts are impressed with after being around him for the week are his character and leadership skills. He was given the Pat Tillman Award by the Shrine Game, which is for “the player who best exemplifies intelligence, sportsmanship, and service, on and off the field.” Barrett did nothing but help himself last week.
Worley: Led all defensive players in the game with 8 tackles. Overran a few plays, but showed an ability to be around the ball and twice fought through blocks to make a tackle. Scouts came away impressed with him in practices (most leave before the game is even played) and he, like Barrett, did nothing but help himself.
Webb: Throughout the week of practice, he received more attention from the scouts than Barrett or Worley. At times there were as many as 10 crowded around him after workouts. Webb wanted to show his versatility and was able to do so by lining up closer the line of scrimmage than he had during his time with the Buckeyes. He looked comfortable covering the slot receiver and showed no fear in run support taking on a blocker and blowing up a play late in the game.
Baugh: Was thrown to only twice, but made a nifty catch on a ball that had been tipped and changed trajectory. Spent most of his playing time doing his usual good job blocking. He still strikes me as being raw and seems to have a very high ceiling. It will be interesting to see if his draft stock rises if he has a couple of good pre-draft workouts. I can see him making whoever drafts him very happy someday.
Hill: Showed some quickness off the ball and the ability to be disruptive at times early on, but seemed to wear down as the game progressed and was moved off the ball rather easily in the fourth quarter. His big moment came when he put a good shot on Michigan’s John O’Korn (yes, you read that correctly, John O’Korn played in an all-star game) just as the former Wolverine released the ball. I’m going to say Hill goes undrafted and signs as a free agent, but is a longshot to make an NFL roster.
His Guy Friday
Urban Meyer got his “guy Friday”, Tyler Friday that is. The defensive end from Dom Bosco Prep in New Jersey is an important get for the Buckeyes because it gives them three commitments at a position that is losing a ton of talent. Friday was considered to leaning heavily towards Michigan for most of the recruiting cycle, but once the Buckeyes offered him a spot, he jumped at the chance to join them.
With two weeks remaining until signing day, Meyer and his staff are working hard to close out a supremely talented class, one which, once again, sits atop the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings. They hosted a couple of high-profile recruits this weekend (including the country’s number four offensive tackle) and could be closing in on a commitment from one of the top linebackers in Ohio, Christopher Oats from Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati.
I Hope He Likes Country Music
Former Buckeye player and assistant coach Mike Vrabel is headed to Nashville where he has been named the new head coach of the Tennessee Titans. Vrabel spent three seasons as an assistant at Ohio State before moving onto the Houston Texans where he eventually became the defensive coordinator. He was a defensive lineman on the Buckeyes’ 1996 Rose Bowl team and won three Super Bowl rings while playing for the New England Patriots.
For a few days it looked as if Ohio State co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day might be leaving to take the offensive coordinator job under Vrabel. I thought the chance to work with a young talent like Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariotta might be too good for Day to turn down, but Day is not only staying, he’s been given a promotion to offensive coordinator and, according to Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, he will take over the play calling duties. Day’s decision is a big one for the Buckeyes; the young quarterbacks rave about him and he has already proved to be an outstanding recruiter.
*****UPDATE-Kerry Coombs is leaving Ohio State, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports. Coombs is the co-defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator, but is best known as the Buckeyes' defensive backs coach, who has produced four first round draft picks and will have a fifth this spring when Denzel Ward is chosen. His enthusiasm on the field is unmatched and is one of Urban Meyer's best recruiters. He was rivals.com's Recruiter of the year for 2017, so his departure is a blow for the Buckeyes on and off the field.
A couple of ex-Buckeyes will have the chance to add another Super Bowl ring to their fingers. Malcolm Jenkins earned a ring as a member of the New Orleans Saints in 2010 and hopes to get a second when his Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots and ex-Buckeye Nate Ebner in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis on February 4th. Ebner already has two rings during his time with the Patriots, but has been on IR with a knee injury since November 27th and will miss the game (players on IR still receive championship rings).
T&T Buckeye Blog Football Tip
When you’re watching a game and a fumble occurs, pay attention to which arm the player was carrying the ball. A ball carrier should have the ball in his “outside” arm, the arm closest to the sideline. I know many coaches don’t care which arm a player carries the ball in, but many
fumbles occur because a player has the ball in his “inside” arm. This makes it easy for a defensive player to try to strip or reach in and pry it away. A perfect example of this happened in the Patriots-Jaguars AFC Championship game when Jacksonville’s Myles Jack took the ball away from Dion Lewis. If Lewis carries the ball in his outside arm, Jack never has a chance to create a turnover. Watch for this during games and you’ll begin to notice how many fumbles happen because the player carries the ball in the wrong arm.
How Can You Not Love Him
I want to close out the second edition of my blog with a picture of this helmet J.T. Barrett signed over the weekend. Something like this has to make even the staunchest of his “haters” love him. Take a close look at how he signed it. I hope Jimmy Wolverine can read his writing. Gotta love this.