Every Saturday before kickoff, tBBC staff corals all the reading material you need to get ready for the game. From our workings throughout the week to the internet beyond — here are the articles and media you need to get caught up on as you enjoy your Week 1 tailgate.
The college football Saturday always feels like Christmas at the end of August. If you’re like me, you attack this wonderful holiday like Brady Hoke attacks a buffet line. Quick to the punch, but savoring every single morsel throughout the whole afternoon.
There ain’t no stoppin’ here at The Buckeye Battle Cry. We’re going the full distance today, as we settle in to the best time of the year. Heck, even some of us, like Patrick, are off in the land of The Wire enjoying a nice lukewarm hangover crab cake.
At least Ohio State fans know the task in front of them with a good Navy team. Thank goodness the Buckeyes aren’t heading to the east coast to take on the likes of Omar — cause that dude will come for you tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that.
Everybody enjoy week one of the season! Let’s get you ready with this week’s links.
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Cleveland.com’s Doug Lesmerises did a great job earlier this week of breaking down the week one depth chart. Senior Steve Miller will get the start at Defensive End in place of the suspended Noah Spence.
There are seven positions where the OSU coaching staff has listed “Or” instead of labeling players as starters in backups. Which makes things fun for the opposing coaching staff — especially at the skill slots. Urban Meyer and company have Ezekiel Elliot, Curtis Samuel and Rod Smith all listed as possible starters in the backfield. At H-Back both Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson are listed as starters.
As expected the coaching staff will head into today still trying to find out who belongs as starters on the offensive line. At left guard Joel Hale and Billy Price are both listed as ones. Same goes for Jacoby Boren and Chad Lindsay.
On defense, the Bucks will most likely give equal time to Vonn Bell and Cam Burrows. Unless Bell sees some time on offense tomorrow (keep your eyes peeled). Tommy Schutt and Michael Bennett are also both listed as possible starters in week one on the defensive line.
Ohio State Injury Report
|Johnny Dixon||WR||Knee||Out for Season|
|Noah Spence||DL||Suspension||Out Indefinitely|
|Marson Lattimore||DB||Hamstring||Out for Season|
|Braxton Miller||QB||Shoulder||Out for Season|
|Dylan Thompson||DL||Knee||Out for Season|
|Kyle Berger||LB||ACL||Out for Season|
Ohio State Gameday Links
— John Kampf at the News-Herald says the Buckeyes need to focus on rush defense despite their new pass heavy defensive scheme.
The Buckeyes worked on a more aggressive defensive front seven and implemented a press-coverage style in the backfield to keep opposing offenses from throwing the ball all over the field like they did at the end of last season.
So what does Ohio State get for its offseason full of revamping?
The Navy Midshipmen, masters of the virtually pass-less Wishbone offense.
“It’s kind of ironic,” OSU defensive back Armani Reeves said. “Because you work so hard since the offseason, going into the season, doing press-man. You’re expecting a spread team and, all of a sudden, you get the triple-option.”
— Patrick Maks at The New York Times looks at how the Buckeyes will overcome the season ending injury Braxton Miller suffered before the start of the season. Maks also shares the feelings of local sports anchor Beau Bishop on the injury.
Meyer is doing his best to turn Miller’s injury into a rallying point for the team.
“Coach came in the other day, and he talked to us about, when a guy drops his rifle, we got to pick it up and move forward,” the senior linebacker Curtis Grant said last week.
Meyer said: “The quarterback’s an important cog, but that’s exactly what it is — it’s a cog. It’s not the team.”
Yet Miller was not any ordinary quarterback, and the Buckeyes were not supposed to be any ordinary team, even with question marks at just about every position outside the defensive line and, well, quarterback.
“The mood of the people in Columbus is far different than that of the people nationally,” Bishop, the sports anchor, said. “The vast majority of the people who called in were like: ‘No, I think we’re going to be better. We won’t miss a beat.’ It’s like, Wow. I think there’s a real lack of appreciation by some for what exactly Braxton Miller did.”
– Our friends at Scarlet and Game preview what the Navy coaching staff is calling the best defensive line in the country.
The edge duo of junior Noah Spence and sophomore Joey Bosa should keep opposing offensive coordinators awake at night. The two combined for 15.5 sacks and 28 TFLs last season. Spence will miss the first two games due to suspension.
“It’s game-changers up front,” Meyer told Lesmerises. “You don’t have to do a lot of blitzing, you don’t have to do a lot of twisting and movement, because those guys are one-on-one beaters. So if you can get a great D line like that, that frees you up with the back seven to do a lot of other stuff.”
Bennett and Bosa are on numerous preseason awards watch lists. Both are on the Bednarik (Defensive Player of the Year), Nagurski (defensive), Lombardi (linebacker/lineman), while Bennett is on the Outland (interior lineman).
Even before Miller was hurt, he expressed the hope that he could be less of a playmaker as a runner and more of a distributor passing the ball. Receivers such as Michael Thomas and Corey Smith have waited for their chance. Devin Smith needs to show the consistency a four-year starter should have. Evan Spencer also could be poised for a big senior season. Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall have big-time talent. The Buckeyes don’t need all of them to have big years, but some must.
Offensively, Coach Ken and his staff pretty much have things figured out depth wise. The only positions we could see different names are at receiver and center. Freshman Brandon Colon is the tallest receiver on the depth chart and could start for the Midshipmen.
On defense, there is still a lot of figuring out to do for coordinator Buddy Green. Navy could rotate players in and out at corner, MIKE, RAID and their Rover position on defense.
Navy Injury Report
|Deyshawn Bond||C||Knee||Questionable||Bond's status is uncertain. Dominic Mainello will start at C.|
Navy Gameday Links
You can rip Under Armour all you want for Maryland’s uniforms, but what they’ve done for Navy’s attire is utterly fantastic. Including their game day uniform tomorrow.
— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) August 28, 2014
As CBS Sports’ Tm Fornelli points out, Navy’s uniforms even have ranks.
Freshmen will wear uniforms that feature only an anchor on the shoulder and pant leg, but with no stripes, sophomores will have one diagonal stripe, juniors will get two diagonal stripes and seniors will have one parallel stripe. Then the two captains, Noah Copeland and Parrish Gaines, will wear a star and three parallel stripes, which is the rank of a midshipmen lieutenant.
— Brian Wagner at Capital Gazette says Defensive Coordinator Buddy Green says the defensive battles for starting spots is over.
Green said senior Jimmy Britton would likely start at inside linebacker alongside Jordan Drake, but noted that sophomore Daniel Gonzales will see significant action as the backup to both. Green said he considers Gonzales a starter and assured the youngster would get plenty of repetitions during the season opener against Ohio State.
“We talk about all three of those guys as starters. Jordan is definitely one of those starters, and it will be Jimmy and Daniel at the other spot,” Green said. “All those guys can play SAM or MIKE. We expect those three guys to get the majority of reps.”
Wagner also looks at Navy’s O-Line depth in his weekly notes about the team.
– Cleveland.com’s Doug Lesmerises had a great piece this week about Navy signal caller Keenan Reynolds, who Urban Meyer feels might be the best player in Navy history.
“Some people I’ve talked to think that he’s the best that they’ve ever had,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said this week. “That takes your breath away a little bit.”
– Late in the week, Navy has gotten attention for staying relevant unlike the other service schools. USA Today’s Dan Wolken wrote about the impact of head coach Ken Niumatalolo.
College sports are at a crossroads, and Niumatalolo understands that the long-term relevance of one of America’s great sporting traditions also hangs in the balance. As everything around Navy changes, as college football becomes more professional and more segregated by financial wherewithal, will there still be a place for Army and Navy, or will fans need their brand of football more than ever as an antidote to the era of name, image and likeness?
— Gene Wang at The Washington Post followed suit. He touched on the reality of how Navy could put together the best back to back seasons in recent memory.
Niumatalolo’s optimism stems from the many players back from last year, when Navy won nine games, beat Army, claimed the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy and won a bowl game . No service academy team has been able to check off all those accomplishments in consecutive years, but this group has an eye toward history.
“Talent-wise, I know we’re as skilled as we’ve ever been,” said Niumatalolo, who enters his seventh full season in Annapolis needing seven wins to become the school’s all-time leader. “But that doesn’t mean anything unless you produce on the field. We like our pieces, and hopefully they fit together.”