It has been an up and down month for Ohio State football fans, between the Urban Meyer investigation and therefore lack of knowledge of Coach Meyer’s future, there has been a swirl of uncertainty about the program’s future around Columbus and nationwide. Now with the chaos and roller coaster that was the Urban Meyer investigation behind us, most of us, being fans, can take a sigh of relieve over the program’s future and get ready for the upcoming season. This situation, however, will not be as easy for everyone in the program as it is us. The biggest toll being on the players.
Whether you agree or disagree with the suspension of Urban Meyer, there is no doubt to whether there will be repercussions not only to begin the season, but throughout the season. Undeniably all players within the Ohio State football program will be affected, but one would think most profoundly a young quarterback would be affected more than most, in this case Dwayne Haskins. So how will Haskins be affected you may ask? He won’t and here’s why.
One of the most important things for a young quarterback is confidence and to get that confidence rather quickly, but luckily for Haskins, this shouldn’t be a problem considering Ohio State is playing one of the worst defensive teams in the FBS in the season opener, Oregon State.
The Beavers are coming of an awful season of 1-11, gave up an average of 473.1 yards per game (6.6 yards per play) and gave up 43 points per game, which was 128thout 129 teams in the FBS.
I expect Ohio State to run early and often with the powerhouse backfield duo, J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, set up by the offensive line that I believe will have their way with the Beavers, in order to establish the pass. Once the pass is set up, the Buckeyes veteran receiving core will be able to give Haskins easy and timed throws for large chunks of yardage, quickly building his confidence. I expect later in the game Haskins will become confident enough to throw more challenging passes deep down field and in the end the Buckeyes offense will be far too much for Oregon State to handle.
The next week to Buckeyes will be back at home against Rutgers. I expect once again for J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber to open up the Buckeyes passing game. There will be one key difference at this point, not only will Coach Meyer be back at practice, but I believe that the coaching staff will feel confident enough to open up the play calling even more than the week before after Dwayne’s performance in week one. Haskins will be entrusted with more difficult passes and more responsibility in the huddle then the week before. Even though the Rutgers defense is much better than that of the Beavers, I expect a similar result. Sure Rutgers only gave up 28.3 points per game and gave up less the 400 yards a game (399.3 a game, 5.8 per play), a big improvement from Oregon State’s horrific defense, but Rutgers has struggled mightily against the Buckeyes as of late, losing 56-0 last year and 58-0 the year before. I expect Coach Day, Haskins and Ohio State to cruise to a convincing victory and defeat Rutgers by at least 3 touchdowns or more.
Haskins biggest challenge of Coach Meyer’s suspension will be September 15thagainst TCU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. TCU’s defense is locked and loaded, retaining most of the pieces from last year. TCU could arguably be the best defense the Buckeyes face this year, giving up just 19.0 points per game and 331.4 yards of defense a game. I expect Dwayne will make a few mistakes, a think he’ll at least throw one interception, but no more than a few mistakes common of a young quarterback, but they will be completely unrelated of the Meyer suspension.
However I expect the defense to come up big in this game for Ohio State. I believe the defense will hold the Buckeyes in the game and they will weather the storm, of a few mistakes, however the Buckeyes must not turn the ball over more than 3 times in this game or it will become very difficult to win. When it comes down to it, I think veteran players such as Nick Bosa, Paris Campbell, Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins will make big plays when it matters and the Buckeyes escape and win by a field goal. Also as you may be aware Ohio State has played exceptionally well in Arlington, so that will already help the Buckeyes be more confident and Ohio State travels well, so expect a lot of Ohio State fans that will be cheering through this game.
If Haskins in the Buckeyes successfully navigate these 3 games, which they should considering Meyer will be establishing game plans for games 1 and 2, I believe Haskins will only become better, along with the pass attack with Ohio. If Haskins builds confidence along with the passing game Ohio State will be a two head monster on offense that will be very difficult to beat and could be well on their way to a national championship once again. This should be a very exciting year for Ohio State fans because not only is this team is an underdog and the Buckeyes play well as underdogs but this team draws a lot of parallels from the 2014 National Championship. Go Bucks!