Following last week’s news that the Buckeyes would be entering into a two game, home and away series with Texas Christian for 2018-2019, the Athletic Department today announced that Ohio State would again play the University of Texas in 2022 (in Austin) and 2023 (in Columbus)
This will be a renewal of a great, recent series- Vince Young led the Longhorns over the Buckeyes in 2005 on their way to a national title and a Heisman*; Troy Smith and Ohio State defeated Texas in 2006 in a season that ended with a national title game (involving Urban Meyer… hmm…) and a Heisman for Smith as well.
Ohio State lost to Texas in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl following a great performance at the end of the game by Heisman finalist Colt McCoy.
Here’s the official word from the WHAC:
|Ohio State vs. Texas in 2022 & 2023Games will be the fourth and fifth in a series that had its first game in 2005COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University and the University of Texas have agreed to a home-and-home football series that will have the two teams playing in Austin, Texas, in 2022 and in Columbus in 2023.
“Playing a program like the University of Texas always creates remarkable experiences for our players and fans,” Ohio State Director of Athletics Gene Smith said. “Our last series with the Longhorns contributed to the great history and tradition that Buckeye Nation enjoys.”
The games will be played Sept. 17, 2022 in Texas Stadium and Sept. 16, 2023 in Ohio Stadium. The schools have met three times previously – a home-and-home arrangement in 2005 and 2006, and in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl – with Texas holding a 2-1 edge in wins.
*Since Reggie Bush had his taken away…
This afternoon, one of the programs long held up as an example of success without compromise took a PR hit at the hands of its former star QB’s wife.
On ESPN’s “The Herd”, Colin Cowherd was discussing improper benefits, particularly the situation at Ohio State. As he began to talk about the booster culture, he was joined by the wife of current Brown’s QB Colt McCoy, who chose to call in and share her perspective.
Agreeing with Cowherd, Ms. McCoy said that her husband was often approached by boosters while at Texas, and had managed to avoid those problems due to his values and the influence of his father. She then went on to say,
Regularly it’s just dinner. People in Texas are just being friendly, they don’t mean anything by it at all. They don’t realize realize most of the time it’s a violation. At Texas you’re taught to take absolutely nothing, I don’t care if it’s a hot dog or soda.
But you’ve got guys, grown adult men with law degrees – educated men – what are they going to gain out of this? It’s to say, ‘Hey, I bought so and so dinner, hey I took so and so to do this’ … It’s grown men and their pride.
You cannot expect 19-20 year old kids to say no to free stuff when they’re in college … It’s hard, I think, for a lot of these guys to even know to say, ‘I can take this, I can’t take this, nobody’s going to know, will someone find out?’Things that could be handed to you that seem so minor – a dinner, a hunt, a fishing trip – most kids don’t even realize are illegal.
I know Colt was approached quite a bit [by agents] but I saw so many of his teammates who didn’t have some of that self control to say no to somebody … it’s hard, because you have adults who you respect and who you think will know what’s right and wrong … when you have adults promising things and offering things …
Granted, this is really not all that significant in the world of Cam Newton, Reggie Bush, and whatever Terrelle Pryor is up to this week. However, it does go to show that even top notch programs with excellent history of compliance also struggle with the very issue that’s currently dragging the Buckeyes down.
Again, to be clear- I do not think that Texas is “cheating”, or that they would need to. I’m not even alleging that Ms. McCoy’s memory is accurate in this matter.
But, like we’ve talked about before, being in compliance with the NCAA regarding hundreds of young adults and tens of thousands of fans is a significant challenge, no matter where you are.
Out of all of the positions that I have previewed so far, defensive end is definitely the one that I am most excited about. Ohio State is talented, experienced, and unbelievably deep at defensive end this year. This should be the major strength of the defense (and possibly the entire team), and anything less than unrelenting waves of chaos into apposing backfields will be a disappointment to me. Have I made it clear that I expect big things from the defensive ends this year?
So let’s jump right in. Leading the charge off the edge is Thaddeous Gibson (#90).
Gibson led the team in sacks last year with five and he came on strong at the end of the season, recording two tackles for loss and an 11 yard sack in the Fiesta Bowl against Texas. After finishing so strongly last year, to say that I am expecting big things from Gibson this year would be an understatement. He has the ability to be a game changer and I expect him to terrorize apposing QBs the entire season.
Gibson came to Ohio State in 2006 as a linebacker. After taking a redshirt year, Gibson played mostly on special teams in 2007 before converting to DE and replacing #6 overall draft pick Vernon Gholston as the starter in 2008. While Gibson failed to match Gholston’s numbers last year as a first year starter, he did show flashes of greatness and as I mentioned earlier, he finished the year performing at a very high level.
Now, as a redshirt junior, Gibson looks to be a true force on the edge. At 6’2″ and around 240 lbs. (which I think are both outdated numbers) he has the speed and quickness (former linebacker in high school remember) to be a pure speed rusher but he also has the strength to utilize power moves as well. This combination of speed and power should be enjoyable for Buckeye fans and very unpleasant for offensive tackles and quarterbacks.
If there is a knock on Gibson, it is that he doesn’t play the run very well and was more of a pass rushing specialist last year. Gibson has been working all off season on becoming a more rounded player and there is no reason to expect that he won’t be improved in all phases of the game come September.
In case you didn’t follow the link above regarding Gibson’s offseason, his plans for the year are to “destroy everything moving.” I, for one, will be watching with glee as Thaddeus attempts to fulfill his plans.
Gibson is obviously the headliner of the DEs, but across the line from Gibson is Cameron Heyward (#97), who has the ability to be a force as well.
Heyward broke onto the scene two years ago when he played his way into the starting lineup as a true freshman in 2007, earning freshman All-American and freshman all-Big Ten honors along the way.
Check out the video below to see Heyward as a true freshman (!) putting senior consensus All-American and future #1 overall draft pick Jake Long on his ass multiple times (2:28, 4:23). Not bad for a true freshman.
Let’s just take a moment to enjoy the video…… okay, back to the rundown.
Based on his performance as a true freshman, I expected Heyward to make quite a lot of noise as a sophomore last year, which turned out to not be the case. I partially blame Heyward’s lack of production on the fact that he spent time at both tackle and end last year. While his media guide bio says that he is equally comfortable at tackle and end, it is my opinion that Heyward spent most of the year in 2008 becoming accustomed to playing DT and lost some production because of the adjustment period he went through.
Having said that, Heyward led all defensive lineman in tackles last year with 36, which was the 7th highest total on the team. Heyward also had 4.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks on the year. So even though I considered last year somewhat of a disappointment for Heyward, it’s not like he had a bad season, I was just expecting a few more sacks and tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Now Heyward enters his junior year, and once again my expectations are very high for him. While Gibson is a speed guy with surprising power (probably not so surprising if you have seen a picture of him), Heyward is a power guy (see the video above) with surprising quickness. Over the offseason Heyward has apparently slimmed down some as well, which should give him a little extra quickness off the ball.
As I mentioned earlier, Heyward spent some time last year at defensive tackle, and while Heyward is unquestionably the starter opposite Gibson at end, in passing situations you can look for Heyward to slide down to tackle and make room for true sophomore Nathan Williams (#43) at end.
Nathan Williams broke onto the DE scene last year as a true freshman and was perhaps the surprise player of the year. In only 9 games of action Williams racked up 18 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks.
At 6’3″ and around 245 pounds, Williams is a pass rushing specialist who I predict will see the field mostly on passing downs when Heyward slides down to tackle. However, with the experience that Williams gained last year and an offseason of work, I expect him to improve his play against the run as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Williams as a regular part of the DE rotation no matter what the situation.
To get a little sidetracked here, Ohio State basically has two types of DEs, smaller (relatively speaking) quick guys like Thaddeus Gibson and Nathan Williams who play standing up like linebackers sometimes and drop back into coverage from time to time (players like Will Smith and Bobby Carpenter played this position, which I have heard referred to as the LEO position). And the other type of DE are bigger stronger guys like Cameron Heyward and Rob Rose. I just wanted to point that out because I will probably mention it as I talk about the rest of the players. But anyways…
This group sounds pretty good so far, right? Well, sit back and relex, because this show is just getting started. Next up is fifth year senior Lawrence Wilson (#87).
Wilson initially committed to Notre Dame way back in 2005, but after a coaching change in South Bend (maybe you heard about it, I think it received some media coverage) Wilson switched his pledge to the Buckeyes.
Wilson played in all but one game as a freshman in 2005, capping off the year by playing 17 minutes in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame after Bobby Carpenter was injured against tsun. As a sophomore Wilson played in 12 games and collected a modest 17 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and three sacks.
Going into his junior year, big things were expected out of Wilson with most predicting that he would be the best DE on the team (fate and Vernon Gholston had other ideas). Unfortunately for Wilson, he broke his right leg in the season opener (and possibly in the opening series? it was about as early in the season as possible) and took a redshirt year.
In 2008, Wilson was once again a projected starter at DE. This time around he made it through seven games before an ACL tear against Purdue ended his season yet again. In 7 games, Wilson managed to make 18 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack and an interception.
After season ending injuries in back to back years, Wilson enters 2009 as the forgotten man at DE, but when healthy he clearly has the ability to be a starter and will almost certainly get plenty of playing time. At this point, I am really just hoping that he is able to stay healthy for the entire year, but I would accept a super productive show-me-the-money senior year as well, which is a very real possibility. Here’s hoping that Wilson makes us all remember why many thought he was the best DE on the team just a few years ago.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot (I did say I was going to mention this after all), while Wilson started out his career as a LEO type DE, this year he is listed as the backup to Heyward opposite the LEO. For a brief overview, that gives you Gibson (6’2″ 240) and Williams (6’3″ 245) at LEO with Heyward (6’6″ 287) and Wilson (6’4″ 274) on the other side. See what I mean about the small and quick versus big and powerful thing?
So that bring us to the end of the two deep, which, if you haven’t noticed, is awesome. Unfortunately for my social life, I actually still have a ways to go in this article if I want to do a good job covering the position. While I know that you refuse to be shortchanged by me just going over the two deep, I also know that you have very important things to do and I would hate to take you away from your work for the rest of the day, so I am about to kick this thing into condensed mode (yes, it is because I want you to get back to work that I am going into condensed mode, it has nothing to do with me being lazy).
Rob Rose (#9). 6’5″ 280 pound senior.
Rose had huge potential out of high school (5 star). Injury plagued career so far but he does have lots of experience. Off season trouble has him in the dog house to start 2009. Hopefully he pulls everything together for his senior year. Listed behind Heyward and Wilson on the (because I don’t know the actual name) big DE side. Like Heyward, Rose might be a candidate to slide down to DT during passing situations. It is a testament to the amazing depth at OSU that a guy like Rose is 3rd on the depth chart. He should see plenty of playing time if he finds his way out of the dog house.
(I notice that condensed mode basically consists of me dropping transitions between sentences, coming up with good transitions that don’t repeat is one of the harder things to do, anyways…).
The next two players are both listed on the LEO side at this point, but they may grow into the big side later.
First is Solomon Thomas (#98).
Listed at 6’5″ and 240 pounds (so that makes him a LEO like I said). He redshirted as a freshman in 2007 and played sparingly in 2008. Had a ridiculous number of sacks (7 or something) in a scrimmage this offseason. Definitely a guy to keep an eye on going into the future, but he probably won’t get much playing time this year (re-read this article if you are wondering why).
Keith Wells (#94)
Wells saw limited action last year as a true freshman due to injury, but it was enough action to eliminate the possibility of a redshirt year. He is listed at 6’5″ 210 pounds but those numbers are outdated (at least the weight is). He is from Georgia (make your own joke about the SEC and speed). His bio says that he needs to improve his consistency and focus, he is young so no worries. Very talented and another one to keep an eye on.
I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that between the two of them, Solomon Thomas and Keith Wells will record at least one sack against New Mexico State.
Melvin Fellows (#91)
Fellows projects as a “big” end. He is going to be really good, but probably not this year due to the depth chart (once again, see above). If he does play this year it means he is going to be really really good (come back later for a scientific breakdown of the difference between really good and really really good). You can read more about him here.
Our defensive ends are going to be awesome.
DONE! now get back to work.