Last week we exchanged scouting reports with the Ohio State website ElevenWarrirors.com. Today, Eric Seger (@EricSeger33 ) was kind enough to answer a six pack of questions on the Buckeyes for us. We answered some questions for 11W as well that will be published on their website later.
1.) How big of a loss is Adolphus Washington for Ohio State, specifically in the running game?
It’s a huge loss, especially considering the health of senior nose tackle Tommy Schutt. Originally Urban Meyer said he injured his foot but didn’t “know how serious” it was. On Sunday, it was reported that Schutt will be out for the Fiesta Bowl.
In the case of Washington, however, it figures to be big question mark for the Buckeyes all the way up to kickoff New Year’s Day. Washington was having a stellar senior season (49 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks) and his pure athleticism will be missed dearly. The onus will be on the younger, inexperienced defenders to step up in his place. None of them are Washington, though, who was thriving back at the three-technique position under Larry Johnson this year.
2.) Notre Dame has been snake bitten by trick plays all year. What kind of toys do you think Urban Meyer will pack with him and the Buckeyes for Tempe?
I think it’s safe to say Meyer and his offensive staff will have something in their back pockets that we haven’t seen yet this season, just because of the reverse pass that wide receiver Evan Spencer threw in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama last year. They had shown something similar to that earlier in 2014, but Spencer hadn’t thrown it. In the Sugar Bowl, he did.
Since this is Braxton Miller’s final game as a Buckeye, I wouldn’t be surprised if Meyer had something wild cooked up with him in this game. Then again, plenty of people thought that would happen all season long and it never came to fruition.
3.) Name one player offensively and defensively from Notre Dame that you would trade for to have on OSU’s roster for the Fiesta Bowl if you could and why.
I think Ohio State would jump at the opportunity to have wide receiver Will Fuller among its offensive weapons for the Fiesta Bowl. The Buckeyes have lacked a true deep threat all season long after the graduation of Devin Smith and injuries to Noah Brown and later Corey Smith. Fuller is the definition of a deep threat guy, so I’m sure J.T. Barrett wouldn’t mind having him at his disposal on the outside.
Defensively, I think the injury to Tommy Schutt coupled with Adolphus Washington’s suspension means Ohio State fans wouldn’t mind having a guy like Notre Dame’s Isaac Rochell patrolling the middle on the defensive line. He’s a terrific run defender, which is what is missing without Washington.
4.) Usually the enemy of my enemy (Michigan in this case) is my friend, but in the case of Notre Dame and Ohio State fans it doesn’t seem to be the case at all. Why do you think there is as much hostility between the two fan bases and when the Irish play the Wolverines, who are you cheering for?
Personally, I grew up not liking Notre Dame because I have family who went to Ohio State and told me not to like them. As an impressionable kid, that was enough for me. However, as an Ohio State graduate, rooting for Michigan is like drinking gasoline. It’s never a bad day to see the Wolverines lose.
As far as the Ohio State fanbase, I think the animosity exists between it and Notre Dame supporters because both are national brands that have a great history of success. Because of that, the other fanbase doesn’t like anyone telling them another team is better/more present on a national scale. It is a battle of “kings,” if you will.
5.) The team we all saw against Michigan in OSU’s season finale is the team we all expected to see all year long. Why did it take the Buckeyes so long to play as well as they did against the Wolverines and do you think they will sustain that level of play in the bowl game or resemble the team that struggled at times throughout the season?
I think the biggest reason it took so long was the absence of Tom Herman as offensive coordinator. Tim Beck is just not in his league when it comes to calling plays and managing the minds in the quarterback room. When Ed Warinner moved to the box in the Michigan game to call plays, the unit looked as deadly and efficient as it had all season. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
As long as Ohio State’s players are motivated to play in a game that, if they win, won’t advance them to the national championship game, I think we’ll see a similar game plan and success as we did against Michigan. The Buckeye offense is extremely talented, and with Warinner calling the shots against Michigan things went as well as they had all year. Since he is doing the same against Notre Dame, the smart money will be on a repeat performance.
6.) In reading the comments on some OSU blogs and message boards, it seems clear that most Buckeye fans don’t think the Irish will be too much of a test in the Fiesta Bowl. How do you see the Irish stacking up against Ohio State and what does Notre Dame need to do in order to knock off the Buckeyes on Jan. 1?
I think Notre Dame can stack up pretty well offensively, but their defense allows way too many big plays for comfort. In order to knock off Ohio State, though, I think Notre Dame needs to run the ball and control the clock. Getting C.J. Prosise back will help immensely, so if the Irish can shorten the game and move the sticks on the ground to keep Ohio State’s offense off the field, it’ll be a competitive battle.
BONUS: Game/Score Prediction?
I think this is going to be a close game, because I think Will Fuller is going to make some plays down the field and I don’t think the Irish will be able to keep Ezekiel Elliott in check. I’ve got Ohio State winning, 34-30 on a late touchdown.
Thanks again to Eric from Eleven Warriors and be sure to check out their website for all of the in-depth coverage of Ohio State you can handle as the Irish prepare for the Buckeyes on Friday.