(Image courtesy mydaytondailynews.com, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, espn.com)
I’m writing this on Tuesday. The time lag let me think about this game for a bit. I’m sure you watched the game or read about it or both. I’ll spare you the play-by-play and the gory stats. I won’t spare you the bullet point observations.
- Ohio State began its season with a rather… convincing win over outmatched Oregon State, 77-31. Ohio State scored 21 points in the 1st, 2nd and 4th quarters. They were consistently proficient.
- Let’s start with the obvious; Dwayne Haskins II had one hell of a debut. He was on target with his passing, in control of the offense and, refreshingly, ran the ball only twice.
- Which provided opportunities for running backs Mike Weber (20 carries), J.K. Dobbins (15) and Snead/Teague (13). This is exactly what I wanted the offense to look like.
- This was a very good coaching debut for Ryan Day and for Brian Hartline. It’s helpful to have a quarterback with the skill-set of Dwayne Haskins II, but I think Hartline will do a nice job of “coaching up” the receivers.
- Speaking of receivers, if you’re really good high school receiver, you should be hoping to get an offer from Ohio State.
- Sticking with receivers, Terry McLaurin’s TD to finally open play in the second half reminded me of another electrifying play by an Ohio State receiver named Terry that also wore #83. (Video courtesy ourhonordefend.com)
- Special teams was an interesting case Saturday. I really like C.J. Saunders, but Demario McCall really should be returning punts and kickoffs.
- The kickers (except for Drue Chrisman) were quite busy. Blake Haubeil had 12 kickoffs, 6 for touchbacks. Sean Nuernberger was 11-11 in PAT kicks. The ice-bath probably saw some activity.
- I think the new kickoff rules will play to young Mr. Haubeil’s favor. All he has to do is kick it deep and/or high. A kick in the endzone is most likely going to be ruled a touch-back. A kickoff that is fair-caught inside the 25 yard line is brought out to the 25. Blake doesn’t have to fret about coffin-corner kicks going awry. If Urban doesn’t like it – tough shit, it’s still a good rule.
- Defensively, Ohio State’s Front Four is Fearsome. Coach Johnson(!) has the talent to functionally rotate a D-line and has the coaching chops to create little (OK, some..) drop-off n performance.
- The Back Seven had some warts against the Beavers. These units were easily the least experienced and most exploitable. They were part & parcel to some serious chunk yardage given up to Oregon State.
- It’s pretty hard to bitch about a 46 point (which covered the spread, incidentally) win. The defense had some miscues in execution, were sometimes out of position and their “over-eagerness” left them susceptible to screen/misdirection plays.
- But that’s OK, It was the first game of the season and I’d rather have the players make mistakes of commission than omission. Their mistakes can be “coached” out of them. Don’t forget, the Beavers do have a couple very talented players (Artavis Pierce comes to mind) and a creative offense, so don’t short-shrift Oregon State.
All in all, this is pretty much how I thought the home opener would go. The offense was more proficient that I though, so pleasant surprises! As resounding as this win was, here are still plenty of “teaching” moments for this team. Which is a good thing. These young bucks will be fine.