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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

OSU vs Oklahoma

1. Alabama
2. Florida State
3. Ohio State
4. Michigan
5. Clemson
6. Houston
7. Stanford
8. Washington
9. Wisconsin
10. Louisville
11. Texas
12. Michigan State
13. Iowa
14. Oklahoma
15. Tennessee
16. Georgia
17. Texas A&M
18. Notre Dame
19. Ole Miss
20. LSU
21. Baylor
22. Oregon
23. Florida
24. Arkansas
25. Miami (Fla.)
1. Alabama
2. Florida State
3. Clemson
4. Ohio State
5. Michigan
6. Stanford
7. Houston
8. Michigan State
9. Washington
10. Louisville
11. Iowa
12. Wisconsin
13. Georgia
14. Oklahoma
15. Tennessee
16. Texas
17. Ole Miss
18. Notre Dame
19. Baylor
20. Texas A&M
21. Oregon
22. LSU
23. Florida
24. Arkansas
25. Miami (Fla.)
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
3. Michigan Wolverines
4. Florida State Seminoles
5. Clemson Tigers
6. Houston Cougars
7. Louisville Cardinals
8. Stanford Cardinal
9. Wisconsin Badgers
10. Texas Longhorns
11. Iowa Hawkeyes
12. Ole Miss Rebels
13. Oklahoma Sooners
14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
15. Baylor Bears
16. Washington Huskies
17. Texas A&M Aggies
18. Tennessee Volunteers
19. Michigan State Spartans
20. Georgia Bulldogs
21. LSU Tigers
22. Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
23. Florida Gators
24. Oregon Ducks
25. Arkansas Razorbacks

Tom Herman hugs J.T. Barrett before the Sugar Bowl.
Every Monday night, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett places a pair of phone calls.
One goes to Jim Garfield, his old high school coach at Rider High School in Wichita Falls, Texas. The other goes to Tom Herman, Barrett’s former position coach with the Buckeyes.
These conversations don't usually relate to football — “When we talk, it’s more about how we’re doing in life,” Barrett says — but Monday’s will. At least the conversation with Herman, anyway.
“Absolutely,” Barrett said with a smile.
That’s because Ohio State travels to play Oklahoma on Saturday and Herman, now the head coach at Houston, faced the Sooners in Week 1. The Cougars came away with a 33-23 victory.
The Buckeyes hope they can learn something from an old friend.
“We did talk to Tom,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “Just got their thoughts on personnel because you see what you see on videotape. It was more about personnel because they have a couple of new players as well in the back end of their defense and what’s their thoughts on the defensive line.”
Added Barrett: “Definitely as far as in-game adjustments and what they were able to see and execute. Things like that.”
Herman’s offense at Houston and Meyer’s offense at Ohio State obviously have a lot of similarities. Both run variations of the spread with a dynamic playmaker at quarterback: Greg Ward Jr. for the Cougars and Barrett for the Buckeyes.
Against the Sooners, Houston put up 410 yards of total offense — 321 of which came through the air.
“Houston made their money on — it’s not like they methodically moved the ball down the field on them,” Meyer said. “They made some big plays on them and great two or three back-shoulder throws, couple isolation passing routes and a little trick play.
“I think it was 33 points they put on them, but they played very well.”
It goes beyond the game film, though. Meyer mentioned he got Herman’s thoughts on personnel and Barrett also intends to pick the brain of his former position coach about some of the Sooners’ tendencies.
“When you watch film you get a certain feel of, I guess, how they think,” Barrett said. “When I say that, I think my example would be, say that a big play happens. After a big play, does a team like to blitz or do they play conservative being that they just let a big play happen? Sometimes that’s hard to get a grasp on with certain teams.”
“Also, as far as personnel, how they feel. What are their weak areas?” he continued. “With defenses, there’s always kind of a weak area and they like to kind of hide so I think that’s something that you try to figure out. Sometimes you get a feel for it in the game, but other times you may see it on film in preparation.”
Meyer already placed his phone call to Herman. Barrett will make his later Monday evening. There will probably be a few more throughout the week, too. When you have the opportunity, why not?
It’s nearly impossible to tell how much these conversations actually help, but when the chance is there, you simply have to take it.
“It is if we have a relationship like with Tom and there’s some similarity,” he said.
Ohio State hopes to get by with a little help from its friends.

Ten Things We Learned from Ohio State's 48-3 Win Over Tulsa
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — What can we learn from a game that was off-kilter from the start and somehow got righted thanks to a 50-minute weather delay? Good question.
The Buckeyes started slowly on offense, but their defense was there every step of the way to make sure things kept going in the proper direction. After the game, defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said that's what teams are supposed to do. The defense helps the offense, the offense helps the defense. That's how it has always been and that is how it will always be.
In the end, what started out as a sloppy and questionable effort, turned into a dominating win by six-and-a-half touchdowns for Ohio State. Slow and steady will generally win the race, but it was late in the second quarter when slow and steady became fast and defensive for the Buckeyes, and it was all over from there.
So what did we learn from Ohio State's 48-3 win over Tulsa? Let's take a look.
1. The kickoff coverage needs to be fixed.
Bowling Green broke containment a few times in the season opener and Tulsa did it to an even greater degree on Saturday. The biggest difference, however, is that Tulsa was able to do it a time or two without even using the wide side of the field. Bishop Louie averaged under 20 yards per return in his five attempts, but he had a 52-yarder which is the biggest concern. This is two weeks in a row when the coverage unit hasn't been flawless, which is a change from recent times when they generally were.
2. Dontre Wilson is a legit playmaker for the Buckeyes.
Wilson only had six touches from scrimmage in this game, but he finished with three carries for 30 yards and three catches for 38 yards, and he scored his third touchdown of the year as well. He returned three punts for 45 yards and a kickoff for 25 yards. His 138 all-purpose yards were just two fewer than Curtis Samuel. Whenever anybody wants to talk to Urban Meyer about Samuel, he is quick to mention how well Wilson is playing also, and he should. He is proving to be an effective runner, and teams are still having a difficult time of locating him in the passing game. Right now he appears to be the Dontre Wilson that everyone was expecting as a sophomore, and there are no plans to limit his role in any way. In fact, it will only increase moving forward if Meyer has his way.
3. Malik Hooker is everything you thought he might be.
When you take everything that teammates and coaches have said about Malik Hooker prior to his first two games, and then combine that with what he has done in those first two games (and a spring game), the math spits out an answer that this is just what he does. Were you surprised to see him step in front of that pass and take it in for six? Nobody was. Even when a catch is made by his receiver, he is right there to make the tackle. Now, he did miss a tackle in this game, but I think it's good for players to let you know that they are human, because up until then we weren't really sure with him.
4. J.T. Barrett isn't ready to leave for the NFL.
J.T. Barrett will stare down his first read at times, but that's usually because it will come open. He wasn't very accurate in this game, and yes it was windy, but we're talking about short passes here. The consistency that you would like to see out of him wasn't there today. Barrett isn't thinking about leaving for the NFL right now, but it would be impossible for fans and media to not think about it the way things are going at Ohio State. We can probably put those thoughts to rest for a while. At least a week, anyway.
5. Robert Landers needs to play more.
Redshirt freshman nose tackle Robert Landers was one of the players singled out as having to step up in Tracy Sprinkle's absence, and he did that on Saturday. He finished with four tackles and two tackles for loss. He is short and quick, which makes him a bad matchup for most interior linemen. He can penetrate and he can get leverage. He splits blockers before they can even get set. It remains to be seen how he can hold up against somebody like Wisconsin or Penn State, but based on what we saw against Tulsa, a few more snaps for him wouldn't be a bad idea.
6. Jerome Baker is a luxury that became a necessity.
I asked Jerome Baker during training camp if he was repping at the Will linebacker spot at all and he told me that he was only working at the Sam, but that he knows the Will from working there a bit in the past. On Saturday that was where he started in place of Dante Booker. How did he do? Here finished with five tackles and a fumble recovery. The linebackers weren't perfect, but they were pretty good. Baker is close to the prototype at the Buckeyes' walk-out linebacker spot, but like Luke Fickell said in the spring, they will find a way to get him on the field wherever they can. They likely got him some practice at Will throughout the week just to refresh his memory and he showed that he can handle whatever his coaches want to give him. That's two good games from a guy who wasn't supposed to start this season. And not only is he clearly good enough to start, he's good enough to start at two of the three linebacker spots.
7. Tyler Durbin is better now than he was a week ago.
There is no way that Urban Meyer wanted to take his team into Norman, Oklahoma without his kicker having attempted a single field goal. So while it was disappointing for the offense not to punch the football into the end zone on every red zone trip, Tyler Durbin is better off having gotten some field goal attempts under his belt. He is now 17-17 in PATs and 2-2 on field goals. That's a lot of experience for any kicker in just two games. Oh, and he is now tied for the lead nationally with 17 made PATs.
8. The Buckeye RBs have learned a lot from Ezekiel Elliott.
After the game Urban Meyer praised Mike Weber for the way he now carries the football (high and tight) as opposed to the way he used to carry it (low and loose). Watching and playing with Ezekiel Elliott is a good way to learn how to protect the football, and that's exactly what Weber did. Elliott would even get on him in practice about the way he needs to carry the football. Weber has clearly listened and learned. In terms of run blocking, you saw the Elliott Effect on J.T. Barrett's 11-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. It was Curtis Samuel who was lead blocking for Barrett and it was a Tulsa linebacker who bore the brunt of Samuel's block to the midsection that freed Barrett to get into the second level and eventually the end zone.
9. The run defense is sneaky good.
While it didn't start out well for the Buckeyes — Tulsa rushed for 55 yards on 17 carries in the first quarter — the run defense finished just it was supposed to. Together, Tulsa running backs D'Angelo Brewer and James Flanders carried the ball 15 times for 62 yards in the first quarter. It was not the start that the Buckeyes would have liked, but they adjusted and responded properly. Tulsa rushed for minus nine yards in the second quarter, four yards in the third quarter and 11 yards in the fourth quarter. For the game they finished with 61 yards rushing on 37 carries (1.6 avg). Bowling Green rushed for 69 yards on 28 carries (2.5 avg) in the season opener. While these two opponents aren't the kind you build a reputation on, it's a better outcome than Michigan managed on Saturday after allowing 275 yards rushing on 46 carries (6.0 avg) to UCF. The first big test comes this weekend for OSU, but so far the Buckeyes have done well on the quizzes.
10. The cornerback rotation is working.
Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs was asked after the game how the cornerback rotation is working and he responded with a respectful, "How do you think it's working?" It wasn't a confrontational answer, it was a conversational response. As in, "What are you seeing when you see the cornerback play so far?" The answer is that he is thrilled with the rotation of Gareon Conley, Denzel Ward, and Marshon Lattimore. Right now they are rotating basically after every series. Each corner gets two series in a row and then one series on the sidelines, save for the second series of the game when somebody has to come out because the rotation is already going. The rotation is something that Coombs has wanted since he got here and now that he finally has it, he is not shying away from using it. Not only does it keep the corners fresher throughout the game, it will keep them fresher throughout the season.

(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)
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(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

Ahead of Saturday’s matchup at Oklahoma, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer reached out to somebody who is pretty familiar with the Sooners: Houston coach Tom Herman.
Herman, the former Ohio State offensive coordinator, led his team to a convincing victory over OU earlier this month, so his former boss made sure to pick his brain about the No. 14 Sooners.
At his weekly Monday press conference, Meyer, whose Buckeyes moved up to No. 3 in the AP Poll after a beatdown of Tulsa, told reporters he asked Herman about some of Oklahoma’s defensive personnel, more so than specific schemes.
“We did talk to Tom. We got their thoughts on personnel. Because you see what you see on videotape,” Meyer said Monday. “It was more about personnel because they have a couple of new players in the back end of their defense, and what’s their thoughts on the defensive line. Schematically, not as much because we get the same videotape that they have. It was more about personnel.”
Herman’s Cougars put up 410 yards of offense in UH’s 33-23 win on Sept. 3, so he’ll definitely have a worthwhile perspective on what the Oklahoma defense brings to the table. And Meyer apparently isn’t the only Buckeye who wants to hear from Herman heading into Saturday’s game in Norman.
Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett said he talks to Herman each Monday. Football will definitely be a topic of conversation this week.

JT Barrett said he talks to Tom Herman Monday nights. Said they usually talk more about life but they'll "absolutely" talk football tonight.

Ohio State and Oklahoma haven’t played since 1983 — a 24-14 Buckeyes win. The only other meeting came in 1977. OU won that one, 29-28.
Saturday’s game at Memorial Stadium kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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