Ohio State mailbag: Talking Torrance Gibson’s impact, J.T. Barrett’s Heisman odds and more
Ohio State’s fall camp has wrapped up, and the Buckeyes are less than two weeks away from facing Bowling Green in the season opener.
With the season drawing near and the Buckeyes in the process of selecting their starters, it’s time for another edition of the Ohio State mailbag.
Let’s get started.
@rmginn are we gonna see much of Austin Mack this year?
— Kap'n Kak (@ChipperKaden) August 22, 2016
I feel pretty confident in saying yes on this one. He was the talk of spring practice as an early enrollee and has continued to impress the Ohio State coaches this fall. OSU coach Urban Meyer name-dropped him on Monday, saying, “Austin Mack will be in the mix,”
Wide receivers coach Zach Smith said he thinks there will essentially be six starters — and possibly more — because the Buckeyes have that many receivers who deserve a high number of reps. Corey Smith, Noah Brown, Dontre Wilson and Curtis Samuel will all be big factors at that position, but Mack could be right there along with Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon,if he can stay healthy.
@rmginn run to pass ratio?
— Brandon McFarland (@brandonm2014) August 22, 2016
Meyer always says he wants to be 50-50, but that has never come to fruition during his time at Ohio State. One of my general rules of thumb is that if it’s never happened there’s probably a reason why it hasn’t, and this seems like a classic example of that. And even though this year might be the best shot of getting within a few percentage points of 50-50 thanks to the departures of Ezekiel Elliott and Bri’onte Dunn, I still don’t see it happening. The fact is, the Buckeyes just don’t play from behind enough to reach that mark.
Here are the run percentage numbers from Meyer’s four years:
I’ll go with 61 percent rushing and 39 percent passing for the Buckeyes this season.
@rmginn If you haven't been paying a ton of attention so far, but are going to the BGSU game, what is the most fun thing to look for?
— Amy (@ALR_LBG) August 23, 2016
The most fun thing for Ohio State fans to stare at will probably be the scoreboard, but aside from that, the first game of the year for me is always exciting because it’s a good look at what the season might hold from a personnel usage standpoint. I love watching for which true freshmen (if any) play, and this year there’s a good chance OSU fans will get plenty of chances to see Michael Jordan and Austin Mack along with Nick Bosa.
Speaking of Bosa, Ohio State’s defensive ends unit might be the best in the country even after losing Darius Slade to a season-ending injury. I’m betting they’ll put on a show for fans. Keep an eye out for the shrug if Baby Bosa finds his way onto the field.
@rmginn Who will have more all purpose yards; Mike Weber or Curtis Samuel?
— Wes Patterson (@WesPatterson23) August 23, 2016
Oh man, great question. I had my answer in favor of Samuel all typed out but I just couldn’t pull the trigger on it. The kickoffs might help, but there will be someone else back there too and in addition to the fact that teams just don’t score on Ohio State too often there’s also the fact that touchbacks are pretty prevalent.
At the end of the day, Weber is THE running back, while Samuel will be competing with a number of other guys at H-Back/wide receiver (and as we learned a couple answers above, it’s better to be a running back than wide receiver at Ohio State). Even if Samuel does get some backfield carries, it won’t be enough to catch Weber.
@rmginn What can we expect from Torrance Gibson this year after missing 10 practices with an injury?
— ❤All Buckeyes (@jjacobs0201) August 23, 2016
The news that Gibson had missed the last 10 practices with a hamstring injury was, in my mind, a pretty big blow to his chances to make an impact — at least in the early going. With 13 receivers, all of whom were 4- or 5-star recruits, this is not the position group to be missing a big chunk of practices.
He can’t have another season like last year, but I wouldn’t expect him to put up 20 catches this season. It will be a dogfight to start climbing up the depth chart and winning back reps, and finding a way to make 5-10 catches with at least one touchdown would be a good start.
@rmginn does Barrett end up in the top 3 Heisman standings?
— Ada❌ Kline (@BuckeyeKline) August 23, 2016
It’s a shame that this is the case but there are so many extraneous factors that go into the voting that involve the team, so it’s almost impossible to project from an individual standpoint. Last year, for example, the three finalists all played during the conference championship weekend, ensuring that they were fresh in the minds of voters when it came time to submit the ballot. Ezekiel Elliott had a season worthy of a Heisman finalist, but one postgame press conference and his team falling short of a Big Ten title seemed to sink him.
With all that being said, I still think there’s a chance the Buckeyes are a one- or two-loss team come December, and that will have Barrett in the thick of the hunt. I’m not ready to put him in the top three because he dropped off in accuracy last season and has a young receiver corps this year, but the end of the 2015 campaign was definitely encouraging. I’ll say no, although I think he’ll put together a season that Ohio State fans will be proud of.
@rmginn what is your make or break game for Ohio State this season?
— Zane (@PirateOctopus) August 23, 2016
Oklahoma will be a good early test and Penn State will be a tough environment, but when I look at the big picture it has to be Michigan, right? The Buckeyes get Michigan at home and will have the full regular season to develop their young talent into a formidable team, so there will be no excuses.
Just think of how miserable the offseason is going to be for whichever team loses. Either Jim Harbaugh will have lost to the Buckeyes again and will have to wait 365 days for his next shot at victory No. 1 over OSU, or Ohio State will have to grapple with just its third loss to Michigan since 2001 and stew in the perception that the Wolverines are the team on the rise.
@rmginn 10 stars on Monday..who next and when?
— frank mcdonald (@Frank_Mcdee) August 22, 2016
@rmginn are there any 2017 5 stars we won't land
— Andrew Ticknor (@ATick84) August 23, 2016
@rmginn do you think any of Ohio States current 2017 commits will flip? (No need to name names)
— Zane (@PirateOctopus) August 23, 2016
My beloved Landof10 counterpart Birm will be filing a recruiting mailbag on Friday, so in an attempt to avoid stealing his thunder, I will simply pass these along to him.