Welcome to DBU, opposing guards killing Ohio State, tough choice for Buckeye fans, and more

Colin Gay

We hope you’ll start your day with us here at Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know — Monday through Friday — around the world of Ohio State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.

Today is Friday, Jan. 13, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call. 


DBU

Ohio State has found much success in developing NFL-caliber defensive backs. The Buckeyes have seen at least one safety/cornerback picked in four of the last five NFL drafts. When the 2017 NFL Draft takes place in April, Ohio State may see three more go as high as the first round.

According to CBS Sports, Malik Hooker is the top-rated free safety in the 2017 draft class while Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley are at No. 4 and No. 6 for cornerbacks in the draft class. All three of these players are either surefire first-round prospects or borderline first-/second-round picks.

According to the latest mock draft from Fox Sports, the Buckeyes have two first-rounders: Hooker to Buffalo at No. 10 and Lattimore to Philadelphia at either No. 14 or No. 15 depending on a coin flip between the Eagles and the Indianapolis. Conley was not listed.

No matter where these defensive backs are picked, former Buckeye and current Denver Broncos CB Bradley Roby will tell anyone who asks which school each of them came from. 


 Guarding the guards

Ohio State furthered its deficit in Big Ten play Thursday night with an 89-68 loss at No. 18 Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are 0-4 in conference play for the first time in coach Thad Matta’s tenure.

The Buckeyes struggled a lot more on the defensive side of the ball compared to the 78-68 loss at Minnesota on Jan. 8, and in both games, you could see one consistent struggle: guarding the guards. For the Gophers, it was Amir Coffey (team-high 19 points on 63.6-percent shooting). For Wisconsin, it their leading scorer Bronson Koenig, who scored a game-high 21 points on 58.3-percent shooting, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

These opposing guards are playing against an Ohio State team that is very shallow at the guard position. With the loss of forward Keita Bates-Diop, which made the team bigger as a whole, guard Kam Williams has been thrust into the 2-spot. Williams and guard JaQuan Lyle have seen the floor for the majority of these games since the injury.

It also has not helped Matta and his coaching staff that the top reserve guard, C.J. Jackson, has been in a funk offensively. In his last two games, Jackson has only made 3 of his 14 attempts from the floor and shot just 1 of 8 from 3-point range.

However, the scorer role should not be Jackson’s main focus. He also has 7 assists in limited playing time in those two games, including a team-high 3 against the Badgers. If he could find more of a rhythm with the players down low, the offense with him at the helm would work more smoothly. Especially if he is not trying to make desperate looks from behind the arc.


 Luke Fickell already changing the atmosphere at Cincinnati

In his first couple of weeks on the job as the new head coach at the University of Cincinnati, former Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell has wasted no time in his attempt to change the atmosphere around the football program.

In this promo video, Fickell is telling his new players that they have to “Earn the C”, refraining from wearing any Cincinnati gear.

Torrance Gibson will be one of the players attempting to earn that C. Gibson announced Thursday that he would be transferring to Cincinnati. According to ESPN, he will be eligible to play next season and intends to play quarterback for the Bearcats. Gibson was a 4-star recruit in the 2015 class, coming into the Ohio State program as a dual-threat quarterback before switching to wide receiver.

Despite never playing a snap for the Buckeyes, there is no doubt that Gibson could prove to be a valuable weapon for Fickell and the Cincinnati football program.


Rookies represent Ohio State very well

With both DE Joey Bosa and RB Ezekiel Elliott on the ballot, Ohio State fans are going to have a choice to make in regards to the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year.

Here is a short overview of each former Buckeye’s standout rookie season:

Bosa was a dominant force on the San Diego Chargers’ defensive line this season, making 41 tackles, forcing a fumble and leading all rookies and was tied with 10.5 sacks, and all of that over the season’s last 12 games. Bosa really caught fire at the end of the season, collecting 26 tackles and 6.5 sacks after San Diego’s Week 11 bye — and  recording a half-sack in each game.

As for Elliott, not only did he lead all rookies in rushing, he led the league in rushing with 1,631 yards for the Dallas Cowboys. He was also third in the NFL with 15 rushing touchdowns, ran for at least 100 yards 7 times (and at least 130 yards 5 times), and averaged 5.1 yards per rush. Oh, and he helped the Cowboys earn the top seed in the NFL playoffs.

Honestly, one is in line for the Offensive Rookie of the Year and the other one is Defensive Rookie of the Year. As for the fan vote, take your pick.


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