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Today is Wednesday, Sept. 21, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
The Buckeyes have some shutdown corners
Part of the resurgence of the Ohio State defense, especially after the debacle that was the end of the 2013 season, has been their depth and talent in the secondary. In three games to start 2016, the young Buckeyes have allowed two passing touchdowns against nine interceptions, which is good for tops in the Big Ten and the FBS.
A big part of the success in the secondary has been due to the emergence of lockdown cornerbacks. Everyone knew about redshirt junior Gareon Conley coming into this season — he’s projected as a first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft — but he’s had some unexpected help. Marshon Lattimore has three interceptions in the past two weeks and on Saturday, when Conley went down, sophomore Denzel Ward didn’t skip a beat against Oklahoma.
To put it plainly, and statistically, opposing quarterbacks have had trouble even completing a pass against the Buckeyes cornerbacks.
Throwing downfield on Ohio State's secondary has not gone well for opposing QBs… pic.twitter.com/k8vvlz8Xz3
— CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) September 20, 2016
On targets 10+ yds downfield, Ohio State CBs Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore have more Ints (3) than receptions allowed (2) ?⬇️
— CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) September 20, 2016
Especially for the two starters, Conley and Lattimore, their performances early on have people talking about their life after Buckeye football. Could we see a repeat of last year’s draft, where three Buckeyes departed the secondary early?
I know it’s early but it’s kind of crazy to think that Ohio State could lose three DBs early to the NFL draft in back-to-back years. #Reload
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) September 20, 2016
Part of the reason why the Buckeyes have had so much success in defending the passing game, according to co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, is the luxury of having a cornerback rotation of sorts. They’re fresh, and it’s paying off.
“Last year, those two corners [Eli Apple and Conley] played over 1,000 snaps by themselves,” Fickell said. “There was no rotation, so the depth of it, the development of it, that Coach Coombs has done and everything is really giving us a lot of flexibility.”
In nonconference play, the cornerbacks have proved that they are a force to be reckoned with throughout the country. As Conley said before the Oklahoma game, the secondary, as a unit, demands excellence.
“We have a standard here to be the best and to play the best,” Conley said. “We always have to hold that standard and the others have to live up to that standard.”
Speaking of life after Buckeye football…
In their latest mock draft, CBS Sports has projected linebacker Raekwon McMillan to go 21st overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. This is a part of a first round that has eight players from Big Ten schools are projected to be drafted.
With an order based on Vegas odds to win the Super Bowl, that would send McMillan to the Kansas City Chiefs to play alongside Derrick Johnson.
As a leader on the Buckeyes defense, McMillan has the chance to raise his draft stock even higher with great performances in Big Ten play as Ohio State prepares for some big games at Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State, and of course the late-November tilt against Michigan. As a projected first-rounder though, McMillan has been one of the “can’t miss prospects” out of high school that has lived up to the hype.
He still has some work to do with this defense, leading Jalyn Holmes and the rest of the Buckeyes on their mission to prove they’re anything but basic.
Jayln Holmes will have NONE of that basic defense. pic.twitter.com/v49qvu4ydT
— Jerod Smalley (@JerodNBC4) September 18, 2016
Well done, Sooner Nation
Fans always hear horror stories about experiences during away games. Especially with a huge primetime game with two Top 25 teams battling it out, opposing fans could have been especially rowdy and rude to the opposing team’s fan base.
According to an Ohio State fan, who sent a letter that was published in The Norman Transcript, the Oklahoma fan base was “kind, gracious, and generous” to the Buckeye faithful.
— Jacob Myers (@Jacob_Myers_25) September 18, 2016
“In my 40 years as a OSU season ticket holder, having traveled to over 30 away game venues, I can honestly say that y’all set the bar mighty high,” this fan said. “I only hope that Buckeye Nation is able to return the favor in kind when y’all travel to Columbus next fall.”
Harbaugh and his “candy-ass skim milk”
There are some things that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh does not like. After the Colorado depth chart incident, we know he doesn’t like to joke around about football. Now, after saying during Michigan media day that people need to, “drink as much milk as your little belly can hold,” sports-talk radio host Dan Patrick brought up the milk topic again in his show, and Harbaugh was not holding back.
— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) September 20, 2016
According to a Sports Illustrated article, Patrick told Harbaugh that Ohio State coach Urban Meyer drinks one percent milk. His response…
“We refuse to drink the candy-ass skim milk or the 1 percent.”
Harbaugh is very passionate about his milk. He has talked about it before in a Real Sports interview. You should watch that, because it’s a good time.
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