There were moments of wincing and moments of hope during Ohio State’s 34-17 win over Navy on Saturday. Certainly, it showed Ohio State’s young team will have some growing pains. However, it also showed a team that has tremendous potential. Here are four thoughts from Saturday’s game.
Ohio State’s offensive line shows promise
Ohio State struggled to gain any offensive momentum in the first half. This in part was due to an offensive line that had four new starters and their inexperience showed. There were blown assignments, primarily in pass protection, which quelled any offensive momentum. It got to the point that offensive line coach Ed Warinner was having the line do footwork drills on the sideline, according to CBS Sports. After adjustments, the line calmed down and was able to provide quarterback J.T. Barrett with time to find open receivers.
After the game, coach Urban Meyer said the line has a lot of work to do, especially with blitz happy Virginia Tech coming to town. While the line needs to continue to work towards better consistency, the fact that they played much better in the second half shows they have the potential to be a solid unit.
J.T. Barrett had a great debut
One thing that struck me about Barrett was his ability to lead receivers with his throws. He also seemed to show great poise aside from the interception he threw in the red zone. While it’s fair to say he doesn’t have the insane improvisational skills Braxton Miller has when running the ball, Barrett does a great job managing the game, and that is all Ohio State needs him to do. Barrett finished 12 for 15 with 226 passing yards and two touchdowns. His debut was statically better than Terrelle Pyror and Braxton Miller’s debuts, which is quite an accomplishment.
Ohio State has scary speed
Ohio State’s running backs hit the holes with explosive speed. From Curtis Samuel, who appears to be a wrecking ball in pads, to the agility of Dontre Wilson, Ohio State’s backfield has the skills to be one of the most dynamic units in the game. The goal for the coaching staff is to continue to find ways to get players like Jalin Marshall the ball in space. If the running backs continue to make big plays, Ohio State’s offense can develop into a very dangerous unit.
Ohio State’s defense played well in spurts, but need to work on fundamentals
First things first: holding Navy to 17 points is a tremendous accomplishment. The Buckeyes’ defense, primarily on the line, did an excellent job being disruptive and shutting plays down. However, there were plenty of missed tackles, poor pursuit angles and linebackers misreading plays to show the defense needs to emphasize the fundamentals more. It will be interesting to see how the defense responds this week when they will show more of their true identity via scheme against Virginia Tech.
Ultimately, this was an excellent debut for Ohio State. While the inexperience showed some mistakes, great adjustments by the coaches and players alike showed this team has exceptional determination and talent.