Every now and then we like to get the debate going here on Buckeyes Wire. We have a little roundtable segment we like to call our “Buckeye Battle Cry.” We throw out a hot-button topic and each of the three writers takes turns debating an answer.
There are varying perspectives for a trio that doesn’t agree very often, and sometimes the virtual mud flies. Other times (and rarely at that), there are rainbows, butterflies, and agreement among the group.
This time we’re going to talk about the much-maligned running game — or lack thereof — of what we’ve seen from Ohio State over the last three weeks. It may not hurt the Buckeyes until it plays a team that has a physical brand to it, but that day is coming, namely when some certain winged helmets invade Ohio Stadium.
So the question this week: Are you at all concerned about what you’ve seen over the last few weeks with Ohio State’s run game, and will it be a problem when OSU and Michigan play on November 26?
Mark will set the baseline for this one …
Mark Russell, Featured Writer
As it stands right now… yeah, I’m concerned. I never thought I’d see the day I’d be worried that an Ohio State team couldn’t run the football. Welcome to 2022 I guess.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the passing attack that Ryan Day brings to the table. However, I don’t care how good of a throwing game a team has, it simply can’t become one-dimensional and predictable. Maybe against mediocre opponents, but certainly not against better competition.
The Buckeyes may not necessarily qualify as one-dimensional, but the offensive play-calling has definitely been predictable at times this season. The good news is this, we witnessed the fix when C.J. Stroud scampered for 44 yards on a quarterback keeper.
No defender was close to Stroud as he took off because no one expected him to keep the ball. If the defense has to account for the quarterback taking off it will open up more holes for the running backs. I’m not asking Stroud to be Justin Fields or Braxton Miller, but a few read options sprinkled in the play-calling will keep the defense honest. If not, a really good defense (like Michigan) will have little problem making Ohio State a one-dimensional team.
Josh Keatley, Featured Writer
I am extremely concerned. If the Buckeyes can’t play better than they did at Northwestern then they don’t want to be in the playoffs. This run game is pathetic and I have no idea why. The Northwestern defensive line looked like an absolute handful for the Ohio State offensive line and that is not a good sign considering Michigan is right around the corner.
I do not know what the answer is, but I do know that the offensive line needs to get better at making holes for the runners, or else the Buckeyes will lose to the Wolverines.
Phil Harrison, Publisher/Editor and Featured Writer
Sounds like we are all singing the same song here and that’s rare. However, I do agree that even the most optimistic Ohio State fan has to at least be marginally concerned. I mean, last year, weather was an issue in Ann Arbor, the physicality of the OSU team didn’t show up, and the Wolverines took Ohio State’s lunch money.
The reality is that you are going to deal with elements in the midwest the later the year goes, even as far as dry hands because of colder weather and that impacts throwing the ball for some quarterbacks. Add in wind, snow, rain, and whatever else and that’s why being able to move the ball on the ground is such a big deal.
That being said, if we somehow get one of those pleasant, late November days in Columbus, it might not be that big of a deal and the passing game will probably thrive. And, with the threat of doing damage through the air, the running game should be better.
What concerns me more is the ability to stop the running game on defense. We’ve seen some leaks start to spring a little there against Penn State and Northwestern, and Michigan has a recipe for more success than those two teams.
Let’s hope Jim Knowles is holding something back on defense.
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