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2019 Indiana Football Preview: Q&A with Land-Grant Holy Land

LGHL’s Patrick Mayhorn gives us the skinny on the Buckeyes post-Meyer

Michigan v Ohio State
Buf Torland
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Patrick Mayhorn is the lead voice over at LGHL and also does good tweets. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_mayhorn).

AM: We shouldn’t expect to see a guy with a mustache and glasses named “Smurban Reyer” on the sidelines in Columbus this year right?

PM: Your guess is as good as mine, but I can’t imagine he’ll be making a return appearance unless the Buckeyes appear to be in danger of not losing to a Big Ten West opponent by 30 points. Given that the Buckeyes play Indiana before any Big Ten West foes, I think you should be safe.

AM: So with Urban out and Ryan Day in how much change should be expected as far as this year’s on-field product goes in terms of style and quality?

PM: Honestly, I think the only thing that really changes from Day is less dependence on seniors and players that the head coach feels he can trust. Meyer was loyal to a fault and it essentially cost him his job, and led to nearly every one of his losses in Columbus. I wouldn’t expect that from Day, so essentially think 2018 with a less experienced quarterback but fewer tremendously stubborn decisions.

AM: Dwayne Haskins is gone to the pros—thank God—and Justin Fields transferred in this offseason. Are there any concerns about Fields taking over the offense and/or will he throw for a zillion yards on the way to the NFL like (checks notes) the last five Buckeye quarterbacks before him?

PM: Personally, I don’t really have any concerns. Fields was better in 2018 than most people realize, and now he’s playing in an offense designed in this century. There will be a learning curve, sure, and he won’t be as ruthlessly efficient as Haskins was, but his big play threat is larger and he’s just as likely to throw for a zillion yards on his way to the NFL.

AM: J.K. Dobbins had a tiny bit of a sophomore slump after coming out of the gates quickly in his first year on campus (including lighting up Indiana in his first game as a collegian, fun memories!). He’s still one of the best backs in the conference, but how will he fit in OSU’s offense this year?

PM: I think that Dobbins’ biggest issue in 2018 was his size. He was a bit over where his playing weight should be, because Ohio State wanted him to be stronger, and it hurt his speed and elusiveness, essentially making him a battering ram without the size. He seems to be back to the correct weight this season, and with a runner at quarterback again, I’d imagine another 2017-type season for Dobbins as he thrives with the return of the option.

AM: Greg Schiano was fired into the sun with a catapult given a gig with the New England Patriots after leaving Ohio State (he’s since resigned). What will the OSU defense look like this fall under new leadership and who will be the leaders on that side of the ball?

PM: Ohio State is shifting to a 4-2-5 this season, much to my delight because I’ve been calling for this for years now. They’ve brought in a new position called the bullet that plays essentially as a roaming safety, like Jabrill Peppers at Michigan a few years back. Brendon White is moving into that role, and likely takes Pete Werner off the field. The linebackers may still struggle a bit because Tuf Borland is expected to start once again, but the defense should be faster and better equipped to handle spread offenses.

AM: Are there any players with a palpable buzz around them as possible breakout players?

PM: I’ve had my eyes on Demario McCall for years now, but my more realistic answer is Chris Olave. He absolutely gashed Michigan’s defense last season, and really came on late as a deep threat for the offense. He’s an excellent route runner and athlete, and he looks as much like Terry Glenn as I’ve seen from a Buckeye receiver in the last two decades. He’s excellent.

AM: Do you have any words to say about Tuf Borland?


AM: In closing, we would like to congratulate you on your new big chungus and request that you please, please somehow get him on the Ohio State basketball team. It would be tremendous for the content.

PM: I’ll see what I can do.