Colin: Nobody seems to have an answer for the lack of downfield passing. Do you have a theory? Who is to blame? Who needs to step up? Can it be fixed in time to win the Big Ten?
Baver: At this point, I think it’s three things: (1) Receivers struggle to get open, and WR coach Zach Smith’s days may be numbered here; (2) When receivers do get open, JT at times doesn’t find them or misfires; and (3) The offense is out of sync…the timing just isn’t there. Can it be fixed? Well, it can improve, and I think it will. And yeah, the Bucks can still win the Big Ten.
Colin: Is it me, or did we go from being a "tempo" team to a group that barely gets the ball snapped before the play clock hits zero? Is this by design?
Baver: The tempo has definitely slowed down, and this ties back to the offensive timing being off. They had to slow things down, partly because of this. And it also seems like there have been more audibles called this year, as defenses seem to have scouted Ohio State pretty well. Obviously it takes additional time when JT has to audible. And as the tempo has slowed, so has Ohio State’s success on offense.
Colin: Northwestern played a lot of pitch and catch with one good QB and one good WR. They sure made it look simple. Are our coaches over thinking this? And could that Northwestern QB play on Sundays?
Baver: This is sad to say, but Ohio State does not have a WR that measures up with NW’s Austin Carr, a former walk-on. Think about that for a second. And JT can’t throw the ball like Clayton Thorson, who will indeed play on Sundays. He had a very rough true-freshman year last season, but the NFL scouts still had him rated high before his sophomore season even began.
Colin: I feel like the D has played pretty well all things considered. Do you feel like they have held up their end of the bargain?
Baver: They are playing better than the offense is right now….but I am surprised at the some of the long drives they give up, seemingly out of nowhere, when they are playing well up to that point in the game.
Colin: Our tough schedule only gets tougher from here on out starting with Nebraska this Saturday night, what are some advantages/ disadvantages of this match up?
Baver: Ohio State should have success running the ball against the Huskers, but will likely have problems throwing the ball against the NU secondary, the strength of their defense. On the other side of the ball, Tommy Armstrong has a habit of imploding in big games. I tend to think the Buckeye D-line will have their best game of the year in this prime-time game, against a top-ten team in the ‘Shoe, against a banged up Nebraska O-line.
Colin: The Big Ten just announced we are going to start playing some Friday night games. Boy, that sure seems unfair to all the Ohio High School football fans that are the life blood of the OSU program. What do you think of this move?
Baver: It’s pathetic. Ohio State should never be playing on a Friday night. Michigan balked at it, so why didn’t Gene Smith do the same? He is such a sellout. I hope there is major pushback from Urban.
Colin: Give us an update on your picks and what games/lines will you be keeping an eye on this weekend?
Baver: Can’t hit much right now except Ohio State games, where I’ve hit 5 of the last 6 against the spread. I’m 12-16 on the year overall ATS. I correctly called Penn State and N’Western both covering against Ohio State, but I like Ohio State to snap back in a big way this week. Urban is downplaying it publicly, but I think he is all over these guys behind closed doors. Look for the Bucks to cover the 17 and roll Nebraska; I like Ohio State 38-17. Florida State is in a tough situational spot traveling to NC State after the thriller against Clemson, but I think Vegas has over-adjusted for that making the Noles only a 5 ½ pt favorite. Take the Noles and lay the points. And I think A&M’s is laying too many (13) at Miss. St. I like the Bulldogs and the points, and an upset wouldn’t surprise me.