Colin: The Buckeyes had a week off to regroup from the debacle against Purdue. If you were running the offense, what adjustments would you make to get the running game out of the mud?
Baver: If Urban has phased himself back into running this offense, I think I’d give much of the control back to Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson. It does sound like the coaches did what they almost had to do these past two weeks, with Urban saying they spent a great deal of time working on this running game. If it is still sputtering early against the Huskers, I would consider making in-game lineup changes they don’t normally make. They have to do something to provide a spark, and you rarely see OSU make personnel changes anymore. I would consider using Tate Martell for a 1sthalf series Saturday, and I would certainly use Tate in specific packages. It’s hard to sit Haskins and his million-dollar arm for many plays, but I think it would probably help these tailbacks.
Colin: Meanwhile, Dwayne Haskins is finally the pure passing QB Buckeye fans have dreamed of playing, but he is no JT Barrett when it comes to red zone or short yardage situations. What can be done to produce more touchdowns when given the opportunity?
Baver: Try other options….rinse and repeat. Tate Martell has to get a look in some short yardage situations. Could that be worse than the success rate they are currently having on the short-yardage plays? And at this point, I think they have to line up Haskins under center when they need a yard.
Colin: DC Greg Schiano claims this defense is close to being good. Can we take him at his word? What is the most important thing this defense must improve on if they want to perform at an acceptable level?
Baver: After giving up 49 pts to Purdue, I won’t believe this defense is close to being good until I see it. Purdue scored 1 TD on Sparty last Saturday by the way...this a week after scoring 7 TDs on Ohio St. The Buckeye D-line has fewer problems than the linebackers or DBs, but if the coaches and team leaders could simply motivate this D-line to play to their potential, that would go a long way to improving this D.
Colin: What is your take on Urban? His body language on the sidelines doesn't look like a man who is enjoying his job.
Baver: I don’t know if he’s returning next year or not. I mean….watch the first 3 or 4 minutes of this video, and tell me if that is the Urban Meyer you know? I think that’s part of the reason why the Vegas line has dropped more than 3 points for Saturday’s game in the Horseshoe. It’s not just this video and Urban’s choice of words here…in the past three weeks, you also have Urban speaking often about his health problems. It sure sounds he is setting up his departure, but I could be wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised either way I guess….as to whether Urban returns in ’19 or calls it quits. I do know the game has taken its toll on Urban much like it took its toll on Woody some 40 years ago. It’s sad to see him like this.
Colin: How do you see the OSU – Nebraska game playing out?
Baver: OSU is as healthy as they have been in some time. I think you will finally see a sense of urgency after being embarrassed. And I think you will see “some” signs of life out of the OSU running game. But Nebraska is much improved. NU QB Adrian Martinez is on his way to stardom in this conference, and I think JD Spielman will again have a big day like he did a year ago against the Bucks in Lincoln. And if OSU starts slowly, the is a losable game for them. But I think Ohio St makes some progress Saturday, even if they don’t win big. The call: Ohio St 42 Nebraska 28.
Colin: Lots of big games this weekend. Which ones will you be keeping an eye on?
Baver: I think you lay the points in Ann Arbor. The home team has won big each of the last two years, and I think you’ll see it again. Outside of DJ Hamler, Penn St’s receivers are way below expectations. Can’t see the Nits throwing the ball on UM. And how healthy is McSorley? I think Michigan wins fairly big here….I’d lay the 10½.
I just read that Bama hasn’t won by more than 14½ at LSU since 2002. That’s the line Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. LSU has one of the best defenses in the country, and it will be by far the toughest D Bama has played this year. If LSU gets Bama in a funk, they could pull the upset…..as any team is beatable. But Alabama does have the best offense in the country and LSU’s offense is going to have many problems moving the ball against the Tide. I’ll avoid picking this one against the spread, but Bama should prove to be too much for the Tigers here.