Colin: Do you think the offensive play calling would have been the same with Urban on the sideline?
Baver: You would have seen more designed runs with Haskins, and the pace would have been slower with the play calls ultimately going through Urban. Maybe Meyer will learn a bit from watching things from afar, and allow Day and Wilson to manage the play calling a bit more going forward. On the flip side, I wonder if Schiano took more chances with his aggressive scheme while Urban was watching at home. I tend to think both teams would have scored less had Urban been calling the shots.
Colin: What else on offense jumped out at you?
Baver: Mike Weber….what strides this kid has made under RB coach Tony Alford, and probably from watching a lot of film. He’s mainly a north/south runner, but on the one play in the 2ndhalf where the middle was congested on 3rd& 1, he made a quick decision to step back and cut outside picking up the first. I’m sure NFL scouts took notice.
What else can be said about Haskins? So comfortable, gets rid of the ball so quickly, adjusts the touch he puts on the ball when he needs to, hits receivers in stride, etc. The kid’s upside is crazy, but it of course won’t be that easy against a good D.
Colin: I was at the game and Bosa and C Young were literally racing each other to sack the QB on most plays. We have had some great lines but could this one be special or will the relative lack of depth be a problem in tough games?
Baver: If Dre’Mont, Bosa and Young stay healthy, this line may indeed go down as the best OSU has ever had. The LT for Oregon St, Blake Brandel, is actually one of the better tackles in the Pac-12, and the dude got abused by Bosa. Dre’Mont has done some work since we last saw him, and his athleticism was on full display against the Beavers. Chase Young? He may have had some mental mistakes, but he couldn’t be blocked either. Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard were very good but Bosa and Young are at another level. There are depth concerns at DE, but this team has a pretty deep set of DTs.
Colin: But...the defense got gashed for HUGE plays multiple times. Should we be worried? What gives?
Baver: You had a combination of inexperienced guys out of position, an extremely aggressive Greg Schiano defense, and they pulled Bosa and Dre’Mont at halftime. In fact, the four best OSU defenders, Bosa, Dre’Mont, Borland, and Fuller were not on the field when Artavis Pierce had his two long runs.
Still, the expectations are a lot higher than what we saw out of the OSU D this past Saturday. I don’t think the LBs are going to be ready for the big time anytime soon, and the safety play was horrific. The good thing is, if the D-line starters stay healthy, the coaches can devote so much extra time to the back-7. They of course have 4 and 5-star guys to work with, so it may be a night and day difference come November.
Colin: Let’s skip Rutgers talk and look around the rest of the Big Ten, especially the vaunted East division. What were your take always from week one?
Baver: You would have thought Michigan would have been fired up and ready to break a 3-game losing streak with a lineup that’s playoff caliber. Not. And the defense that many have raved about (myself included) has not fared well against high-caliber offenses. Michigan is underachieving like nobody’s business.
Sparty? Slow starts are par for the course for them early in the season, but one has to wonder if they have the talent to challenge in the east. Penn State? I think it’s going to take a while for this team to adjust with all the guys they lost. Wisconsin? Hornibrook looked poor again throwing the ball. That would be concerning to me if I were a cheese head. But that’s still a top-10 Badger team in my opinion.
Colin: What other games and lines will you be keeping an eye on this weekend?
Baver: I’ve got Ohio State covering the 35 this week; I’m calling OSU 56-17. That would mirror the 2014 score, which is the closest RU has come to Ohio St since joining the Big Ten.
In the other big ones, I like the favorites for a change. That would be Georgia laying the 10 at South Carolina, Clemson laying the 12 at A&M, and Stanford at home laying 6 against USC. Too much of a talent gap I think in the each of first two gms I mentioned, and I tend to think So Cal true freshman JT Daniels is going to get a rude awakening in Stanford Stadium.