Ohio State mailbag: Talking offensive line, weather forecast in Nebraska

Have Ohio State football questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every  Wednesday  for the  Land of 10 Ohio State mailbag to talk all things Buckeyes. This week, we’ll discuss the Ohio State offensive line, running back carries and potential weather impact on the Nebraska game.

Let’s get started!

I’m just going to knock out all these offensive line questions simultaneously. Though Urban Meyer said Tuesday that the right guard job is a three-way competition between Matt Burrell, Demetrius Knox and Malcolm Pridgeon, I’m predicting that Burrell wins the job full-time. I don’t see a scenario in which Price would move away from center. Among the candidates mentioned, Burrell has the highest ceiling and biggest likelihood of contributing on the line in the future, so I think any close call should go to him. As for Wyatt Davis, Meyer has a history of being reticent to remove redshirts this late in the season, so that ship may have sailed.

I don’t think Mike Weber has taken away any meaningful carries from J.K. Dobbins. Both players had 13 carries against Maryland, but only because Weber got seven in his final series after the game was already in blowout mode and Dobbins was firmly planted to the bench. The coaches believe in Weber based on what they saw from him in spring, and they’re trying to work him back fully into form in time for the big games. But Dobbins won’t be going anywhere.

If it’s as nasty as it looks like it could be, the weather could play a big role in determining how Ohio State plays. I don’t think the outcome would be in doubt because the Buckeyes run game is pretty lethal and Nebraska’s best chance at an upset would be for Tanner Lee to play out of his mind. The bigger problem, at least in my opinion, would be losing one last chance to get a bunch of in-game reps for Ohio State’s passing attack and pass defense before facing Penn State.

This question kind of ties together the previous two. I don’t know if Weber will ever fully overtake Dobbins in terms of number of carries, but I definitely don’t think it will happen anytime soon unless it’s a blowout and Dobbins gets fewer than 10 carries. The staff is still being cautious with Weber. If it’s pouring and the game isn’t over in the first quarter I could see something like Dobbins in the low 20s and Weber with 10-15.

Good question on the heels of the most disgraceful night in United States soccer history. I think the most disappointing moment in program history would be losing to Michigan in 1969, costing the most talented team in Ohio State history a shot at a national championship. The lowest moment is a tie for me between on- and off-the-field moments. Having to fire the program’s greatest coach because he punched an opposing player has to be included. But that wasn’t about program quality. To me, losing to Indiana 41-7 in 1988 one year after the “darkest day” loss to the Hoosiers is about as bad as it gets.

Nobody on the coaching staff has expressed any such concern, and I don’t think there’s much reason to worry, either. He missed his entire senior season in high school due to injury, so he doesn’t have a lot of mileage on him. Also, he has a partner in the backfield and Ohio State will play in enough blowouts this season to give him rest when he needs it. That should help both physically and mentally.

I don’t think that’s the only reason, but I think it’s part of it. I mentioned after each of the first two games that Kevin Wilson didn’t look like he ever got into a rhythm with his play calling, and he took the blame for that after the Oklahoma loss. To me, that’s something that takes time based on getting to know what your players can do. But I also think the improvement has come from adding some of the offensive concepts the team didn’t really use prior to the loss.

Nope. Not even a little bit. Let the games begin!

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