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Buckeye Bits: Matt Barnes on replacing Jordan Fuller, new “EQUALITY” helmet decal, more

Troy Smith days until Ohio State football! Hopefully Big Ten teams have learned a lesson or two from the conferences who are currently playing because, well, those conferences are in shambles. All I have to say is, take in every. single. snap. this season because the next game is not guaranteed. I don’t care if the score is 59-0 against Rutgers at the beginning of the fourth quarter and our third-strings are already on the field. Don’t turn the channel.

Anywho, let’s get into today’s headlines, which include some safeties and specialists talk, fans being mad at players voicing their opinions and the circus that is the SEC.

From around Land-Grant Holy Land…

Another weekend of standout performances for Ohio State commits

Gene Ross, LGHL

The future of Ohio State football is bright, as incoming Buckeyes continue to stand out in their high school seasons.

Column: I’m excited for Justin Fields to become the best quarterback in Ohio State history

Matt Tamanini, LGHL

Same, Matt. Same.

Yesterday’s Bits

Gene Ross, LGHL

Speaking of the best quarterback in Ohio State history, Fields met with the media yesterday to talk about his goals, his coaches and more. Check out yesterday’s Bits to hear what the G. Q. B. O. A. T. had to say.

From around the gridiron…

Ohio State’s safeties coach and special teams coordinator Matt Barnes met with the media on Wednesday to discuss his position group, beginning with safeties Marcus Hooker and Josh Proctor. He said he thinks both are “outstanding players and outstanding young men,” but their skill sets are different, which allows them to play in different spots.

Barnes said Marcus Hooker is a bit more a center fielder and Josh Proctor can do that but plays down more in the box, closer to the line of scrimmage.

— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) October 14, 2020

Barnes also went into replacing now-Los Angeles Rams safety Jordan Fuller, saying he’s tasked with replacing more than just his physical presence (which he’s not so worried about), but also his football mind and consistency.

Matt Barnes on Marcus Hooker and Josh Proctor: “When it comes to physical talent, I don’t think there’s a shortage of talent for either one.” Said they are “at least as athletic if not more” than Jordan Fuller, but Barnes is still looking for more consistency from them.

— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 14, 2020

The self-proclaimed “football junkie” also announced that Bradley Robinson is currently in line to start at long snapper this season, but nothing is set in stone. He is battling Liam McCullough’s brother, Roen, for the job.

But Barnes wasn’t ready to let us in on the other position battles happening inside the special reams room.

Matt Barnes said Garrett Wilson, Demario McCall, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Cameron Martinez, Xavier Johnson and Chris Olave are among the players currently working in the return game.

“Who’s it going to be on Saturdays? I’m not ready to tell you that yet.”

— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 14, 2020

Next at the podium was safety Marcus Hooker, who began by saying it’s been great having Kerry Coombs back, even though “they do get yelled at a lot,” and that he and Proctor bring out the best in one another due to their different skill sets.

Hooker continued:

-Said he’s blessed to be around Kerry Coombs and how he manages to unlock aspects in both their game and understanding of the game.

-On playing safety: “We all have different mindsets when playing safety and I’m focused on getting the ball.”

— Lantern Sports (@LanternSports) October 14, 2020

Must run in the family, eh? He also said Ohio State’s receivers haven’t made life easy for him in practice.

Marcus Hooker said Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Garrett Wilson and walk-on Sam Wiglusz are among the receivers who have been tough to go up against in practice. As a safety, Hooker’s often covering the slot receiver.

— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 14, 2020

Following Hooker was — you guessed it — Josh Proctor, who said he often goes back and watches the Clemson-loss for motivation, and that he’s working on becoming a leader like Fuller.

Josh Proctor up now. He said he’s focusing on the mental side of the game and becoming a better leader, similar to Jordan Fuller as the quarterback of the defense.

— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) October 14, 2020

Next up were the specialists, punter Drue Chrisman and kicker Blake Haubeil. Chrisman said he and Robinson have been working together during the offseason, finding any field they could since they weren’t allowed to punt/snap at the facility.

Drue Chrisman said he got into a “really good routine” this offseason with working out on his own to stay sharp during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He thinks sticking to a routine is crucial to avoid some of the special teams miscues that have happened elsewhere in college football.

— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 14, 2020

Chrisman also said that Terry Mclaurin was the best punt gunner he’s ever worked with, and that Chris Olave and Proctor have spent time at gunner in practice.

Chrisman said he views punting goals as a collective, not just himself. He talked about net punting and putting the defense in the best position as possible.

— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) October 14, 2020

Last but not least, Haubeil said he’s been spending his offseason working on consistency.

Main points from Kicker Blake Haubeil:

-Said he’s worked on his consistency in the offseason: “You’re only as good as your routine.”

-Said Coach Barnes has created an environment of constant communication and that has strengthened their relationship.

— Lantern Sports (@LanternSports) October 14, 2020

For more quotes and position updates, check out Eleven Warriors Presser Bullets.

The Buckeyes are expected to wear a decal with the word “EQUALITY” on their helmets this season, written in black capital letters on the lower back of the helmet.

This will likely result in weeding out the fans who don’t agree with this sentiment. One can only hope.

Hopefully Ohio State makes the cut!

Good news: all 127 FBS teams playing this fall are immediately bowl eligible as NCAA officially approves no win requirements to play in a bowl, sources told @Stadium. Bad news: only 78 teams are needed to fill 39 bowls this year

— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) October 14, 2020

From around the hardwood…

The Basketball Buckeyes will begin their 2020 season in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this year as part of the season-opening Crossover Classic, which was originally scheduled as the 10th annual Battle 4 Atlantis event in the Bahamas (but you know… coronavirus). In what will be a three-day, three-game event, Ohio State’s first-round matchup will be the Memphis Tigers, and is set to tip at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 25 at the Sanford Pentagon.

We’ve got more brackets! The Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic is set.

Four potential top-25 teams, including a first-round matchup between Ohio State and Memphis.

Nov. 25-27 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Limited number of fans allowed. pic.twitter.com/yFEsJ4Jhec

— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) October 14, 2020

The NCAA also announced their future host cities for the first, second and regional rounds of the 2023-2026 NCAA Tournaments. Columbus, Ohio is included on that list for the first and second rounds in 2023, while the yearly “First Four” round will continue to be played in at the University of Dayton Arena.

From everywhere else…

Florida’s game against LSU, originally scheduled for this Saturday, has been tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12 after the Gators reported 21 positive COVID-19 cases.

#Gators AD Scott Stricklin says the Florida-LSU game is tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12.

Florida has “less than 50 scholarship players available currently” with 21 positive cases.

“We think the trip to College Station was the root of it.”

— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) October 14, 2020

This news comes just a few days after Florida head coach Dan Mullens asked that fans “pack the swamp,” due to Florida’s governor lifting attendance restrictions. Mullens apologized for those comments, and his athletic director more or less told him to stick to sports.

Stricklin on Mullen’s packing the Swamp remark: “Coaches sometimes say things that are outside of their area of expertise and they’re really good at what they do. Dan is really good at calling ball plays.” (!!!)

— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 14, 2020

Ole Miss’ game against Arkansas might be next on the postponement list, as Lane Kiffin announced that they are dealing with their first COVID-19 “issues.”

Lane Kiffin said moments ago Ole Miss is having some COVID issues and is not in a good place numbers wise. “We could play the game today,” Kiffin said, when asked if the game Saturday at Arkansas is in jeopardy.

— Neal McCready (@NealMcCready) October 14, 2020

If Ole Miss’ situation escalates between now and Saturday, three SEC matchups will not be played this weekend.

As we live in a COVID world:

LSU @ Florida Game postponed.

Vandy @ Missouri postponed

Ole Miss “having issues” per @Lane_Kiffin on Coaches Teleconference today. #SEC

— ChristinaWBRC (@ChristinaWBRC) October 14, 2020

And just minutes before this article goes live, it was announced that Alabama head coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne have tested positive. No. 2 Alabama plays No. 3 Georgia Saturday night.

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne have tested positive for COVID-19, per UA. Saban directed @alaftbl practice from home today.

— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) October 14, 2020

I’ll tell ya what: If Kirby Smart can’t beat Alabama, in front of 25 percent capacity, with the worst defense of the Saban era and Nick Saban himself coaching from his living room couch, they never will

— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) October 14, 2020

While Saban may be our enemy any other day of the week, we definitely don’t delight in this news. I hope he, Byrne and everyone else in the SEC who has tested positive makes a speedy recovery!

Nick Saban: “I found out earlier this afternoon that I had tested positive for COVID-19. I immediately left work and isolated at home. At this time, I do not have any symptoms relative to COVID.”

OC Steve Sarkisian to oversee game preparation.

— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) October 14, 2020

And, sure, we can rag on the south all we want, but we don’t really have room to talk.

We’re not even close to going back to “normal,” because people refuse to wear a cloth over their face. It’s as simple as that. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

And I’ll leave you with this pure moment between J.K. Dobbins and Billy Price.

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We need help to find a way to prevent COVID-19

COVID-19 studies are enrolling now.

Those who qualify:*

  • may receive the investigational vaccine or placebo at no cost
  • may receive compensation for time and travel
  • may receive free testing for COVID-19