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2019 tOSU Special Teams (Official Thread)

Discussion in '2019 Football Season Capsule' started by ScriptOhio, May 28, 2019.

  1. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.



    Even though Urban Meyer is no longer running the program, Ohio State’s special teams philosophy doesn’t sound as though it will change substantially in 2019.

    New Ohio State special teams coordinator Matt Barnes said this spring that the Buckeyes will continue to play some of their best players on special teams, but that it will also serve as a proving ground for young players to demonstrate their skills.

    “I think you've got to find that happy medium there of playing your best players, but also giving your young players a chance to develop and show themselves,” Barnes said.

    In recent years, Ohio State has played established players and even starters in some roles on special teams – exhibit A being Terry McLaurin’s excellence as a punt gunner over the past couple seasons – but has also used special teams as a prerequisite for earning roles on offense or defense.

    That often means that the players who are difference-makers on special teams one year could be playmakers on offense or defense the next, especially at positions like linebacker and defensive back.

    As such, we take a look at 12 Ohio State players (plus some honorable mentions) who aren’t currently in line to be starters for the upcoming season, but could play key roles in the third phase of the game for the Buckeyes.

    Because players who line up further away from the ball on offense or defense typically play bigger roles on special teams, the following list focuses on the running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers and defensive backs who are most likely to play key roles on special teams this year. Specialists are also not included below, so while kicker Blake Haubeil, punter Drue Chrisman and long snapper Liam McCullough are sure bets to play key roles on special teams this season, this list focuses on potential players to watch on the kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return units this season even though they are not primarily special teams players.

    McCall began last season as Ohio State’s lead punt returner, but lost that role after some early issues with ball security. By the end of the season, though, McCall took over as the Buckeyes’ lead kickoff returner and delivered the most important kickoff return of the season when he had a 42-yard runback that set up a game-tying drive to force overtime in the Buckeyes’ nail-biting win over Maryland.

    At this time last year, McCall was expected to be both the lead kickoff and punt returner for the Buckeyes and play a more substantial role on offense, so his redshirt sophomore season came as somewhat of a disappointment. He enters this season as the frontrunner to remain the lead kickoff returner, though, and could provide the spark that’s been missing for Ohio State in that capacity if he can finally perform up to his potential.

    While McCall has already flashed some ability to be a difference-maker in the return game – he just hasn’t done it consistently yet – Gill is another candidate to emerge as a dynamic playmaker in the return game in 2019.

    Gill didn’t return any kicks or punts as a true freshman in 2018, but he’s a candidate to potentially take over either role this season after redshirting last season. As a former highly touted recruit out of Westerville South High School, Gill offers the explosive combination of speed and agility that playmakers in the return game typically have. Though McCall returns as the lead kickoff returner and K.J. Hill has been Ohio State’s lead punt returner for the past two seasons, Gill could possibly replace Hill in the latter capacity and be the secondary kickoff returner alongside McCall if he shows he can be trusted to catch and secure the ball consistently.

    These three linebackers, all true sophomores, can be grouped together as Buckeyes who rank among the leading candidates to be key players on Ohio State’s kickoff coverage and other special teams units this season.

    Each of them already saw regular playing time on special teams as true freshmen last year. They’re also all competing for spots on the linebacker two-deep – Gant at weakside linebacker, Mitchell at middle linebacker and Pope at strongside linebacker – so if they earn significant playing time on defense, their roles on special teams could potentially be reduced.

    With returning veterans Malik Harrison, Tuf Borland, Pete Werner and Baron Browning leading the linebacker depth chart, though, it’s still likely that the sophomore linebackers will play their biggest roles this season on special teams in 2019, and all of them have the ability to be fantastic in that capacity.

    With a multitude of returning players on the depth chart at linebacker, Stover probably isn’t going to see substantial playing time on defense as a true freshman, but it’s easy to see him making an immediate impact on special teams units. A versatile athlete who prides himself on his ability to hit hard, Stover should relish the potential opportunity to run down the field at full speed and make tackles or blow up blocks on kickoff coverage.

    Entire article:
  2. brodybuck21

    brodybuck21 THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY Staff Member Fantasy Baseball Champ

    By Garrett StepienJune 20, 2019 (1:15 pm)Football, Garrett Stepien
    [​IMG]Click for PDF[​IMG]Click to Print
    After seven years of guidance under Urban Meyer, Ohio State’s special teams underwent a transition in the offseason when Ryan Day took over as head coach and retooled the staff along the way.

    Among the moves, Day hired Matt Barnes to fill the Buckeyes’ void at special teams coordinator and assistant secondary coach.

    The emphasis on special teams has been especially important for OSU with Barnes, who follows Kerry Coombs (2014-17) and Taver Johnson(2018) in the coordinator role.

    “Coach Barnes has a ton of energy,” senior long snapper Liam McCullough said last Friday at Ohio State’s seventh annual job fair. “He’s a lot of fun. He brings a sort of element of humor to the special teams room. Similar energy to Coach Coombs. Little bit different, in terms of his kind of demeanor, but the guy’s a genius. He knows his stuff, he knows our program, our scheme and our culture very, very well and he connects great with the guys.”

    Barnes became the Buckeyes’ special teams coordinator Jan. 10, following three years in the same job with Maryland from 2016-18.

    On top of his duties with new co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Jeff Hafley in the defensive backfield, Barnes enters a pivotal position after OSU had Meyer heavily involved from 2012-18.

    Transparency with players from day one helped build bonds between Barnes and specialists — including junior punter Drue Chrisman and junior kicker Blake Haubeil — and put everyone in the room on the same page before a pivotal spring camp kicked off March 6 and wrapped up April 13.

    “The very first time I met Coach Barnes when he got here to Columbus, I sat down in his office, which is now a special teams office,” McCullough said, “because now the corners moved in with the safeties, so now it’s a special teams meeting room for the specialists. But I sat down and talked with him for, probably, 30 or 40 minutes. And the first thing he asked me was, ‘What are your goals? What can I do to help you to be the teammate that you want to be, the long snapper that you want to be and the leader that you want to be?’ And so we had a heart-to-heart (conversation) about that, and he said that my goals are his goals, Drue’s goals are his goals, Blake’s goals are his goals.

    “So he’s really working on helping us — not only on the field, but off the field as well. He was coming up to me, patting me on the back and kind of being a wing man at some of these (job fair) tables today and he’s just a phenomenal guy — great family man, his wife’s incredible — he’s having the DBs and the specialists over for dinner and we’re about to go on a specialist golf outing next week, so that’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s just really nice. It’s really nice.”

    Barnes leads Ohio State’s special teams on the surface, but Day has had to ramp up his own oversight of the unit since he replaced Meyer at the helm.

    After the Buckeyes announced Meyer’s retirement and Day’s succession Dec. 4, the two-year offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach’s transition went into effect before Jan. 2.

    Ahead of OSU’s Jan. 1 Rose Bowl game against Washington, a 28-23 win, Day studied how Meyer and the coaches on special teams operated during practices from Columbus to the Los Angeles area.

    “We noticed Coach Day kind of sitting in on some meetings and is really immersing himself in special teams,” McCullough said. “He was out there for the walkthroughs. Typically, on a Friday before a game, when we do our walkthroughs, special teams stays out afterwards with Coach Meyer. Offense and defense go inside. And we noticed Coach Day was just hanging out more, listening and observing. And he really is a lifelong student.

    “He’s an offensive genius and he’s really into it. He’s in the front row of every special teams meeting and he listens and he asks questions to Coach Barnes, to players and he adds insights when he can. And he really has kind of brought that head-coaching mindset, that offensive mindset to special teams and it’s been really interesting to have him in meetings.”

    With veterans in place as Chrisman, Haubeil and McCullough all return — plus key gunner cornerback Jeffrey Okudah — Ohio State’s personnel and staff mesh together, putting special teams under Day and Barnes in an optimistic position once the transition comes full circle in the fall.

    “It’s been really productive, really cool, because obviously Coach Meyer — special teams, that was his baby, especially punt and kickoff,” McCullough said. “That was his baby, so he had his hands in everything. And Coach Day is showing us, as players — but also the team — that special teams still is important as it has been at Ohio State for years.”
    charlohiottean likes this.
  3. brodybuck21

    brodybuck21 THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY Staff Member Fantasy Baseball Champ

    Ohio State Football Notebook
    August 8, 2019by Tony Gerdeman0 comments

    Will Kickoffs Change?
    Under Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes employed a very effective kickoff strategy of aiming the kicks to the corner and around the 5-yard line. It forced the returner to return the ball against a coverage unit that was fairly adept at tackling them inside the 20-yard line.

    This allowed Ohio State to finish near the top of the field position battles year after year.

    Like any strategy, however, kicking into the corner wasn’t always flawless. Sometimes there were coverage issues because the contain guy would lose leverage. What most people remember, of course, is the kickoffs that would go out of bounds.

    The advent of the new fair catch rule last year that allowed any fair catch inside the 25-yard line to be placed at the 25-yard line was a significant blow to the potential of Meyer’s chosen strategy. The Buckeyes still did it, but it’s much less effective when you can’t tackle somebody at the 11-yard line and they no longer have to go 89 yards for a touchdown.

    People have wondered if the Buckeyes will continue that same kicking strategy this year now that Meyer is gone. According to special teams coordinator and co-defensive backs coach Matt Barnes, probably.

    “I mentioned before if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But you know, we want to add some wrinkles here and there when we can,” he said. “But at the same time we’ve got unbelievable players. We got a really good kicker coming back. So you know, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel there. We just want them to play fast. That’ll be the biggest thing, is just get our guys running really fast. Playing extremely hard and go front the returner up.”
  4. brodybuck21

    brodybuck21 THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY Staff Member Fantasy Baseball Champ

  5. Smudger

    Smudger #ImYourHuckleberry Staff Member BP Recruiting Team 2x BP FBB Champ '14 NFL Pick'em Champ Former FF The Deuce Champ Former Hockey Champ Former FF Keeper Champ ‘18 Premier League Champ

  6. CFPBuckeye

    CFPBuckeye Turned down a Harbaugh sleepover '17 Fantasy Baseball Champ

    MUCH different than the Penn State version.

    kujirakira, Bestbuck36, Trevi and 2 others like this.
  7. LovelandBuckeye

    LovelandBuckeye You never lose to those pricks. Ever. Ever. - UFM

    So, still not rivals?
  8. Smudger

    Smudger #ImYourHuckleberry Staff Member BP Recruiting Team 2x BP FBB Champ '14 NFL Pick'em Champ Former FF The Deuce Champ Former Hockey Champ Former FF Keeper Champ ‘18 Premier League Champ

  9. brodybuck21

    brodybuck21 THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY Staff Member Fantasy Baseball Champ

    ok now this is funny
    kujirakira, gmen6981 and Smudger like this.
  10. brodybuck21

    brodybuck21 THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY Staff Member Fantasy Baseball Champ

  11. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    Statistical Projection: Ohio State Specialists


    C’mon, people. You didn’t think I’d just stop after the QBs and forget all about the most important players on the field, did you?

    Kickers and punters are people too. Let’s show them some respect.

    Also, little known facts… sometimes stretching is difficult and water is essential to life.


    Ohio State kickers have not missed an extra point since before Donald Trump took office. That’s two full seasons of perfection on PAT snaps, holds, and kicks. Going back through the 2014 season, the Buckeyes have hit 361 of their last 363 extra point attempts.

    Blake Haubeil, who was a perfect 37-37 in 2018, will look to keep the current streak alive, as he’ll pick up where he left off last year. Haubeil should step right in as the kickoff specialist and also handle all PATs and field goals this season.

    The kicker position could certainly change if Haubeil goes ice cold or suffers an injury. My money, however, is on him having a strong, healthy season and being a very solid part of the Buckeye offense, both in scoring and on kickoffs.


    Your favorite bottle-flipping, tricked-out Prius driving, Mormon girlfriend-proposing punter is back again! Drue Chrisman may do all of those other listed things, and quite well, but his true talent lies in blasting a football on fourth downs.

    Chrisman booted 61 punts in the 2018 season and only ONE of them resulted in a touchback. That’s remarkable. More impressive than that, though, is the fact that his gross and net punting averages are less than two yards apart after 112 career punts. That means that when he punts the ball, usually 43-44 yards downfield from where it was snapped, that’s where it stays.

    He placed almost half of his punts in 2018 inside of the opponent’s 20-yard line, including enough against Michigan State to get his name in the article summary on ESPN.

    I could go on and on, and have done so, in fact, but I’ll spare you more punter awe and just say that he will once again be excellent. In addition to his punting duties, Chrisman will again serve as the holder for Haubeil this year, as Liam McCullough long snaps.

    Entire article:
  12. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

  13. Bestbuck36

    Bestbuck36 It's a brand new Day!!

    No offense to Drue, but I hope like hell he doesnt qualify for the Ray Guy award this season because of too few attempts.

    Just make the few you get really count.
  14. scarletngray

    scarletngray Gold Pants

    Such a key player for us.
  15. bukIpower

    bukIpower Senior

    Especially if our defense improves and becomes a top notch unit. Going 80+ yards on a good defense is very tough to do.

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