Kirk Herbstreit: Ohio State never looked this explosive last year
Urban Meyer said that his team was further along than he expected it to be.
It’s hard to argue with that logic. The Buckeyes have averaged 62.5 points per game in two blowout victories. Minus a slow offensive start against Tulsa, it’s been complete dominance from OSU so far.
JT Barrett looks more like his 2014 self, Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson are thriving in the H-back position and Mike Weber excelled running and blocking out of the backfield.
For some, the question is worth asking. Is this team somehow more dynamic on offense than last year’s group?
Kirk Herbstreit believes so.
“There were times last year that they didn’t play anybody and they never looked this explosive,” Herbstreit said on ESPN’s Mike and Mike. “It has everything to do with JT Barrett. He’s in command. It’s no longer him and Cardale Jones. It’s his show and he’s surrounded by a bunch of rookies…he’s got a bunch of skill guys trying to prove themselves.
“They’re explosive, they’re electric, they’re eager so they look great in their two cupcake games at home.”
Herbstreit has a point. Last year’s group, despite all of its NFL talent, never hit the 50-point mark. Against its three non-Power Five foes at home, OSU had plenty of offensive struggles.
So yes, this year’s group is doing things that last year’s group didn’t. But, as Herbstreit said, they were still two cupcake games.
That of course will change this weekend when the Buckeyes travel to Norman to take on No. 14 Oklahoma. The Sooners are already in a must-win scenario for the College Football Playoff having lost in the season opener to Houston.
And while it’s the Buckeye offense that’ll get its first true test, the other side of the ball is where Herbstreit’s attention will be.
“I can’t wait to watch the Ohio State defense matched up against Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon,” Herbstreit said. “I think Oklahoma has a great attack. The one area if you’re an Oklahoma fan that you should be concerned about? Offensive-line play against that Ohio State defensive front.
“I think Ohio State is much better than people realize despite losing Joey Bosa. And the Oklahoma receivers, from losing Sterling Shepard, who becomes the guy? This will be a game where someone has to emerge and make plays against a very, very opportunistic Ohio State secondary. Those guys are ballhawks on the back end for the Buckeye defense.”
If Ohio State can pull out a victory, the comparisons will shift to the 2014 group.