Demario McCall

Posted by Buckeye D | Posted in Big Ten News, Buckeye News | Posted on 05-04-2017

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Found at ESPN:

Replacing Curtis Samuel might not be a one-man job. But at Ohio State, that’s not exactly an issue when the line to slide into his role started forming the day the star H-back declared for the NFL draft.

Filling the void left by one of the most versatile, dynamic offensive weapons in the country isn’t supposed to be easy, and there also isn’t supposed to be so many seemingly perfect, ready-made candidates on hand to take over such a prominent role. The amount of options might actually provide some challenge for the Buckeyes as they try to identify the best way to move on without Samuel, but as far as problems go, that’s obviously a good one to have.

“I think we’ve got some guys who can do that — a plethora of guys,” running backs coach Tony Alford said. “Listen, we don’t lack for playmakers. Can they get better? Absolutely. But they’re here, they’re running around this building somewhere. There’s a few of them.

“I think we can spread it out. You don’t just say, I’m going to take all this pie [from Curtis Samuel] and now he gets to eat all the pie. No, everybody has to help fill that role and play their role.”No matter how the Buckeyes slice it up, Samuel’s heavy plate last season leaves a sizable production void that will have to be filled to keep the power-spread attack humming. And after seeing what Samuel could do in Urban Meyer’s vaunted H-back position a year ago while turning his 97 rushing attempts and 74 receptions into more than 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns, Ohio State had a bunch of hungry receivers and running backs jockeying for a shot at his job.

Veteran wideout Parris Campbell has emerged as an early leader in that battle this spring, and he’s earned rave reviews as he’s flashed back to show some of the tailback skills that he hasn’t really used since high school. K.J. Hill and converted defensive back Eric Glover-Williams have also given the Buckeyes more options to consider, though running back Demario McCall might wind up being the best fit by the time the season kicks off in August.

Like Samuel a few years ago when he was trapped behind Ezekiel Elliott on the depth chart at running back, the incredible potential McCall flashed off the bench as a true freshman is likely still going to be blocked for now by Mike Weber at his current position. But his electrifying moves, blazing speed, versatility and a frame that has added 20 pounds of muscle since arriving on campus are also all reminiscent of Samuel.

The only thing missing now? Actually getting some reps at H-back.

“Yeah, I talked to Coach Alford about it,” McCall said. “In spring camp, he wanted me to get the running back stuff down first and then probably in summer they’re going to put me in the slot, catching those little swing passes and routes and then we’ll go from there.

“I actually haven’t got any reps at H-back this spring. But the tailback stuff that we do, it goes along with the H-back stuff. It’s like I’m learning them both, but I’m not actually in the slot yet.”

That move seems inevitable for the Buckeyes, who have already proven they can’t resist getting McCall involved early in his career.

In his limited opportunities last season, McCall posted some Samuel-like numbers by racking up 270 rushing yards on 49 carries, averaging 21 yards on his four receptions and scoring four touchdowns.

And while he’s still focused on a role primarily in Ohio State’s backfield, working to improve his pass blocking and maintaining that he feels most comfortable at tailback, McCall might soon find himself in a different line for reps. And whether he’s working as part of a group or jumps to the top of the depth chart, it’s already clear McCall isn’t intimidated by the challenge of becoming the next Samuel.

“No, not at all,” McCall said. “I mean, I’m a natural.

“Whenever they tell me to go out in the slot, I’m going to go out there and do what I do.”

With so many candidates for the job on hand, maybe there’s a chance that call won’t come for McCall. But whether replacing Samuel takes one man or several, it’s safer to expect to see his name on the list.

30 – 27 , OT x2

Posted by Buckeye D | Posted in Big Ten News, Buckeye News, College football news | Posted on 28-11-2016

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Found at ESPN:

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Curtis Samuel swept in for a 15-yard touchdown after Ohio State barely converted a fourth-and-1 and the second-ranked Buckeyes beat No. 3 Michigan 30-27 in double overtime Saturday to win one of the greatest games in the history of one of college football’s greatest rivalries.

Facing fourth-and-1 from the 16, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer decided not to kick a potential game-tying field goal with a kicker who had already missed two short ones in regulation.

J.T. Barrett kept it on fourth down and slammed into the back of his blocker, A.J. Alexander, right at the line to gain. The first-down call stood up to video review.

“That was not a first down,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I’m bitterly disappointed with the officiating today.”

On the next play, Samuel, who had made a swerving, change-of-direction run to set up the fourth-and-1, found a lane and raced into the end zone to win it.

The scarlet-clad crowd soon covered the field. The first game to go to overtime in the 113-game history of the rivalry likely eliminated Michigan from the playoff race and could have locked up a spot for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes will have to wait until Penn State plays to find out if they will play for the Big Ten title. Still, they added to a resume that already was impressing the College Football Playoff selection committee.

Michigan could end up in the Rose Bowl, but the biggest prizes are still eluding the Wolverines in their second year under coach Jim Harbaugh, who dropped to 0-2 against Meyer and the Buckeyes. Michigan has not won the Big Ten since 2004.

But if this is just the start of a new Ten Year War for Michigan and Ohio State, with Meyer and Harbaugh playing the roles of Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler, there is much for to look forward to for college football fans.

Ohio State wiped out a 10-point third-quarter deficit and dominated the fourth quarter, but Tyler Durbin missed a 20-yard field goal to tie it with 7:01 remaining.

Barrett and the Buckeyes gave him another chance, this time from 23 yards with a second left in regulation and Durbin nailed it.

Barrett scored on a quarterback draw and Ohio State’s first possession of OT to give the Buckeyes the lead, but Michigan tied it on a 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Wilton Speight to Amara Darboh.

Loss at Penn State……

Posted by Buckeye D | Posted in Big Ten News, Buckeye News, College football news | Posted on 23-10-2016

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Found at ESPN:

 

The Buckeyes, who at times this season have looked like defending national champion Alabama’s biggest threat in the College Football Playoff race, were stunned 24-21 at Penn State on Saturday night.

The Nittany Lions blocked a field goal and returned it for the winning touchdown with 4:27 left, handing Ohio State its first road defeat in Urban Meyer’s tenure, ending a streak of 20 games.

Penn State’s stunning win is the signature victory of coach James Franklin’s three-year tenure.

“I’m just happy for our kids, I really am,” Franklin said. “Our kids, the former players, the lettermen, this town have been through a lot. This is the start of our healing process tonight. I couldn’t be prouder.”

Penn State’s victory will undoubtedly shake up the top four teams in the polls before the CFP selection committee releases its first rankings of the season on Nov. 1.