Buckeyes Michigan

Peach Bowl Notebook: ‘It was just a bad time to have a bad game’

Ringo Starred

While he wasn’t voted the best receiver in college football, Ohio State sophomore Marvin Harrison, Jr. certainly has an argument.

Harrison has posted 72 receptions for 1,157 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, and has a dozen or so highlight catches that would be anybody else’s very best of the year.

There is an anticipated matchup coming at the end of the month between Harrison and Georgia redshirt sophomore cornerback Kelee Ringo. Ringo’s name is already showing up in the first round of most mock drafts, while Harrison’s name will have to wait a year to be eligible.

It won’t be the first time this season that Harrison has matched up with a projected first-round cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft. The most recent matchup was against Penn State’s Joey Porter, Jr. in OSU’s 44-31 win over the Nittany Lions.

While Harrison and Porter weren’t attached to each other the entire game, Harrison did manage to notch season highs with 10 catches for 185 yards.

Can he do the same thing against Ringo and the Bulldogs? It’s going to be a challenge, that’s for sure.

“Yeah, I mean, he’s very athletic,” Harrison said of Ringo. “He’s probably the most athletic corner going into the draft. He’s like 6-2, 210, probably runs 4.3. Jumps really high on film, so I mean, he’s going to be definitely a challenge for me. Probably one of the biggest challenges that I’ve faced all year, him and Joey. I’m definitely excited for it.”

Asked if his performance against Porter taught him anything that he can use in his upcoming battle against Ringo, Harrison brushed it off.

“No, I kind of always had confidence in myself,” he said. “I can go out there and perform at high level against someone equal or just as high level as a player that I am, so I’m not gonna say I learned anything.”

The two players themselves are looking forward to the matchup, as are the NFL types. But Harrison will also be careful not to get too lost in a one-on-one competition.

“I definitely think you can’t get caught up in it too much,” he said. “Obviously, as a competitor you want to have those matchups every play, but that’s not realistic for the game plan.”

The Midnight Man

Ohio State is losing offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson after this season. Wilson has accepted the head coaching job at Tulsa.

The vacant coordinator position will likely be handled by coaches already on staff, but the tight end position will be handled by Keenan Bailey, who has been part of OSU’s extended coaching staff since 2016.

Bailey has spent most of his time with the receivers and quarterbacks, and along the way he has endeared himself to his players. Now that he’s getting to be a full-fledged position coach, his players are thrilled for him.

“I’m super happy,” said sophomore receiver Emeka Egbuka. “Coach Bailey, he’s one of the first coaches that helped recruit me. We had a really tight relationship ever since I was in high school, and we really developed a special relationship. I can really call him my friend. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve known he’s ready for a position job since the first day I saw him work. He’s one of the first coaches in here and the last coach to leave. He’s always helping us in our craft and he’s one of the most dialed in people you’ll ever meet. It’s really well deserved and I’m super happy for him.”

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Egbuka isn’t the only receiver singing Bailey’s praises.

“I know he’s gonna do a great job,” said Marvin Harrison. “Just all the work that he puts in. All the film he watches. He’s always trying to help players get better. Just like the littlest things. A step here. He’s always trying to kind of help you get better. So I’m super proud of him for that.”

Asked what Buckeye fans should know about Bailey, Egbuka didn’t hesitate with an answer.

“He’s really the hardest working dude I know in the building,” he said. “You’ll FaceTime him at midnight. He’s still here. He’s still watching film, getting us ready. But he’s also super genuine. He’s one of the guys I can honestly say that I can come to him with anything in the building. I feel very safe and confident in being able to disclose any information that I have to him. He’s been a real blessing in my life. And I feel like a lot of other players would say the same.”

Everything Everywhere All At Once

Five plays.

That’s what much of the loss to Michigan comes back to.

Five busted plays that that covered 349 yards and all went for touchdowns.

That was the difference in Ohio State’s 45-23 loss to the Wolverines.

Buckeyes defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has said that his defense bakes in five explosive plays, but that recipe doesn’t factor in each of those plays going for touchdowns. And it also doesn’t call for those plays averaging 70 yards.

An explosive play is usually anything over 15 yards. For the Wolverines to do much worse — or better — than that required help from the Buckeyes.

“I think that game we just had a lot of missed assignments by everybody, me included,” said nickel safety Tanner McCalister. “It was just a bad time to have a bad game, really. So after watching the film, we saw that. It really wasn’t anything that our opponent was doing. It was us. We beat ourselves.”

McCalister said himself that at times he was trying to make a big play in a big game rather than just doing his job. The message heading into the Peach Bowl against a talented and versatile Georgia offense is that you don’t need to do anything out of the ordinary, just do what you’ve done all season long.

Just do your job.

“So I mean, now going into this game, obviously our focus is all on Georgia,” McCalister said. “So going into this game, it’s like everybody’s just kind of in the mindset of ‘man, just do your job.’ I think if everybody does their job, it may be a different outcome. And I think if everybody does their job on the 31st, it’ll give us our best chance of winning.”

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