Instant Observations: Buckeyes handle Youngstown State in home opener

Ohio State improved to 2-0 on Saturday with a stress-free win over Youngstown State. Still, there were some things to work on coming out of the win, but also some bright spots on both sides of the ball as a couple of key players are emerging from sophomore slumps a year ago.

Let’s get to it….

1. I thought Ryan Day did a much better job today on deciding when to insert Devin Brown into the game. The conditions of this game made things a little easier, but it was still much better timing than last week against Indiana. McCord was able to build some confidence and lead multiple scoring drives and then come out of the game feeling good about himself and how the offense was performing. Then you put Brown into the game at a point where the rest of the group is feeling good and he is able to continue that momentum with a good drive.

2. That being said, I didn’t see anything today that would lead me to believe that McCord shouldn’t be the starter moving forward. Brown has plenty of tools and would be a capable starter right now for the Buckeyes if called upon, but McCord continues to show more consistency, particularly with his accuracy. I think next week, you have to roll with the starter the whole way unless there is really poor play or the game gets out of hand.

3. It was obvious that we would see more burst out of TreVeyon early in the season now that he is fully healthy. But I was impressed with his vision and decisiveness today. He made some really impressive cuts and there was a lot there today to suggest the long held off-season belief that he would bounce back from his sophomore slump.

4. This stuff often goes unnoticed so I thought this would be a good space to point it out. The Buckeye receivers are doing a tremendous job of blocking on the outside, especially Julian Fleming. Fleming made a nice block on the early touchdown run that was called back and then threw a tremendous block on Egbuka’s touchdown catch to spring it. Then late in the third, the receivers once again locked things up on the outside to spring Henderson. This receivers room gets so much praise for their abilities as pass catchers, but they really do the little things as well.

5. Whale of a game for Denzel Burke at cornerback and I had this thought written out even before the third quarter interception. This was another guy who had a bit of a sophomore slump last year, but he is looking like a true No. 1 guy early on this season. The competition is going to really start to ramp up, but Burke has been one of the top guys on this team through two weeks.

6. I sort of scoffed at the complaining last week about the lack of sacks as Ohio State’s defensive line mostly dominated Indiana’s offensive line and the Hoosiers barely threw the football. But I’m moving from ‘no concern’ to ‘mild concern’ this week as the Buckeyes were not really able to generate much of a pass rush with their front four, which you would expect them to be able to do against an overmatched opponent. Hard to draw too many conclusions from this type of game but it’s something to watch here the next couple of weeks as most of OSU’s pressures today required bringing a 5th or even 6th rusher.

7. Competition aside, was good to see McCord and Harrison humming today and on the same page. I didn’t think last week was a major concern, but they completely tossed any bad narratives out the window right out of the gate today. Let’s move on from that.

8. Did I mention how much I love the Chip-Miyan I-Formation look? Garbage holding call today on Trayanum, erased a touchdown. That’s going to be a formidable tandem on the goal line all season long.

9. I’m normally a ‘get the starters out as soon as possible’ guy in these types of games but I liked what they did today. Not only does leaving in the 1s give you an honest look at Devin Brown, but this is an offensive line that needs to build chemistry. Justin Frye is trying to piece this thing together thanks to the sins of Greg Studrawa and the more action these guys get, the better at this point in the season.

10. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but buckle up for an interesting game next weekend against Western Kentucky. I’ve spoken with multiple NFL people in the past week who believe he is going to be drafted in April in one of the deepest QB drafts in recent memory. This will be a totally different animal than what the Ohio State secondary has faced to this point and it probably comes at a good time just a week before facing Sam Hartman in South Bend.

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