Ohio State Buckeyes v. University of Oklahoma Sooners
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Oklahoma
Score: Ohio State (45), Oklahoma (24)
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Ohio State Offense
J.T. Barrett, QB, RS Junior, #16: Barrett is a bit lost amongst the conversation of underclassmen Quarterbacks, perhaps in part due to the system he’s playing at Ohio State on offense. But there’s a strong foundation of arm ability and athleticism that at least gets me excited. I think he’s a more polished passer than some of his senior contemporaries (say Joshua Dobbs or Mitch Leidner) and he’s got a better athletic profile than many QB prospects as well. Against Oklahoma Barrett did leave some plays on the field when passing the ball but overall I thought he was efficient and did well to use both his arm and his legs to keep the Sooners off balance. If Barrett can clean up some misfire throws I think he overall has the ability to project to the next level favorably. A strong performance here.
Pat Elflein, C, RS Senior, #65: I thought Elflein started slow but recovered nicely to be a big part of the running game for Ohio State. The Buckeyes gouged the Sooners inside and Elflein has his way with second level defenders at the point of attack. There were still flashes of some of the balance and base issues that I took exception with in his film from 2015; but I think overall the change to Center is going to be a beneficial one for Elflein as a pro prospect and as a player in general.
Curtis Samuel, RB, RS Junior, #4: Samuel has been a huge revelation for the Buckeyes so far this year; with 260 yards rushing and 259 yards receiving through three games. Samuel’s slashing running style is not only fun to watch but it’s highly effective thanks to his physical gifts. There are times between the tackles that leave you on edge expecting him to get popped due to high pad level but the burst and cut ability he shows is pretty spectacular. Samuel’s blended skill set and ability to be a weapon receiving out of the backfield is not an aberration in spite of the limited targets this week; he has great hands and the creativeness in the open field to make people miss and get huge chunks of yardage as a check down receiver or as a schemed route runner.
Ohio State Defense
Raekwon McMillain, ILB, Junior, #5: Biggest pop of the pads went to McMillain clashing with Samaje Perine in the hole. McMillain did well processing and flowing forward into the point of attack to gain ground and not concede high amounts of extra yardage. I thought McMillain moved well laterally when tested by the Sooners and was effective (if not a standout) working in the middle of the field. McMillain proved to be a handful for the interior OL of the Sooners, who had a hard time sustaining their blocks and preventing him from flowing to the ball.
Gareon Conley, CB, RS Junior, #8: Conley continues to stand out every time I watch the Buckeyes. He missed a good chunk of the game with what was described as a “stinger” by Coach Urban Meyer but prior to the injury Conley was a huge factor in the game. A number of early throws in Conley’s direction were met with physicality and strong ball skills at the catch point to separate receivers’ hands from the football. Conley showed good aggressiveness and quickness to plant and drive on throws in front of his face; he has impressive efficiency with his transitional steps. Conley pairs these traits with the type of size (albeit listed at 6000, 195) that will move the needle for teams throughout the evaluation process.
Baker Mayfield, QB, RS Junior, #6: Mayfield struggled against the Ohio State defense. I think this is likely to be a game that NFL evaluators are going to point to when discussing the concerns and questions they have regarding his game. The flash of Mayfield resonates very similarly to Johnny Manziel: at his best when plays break down and intermittent spurts of timing. But the timing throws are quick drops and short game throws. Asking Mayfield to stand and survey on the top of a 5 or 7 yard hitch and drop is not yielding strong results. Mayfield gets too far off the rails and this was a good game to embody that. There was a failure to identify when to surrender a down and those plays come at the expense of ball security and yardage.
Samaje Perine, RB, Junior, #32: Perine was bottled up for much of the game; having a hard time creating lanes when pressing the line of scrimmage. Perine is much more of the downhill hammer to Joe Mixon’s loose, creative style. This clash of styles lended itself poorly to Perine being able to do much with an Ohio State defensive front that largely handled a young Sooners line at the point of attack. Perine averaged a paltry 3.5 YPC, as a point of evidence to his struggles. It will be interesting to continue to see the dynamic of the Sooners backfield, who has one player struggling to perform to his previous capacity and another who continues to make big plays.
Joe Mixon, RB, RS Sophomore, #25: Speaking of Mixon…Mixon continues to make the most of split opportunities in the backfield. Mixon is a looser, more creative runner than Perine; which allows him to create more openings and missed tackles for himself. For the third consecutive week, Mixon impressed in some phase of the game. This week against Ohio State it was a stunning 97 yard kickoff return with a great cut and some strong open field vision to break contain and get into the open field. He has a notable second gear and is able to pull away from people down the stretch. His physical attributes blended with a 6010, 226 lb frame combine for a dangerous combination that continues to make an impact.
Geno Lewis, WR, RS Senior, #5: Pennsylvania State transfer Geno Lewis struggles to find attention on the Sooners after leaving Penn State for the same reason. At this point I don’t regard him as a draftable prospect; he’s struggled the past two years to take a step in his development. Lewis presents average attributes and fails to have any standout areas to his game.
Charles Walker, DL, Junior, #97: Walker is a ton at 300+ lbs but he was also missing in action for most of the game. Walker’s best rep came with an unimpeded release into the backfield. I was not particularly familiar with Walker prior to this year due to his eligibility status but this game left a bit of a poor taste in my mouth. I will be interested to see further action this year and see if the double digit TFL totals he logged last year were a red herring. There’s a fair amount of twitch and movement ability to for a large body; yet I didn’t see much success getting off of blocks.
Jordan Evans, OBLB, Senior, #26: Evans has an appropriate frame for the position and is well on his way to a third consecutive 90+ tackle season. However, I was admittedly disappointed by some of the open field angles Evans took both in pursuit to the football and in an effort to cover ground and overlap zone spaces. Evans lacked the speed to play sideline to sideline against the Buckeyes and as a result was a half-step slow on a number of plays. If this is the norm; I’m going to have to process a good deal of film before settling on a position fit for him going forward.
Best Players on the Field:
Curtis Samuel, RB; Joe Mixon, RB; Noah Brown, WR (Ohio State), Mark Andrews, TE (Oklahoma)
Samaje Perine, RB; Baker Mayfield, QB; Charles Walker, DL