Don’t get overhyped
First games are always especially fraught with nerves, and after this preseason, no one could blame Ohio State for feeling extra anticipation to get this season started. The absence of coach Urban Meyer will loom over Ohio Stadium, and most of the Buckeyes starters will be doing so for the first time. It’ll be important to keep nerves in check, though Oregon State is probably too toothless to mount much of a threat even if the Buckeyes stumble over their feet at times.
Adjust without Meyer
The Buckeyes are used to being without Meyer. He hasn’t been with them all camp. But game days are different than practice. How will the dynamic work with acting head coach Ryan Day on the sideline making calls and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson in the booth? Day has never been a head coach, and though he’ll lean heavily on defensive coordinator Greg Schiano for decisions on that side of the ball, there are bound to be some first-game kinks to work out.
Break in Haskins
Dwayne Haskins will make his much-anticipated starting debut at quarterback and he must prove he can command the show from the start. He has the weapons to do so with running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber and an experienced receiver group. How much will coaches open the passing game to take advantage of Haskins’ big arm? Who will get those carries or catches on third-and-5 that J.T. Barrett had such a knack for converting on keepers?
Pressure the quarterback
Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton is 6 feet 7 and not noted for being mobile. Ohio State’s defense tends to tee off on guys like that, and the Buckeyes are eager to show that its pass rush will be just fine despite losing several defensive ends to the NFL. Nick Bosa gets headliner treatment, but Chase Young, Jonathon Cooper and Dre’Mont Jones are formidable in their own right. The combination of the four could be downright scary.
— Bill Rabinowitz / email@example.com / @brdispatchJoin the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra