Ohio State-Maryland | Rob Oller’s Second Thoughts

Staff Writer
Buckeye Xtra
Maryland Terrapins running back Anthony McFarland (5) fumbles the ball into the end zone that Maryland Terrapins tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo (17) recovers for a touchdown after being tackled by Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Pete Werner (20) and Ohio State Buckeyes safety Brendon White (25) during the 4th quarter of their game at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium in College Park, Maryland on November 17, 2018. [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch]

• I never would have thought Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano would get the same “Fire Fickell” treatment that tagged former OSU coach Luke Fickell, but that’s the word coming from unhappy Buckeye Nation campers. One disgruntled reader said Schiano’s defense “cannot stop an inchworm with a bulldozer.” I get the frustration. The tissue-paper “D” gave up five plays of more than 50 yards against Maryland, but why is co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Alex Grinch not taking more heat? It’s not like the defensive backs have been great shakes. Maybe there is only enough vitriol for one at a time?

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• I bring up the topic of Ohio State and the College Football Playoff knowing I risk getting booed off the stage. But hear me out. I’m not campaigning for the Buckeyes. Far from it. Based on body of work, they don’t deserve to be one of the four qualifying teams. But “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it,” as Clint Eastwood’s William Munny put it in “Unforgiven.” (great movie, by the way). If Ohio State somehow makes the playoff — and Oklahoma State’s win over West Virginia cracked the door a little wider — the Buckeyes will not deserve it. But they won’t not deserve it, either. You win. You wait. Then hope you don’t have to play Alabama.

• Just a sneak peek into how players think about opposing players having big games. Ohio State sophomore defensive end Chase Young attended the same Maryland high school (DeMatha Catholic) as Terrapins redshirt freshman Anthony McFarland, who rushed for a career-best 298 yards on 21 carries (a 14.2-yard average) against the Buckeyes. “He definitely made some money off this game,” Young said smiling, a reference to McFarland helping his future draft status. Fans often think players should despise each other — count me among those not big on in-game camaraderie, which is different than sportsmanship — but after the game I take no issue with friendly banter. I say go for it.

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