Ohio State Football: ‘B’s’ had better swarm on Saturday

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw
COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw /

The best chance for an Ohio State victory Saturday is if there is a swarm of ‘B’s’?

When Ohio State takes the field on Saturday, there had better be a swarm of “B’s”. Whenever Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has the ball in his hands, Buckeye linebackers Jerome Baker, Dante Booker and Tuf Borland must be all over him.

All three players have been key contributors as the Buckeyes defense has shut down opponents’ running games of late. But they have yet to face a back as talented as Barkley.

The Penn State running back doesn’t go to the ground easily, so it will be important for the Ohio State linebackers to swarm to the ball to make sure he goes to the turf.

In fact, Urban Meyer has told everybody Barkley may be one of the best running backs he has ever faced. Anyone who has watched him play might just agree with coach Meyer’s assessment.

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The problem with defending the 230 pound Penn State running back is that he is so versatile. He brings a combination of power, speed and pass catching ability that is rarely seen in a college running back.

Not only has Barkley rushed for 757 yards and 8 touchdowns this season, he has caught 32 passes for 448 yards and 3 scores. So not only will the Ohio State linebackers have to stand strong when Barkley runs between the tackles, they will also have to help the smaller defensive backs when he catches the ball in space. They will constantly have to chase the ball when Barkley has it in his hands or it could be a big play for a score.

It will be quite a challenge for Baker, Booker and Borland to say the least. But the good news is, it appears middle linebacker Chris Worley is now fully healthy. The timing couldn’t be better.

The 5th year senior has been through the wars so to have him in the lineup for this week’s game is a definite plus. His leadership may prove invaluable.

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If the “B’s” do swarm to the ball on Saturday, and Worley as well, the Ohio State defense will have a chance to at least slow down Saquon Barkley. If not, it could be a long day for the Buckeyes.