Weaknesses: Offensive Line, Pass Rush
Offensive Line: This has no doubt been the worst unit on the team through four games. Aside from the Western Kentucky game, there is not much good that can be said about this room. We all had our questions about the tackle situation and it’s legitimate. Josh Simmons has struggled at left tackle and Josh Fryar has only been adequate at right tackle.
I think the most concerning aspect of the line has been the play of the guards, Donovan Jackson and Matthew Jones. The two veterans on the line, who some believed were front runners for first-team All-Big Ten, have struggled. I’m not sure if they are trying to overcompensate for the new center and tackles, but they have not looked like themselves early on.
Especially against Notre Dame, Kyle McCord seemed to have pressure on every dropback and the tailbacks have seldom had running lanes to exploit. Overall, we need to see this unit get drastically better before the Penn State game.
Pass Rush: The Ohio State pass rush has been a major disappointment through four games. The team only has five total sacks on the season, including a big zero burger from its star defensive ends. With the talent that Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau have, they have not produced the results that Larry Johnson and Jim Knowles have been looking for.
Teams like Indiana, Youngstown State, and Western Kentucky wanted to get the ball out of their quarterback’s hands quickly, and they did. So, to an extent, the pass rush has been limited by the opposition. But even though Notre Dame has a very good offensive line, Sam Hartman had a lot of time to make his reads and throw the ball last Saturday evening.
I’m hopeful that Tuimoloau and Sawyer can step up in the final three-quarters of the season and produce some results.