Offensive Confidence Level
The Ohio State offense, especially at the quarterback position, has been all the talk on local sports radio in and around Columbus, Ohio. After establishing Ohio State as a big scoring unstoppable passing attack under his leadership, head coach Ryan Day has begun adjusting to the new norm as a playcaller. Ohio State has officially transitioned into a run-first ball control offense.
This offensive philosophy isn’t something Day is comfortable with, nor is it something he wants to keep moving forward. But that’s what this team has become with Kyle McCord under center and TreVeyon Henderson healthy and in the backfield for the Buckeyes. McCord is just limited as a thrower. He isn’t bad. In fact, I would go as far as to say he is an above-average quarterback. But he just isn’t on the same level as C.J. Stroud, Justin Fields, or Dwayne Haskins, who were the three previous quarterbacks at Ohio State who ended up all becoming first-round draft picks.
That’s not to say that McCord can’t develop into a future first-round pick as well. It’s not going to be this year or as fast as the other three were able to do so. Given these obvious facts, Day and the Buckeyes have adjusted, leaning heavily on Henderson in the past two weeks. Against the Badgers and the Scarlet Knights, Henderson has run the football 46 times for 290 yards and two rushing touchdowns. That’s an average of 6.3 yards per carry.
Henderson has also had nine receptions in the past two games, which is second most on the team, one shy of team-leading Marvin Harrison Jr. His 125 yards receiving is the most by a Buckeye running back in a very long time. The majority of these receptions are on checkdowns from McCord, which is a sign that either he doesn’t feel comfortable in the pocket allowing the routes to develop for his second and third options, or the offensive line isn’t giving him enough time. Either way, it is a trend that needs to be addressed.
As for Michigan State, they have a decent defense. The Spartans are giving up just over 350 yards per game, which is 45th in college football. Future NFL linebacker Cal Haladay is still roaming around the middle of the Michigan State defense and has a team-leading 65 tackles. If the Spartans are going to make this a game, they are going to need to stuff Henderson at the line of scrimmage and force McCord to beat them with his arm. Although my confidence in McCord is very low at this time, my overall confidence in the offense as a whole against a team that is nowhere near as good as the majority of Big 10 defenses we have already played is pretty high. My confidence level in the offense this week is at an eight.