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Boone Bag: OSU’s Two-Deep at Receiver, Lineup Options for OSU Hoops and More



The Boone Bag is back this week. Thanks to all who submitted questions on Twitter. Let’s dive in to your questions!

Shane Hatfield: When was the last time OSU had an NFL quality linebacker?

Maybe I’m delusional, but I feel like Ryan Simmons was an NFL caliber linebacker who could have stuck in the league. But he tore his MCL and PCL during his senior season, and was never able to recover quick enough to make an impact. If not for that injury, I think he could’ve been a late-rounder or UDFA who stuck as an inside backer on a practice squad or even on the back half of a 53-man.

Josh Furman, who grad transferred from Michigan to play linebacker at OSU and was selected by the Denver Broncos in the 2015 draft, was the last official NFL quality backer — but even he switched positions to play safety in the league.

You have to go all the way back to 1994 (!) when Jason Gildon and Keith Burns were both drafted to find the last time OSU had a true linebacker drafted. That lack of elite talent at the position was, in my opinion, a sticking point with why Glenn Spencer ultimately was ousted, too. He was constantly in the mix for blue-chippers, but almost always on the outside looking in, leaving him to pick up prospects who were under the radar to fill spots.

Outside linebacker has been flush with talent for years, but inside backer, the position that runs the defense, has been a sore spot. Sure, Simmons was great, but he had some limitations. And the same goes for Chad Whitener. How Jim Knowles fares in that category will be a key storyline to watch as his tenure unfolds — can he recruit inside linebacker and find players who are smart enough to know the ins and outs, while also finding a player talented enough to be one of the top players on the defense?

Kadan Wall: If OSU basketball only has 1 available scholarship left for 2019 are they going to wait for Bacot or is it Anderson’s if he commits?

Great Q. The answer is yes.

If Bacot, a five-star center, wants to commit, OSU will take him no matter the scholarship situation. So they’ll wait. They’ll make room for him no matter what. Even if Avery Anderson is on board already or they are over the scholly count. He’s a generational one-and-done talent.

OSU’s lone spot currently available is probably Anderson’s if he wants it, I’d say. But again, scholarship numbers won’t mean much if Bacot gives the bat signal. They’ll find a way to make room for him if he wants to come to OSU.

Matt Mauldin: Is Tiger back?

He was back the moment this happened. Minimum of three major wins in 2019, guaranteed.

Cameron Johnston: Starting 5 prediction for ?

There are a lot of really fascinating options Boynton has to work with.

After the European trip, though, I feel pretty good about saying Isaac Likekele is probably going to get a shot at starting as a freshman. My guess is it looks something like this …

  • PG: Isaac Likekele
  • SG: Michael Weathers
  • SF: Thomas Dziagwa
  • PF: Lindy Waters
  • C: Cam McGriff

That lineup would be a small-ball lineup that gives OSU shooters at every position, but also makes the Pokes susceptible in the post by trading off size for speed and agility. Another option …

  • PG: Mike Cunningham
  • SG: Michael Weathers
  • SF: Lindy Waters
  • PF: Cam McGriff
  • C: Yor Anei/Kentrevious Jones

I like that lineup because it’s got a true center in either Anei or Jones, and veterans at the guard spots. It also guarantees you’ve got an ace running the second unit in Isaac Likekele, with a sharpshooter off the bench in Dziagwa and, eventually, Curtis Jones.

Marshall Scott wrote about lineup possibilities several weeks ago and what those rotations might look like in 2018 that I’d recommend, too. The (good) problem OSU has is that the guard spot is loaded with versatile ball-handlers who can play point or shooting guard. The more tricky question lies in the 4 and 5 spots, where Boynton will almost certainly have to ride with freshmen for long stretches this season.

Kyle Kvancz: What do you think the stat line at the end of the season for each RB will be?

Justice Hill: 270 carries, 1,580 yards, 20 touchdowns

J.D. King: 115 carries, 570 yards, 7 touchdowns

Chuba Hubbard: 40 carries, 200 yards, 3 touchdowns

LD Brown: 40 carries, 184 yards, 2 touchdowns

That was hard!

Excluding QB runs last season, OSU rushed it 401 times. I came up with 465 in my 2018 projections above, and I’m still deeply dissatisfied to see on paper Chuba only carrying it 40 times this season. I will be distraught in the press box if he gets less than four carries per game.

I have zero idea how OSU will use all of its horses this season, but I do know this: Justice carried it almost 270 times last season, and I’ll be darned if he doesn’t deserve at least that much despite the depth. He should set the mark, then everyone else should fall in line.

Alex Gilmore: Will the diamond formation return in the backfield?

Forget the diamond, give me the box-and-one. I want Justice, J.D., Chuba and LD all in the backfield, with Spencer Sanders in the middle of the box taking snaps and running the quadruple option every snap. Who says no?

Grant Cooper: I may have missed this at some point but who is the expected nickel corner in the new scheme? Is the A&M transfer a reasonable option or is a converted LB more likely?

I had to bring in Dustin Ragusa on this one.

“That’s the strike position in Knowles’ scheme,” he says. “I’d say Thabo Mwaniki and Jarrick Bernard is probably the two-deep right now.”

As for your second question … Ragusa again.

“I think Siverand would be more likely than a LB. If it’s not a safety at the strike. it will be a corner. Which could happen depending on the formation the offense shows.”

Bryan Metcalf: What style of QB (traditional or duel threat) does a Mike Yurcich offense excel with?

OSU has landed almost exclusively dual-threat QBs under Yurcich — John Kolar, Keondre Wudtee, Jelani Woods, Spencer Sanders — but thus far the only one who has stuck was Rudolph, a pro-style QB.

I still think OSU’s offense is best-suited for a dual-threat guy, but that dual-threat’s biggest strength needs to be a big arm with wheels as a second option. That’s why I think Sanders is a perfect fit — Mike Gundy described him as a quarterback who has a strong arm and can run if needed, but doesn’t acknowledge him exclusively as a dual-threat because it discounts his arm strength.

So long answer to say I think the best style of QB for a Mike Yurcich offense to excel is a Spencer Sanders. Taylor Cornelius may fit the billing, too, if he’s as nimble as he showed last season in a larger dosage.

Mike Tavius: How much is Knowles involved in recruiting his first year?

He’s the DC, so he’s definitely involved. It seems as if he’s kind of a roaming recruiter for defense, though, kind of like Gundy is in on all phases of the team.

I don’t know the ins and outs of how recruiting duties are divvied out with the staff, so it’s all an educated guess. But my educated guess would be that Knowles is involved with the Dax Hill recruitment, and also involved with recruiting linebackers.

Because OSU has position specific coaches for safeties, corners and defensive linemen, he likely doesn’t spend as much time recruiting those (sans for Dax).

Seth Dow: What does the two-deep at receiver look like to you?

*clears throat* ?️?️?️?️?️ SUBJECT TO CHANGEEEEEEEEEEE  ?️?️?️?️?️

I’d say OSU’s starting receivers probably go something like this …

Outside: Swaggy T, Tylan Wallace

Inside: Dillon Stoner, Jalen McCleskey

I’m pretty high on Patrick McKaufman, so he’s the guy I’m kind of waiting on to see this fall as the most capable of rising up the depth chart on the outside given his size. But right now that would probably be my two-deep.

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