DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
Last weekend, Ohio State fell behind early, and trailed the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes by a touchdown at halftime, before rallying for 24 second half points and winning their 19th consecutive game under Head Coach Urban Meyer. Here’s a look at how some of the draft eligible players from both teams performed that day.
#5 QB Braxton Miller
- Play fake then fires complete on a short slant
- Excellent patience and vision following his RB through the hole on a first down run
- Gets excellent protection – takes off with a huge opening and jukes two tacklers in the open field for a big gain
- Drops back and has his pass batted down at the line of scrimmage on a third down in the red zone
- Strong throw to the left sideline for a first down – good velocity
- Finds a wide open slot WR down the middle of the field on a post and connects for a catch and run TD – ball slightly underthrown but good spin and under control
- Play fake and connects high and short over the middle
- Plenty of time and rolls right – rolls all the way back left and run for a first down on fourth and ten – play called back for offsetting penalties
- Getting into a rhythm in the third quarter and showing good velocity on several throws to the left sideline
- No hesitation running the ball in this game and showing excellent open field moves
- Dangerous pass – tried to squeeze it in and is intercepted but the play is called back for defensive holding
- Overshoots an open WR down the left sideline in the end zone
- Nearly sacked on third and long but steps out of the tackle and runs for a first down on third and long
- Evades pressure in the red zone and escapes a dangerous decision to throw back across his body down the middle
Overview: Miller had been rusty since returning from an early-season knee injury, and some onlookers (ahem) had wondered aloud whether Meyer should make the switch back to senior backup Kenny Guiton. But Miller’s performance Saturday was his best of the season. He was decisive running and throwing the football, showed off a strong arm, and avoided ball security issues that had plagued him in recent weeks. Miller has been inconsistent this season and should return in 2014 for his final year of eligibility, but he has made significant strides as a passer since being rushed into the starting role as a raw freshman two years ago.
#1 CB Bradley Roby
- Lined up in a zone and reads run – comes up to make a tackle near the LOS after a short gain
- Plays the run but sees the TE slip out for the catch and shows speed to gain ground and make the tackle down the left sideline
- Misses the tackle for loss on the bubble screen in the red zone and gets flagged for offsides on the play
- Gets off his man in coverage and makes a huge hit on a TE running across the middle – launched and is called for targeting and ejected
Overview: Roby has been unable to wake up from his bad dream of a junior season. Saturday he was tossed for targeting Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, and the ejection was upheld by review. While Roby’s hit was shoulder-to-shoulder, he clearly gathered himself, launched, and came in high. It was an almost textbook example of the hit that’s strikes fear in the hearts of NCAA suits worried about long-term liability. Regardless of the merits of the call or the rule, players are being penalized for this type of contact, and they need to adjust or face the consequences. Roby was forced to sideline and missed an opportunity to repair his damaged draft stock.
#2 LB Ryan Shazier
- Drawn in by a play fake on a rollout left that results in a short gain
- Bullied by the G on back to back run plays
- Bites on play action as the TE slips out down the left sideline for a solid gain
- Getting pushed around early in the run game – washed out of plays on the opening drive
- Reads the run immediately and fills the gap on the left side to stop the RB right near the line of scrimmage
- Breaks to double cover the TE in the flat and his man sneaks behind him into the back corner of the end zone for a short TD catch
- Flows to his left and makes the tackle after a four yard gain
- Flows to the right and gets a tackle on a short run play
- Turns and runs with the TE down the seam – tight coverage
- Driven back 10-plus yards by the TE on a run right – completely taken out of the play
- Reads the run and flows to the right side of the defense to get in for a tackle for loss
Overview: At times Saturday, Shazier was difficult to locate, even for those who knew that he now wears the number two jersey in honor of injured teammate Christian Bryant. The junior linebacker was consistently washed out by Iowa’s offensive line on running plays, and got himself out of position on a number of passing downs. Shazier still managed to make a few nice stops, but he needs to be more disciplined in coverage, and do a better job shedding and avoiding linemen at the second level. This was not a performance for his highlight reel.
#4 S C.J. Barnett
- Gives a cushion but closes quickly on the catch made in front of him by the TE – makes the tackle just shy of the first down
- Flies over from the right side of the D to make a big tackle on a tunnel screen – saves an even bigger gain
- Gives up a catch to the TE crossing in front of him and has to run him down to make the tackle after a long gain
Overview: Barnett is a solid tackler who saved at least one big play, but he hasn’t managed to make a play on the ball all season long – almost shocking for a young man who played cornerback in high school. The senior safety has good size, and is known as a leader on the defense – he was noticeably fired up at times when his teammates missed assignments Saturday. Still, his on-field performance so far this season has been that of a mid-Day Three draft selection.
#34 RB Carlos Hyde
- Nice patience following his blocks and then makes a jump cut in the hole to pick up a few more yards
- Picks up a lead block on a QB keeper up the middle
- Misses a block on an outside run to the right side
- Follows the C pulling right and then cuts back to the middle and breaks a couple of tackles for a 17-yard gain
- Runs outside to the left and shows good speed – finishes the run with power for a gain of 12 yards
- Shows power getting into the end zone on a fourth down run from the one yard line
- Nice pickup on a run blitz by the CB – knocked him on his butt
- Nice patience on a run left and shows burst cutting up the field – gets hit and driven back but somehow keeps his balance and gets going forward again – regains his bearings and dives for the end zone for a TD
- Runs wide left and picks up a block from his WR to help spring him for a big gain
Overview: Hyde has carried 50 times for 317 yards and five touchdowns over the past two games. The Buckeyes ran him outside on a few occasions, and while he has excellent speed for a big back, this won’t be his most effective use at the next level. More encouraging is his patience as a runner, and ability to break tackles and finish runs with authority. Hyde also pleasantly surprised with the balance and athleticism he showed on his second TD run. If he can answer questions about the off-field incident that led to a three-game suspension to open the season, he should come off the board sometime in the fourth or fifth round.
#71 C Corey Linsley
- Picks up a block at the line of scrimmage then another at the second level on a QB run that goes for a first down
- Provides solid pass pro on a drop back for several seconds
- Pulls right and picks up a block to seal off the cutback lane for the RB
- Strong leg drive blocking ahead on a QB keeper
Overview: The senior center and his linemates provided excellent protection for Miller, and got plenty of push in the run game. Linsley doesn’t have great size, but he is a strong and scrappy player who should have a chance to catch on with a team in training camp next summer.
#74 OT Jack Mewhort
- Stops his man on an inside move and then sticks with him outside in pass pro for several seconds
- Nice job pass protecting on a second down pass early in the second half – allowing the QB plenty of time to throw
- Nice job using his hands to steer his guy upfield in pass pro on a first down play
- Waits back and catches his man on a pass block – gave up leverage and got moved back
- Great job mirroring his man in pass protection and then staying with the play as the QB reverses field and runs back to the left side – gets out in front and leads the way
Overview: Mewhort protected Miller’s blindside all day, and for three and four seconds at a time on several occasions. He shows a lot of awareness staying with plays, and is an excellent run blocker at the second level. Mewhort is putting together a strong senior season and should be moving up draft boards.
#78 G Andrew Norwell
- Nice job shoving his man toward the inside and pass protecting for several seconds – his block helps open up a huge hole for a QB run
- Strong in pass pro early in the second half and giving the QB plenty of time to throw
- Gets his arms extended in pass protection on a first down play – nice job keeping his man at bay
- Stays with the play as the QB rolls back to the left and gets out in front to lead block on the run
Overview: Like Mewhort, Norwell was also excellent on Saturday, especially in protecting his quarterback. He has a chance to sneak into the later rounds of the draft.
#10 WR Corey “Philly” Brown
- Out of the slot gets wide open on the post down the middle of the field and makes the catch – turns the corner, sprints and dives into the front corner of the end zone for a TD
- Nice catch on a high throw over the middle and holds on after a big hit
- Block in the back downfield negates a fourth down run by the QB
- Effective blocking on WR screens
Overview: Brown continued a strong senior season with a long touchdown catch and a number of effective blocks (to go with an illegal one). He has terrific speed and is not afraid to go over the middle or do the dirty work. Brown does not possess great size, but he is otherwise developing into a solid NFL prospect.
#12 CB Doran Grant
- Reaches over and knocks a pass away on third and nine midway through the third quarter
- Jumps the route and has the ball go through his hands – could have been a pick six
Overview: While Roby has struggled, Grant has improved his standing significantly this season, and is placing himself on the radar for the 2015 NFL Draft.
#59 G Conor Boffeli
- Lined up at LG – gets out to the second level to pick up a block on the LB
- Misses a block on the LB at the second level – LB makes the stop for a minimal gain
- Nice job blocking down to the left side on a gain of five
- Gets out to the second level and picks up a block on a first down run to the left side
Overview: Boffeli is largely unknown, but he and the rest of the Iowa offensive line performed well throughout Saturday’s game.
#70 OT Brett Van Sloten
- Lined up at RT – gets out to the second level and picks up the LB on a run to the opposite side
- Cut block in pass pro on a play that goes for a first down
- Gives up some pressure and a hit on a pass play that goes for a short first down
- Nice leg drive in run blocking on a run off tackle to the right
- Blocks right and seals the edge to the outside on a run right
Overview: Another unheralded senior on Iowa’s offensive line, Van Sloten looked particular strong in the running game.
#86 TE C.J. Fiedorowicz
- Seals off the left edge on a run play wide to the left
- Throws a block the sneaks out into the back of the end zone behind the LB for a TD – leaping catch in the back corner – got a knee down
- Blocks to the inside and the slips out into the flat for a catch
- Slips out and crosses the middle of the field – makes the catch and takes a huge hit
- Drives the LB back 10-plus yards on a run to the right side
Overview: Fiedorowicz started with a touchdown catch on the opening drive, but was fairly quiet after being decked by Roby on the targeting penalty. The senior tight end has been underutilized all season, but he finished the game Saturday with a season-high four receptions. Fiedorowicz is an effective blocker with excellent size and soft hands. He should be drafted somewhere in the third or fourth round next May.
#44 LB James Morris
- Starts to follow the motion man the works his way back to the middle of the field to get back into the play and make the tackle on a QB run
- Very slow to react on a run up the middle – bit on the fakes and was frozen
- Picks his way through traffic and gets a sack when the QB shows some hesitation
Overview: Morris is a solid college defender who made a nice play on Miller in Saturday’s game, but the senior linebacker is a plodder who appeared prone to ball fakes last weekend. At this point he appears to be a late rounder or priority free agent heading into the draft.