Maryland will take on the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, OH Saturday afternoon.With everyone focused on the status of head coach Randy Edsall, we talked with Caleb Houser from SB Nation's fantastic Ohio State blog Land- Grant Holy Land about potential replacements for Edsall that are currently on Urban Meyer's staff. We also discussed several topics about Saturday's game, many of which have been overshadowed by Edsall's job status.
Testudo Times: Ohio State is 5-0 and remains the No. 1 team in the latest AP Poll but has won by just seven points in two of their last three games. How are Buckeye fans reacting to the season thus far? Do they still feel Ohio State will end up in the CFB Playoff again this year?
Land-Grant Holy Land: Ohio State's fan base in my opinion seems to be divided. The fan base has those that say "we are blessed to be 5-0 regardless how we have played. Also, how fortunate are you as Buckeye fans to not have played to the best of our potential and still be 5-0."
There's the opposite side of the spectrum where fans have very actively voiced their complaints that the team is not playing up to the standard they "should" and if they do not come to fix their struggles, they will lose a game. Which is a divided from the team itself where many players have said they feel they are improving each week, but they know they're not playing up to their potential as well.
With that said, I believe most fans feel that improvements need to be made in order to be in the CFP, but if they do, they will reach the CFP without a doubt.
TT: Ezekiel Elliott is having a pretty good season so far, leading the Big Ten in rushing, averaging just under 146 yards per game. Is there anything Maryland can do to slow him down? Have any teams been able to contain him so far this season?
LGHL: Elliott is a back that does so much more than run the ball well behind an offensive line that is really starting to block the perimeter well. Meyer has even stated that Elliot is the best running back he's seen even when he doesn't have the ball. Maryland can try to stop him, but with his power he can gash you up the middle, with his speed, he can beat you outside, and without the ball, he gives incredible effort each play whether its blocking or ball carrying.
Teams have done a good job so far with showing defensive fronts that have given the OSU O-Line some fits, but for the most part, Elliot has reached over 100 yards every game and has had games with multiple touchdowns so they really haven't been able to stop him.
Even when the O-Line and Elliot seem to "struggle", he is still gaining over 100 yards on the ground. Pretty successful so far even in the midst of the perception that the offense is playing "poorly".
TT: The Buckeyes have struggled in the redzone this season, where they've scored touchdowns on just six of their 16 redzone opportunities. Why have the Buckeyes struggled and does Urban Meyer have any plans to try to make his team better in redzone opportunities?
LGHL: The Buckeyes have struggled according to Meyer for "a variety of reasons including turnovers and penalties." Also, the play calls have limited their ability to score. The play calling can even be seen as "obvious".
Meyer does have plans to make this a better redzone team and has even said due to interview questioning that JT Barrett may be a QB for that redzone package. It is not a guarantee, but Meyer admits that he has thought about it since JT excelled in the redzone last season.
TT: Maryland has really struggled this season, especially at the quarterback position. Last week, they were shut out against Michigan as Caleb Rowe threw three more interceptions, bringing his season total up to 12. Head coach Randy Edsall hasn't announced who will be starting under center for Maryland. Regardless of who starts, what is the best way for them to attack Ohio State's defense? Is there a specific weakness they should try to exploit?
LGHL: Ohio State's defense has been pretty solid this fall so far. The secondary seems to be stronger, but with losses of Damon Webb at the nickel spot, the limited play of Conley last week due to a shoulder aggravation, could be a sign of weakness with redshirt Soph. Marshon Lattimore.
However, the defense has played well and I do not believe there is one area of the defensive team that shows a major weakness, the scores do not show that the defense in many occasions has been put in "bad spots" due to offensive turnovers, penalties, short fields, etc.
One area where Maryland can try to exploit is on the perimeter, but with the speed of Darron Lee, etc. it will be a mistake on the defensive's part that would result in Maryland's success.
TT: Speaking of Randy Edsall, he might not be back in College Park next year. If you were Maryland, is there anyone currently on Urban Meyer's staff who you think about hiring as Maryland's next head coach?
LGHL: The most "ready" candidate in my opinion with be the D.C., Luke Fickell. He has the one year of experience, but has proven that he can recruit, improve the defensive play, and has the intangibles for a future head coach. However, I do not think Fickell would leave OSU.
Ed Warriner could be a candidate, but he needs to prove himself as a coordinator first and not a position coach solely.
TT: The spread for Saturday's game is now as high as 33.5 points. Do you think the Buckeyes will cover? What is your prediction for the game?
LGHL: I think the Buckeyes' finally cover. It's homecoming, the noon time-slot is the first of the year which forces a fast start the Buckeyes have longed for, the run game has really started to "take off", and I believe Cardale is finally ready to close the moths of his critics.
Final score: OSU - 52 Maryland -17