5. The versatility of the Buckeyes’ offense will be too much for the Rebels to account for.
Every year that goes by brings new talent to fill in the gaps for the Buckeyes. In fact, the Bucks had the fourth best college football recruiting rank coming into this season. When it comes to play makers, you can count on the Bucks to deliver.
Talent and versatility is what gives the Bucks a real advantage over their opposition in most cases. When it comes to facing out of conference opponents to begin the season, this advantage is two-fold. Teams such as the UNLV Rebels cannot say the same for their program. This season provides the Bucks with an ample amount of veteran leadership and also great potential in younger players.
The Bucks will get the benefit of returning their starting quarterback in J.T. Barrett. This provides a good base for the rest of the team to develop around him. Development is exactly what the Bucks need after losing their primary play maker in Curtis Samuel to the NFL following last season.
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Fortunately, the Bucks were gifted another extremely quick ball carrier in J.K. Dobbins. He won’t have all of the receiving ability that Samuel had but his speed and rushing ability will easily make up for it.
It’s clear that Barrett doesn’t have an arm like Cardale Jones did in their championship run or a reliable deep threat like Devin Smith but the Bucks still have plenty of talent at receiver. The fact is that the Bucks have never given them a real chance to shine because of over-conservative play. It would be great to see Barrett uncork some bombs on Saturday so we can really see what these receivers are all about.
The Buckeyes have a plethora of big play receivers that, frankly, have been supremely under used. The Bucks have receivers like Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin, Parris Campbell, and K.J. Hill which makes it even more of an oddity how they have not found a way to get the ball to them. All of them have incredible speed and can take the top off of any defense. These are the types of players that can make the Bucks a multi-dimensional team. Whether the Bucks can figure out how to efficiently utilize them is going to be the real test.
The good news is that the Bucks did make an effort to get them involved against Army last weekend. Barrett threw touchdowns to Hill and McLaurin while getting each of his receivers at least four receptions. The combination of extremely quick and athletic receivers with the quickness of J.K. Dobbins and the power of Mike Weber makes for a versatile offense that the Rebels will have a hard time containing.