Although Ohio native Brady Hoke said that _ichigan quarterback Denard Robinson “is close to 100 percent,” it’s possible that we will see Ohio State reject Devin Gardner taking the snaps come Saturday. Hoke has been intentionally coy about who will start for the scUM but expect to see Gardner and Robinson joining forces in the backfield.
As the Detroit Free Press points out, although Gardner did receive a number of scholarship offers he was not good enough to make the cut at Ohio State.
Gardner and Robinson will most likely be joined in the backfield by Thomas Rawls who steps in for Fitz Toussaint who was knocked out for the season against Iowa. Even if Robinson is healthy, expect to see Hoke mixing it up with Gardner in an attempt to confuse the Ohio State defense.
Regardless of who starts at quarterback, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how many times Gardner pitches it to Robinson hoping that he will be able to scramble his way down the field. He will be doing it against a defense that practices against Braxton Miller. It doesn’t matter if Robinson attempts to hit the long ball to quarterback-return-to-receiver Gardner. He will be doing it against a defense that lines up against Corey Brown. It doesn’t matter if Rawls attempts to bowl straight forward in a hapless attempt to break through the line of scrimmage (about all he can do). They will be doing it against a defense that has to stop Carlos Hyde in practice every day.
It doesn’t even matter that TSUN’s offensive line leads the B1G in sacks allowed. They will be facing Ryan Shazier and John Simon who lead the Big Ten in tackles for a loss (14.5 each).
Hoke can mix it up all he wants. This game will be won on the line of scrimmage. It doesn’t matter how tricky you get if the likes of Shazier, Simon and Big John Hankins are in your backfield waiting for you.
The same holds true on the other side of the ball. Although the Wisconsin defense gave Miller trouble last week, Hyde got the job done–especially when needed. He did that behind an offensive line that was able to blow holes in the Badger line when it counted the most. The Buckeye offensive line will get the push giving Hyde and Miller time to go to work. When they do there will be no mercy.
As much as that school up north wants to play spoiler of an undefeated Ohio State season, the Buckeyes and Coach Urban Meyer want to make a statement. With the fluke of last year’s game behind them, they will.