Alabama will take on an Ohio State team that is far from the kind of teams the Buckeyes fielded when playing for BCS titles against SEC schools Florida and LSU. Urban Meyer has changed the way Ohio State plays with faster players at positions where speed tends to have the most impact, and the difference is noticeable At the vey least, it has caught the eye of Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
“They’ve got more wideout depth,” Smart said Sunday morning in New Orleans prior to a practice, per Cleveland.com. “The top ones at Auburn are really good and the top ones at Ohio State are really good, and I think they’re deeper at Ohio State.”
Senior receiver Devin Smith is the leading receiver for the Big Ten champions and sophomore Michael Thomas is a solid second option. In the Big Ten championship game blowout of Wisconsin, Ohio State took advantage of their speed and showed some potential to give a team like Alabama a good test one of the College Football Playoff semifinal games, in the Sugar Bowl. Smart believes his defensive players will not sleep on Ohio State’s receivers, especially after seeing what good, speedy receivers can do against them.
“Auburn did a great job passing the ball and throwing it deep on us and attacking us,” Smart said, again per Cleveland.com. “I don’t think our kids respected their wideouts enough, and they got good wideouts just like this team does. We didn’t make some plays that should have been made and I put them in some tough [situations]. So I think that was a wakeup factor of hey, you’ve got to play good, and you can’t get the ball thrown over your head.”
Ohio State faces Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 2015. The winner will play for the College Football Playoff national championship in Dallas against either Oregon or Florida State.