Nine things you need to know from national title game media day

DALLAS -- Just how strong is Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones' throwing arm?

The Ohio State redshirt sophomore would figure to have his share of velocity at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds. But Buckeyes assistant athletic director for football sports performance Mickey Marotti said the arm on Jones -- who will make just his third career start in Monday's national championship game against Oregon -- can't be fully appreciated without seeing him in practice day to day.

Including in his goof-off time.

"In our indoor (facility), he can take a ball and throw it like a rocket, straight up 90 degrees, and hit the ceiling," Marotti said. "If you go in there, you'll see holes everywhere up there -- that's him. And it's pretty high, I don't know, three stories, four stories?"

Jones told College Football 24/7 last week that as an eighth-grader, he could pitch a baseball 80 mph. But if his performance against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl is any indication, he gave up the right sport.

Here are eight more things you should know from Saturday's media day event preceding Monday's Oregon-Ohio State College Football Playoff title game:

2. Late return for injured Oregon receiver? The talk all over media day was dominated by the news that Ducks wideout Darren Carringtonhad been ruled ineligible for the national title game and the challenge the team faces in trying to replace his production. While players like true freshman Charles Nelson and a veteran like Keanon Lowe figure to be the first names people will bring up, the coaching staff did bring up another option in the form of injured wideout Bralon Addison. Expected to be the No. 1 receiver for Marcus Mariota this season, Addison tore his ACL during spring practice but has rehabbed to the point where he has been practicing with the team the past several weeks. While he is technically redshirting in 2014, there was some thought given to burning Addison's redshirt in order to help the school capture its first ever football title.



"There's been some discussion of a couple of things like that," said offensive coordinator Scott Frost. "I think Bralon is healthy enough to play but I don't think that's something we want to do. Bralon looks back and ready to go. Obviously, we'd like to have two more years with him."

3. Who is the fastest man on the Ohio State roster? Senior cornerback Doran Grant thinks he just might be the fastest, which could prove to be an awfully lucrative distinction where the NFL draft is concerned.

4. One more year. Ohio State left tackle Taylor Decker has decided to put off the NFL for another year and play for the Buckeyes for one more season. But while it's a decision many college underclassmen wrestle with, Decker lost little, if any, sleep over it.

"Easy decision. ... I have goals that I haven't yet accomplished, and once I leave here, I can't come back. The NFL will be there when my career here is over," Decker said. "I've even talked to (former teammates) Jack (Mewhort) and Corey(Linsley) in the NFL. (They said) even though you might be good enough to be drafted fairly highly now, you're going to want those days back in college."

5. High school teammates are at it again. It's not too often you'll find high school teammates on the rosters of two high-profile college football teams in different parts of the country, but such is the case with former Cincinnati Taft High wide receiver Dwayne Stanford and defensive lineman Adolphus Washington. Both players were top 100 recruits a few years ago and are best friends, but it will be all business when they face off Monday. Stanford is expected to be a key contributor in the game for a thin Ducks receiving corps, while Washington has the difficult task of helping slow down Mariota.



"I think a lot of bragging rights are on the line," Stanford said. "We always talk trash to each other. Ever since playing against each other in junior high, we always talk about those moments. Down the line we'll be talking about this."

At the very least, the two players guarantee the powerhouse Ohio high school program an alumnus with a freshly minted national championship ring.

6. Pac-12 play should have Oregon well-prepared for Devin Smith. While the Oregon offense gets most of the press, the defense will certainly have its hands full on Monday trying to contain Smith, the Buckeyes' star receiver. The speedy wideout has seen his NFL stock take off this season and outdoing Amari Cooper in the Sugar Bowl certainly didn't hurt, either. Ducks cornerback Troy Hill noted that Smith's playmaking abilities are unmatched, but thought seeing a number of different skill sets from receivers around the Pac-12 has prepared him and the rest of the secondary to face somebody like OSU's top receiver.

7. Speaking of Smith ... Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said Smith is one of the team's fast risers with NFL scouts. But his robust 27.7-yard average per catch isn't even the reason why.

8. The Buckeyes are staying the course regarding Carrington's absence. They will have had more than a week to prepare for Oregon's up-tempo offense by the time the two teams take the field at AT&T Stadium, but the loss of the Ducks' second-leading receiver for the game might end up affecting one team more than the other when it comes to preparation. OSU co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said the team won't change anything in terms of its game plan leading up to Monday night, given the opponent's options at receiver. Fickell noted that Mariota will likely be able to turn anybody new in the lineup into a solid player because he's just that special. Fickell also said that the Heisman Trophy winner is so unique because he is such a good passer but can scramble to keep plays alive. Fickell said Mariota reminds him a little bit of former Ohio State star Terrelle Pryor in terms of his long stride when he hits the open field.

9. Ohio State DE Joey Bosa draws an awful lot of attention for a sophomore -- particularly from opposing offensive lines. Chip blocks, double-teams and simply running to the opposite side, away from Bosa -- as Alabama often did in the Sugar Bowl -- are just some of the tactics employed to keep him from doing damage in the offensive backfield. Defensive tackle Michael Bennett said it was a point of frustration for Bosa early in the year. No more, though.



"Teams have definitely been trying to limit what I do and key on me," Bosa said. "But I don't mind it as long as it's creating chances for my teammates."

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