ESPN's Rod Gilmore predicts a long night for Ohio State CB Shaun Wade against Alabama
Ohio State CB Shaun Wade has made it very clear this week that he wants to cover Heisman-winning WR DeVonta Smith when the Buckeyes take on Alabama in the College Football Playoff title game on Monday night in Miami.
However, after Wade’s struggles against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, it’s worth wondering if that’s a great idea for Ohio State.
On Friday’s edition of “College Football Live,” ESPN analyst Rod Gilmore said he thinks covering Smith would be a bad use of Wade’s skills (via 247Sports):
“I don’t think this is the matchup that Ohio State wants,” Gilmore said. “I think Shaun Wade is a terrific corner, but man-to-man coverage, particularly press, is not his strong suit. I think Steve Sarkisian is going to move DeVonta Smith around. He’ll be in the slot. He’ll be in motion. He’ll be out wide. Wade is better when he is off the ball and he’s in zone coverage. When he can do that, he can be effective. But if you ask him to press, there’s bailout on the press … That’s going to be an issue. I don’t like the idea of man-to-man coverage against this Alabama team. I expect to see him play off, play some three-deep. I think this is an advantage for Alabama if they try to go man.”
Alabama might get the speedy Jaylen Waddle back for the title game, too, which would add even more elite athleticism to the mix.
Can Wade make some big plays? We’ll find out on Monday night.