Friday, September 2, 2016
Ohio State Football Preview
This means that despite those losses and the resulting inexperience of the replacements,the Buckeyes are going to be a tough out and by the season's end-few teams are going to want a piece of Urban Meyer's gang.
The quarterback situation gets better by subtraction as J.T.Barrett holds the job alone without the controversy of the two horse race with the departed Cardale Jones.
Barrett will be the player that makes the offense go and if the Buckeyes make a title run,it'll be because J.T.Barrett is having a Heisman type of season.
Redshirt freshman Joe Barrow is the backup with true freshman Dwayne Haskins in the third spot..
Redshirt freshman Mike Weber will be the stalwart in the backfield in the slot vacated by Ezekiel Elliott.
Weber is a different type of back than Elliott at 5'10 and 212,but should prove to be quite productive.
Look for junior Curtis Samuel and senior Dontre' Wilson to see lots of time in the slot catching passes as well as running the ball.
Both have shown flashes of brilliance with the ball in their end and if one breaks out,the pressure on Weber (and J.T.Barrett) will drop immensely.
Freshmen Antonio Williams and DeMario McCall are fighting to pick up any remaining playing time..
The receivers are the least experienced position,but still have plenty of talent.
Noah Brown was impressing everyone last summer and might have won a starting spot before suffering a season ending knee injury.\
Brown will start at one position with Corey Smith on the other side.
Smith was seeing playing time before a season ending broken leg suffered against Indiana.
The reserves are talented,if inexperienced as backups Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell have been around for a few years without a catch.
Freshmen Binjimin Victor and Austin Mack are pushing for playing time and I also see Curtis Samuel and Dontre' Wilson getting some time lining up on the outside.
Sophomore Johnnie Dixon also might make a run at the position...
Tight end is manned by big (6'5 260) Marcus Baugh,who has three catches in his career,but has played behind NFL talent.
Baugh might put up nice numbers especially early in the season.
Freshman A.J.Alexander has won a battle with several others to be the backup to Baugh.
Senior captain Pat Elflein returns as a starter,but slides over to center from right guard.
The move allows the other returnee Billy Price to flip from the left guard to the right side.
Junior Jamarco Jones starts at left tackle after being a backup that played often in the last two seasons.
Big sophomore Isaiah Prince will start at right tackle after being the only true freshman to play on offense for Ohio State last season and left guard Michael Jordan has won the left guard starting job as as true freshman and has been compared by some to Orlando Pace,which is really high praise...
The defensive line is experienced on the outside,but not as much on the inside.
Sophomore Tyquan Lewis led OSU with eight sacks last season and sophomore Sam Hubbard showed some excellent pass rushing skills of his own.
Several players could see time with the most heralded being freshmen Nick Bosa and Jonathan Cooper...
Junior Raekwon McMillan is the star of the linebacking unit after notching over 100 tackles last season.
McMillan was a Butkus award finalist last season and might be the morning line favorite to win the award in 2016 from the middle linebacker position.
Juniors Dante Booker and Chris Worley move into the starting lineup with McMillan,neither have started,but both have seen their share of playing time.
A crop of backups are nudging each other for the main backup spots,but look for sophomore Jerome Baker and freshman Justim Hillard to be the eventual winners there..
Junior corner Gareon Conley is the only returning starter in the secondary with three losses to the NFL including two (Eli Apple and Vonn Bell) in the first two rounds.
Conley will be leaned with the other corner splitting time with sophomores Marshawn Lattimore and Denzel Ward.
Lattimore has all the tools,but has had issues with health,while Ward has been listed as the fastest player on the team.
Sophomore Malik Hooker and junior Damon Webb won the safety jobs over many other,look for Cam Burrows to see plenty of time as well...
Junior Sean Nuernberger returns at placekicker after starting in 2014 and being beaten out by Jack Willoughby last season.
Nuernberger is questionable for anything over 40 yards,so I have concerns there and walkon senior Tyler Durbin is making a serious run to win the position.
Cameron Johnston is also back as one of the better punters in the nation.
I think Curtis Samuel,Dontre' Wilson and Corey Smith will be the main returners on both kickoffs and punts...
For the season,Ohio State catches a break other than the trip to Oklahoma as the tougher conference opponents come in the middle to late part of the schedule.
Had some of the tougher team gotten an early shot at the Buckeyes,one of those might have had a nice shot at an upset.
I see some struggles early and with the lack of experience,beating Oklahoma at Oklahoma is going to be a tough task.
If they somehow pull that off,it might be a big year.
I think someone in conference might beat them,although I am pressed to pick which one.
I'll be really conservative and say 10-2,8-1 in conference and the Big Ten East title.
11-1 would not surprise me at all either....