Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 Buckeye Season Preview

2009 Ohio State Buckeyes Football Preview

- 2008 Record: (10-3, 7-1)
- 2008 Bowl: Fiesta Bowl vs. Texas (L 21-24)
- Coach: Jim Tressel (83-19 at Ohio State, 218-76-2 overall)
- Offensive Coordinator: Jim Bollman
- Defensive Coordinator: Jim Heacock and Luke Fickell

Returning Leaders:

* Rushing: Terrelle Pryor, QB, 631 yards
* Passing: Terrelle Pryor, QB, 1,311 yards
* Receiving: Dane Sanzenbacher, WR, 272 yards
* Tackles: Kurt Coleman, S, 78
* Sacks: Thaddeus Gibson, DE, 5.0
* Interceptions: Kurt Coleman, S, 4

Other Key Returnees: TE Jake Ballard, C Michael Brewster, OT Bryant Browning, CB Chimdi Chekwa, G Jim Cordle, DE Cameron Heyward, LB Ross Homan, S Anderson Russell, DT Doug Worthington

Key Losses: DT Nader Abdallah, OT Alex Boone, LB Marcus Freeman, WR Brian Hartline, CB Malcolm Jenkins, LB James Laurinaitis, TE Rory Nicol, K Ryan Pretorius, G Steve Rehring, WR Brian Robiskie, P A.J. Trapasso, CB Donald Washington, RB Chris Wells

Seven Ohio State players were drafted in the first five rounds of the NFL Draft. Sure the Buckeyes will reload, but replacing players like James Laurinaitis, Chris Wells, Malcolm Jenkins, Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline and Marcus Freeman will not be easy. Nor will it happen overnight. But this is OSU after all and they will be a player in the race for a Big Ten championship.

Ohio State's Strengths:

Even though the defense lost Laurinaitis, Freeman and Jenkins, this will still be one of the best defenses in the Big Ten. The front line returns Thaddeus Gibson, Cameron Heyward and Doug Worthington. Gibson is the most dynamic pass rusher of the group and could emerge as a big time playmaker now that he is an upperclassman. The secondary will miss Jenkins, but ChimdiChekwa is a quality corner and safeties Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell will both be three year starters. As long as the Buckeyes can find a replacement for Jenkins, the pass defense will be among the best in the conference and possibly the nation. It is in the middle of the defense where there are the most questions. Ross Homan is the lone returning starter to the linebacker corps and the junior needs to become a leader right now.

Ohio State's Weaknesses:

As long as Terrelle Pryor is around, Ohio State will have a dynamic offense. Pryor threw for 1,311 yards as a freshman and ran for another 631. Pryor will do damage with his legs no matter what, but how far has he come as a passer? Without Wells around to hand the ball off to, Pryor is going to have to pass more often. The good news is that Pryor only threw four interceptions last year compared to 12 touchdowns. Even if the passing attack struggles, Pryor has proven that he can usually avoid making the big mistake. And the passing game may very well be ineffective this year without Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline. Those two accounted for 12 of the team’s 17 touchdown receptions. The only other player to catch more than one touchdown pass on the season was the now departed tight end Rory Nicol.

The Bottom Line for the Buckeyes:

Barring an injury to Pryor, the Ohio State offense should be fine. Even without their top two receivers, the Buckeyes should pass for more than 150 yards per game. Coach Jim Tressel limited Pryor’s passing game last year, but that will end now. Pryor will be heaving the ball down field and if that works out well, Ohio State will earn another Big Ten crown.

2008 Ohio State Buckeyes Team Stats:

* Rushing Offense: 192.46 (24th in nation, 3rd in conference)
* Passing Offense: 150.23 (105, 10)
* Total Offense: 342.69 (76, 9)
* Scoring Offense: 27.62 (45, 4)
* Rushing Defense: 110.23 (18, 3)
* Pass Defense: 183.54 (25, 2)
* Total Defense: 293.77 (14, 3)
* Scoring Defense: 13.92 (6, 2)
* Turnover Margin: 1.23 (6, 1)
* Sacks: 2.08 (50, 7)
* Sacks Allowed: 2.23 (83, 8)

Monday, June 22, 2009 Ranks OSU #6 in Early Poll

The preseason poll is out, and the Buckeyes have landed at the sixth spot on the charts. The gators of Florida take the top spot in everyone's poll, followed in most by the Sooners and Longhorns of Oklahoma and Texas, though Rivals splits this pair by placing USC between them at #3. LSU sits in the #5 spot, and then our beloved Buckeyes come next.

With the top six teams in the nation all playing each other at some point during the season, the fate of the Buckeyes is squarely in their own hands. Win, and they get a shot. That's about all the boys could ask for.

(This poll is taken word-for-word from the rivals site, which I link to throughout. Well, the links just pasted with the rest of the text. I didn't really do anything special. It's an early poll, so I don't think they'll mind, and if they do, then they have some serious issues.)

The season begins on September 5th, when Army comes to the 'Shoe 2009 Preseason Top 25

1. Florida
The Buzz: The potential exists for all 11 defensive starters – and each of their backups – to be back in 2009. And with QB Tim Tebow returning, the Gators will be prohibitive favorites to repeat.

2. Texas
The Buzz: QB Colt McCoy's decision to return means the offense again will put up a ton of points – and the running game should be better in 2009. The secondary could be a strength, but the front seven needs some tweaking.

3. USC
The Buzz: The defense will undergo an overhaul, from the coordinator down to the players. But the offense could be truly explosive.

4. Oklahoma
The Buzz: If quarterback Sam Bradford, TE Jermaine Gresham and DT Gerald McCoy go pro, this ranking will drop. If all three return, OU will battle for the Big 12 – and maybe national – title.

5. LSU
The Buzz: QB Jordan Jefferson's performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl provides hope that the offense will be more consistent. The linebacking corps needs to be rebuilt.

6. Ohio State
The Buzz: You have to figure the coaches will unleash quarterback Terrelle Pryor, which will jazz up the offense. The defense will be fine even without CB Malcolm Jenkins and LB James Laurinaitis.

The Buckeyes will seek revenge in week 2

7. Virginia Tech
The Buzz: The Hokies look as if they will be the class of the ACC. The defense always will be good, and if QB Tyrod Taylor becomes a better passer, the offense actually could be dangerous.

8. Alabama
The Buzz: The offensive line could have some questions and there will be a new quarterback, but depth should be better and there are some talented skill-position players on hand.

9. Boise State
The Buzz: QB Kellen Moore can become a star. If the Broncos can get their front four on defense settled, an undefeated season is within their grasp.

10. Oklahoma State
The Buzz: The Cowboys should have a deadly offensive trio in QB Zac Robinson, TB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant. The defense, though, has some work to do.

11. Georgia Tech
The Buzz: The Yellow Jackets were surprisingly good in coach Paul Johnson's first season, and Year Two in the triple-option offense could lead to big numbers. The defense should be fine.

12. California
The Buzz: Jahvid Best may go into the 2009 season as the nation's best running back. Coach Jeff Tedford needs to settle on a quarterback and the linebacking corps must be rebuilt.

13. Penn State
The Buzz: QB Daryll Clark and TB Evan Royster return, though there are questions about the offensive line, the receiving corps and the secondary. The front seven on defense could be outstanding.

14. Ole Miss
The Buzz: Coach Houston Nutt changed the culture around the program, and if Tim Tebow goes pro, Jevan Snead will be the best quarterback in the SEC. There is a lot of skill-position talent around him, too.

15. Oregon
The Buzz: The Ducks will need to settle on a quarterback and do some tweaking in the secondary. But the rushing attack again should be the team strength.

16. Florida State
The Buzz: The defense has a lot of potential, if the coaches can find some safeties. The offensive line actually could be a strength. But the passing attack must improve.

17. Utah
The Buzz: The passing game will be a huge question. But the defense returns a lot of key players in the front seven, and the Utes will be able to run the ball.

18. Georgia
The Buzz: Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are gone. But it's not as if the Bulldogs' roster is bereft of talent. The offensive line should be much better, as should the defense.

19. Kansas
The Buzz: On paper, at least, the Jayhawks look to be the class of the Big 12 North. The return of QB Todd Reesing means the offense should be one of the most productive in the nation. But the defense must replace three starting linebackers.

20. Texas Tech
The Buzz: No Graham Harrell. No Michael Crabtree. A rebuilt offensive line. A tougher schedule. And the same old defense.

The Buzz: Yes, star running back Shonn Greene is gone, but the defense again should be tough. The offensive line should be stout and there still are some good backs on campus.

The Buckeye get the #21-ranked Hawkeyes at home on November 14

22. BYU
The Buzz: Replacing four starters on the offensive line is the top priority for the Cougars, whose defense should be much better.

23. Notre Dame
The Buzz: Hey, calm down there, all you Irish haters. Notre Dame has talent, the schedule is navigable and a staff shakeup should help on the field.

24. USF
The Buzz: One of these seasons, USF will start fast and finish strong. Next season will be the final go-round for quarterback Matt Grothe, who must cut down on his mistakes.

25. Oregon State
The Buzz: The Rodgers brothers mean the offense should be fine, and coordinator Mark Banker always seems to find answers on his defense.

Others that received consideration (in alphabetical order):
Air Force, Colorado, Houston, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern and Texas Christian.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Buckeyes Release Full 2009 Schedule

Coach Griffin and the Ohio State Buckeyes put the final touches on their 2009 schedule this week, and while nothing can equal the surprise that accompanied the recent agreement to play the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame for the next several years, there is another recent addition to speak of. The Buckeyes have decided to drop one service academy from their schedule in favor of another, canceling an agreement with the Naval Academy, and adding a home and home with the Cadets of West Point.

The major stumbling block on the non-conference schedule is the Pete Carroll led juggernaut that is Southern Cal. The Buckeyes got blown out last year in the Coliseum, but they're hoping to get a bit of payback when the Trojans come to Columbus in week two. Week three has the Buckeyes playing in Cleveland against the Toledo Rockets, part of an every year agreement the Buckeyes honor with in state MAC schools.

The Big Ten schedule will be rugged as always, but will perhaps be the toughest when OSU travels to Happy Valley to play the Nittany Lions, and when they go to the Big House to play what most believe is a new and improved Michigan team.

Ohio State 2009 Football Schedule

September 5 - Navy
September 12 - USC
September 19 - Toledo (neutral site)
September 26 - Illinois
October 6 - @Indiana
October 10 - Wisconsin (Raz)
October 17 - @Purdue
October 24- Minnesota
October 31 - Open
November 7 - @Penn State
November 14 - Iowa
November 21 - @Michigan (jello)
Nov 28 - @Notre Dame (DatNDaz)

The fans hope to give their team that extra something it will take to beat the Trojans.