I have lived in Columbus, OH for the past 3 years and the fanbase here is rabid. I’m sure there are children here with the first name “Tressel.” With Terrelle Pryor behind the center, they expect big things this season. They are used to winning, but with their anchors on defense graduating and losing Beanie Wells and their entire receiving corps to graduation or draft, can their expectations be high? Joe Pasquali is here with the preview of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who we have finishing #2 in the Big Ten this year.
Finishing #2 in the Big Ten
The Ohio State Buckeyes (Predicted Finish 10-2)
Summary– Ohio State has a great team this season. Really, they do. Anyone who thinks this will be a complete rebuilding season for the boys from Columbus has apparently never watched a Jim Tressel team. This is a team that has depth, great coaching, and explosiveness in all of the right areas. The Achilles heel for this team is scheduling. A game against USC, playing at Penn State and at rebounding Michigan. Not good news for OSU.
Offense (B+)– Hot and Cold was the Buckeyes offense last season and the 2009 season should bring more of the same. Terrelle Pryor is some kind of athlete at the QB position, but questionable decisions in big games was his downfall. He will have three returning starters on the offensive line in front of him which should help his first full year at the helm go fairly smooth. A lot of young talent occupy the RB and WR positions, it will be interesting to see who steps up as a major threat. The Buckeyes had the 104th ranked pass offense last year, and that was WITH Robiskie and Hartline. To be a National Championship contender, OSU has to be more two dimensional.
Defense (A)– I fear for any quarterbacks that have to play against Ohio State this season. The Buckeyes return all 4 starters from a defensive line that was fairly athletic last year, sacking opposing quarterbacks 28 times. Thorpe winner Malcolm Jenkins will be missed, but the other three members of the Buckeye secondary will be back. Also, it’s not like any team in the Big Ten has a huge threat at the WR position. New faces at two of the three LB positions will be the only question mark for this defense, but I expect them to do just fine.
Special Teams (C)– Since Tressel has been in town OSU has always played pretty top notch special teams, but a new kicker and punter always leave folks wondering who is this kid booting the ball around. Also, should be some new faces when it comes to returning kicks and punts as well.
Coaching (A)– Jim Tressel is one of the best coaches in the country and the best coach in the Big Ten. Conservative play calling against Penn State angered the Buckeye faithful, but anyone who really wants to blame losses on Tressel has to have a reality check. Do you remember a guy named Cooper? Yeah, thought so. Shut up.