There's no shooting blanks for the Ohio State Football team as Jim Tressel and his staff get ready to make another run for a Big Ten title with a cast of new players. Gone are Chris Wells, Brian Robiskie, Alex Boone, Malcolm Jenkins, and James Laurinaitis. In steps two of the best recruiting classes in Coach Tressel's history in Columbus.
By Steve Patterson
The Importance of Spring
Ohio State has 15 practices, 2 scrimmages and one Spring Game to try to sort out who will start at key positions in the fall and who will see more time when the Buckeyes start their preseason schedule in September against Navy. "I've never really walked into a season and said, 'Well, this is a rebuilding year. We're not going to do as well,' or 'This is a reloading year, we're going to be better,' or 'We're experienced. Everything's going to be wonderful,"' Coach Tressel said to the media yesterday at a spring kick-off news conference. "Because none of those are true. There's such a fine line in how well you do."
Reloaded With Talent
But Ohio State is reloading and not rebuilding. Thanks to great new facilities, intense recruiting, two National Championship appearances and landing a couple great players early, the Buckeyes have been able to pull in the 3rd best class in the country for 2009 and they brought in the 4rd best class in the country, according to Rivals, in 2008. Two big classes full of talent and rebuilding is out of the question for fans of the team. The young talent is more than eager to come in and claim the starting roles where graduating seniors have moved on the NFL.
USC Will be Tough Early
Ohio State will have to get things together in the spring and during fall camp as USC comes to town early and will be looking to repeat the beating they gave the Buckeyes last year. “It’s a very challenging schedule,” Coach Tressel told reports about the schedule this coming season. “Our defense hasn’t seen anything quite like what Navy does, and then we have Southern Cal here, and it goes on from there. We know the improvement of the various programs in the Big Ten. We will have to be very productive this spring and summer to keep pace."