Ohio State Football 2010 Preview
As the 2010 Ohio State Football season quickly approaches we take a look at the 2009 season, the teams strengths going into the new year, their weaknesses, the offense, the defense, and special teams.
By Steve Patterson
Record in 2009: 11-2
Record in Big 10: 7-1
Returning Starters of 2010: 7 defense; 16:9 offense
Coach: Jim Tressel (9 years; Ohio State: 94-21)
Offense Coordinator: Jim Bollman
Defense Coordinator: Luke Fickell, Jim Heacock
State Players of Note in 2010 (Ohio): CB Chlmdl Chekwa, DE Cameron Heyward, FS Jermale Hines, LB Ross Homan, WR DeVier Posey, RB Brandon Saine, QB Terrelle Pryor, TE Jake Stoneburner.
Ohio State 2010 Strengths:
Excluding Pryor, the fastest of the lot, Ohio State's running backs can go five deep. Almost everyone returns for offense, which has proven to be an ideal combination of power and speed. Heyward has the potential to go All-American while Homan unobtrusively racks up double figures in tackling almost each week.
Ohio State 2010 Weaknesses:
This Ohio State Football 2010 preview thinks that Pryor must prove that his consistency can last all season. Despite its experience, the offensive line struggled throughout spring. The back end and front four in defense is relatively inexperienced. DT Dexter Larimore and Heyward are veterans in a green Bucks line of defense.
Ohio State 2010 Offense:
Although Pryor led offense as a sophomore in passing yards (2094) and rushing yards (779), things might be different this season. Pryor is more committed to his development as a passer, and at tailback, the Bucks could go five deep. Saine, a senior, could be a memorable starting tailback now he's fully fit. A high school State champion in the 100 and 400 meters, Saine started as tailback last season in the last nine games. He finished behind Pryor with 4 scores and 739 rushing yards.
Dan Herron, a junior, is a reserve once again after scoring seven touchdowns and rushing 600 yards last season. Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher caught 60 and 36 passes, respectively. Due to his grades, third-ranked receiver Duron Carter sat out the Rose Bowl and, for the same reason, was presumably barred from spring practice. Taurian Washington stood in his stead, and must fight for his spot against freshman Chris Fields and Carter this season. Left tackle is the remaining position. Junior Mike Adams, sidelined by ineffectiveness and injury thus gets a major chance to shine.
Ohio State 2010 Defense:
From a unit ranked in the national top five for turnover margin, points allowed and total defense, seven starters return for the Buckeyes. Against the run, they ranked seventh. As an All-American candidate, Heyward is the defensive line's anchor, leading the team with 6.5 sacks last season and will probably develop into one of the country's best defensive ends. Dexter Larimore will mark a third season playing defensive tackle starter, and senior linebackers Brian Rolle and Homan make their return as well. The two led the team last year with 108 and 95 tackles respectively.
Junior Etienne Sabino is likely to be the strongside linebacker. The 19 year old made his mark playing on special teams and his due is liable to be a place in the starting lineup. A new safeties pair is what the Buckeyes need. Hines saw frequent play as a linebacker/free safety hybrid player and started a few games but has gained the position full time. Last season, Orhian Johnson stood in the shade of Kurt Coleman, a three-year starter, due to injuries sustained. Behind Hines and Johnson lies a line of untested players.
Ohio State 2010 Special Teams:
At 27 years of age, former professional soccer player Devin Barclay is the senior kicker. He averaged seven of ten field goals last year, possessing a long of just 39 yards. Junior Ben Buchanan played one game last season and averaged 42.8 yards with four punts. Tailback Jordan Hall and Washington will likely be first picks for new return players.
Ohio State has five successive Big Ten championships under its belt and is hungry for more. The Buckeyes have a chance at the national title this season, a third in five years, if Pryor plays the way he did at the Rose Bowl.