2014 Ohio Preview: What You Need To Know
Ohio QB Derrius Vick
Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Ohio (Getty Images)
What You Need To Know
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer
What You Need To Know About The Offense:
The offense loses starting quarterback Tyler Tettleton, the top two running backs, and the No. 1 target in Dante Foster, so why are things going to be better? It might take a little reworking, but there are some interesting rushing options with more talent than last year’s main men, helped by the arrival of true freshman Maleek Irons from Canada. Derrius Vick has been prepping for this moment for the last two years working behind Tettleton, and he has some decent young targets to play around with and veteran Chase Cochran to steady the passing game. Can the line be more consistent? Two starters are back, but it’s a big group that should blast away and be stronger for an offense that averaged just 134 yards per game on the ground.
What You Need To Know About The Defense: It was an inconsistent season with problems late, but the potential is there to come up with a big turnaround if experience matters. Six of the starting front seven is back, led by pass rushing phenom Tarell Basham on the end and helped by a good interior and linebacker Ben Russell in the middle. The secondary loses Travis Carrie, but Josh Kristoff and Devin Bass are two of the league’s most productive defensive backs – the Bobcats might have one of the MAC’s most productive pass defenses as the season goes on. Coming up with more third down stops is a must, and as long as the run defense is a bit better, those should come.
Players You Need To Know
1. DE Tarell Basham, Soph.
The biggest concern going into last season for the Ohio defense was a proven consistent pass rush. Enter Basham, who stepped in as a true freshman and turned into the team’s best playmaker in the backfield making 7.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss and 32 tackles. While he was good throughout the year, kicking off the season with a sack against Louisville, he got better and better as the season went on. With 6-4, 250-pound size and an outstanding burst, the upside is there to be truly special once his body matures a little more. A high-character player who’ll do what’s needed to get better, he’s a pure pass rusher who should once again camp out in opposing backfields.
2. CB Devin Bass, Jr.
Considered a promising defensive back at either corner or safety, he turned into a whale of an all-around defender earning all-star honors coming up with a whopping 15 broken up passes with two picks and 41 tackles. At 5-9 and 180 pounds he has good size and fantastic speed, great in the open field and outstanding when the ball is in the air. He won’t be challenged as much this season with his reputation growing, but he should be able to rise up from time to time and erase opposing No. 1 receivers.
3. LB Ben Russell, Jr.
The team’s leading tackler, the 6-1, 233-pounder came up with 88 stops and three sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss despite missing a game. Hot early on, he came up with ten tackles against both North Texas and Marshall, and was steady the rest of the way. One of the team’s biggest linebackers and a strong hitter in the middle, he went from being a part of a rotation to the main man everything was funneled to. Built for the inside, he’ll once again be a statistical star.
4. S Josh Kristoff, Sr.
The 6-0, 203-pound senior is one of the leaders and veterans in the secondary finishing second on the team with 72 tackles with five broken up passes. While he's not an elite athlete, he's like another linebacker at strong safety, even if he's not built for it. Extremely smart, he has a good command of the defensive backfield and is almost always in the right position. While he has to do more when the ball is in the air, he’s a good, sound tackler with 11 tackles against both North Texas and Eastern Michigan.
5. QB Derrius Vick, Jr.
The 6-1, 196-pounder is ready for his time as the starter after seeing a little bit of time last season behind Tyler Tettleton, completing 21-of-45 passes for 277 yards and a score with a pick, and running for 67 yards and a touchdown. The Lincoln, Nebraska native plays like a Husker quarterback with tremendous quickness, toughness and skills. A defensive back as well as a kicker in high school, he’s a smart all-around player with a live arm and great upside. He needs to be a more accurate passer, and he’ll have to hold off some good other options, but it’s his shot to take over after serving as Tyler Tettleton’s understudy for the last two seasons. It’s his time.
6. OG Mike Lucas, Jr.
Can the line shine after an inconsistent season? The 6-4, 313-pound interior presence worked last season at left guard, and has All-MAC potential no matter where he plays. Versatile enough to play anywhere inside at either guard spot or center, he’s a tough, physical blocker who’ll be the main man for the running game.
7. DT Cameron McLeod, Sr.
The Bobcats needed help from the JUCO ranks to beef up the interior, and they got what they needed out of McLeod, who came up with 38 tackles with two sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss. At 6-5 and 282 pounds, he has good size and the athleticism to get behind the line from time to time. With his experience and his work at Jones County JC, he knows what he’s doing – he was very, very well-coached at the lower level by former NFL head coach and Alabama head man Ray Perkins.
8. PK Josiah Yazdani, Jr.
With Yazdani injured in 2012, there were other options going into last season but that changed quickly. It took a few games, but when he took over, he was nearly perfect hitting 14 of his 15 field goal tries only missing one deep short and nailing a three of four kicks from beyond 40 yards. Can he continue the hot pace? He hit everything from short range, and he’ll be used for deep shots without a problem. If he’s close to as good as he was in 2013, he’ll be on the short list for the Lou Groza.
9. RB Maleek Irons, Fr.
Can he turn his time as one of Canada’s top players and become a star for the Bobcat offense? At 6-0 and 211 pounds he has good size to go along with excellent speed and the toughness to run through the interior. Great on defense, he came up with 120 tackles and ten picks, but he was at his best running the ball for his high school team in British Columbia with 7,944 yards and 98 scores, tearing off 3,204 yards and 45 touchdowns two years ago. Is he ready to be a workhorse and the main man for the attack? He’ll get his shot right away.
10. WR Chase Cochran, Sr.
Once again working on the inside at the Z, Cochran is a 6-2, 190-pound veteran who finished second on the team with 37 catches for 689 yards and four scores, averaging a team-high 18.6 yards per catch highlighted by three 100-yard days against North Texas, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan. With deep play ability and the talent to do big things from time to time, he’ll be the No. 1 target with Donte Foster gone, can he be a 75-catch guy? He needs to be.
- 2014 Ohio Preview
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Another Pac 12 Miracle: USC Hail Mary
Last week Arizona, this week USC. If you missed it late Saturday night, you have to see the Trojans' Hail Mary against Oregon State to end the first half.
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