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2009 CFN Ohio State Preview
Ohio State LB Ross Homan & SS Kurt Coleman
Ohio State LB Ross Homan & SS Kurt Coleman
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 9, 2009


CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Ohio State Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes

Preview 2009


By Pete Fiutak

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- 2009 CFN Ohio State Preview | 2009 Ohio State Offense
- 2009 Ohio State Defense | 2009 Ohio State Depth Chart
- 2008 OSU Preview | 2007 OSU Preview | 2006 OSU Preview   

Head coach: Jim Tressel
9th year: 83-19
24th year overall: 218-76-2
Ten Best OSU Players
1.
QB Terrelle Pryor, Soph.
2. DE Thaddeus Gibson, Jr.
3. OG Justin Boren, Jr.
4. DE Cameron Heyward, Jr.
5. SS Kurt Coleman, Sr.
6. WR DeVier Posey, Soph.
7. CB Chimdi Chekwa, Jr.
8. DT Doug Worthington, Sr.
9. C Michael Brewster, Soph.
10. LB Ross Homan, Jr.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
10-2
2009 Record: 0-0

9/5 Navy
9/12 USC
9/19 Toledo (in Clev.)
9/26 Illinois
10/3 at Indiana
10/10 Wisconsin
10/17 at Purdue
10/24 Minnesota
10/31 New Mexico State
11/7 at Penn State
11/14 Iowa
11/21 at Michigan
11/28 OPEN DATE

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 12-0
2008 Record: 10-3

8/30 Youngstown St W 43-0
9/6 Ohio W 26-14
9/13 at USC L 35-3
9/20 Troy W 28-10
9/27 Minnesota  W 34-21
10/4 at Wisconsin W 20-17
10/11 Purdue W 16-3
10/18 at Michigan State W 45-7
10/25 Penn State L 13-6
11/1 OPEN DATE
11/8 at Northwestern W 45-10
11/15 at Illinois W 30-20
11/22 Michigan W 42-7
Fiesta Bowl
1/5 Texas L 24-21

After losing two national championship games and getting blasted by USC in ugly, embarrassing fashion, Ohio State has to do something big to regain its good standing in the world of superpowers. But is that really fair?

What major sin has Ohio State football committed? Yes, it has lost three BCS games in a row, but it battled hard in a war in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl against Texas and lost in the final moments. Should the Buckeyes be dogged for losing to a Texas team that probably should've been playing in the national championship? How much flak should they get for daring to lose two national championships? Should Jim Tressel be fired for losing to a USC team, on its own turf, that probably would've beaten 117 other teams like a drum, too?

The fact of the matter is that Ohio State remains every bit the powerhouse it was when it was 4-0 in BCS games and came up with wins in 2006 over Texas in Austin and an unbeaten Michigan squad. Just as important, it's not like the team loses to the weak and the sad. OSU has the longest streak in the nation of not losing to a team that didn't end up in the BCS, and it's not even close. The last loss to a non-BCS bound team was against Purdue on November 13, 2004. That's a run of 53 straight games, and over four years ago, while USC's streak is at ten, as is Florida's. Oklahoma's streak is at 17, Alabama's is at 15, Utah's is at 14, Texas's is at four, and LSU's at one. So yes, Ohio State is having problems with the who's who programs in a given year, but it's not coming up with any egregious errors.

That whole The Ohio State University thing is obnoxious, and it's hard for Goliath to garner too much sympathy, but the program deserves more respect than it's currently getting. It'll only get that respect by coming up with a monster win (USC comes to Columbus on September 12th), and it'll need to play up to its athleticism and talent level week after week. It'll be easy to assume this will be a rebuilding year considering the losses in the linebacking corps and in the backfield, but after years of impressive recruiting classes, the speed and the tools across the board are as good as any team in the country, Florida, USC, Oklahoma, and Texas included.

The running backs won't be better after losing Beanie Wells and Maurice Wells, but it'll be faster with Dan Herron and Brandon Saine playing bigger roles. The receiving corps lost Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline, but it might be even better, and it'll be a whole lot speedier, with DeVier Posey, Taurian Washington, Ray Small, and Lamaar Thomas starring as the new playmakers. The linebacking corps is the other major concern after losing James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, but it's rock-solid sound at all three spots.

Throw in the improvement of the defensive line, an upgrade on the O line with the addition of Justin Boren, three returning starters in the secondary, and Terrelle Pryor, who might just be the nation's best quarterback after improving his passing this offseason, and Ohio State is Ohio State again.

You might be tired of the Buckeyes and you might think they're overrated, but you'll probably have to spend your New Year's Day watching them play in Pasadena.

What to watch for on offense: The line. While the overall production wasn't bad, when push came to shove, last year's line got shoved. It got ripped apart this spring by the defensive line, but the OSU front four will probably be dominant against everyone. With three good starters returning, led by center Michael Brewster, and with the addition of former Michigan Wolverine, Justin Boren, to bring more of an attitude and a nastiness to the offensive front, the line should be better and should allow all the speedy skill players time and room to work.

What to watch for on defense: The rotation on the end. The pass rush was supposed to be unstoppable, even after losing Vernon Gholston, but it was only above average
. This year, there are too many ends to get on the field at the same time. Thaddeus Gibson is a star who could grow into an All-America-caliber pass rusher, while Cameron Heyward is productive inside and out. Nathan Williams and Lawrence Wilson are just a few of the great options who'll be a part of the rotation. With good tackles in Doug Worthington and Dexter Larimore to eat things up on the inside, the ends should be free to blow into the backfield.

The team will be far better if … the line gives Pryor more time. The Buckeye front five struggled in pass protection giving up 29 sacks on the year. While many came when Todd Boeckman, hardly a mobile option, was under center, it didn't do enough when Pryor took over, either. The coaching staff will play around with the tackles with Mike Adams getting the first look on the left side, while veteran Jim Cordle getting a shot at the right after starting most of last year at guard. Andrew Miller is a promising prospect who'll be a part of the equation. If Pryor gets time, the speedy receivers should be able to work deeper and the offense should be more balanced.

The Schedule: The last thing a team with new starting linebackers needs is to deal with Navy in the opener, and worse yet, everyone will be looking ahead to the showdown against USC. If the Buckeyes can pull off the win that could redefine and turn around the program, it should be smooth sailing until November when the trip to Penn State could turn out to be for the Big Ten title. The other three Big Ten road games are against Indiana, Purdue and Michigan; the three duds of last year. There aren't two road games in a row and playing USC is offset by non-conference dates against Toledo and New Mexico State. While OSU might still be the top dog in the conference, missing Michigan State is a major bonus. Not playing Northwestern isn't a positive.

Best Offensive Player: Sophomore QB Terrelle Pryor. He worked so much on his passing this offseason that he suffered tendonitis in his throwing arm. He's fine, and so are the legs that should make him a threat to 1,000 yards now that he'll be the pillar-to-post full-time starter. For the next three years, Pryor is the face of the franchise and the type of talent who can make a team of ultra-athletic playmakers better. Now the gloves will come off and he'll be able to throw the ball deeper to open things up a bit. If he's on as a passer, the offense will be devastating.

Best Defensive Player: Junior DE Thaddeus Gibson. The defense is full of very good, very sound players who won't come up with too much flash, but will make routine play after routine play. Gibson is the exception as the speed rusher who led the team in sacks last season and should dominate this year with a a good enough rest of the line to take the pressure off. While he's built like an outside linebacker, and will likely play there in the pros, he's tough enough to handle himself well on the end.

Key player to a successful season: Senior CB Andre Amos. Chimdi Chekwa is an all-conference caliber corner on one side, but Amos, Devon Torrence, or Travis Howard must take over on the other in place of Malcolm Jenkins. The safeties, Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell, are decent veterans, but they're not elite playmakers against the pass, especially Russell. Amos is a 6-1, 183-pound talent who has the skills to be a shut-down corner, especially on a No. 2 receiver, but he has bad knees.

The season will be a success if ... the Buckeyes win a BCS game. They might not be good enough to be a USC team that's reloading, but still tremendous, but they can still be the star of the Big Ten and get to the Rose Bowl for the first time in the Jim Tressel era. Winning the Big Ten with a team that has to patch so many holes would be nice, but getting the bitter BCS taste out of the program's mouth would be truly sweet ... especially if it's against the Trojans.

Key game: Nov. 7 at Penn State. On a national scale, the home date is the most important game of the 2009 season outside of Oklahoma vs. Texas. It's gut-check time for each program with Ohio State needing a big win, especially on its own turf, to reestablish its national street cred and to make a statement in the national title chase. But beating Penn State in Happy Valley is more important for the more realistic goals of winning the Big Ten and getting to the Rose Bowl. Last year's 13-6 Nittany Lion win was a classic, and this year's battle should be for the Big Ten championship.

2008 Fun Stats: 
- First quarter scoring: Ohio State 97 - Opponents 24
- Fourth down conversions: Opponents 11-of-18 (61%) - Ohio State 4-of-9 (44%)
- Rushing touchdowns over the last two years: Ohio State 42 - Opponents 10

- 2009 CFN Ohio State Preview | 2009 Ohio State Offense
- 2009 Ohio State Defense | 2009 Ohio State Depth Chart
- 2008 OSU Preview | 2007 OSU Preview | 2006 OSU Preview

   

Related Stories
2009 Ohio State Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 9, 2009
2009 Ohio State Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 9, 2009
2009 Ohio State Preview – Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 9, 2009








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