The suspensions of Donald Washington and Jamario O'Neal for the first two games of the season will see Chimdi Chekwa's playing time skyrocket for those games, but what about some of the other defensive backs -- who looks to benefit the most in these OOC games?
With Chekwa, the nickel, moving into Washington's spot, there's an open race for that 5th defensive back for those first two games. Both Youngstown State and Ohio University figure to see plenty of third-and-longs, so valuable playing time will be available from the first series of the game instead of just mop-up time at the end when the Buckeyes have a big lead.
The player with perhaps the slight edge in that race would be redshirt junior Andre Amos. The 6-1 corner from Middletown (home of Cris Carter and Todd Bell) saw extensive playing time as a freshman in 2006, pushing future starter and all-conference selection Antonio Smith for the starting job.
Expectations were high for Amos heading into 2007 before he suffered an ACL tear in the spring. The injury and subsequent recovery gave Donald Washington a chance to snare the starting spot opposite Jenkins with Chekwa sliding into the nickel spot. With both players returning in 2008, Amos found himself relegated to backup duties, but the suspensions have opened a window for him.
Another player that could see playing time is Devon Torrence. Torrence, of course, came to Ohio State as a wideout last season, but was moved to cornerback at the start of fall camp due to the talented crowd at the receiver position.
With 4.4ish speed and a 36-inch vertical, Torrence was actually the 12th-rated defensive back prospect in the nation coming out of high school. He saw some time on special teams last season and may figure to make the jump to the other side of the ball relatively easy.
I figure Amos will be the primary beneficiary of the depleted secondary in the first two weeks, but Torrence is fun to track. Did I miss anyone? Who do you see getting the nickel snaps against Youngstown State and OU?
If you haven't already made it over to OHD to check out Vico's magnus opus, the Terrelle Pryor BKAB feature is up. All 23 glorious pages. I'm sure he's conscious of it, but he's about 80% of the way to a book deal with this one.
Sean from ATO takes a closer look at the penalty issue. A lot of data and some insightful conclusions.