Thad in at End, Heyward Slides Over

By Jason Priestas on September 23, 2008 at 7:00a
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The depth chart for the Minnesota game is out and it looks like the switch at quarterback last weekend was merely the beginning of several much-needed changes.

Hello!

In what will surely be perceived as good news from the fans that have desired a little more out of the Buckeye defensive front, senior Nader Abdallah has lost his starting job with Cam Heyward sliding over into his tackle position. Heyward has seen time at tackle the last two weeks, but this is the first time the position change has ever been formalized in any manner.

Heyward's vacated end spot is now in the hands of Thaddeus Gibson -- the the first pick in the spring game draft back in April. Gibson has always impressed in practice, but after making the move from linebacker to defensive end as a freshman, he got into a bit of trouble for a shouting match with a coach. He worked hard to get out of Tressel and Heacock's doghouse and saw significant special teams action as well as snaps at defensive end. Against Wisconsin last season, he had a sack and a forced fumble and observers could see his upside from outer space.

The early knock on Gibson this season had been some deficiencies in the run-stopping department, but considering the lackluster play of the defensive line out of the gates this season, that minor hang-up appears tolerable, to say the least. A decent drop coverage guy for an end as well as a fierce pass-rusher, he'll immediately improve the pressure the front is able to bring and he'll get a good test with the Gopher's Adam Weber this weekend.

Curtis Terry looks like he's finally found a home and will back Lawrence Wilson up, while Robert Rose is listed as Gibson's backup. Chekwa maintained his hold on a starting cornerback position over Donald Washington in what should be a cautionary tale to future players looking to get into a little somethin'-somethin'.

One other surprise on the defensive side of the ball is Etienne Sabino officially listed as the #2 MLB behind Laurinaitis. Austin Spitler had held that spot for the first four games of the season, but Sabino is forcing his own action.

If Tressel's sarcastic answer after the Troy game about who the starting quarterback would be going forward left you confused (you're banned from reading this site if it did), Pryor is listed ahead of Boeckman as the team's starting quarterback. Ditto for center Mike Brewster, who is officially listed as the starter for the first time in his Buckeye career.

One curious note is the fact that Ray Small is still listed as the backup to Hartline, so maybe his punishment was only a one week thing. If there's any single game he's probably itching to get out there and play, it might be this Minnesota game as he was tattooed in that game way back in 2006 (and some would argue that hit has had lasting effects on him).

What's amazing when you look at the depth chart is how young the team actually is now that some changes have been made. For a group loaded with so many seniors, especially 5th-year guys, the starting 22 only features 8 of them. I'm still holding out hope that Posey makes his move as well and if he can crack the starting lineup by season's end, that's all the better.

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