Good morning Buckeye faithful and welcome to your Tuesday Skull Session. I'm still waking up from this weekend's panic-induced coma, as my head is fraught with flashbacks of Rod Smith fumbling and near calls of "Holy Toledo!". To top things off, my Cleveland Browns didn't seem to do me any favors either, losing to the lowly Bengals at home.
Anyway, now that all that is pushed out of my selective memory, let's snap back to reality as the Buckeyes are still 2-0 and will be facing their first major test of the season this weekend against the Miami Hurricanes. Hope you're as stoked as I am.
Let's get to it:
DEPTH PERCEPTION. Ohio State has released its football depth chart going into week three of the season and for once there are a few changes in the pecking order.
Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller are still both listed as the number one quarterback, even though Miller didn't see the field against Toledo. It should be interesting to see how Luke Fickell utilizes the quarterback tandem against a more talented Miami team.
Rod Smith is still listed as the backup running back behind Carlos Hyde despite his second fumble of the season during a crucial drive of the game against Toledo. This is notable as Jaamal Berry is still not listed in the two-deep at the position and it is unknown whether his hamstring is up to the challenge of picking up carries this week. Jordan Hall (like fellow Charity goers Travis Howard and Pitt Brown) also is absent from the depth chart as he has still not been reinstated by the NCAA.
Chris Fields and Corey "Philly" Brown are both listed at the second wide receiver spot with freshman Devin Smith slated in as the backup. Brown re-aggrivated an ankle injury against Toledo and is likely to see less snaps against Miami.
Corey Linsley returns from a two game suspension for violating team rules and backs up Marcus Hall at right guard. Based on Hall's poor play against the Rockets, Linsley may be needed to give the former Glenville product a breather.
Finally, JT Moore and Nathan Williams are listed together at the LEO position. Williams suffered a leg injury in practice last week and sat against Toledo, but the Buckeyes will need him in South Beach if they want to force some more Jacory Harris interceptions in this year's match-up.
NOTABLE BUCKEYES IN THE NFL. The return of the Houndie comes later this afternoon, but for now we'll give you some quick hits as a brief preview of your favorite weekly award.
37 former Buckeyes have secured a spot on an NFL roster for the opening week, and those that took the field this opening weekend of the NFL season did not disappoint their alma mater. Ted Ginn Jr. took a 102-yard kick-off return straight back to the house in what proved to be a game winner for the San Francisco 49ers over the Seattle Seahawks. Ginn also took back a punt return for a touchdown and reminded everyone why we loved him so dearly in Columbus.
James "The Little Animal" Laurinaitis had 6 tackles, including 1 for a loss, for the St. Louis Rams in a loss to the "dream team" Philadelphia Eagles, Santonio Holmes had 6 receptions for 70 yards for the New York Jets in a victory over the Dallas Cowboys, everyone's favorite undrafted free agent, Dane Sanzenbacher , tallied his first NFL reception this weekend with a 6-yard catch in a victory over the Atlanta Falcons, and the Buckeyes' lone NFL first-round draft choice, Cameron Heyward, had one tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers' back-up duty.
Come back to the site later to check out the other performances by former Buckeyes in the league and to see who took home The Houndie in week one of the NFL season.
FUTURE, THY NAME IS DEVIN. Ohio State freshman wide receiver Devin Smith is 10th in the B1G in receiving and leads all Buckeye pass catchers this year with 119 yards. It's no secret that Smith was going to be a play maker when he arrived at OSU, but I don't know how many fans would have expected him to be leading the entire receiving corps after two games.
What's even more impressive is that Smith has only seen limited action in the first two contests because he wasn't supposed to be a major factor in the receiving rotation this early in the season. When Philly Brown went down with a sprained ankle last Saturday, Smith played with a magnanimous spirit that allowed him to make some big plays down the field and keep the chains moving in what was a stagnant OSU offense.
He came up big in a situation when the Buckeyes needed him most, hauling in a 36-yard completion in the third quarter that took the OSU offense to Toledo's 7-yard line. Ohio State went on to score what would prove to be the winning touchdown on that drive.
Smith was also wide open on several other occasions, but was left with nothing to catch due to misjudged throws from Joe Bauserman, who went from 3rd in the NCAA in passing efficiency to 35th in a one-game span. Bauserman will have to work on his touch and find open receivers like Smith more often if OSU wants to beat the Hurricanes.
Brown is supposed to come back this week from his ankle sprain, which will likely reduce the playing time of Smith. Being that Philly is hampered, if I'm Luke Fickell, I find ways to get Devin into the game. He's proving to be too talented to ignore, and I won't be surprised if he's named a starter at some point this season. At least before DeVier Posey returns for the game in Lincoln.
THE DOLLARS MAKE CENTS. An AP report claims "fair market value of top-tier college football and men's basketball players is over $100,000 each." More specifically, the report states the average football player is worth $121,000 and the average basketball player is worth $265,000. In the report, Ramogi Huma, head of the National College Players Association, and Ellen J. Staurowsky, a professor at Drexel University, state that they believe athletes should not only be paid, but also should be able to pursue endorsement deals.
Paying college athletes is certainly a hot-button issue in college sports, and I can't bring myself to say that I'm 100% for it. When money enters the equation of college athletics, it takes away some of the allure and mystique from the game. When I watch college games, I see players who are playing for the love of the game, no strings attached, until they finally reach the professional level.
However, there's too much money being made off college sports by the universities to keep their athletes out of the picture, so I can see that point of view as well. Scholarships can't always fully compensate an NCAA athlete and many of these players come from backgrounds in which they don't have the necessary funds to keep up with the college environment.
Letting college players seek endorsement deals is still too controversial for me, but I expect one day to see players paid by the NCAA. To be clear, though, in my opinion, something like this will take decades to come to fruition as there are many roadblocks and obstacles to overcome.
LOS LINKS. The Michigan-Western Michigan game-score statistics have disappeared, or Brady Hoke ate them... What a patriotic Thursday it was in Green Bay... The Oklahoma Sooners set an impressive milestone... A great piece on James Laurinaitis and his father... Ted Ginn was making plays long before this weekend.