The Chase Begins

By Kyle Rowland on August 4, 2013 at 6:00a
52 Comments
The Chase begins Sunday afternoon.

After 253 days, Ohio State football has returned.

The 2013 offseason was one of the longest in program history due to a postseason ban. But those eight months had fans on edge with anticipation. The Buckeyes bring back one of the top coaching staffs, offenses and a continually improving defense. Oh, and they signed a phenom at punter.

Life is good in Columbus.

One year after not being eligible to appear in the Coaches Poll, Ohio State starts the 2013 season ranked No. 2, not that it means anything to head coach Urban Meyer. He never mentioned polls in 2012, and he doesn’t plan to start bringing them up this season.

“I’m kind of honored to be there,” Meyer said on Thursday. “I remember one time we started 115th in the country (at Bowling Green), and that’s a little more difficult. Starting No. 2, that means people have respect for what we did a year ago.”

All the Buckeyes did was rebound from a disastrous 6-7 season with a perfect 12-0 record. Quarterback Braxton Miller also emerged as one of the best players in the country. He opens fall camp as one of several favorites to be a Heisman Trophy finalist. But all the rankings and predictions of individual success take a back seat to “The Chase.”

“Offensively, I feel very strong about where we could be if we have a solid training camp,” Meyer said. “Defense is where the issues are.”

Not only did Ohio State lose a bulk of its defensive leaders from last year’s undefeated team, the Buckeyes lost a majority of its defense, period. The front seven returns one starter – none on the defensive line. It’s the first time in 28 years Ohio State has been forced to replace all four starters on the D-line.

Stockpiling four- and five-star recruits makes the replacement process much smoother. In the spring, the coaching staff expressed its concern about the inexperience. Then Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington, Michael Bennett and Joel Hale calmed those fears with a five-week blitzkrieg.

“All those guys are young, but they have some experience under their belt, so it’s not like they’re coming in fresh and don’t know anything about the game or our system,” said senior safety Christian Bryant. “This whole offseason they’ve been working as hard or harder than anyone else in the country.”

Speaking to the media at Big Ten media days, Meyer gushed when Spence and Washington were brought up. He believes the duo can become as good as any defensive linemen in the conference. All the chatting about potential has Meyer understandably excited.

“I’m anxious to get to Sunday because all that won’t be discussed one time,” Meyer said. “High expectations have been discussed, but not about the number. We all know that doesn’t matter.”

High expectations are the norm in Columbus. That’s been the case since the Buckeyes played in a bandbox along High Street called Ohio Field, now the site of Arps Hall, Ramseyer Hall and the Arps Garage. The tension accompanying the 2013 season is different, though.

There’s a sense of urgency on the team and among the fan base. It’s been more than a decade now since Ohio State last won a national championship. For Buckeye Nation, it may as well be 100 years. With a mix of veterans and youth, not to mention Meyer and the rest of his cohorts, there’s reason to believe the Buckeyes could hoist the crystal football once more. 

A heralded recruiting class, some say the best in program history, reports this morning. Twenty-three members of the 24-person class are expected to be present, with the lone holdout being offensive lineman Tim Gardner who was sent home for disciplinary reasons and will not be part of the 2013 team. Also expected to report is Georgia Tech wide receiver transfer Jeff Greene.

If Meyer improves upon his 34-4 career second-year record, the freshmen will have made a large impact. But the seniors are not to be forgotten. The group includes Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Andrew Norwell, Marcus Hall, Christian Bryant, Jordan Hall, C.J. Barnett, Kenny Guiton and Carlos Hyde.

The senior class has been through the ultimate ups and downs, from scandals, coaching changes, a miserable season, and then back up to a 12-0 record. Now, with only one more chance to capture a national championship, that core group of players is eager to shift the focus to on-field performance.

Two weeks of negative headlines was not how Meyer and Co. wanted to enter fall camp. And it’s not just related to Ohio State for Meyer, who’s had a trying offseason with current and former players in the news for the wrong reasons. In the tough-luck business of coaching, though, it’s all part of the deal.

“I’m going to focus on the positives,” Meyer said, “positives created by tremendous momentum from last year’s team, to an excellent recruiting class, positive spring practice and one of the best academic performances in recent history at Ohio State. A good bunch of guys that are, for the majority, doing the right things, getting themselves ready for the 2013 season.”

A season filled with great expectations.

52 Comments

Comments

SavannahGABuckeye48's picture

So pumped. Prepare for battle :)

ToothBuck's picture

I'm very excited for the upcoming season!!! I would love to see Jeff Greene perform well enough to earn that (Gardner's?) scholarship this summer.

chinooker97's picture

27 days, not that I'm counting or anything.

"Because we couldn't go for three."

Oldschoolbuck's picture

Watched the HOF induction ceremony for CC last night... Wow.
Not that Urban really needs assistance with motivation, but if he wants to get these guys stoked to bleed scarlet & gray, Mr. Carter wouldn't be a bad choice!
Can't remember when I've been so pumped for a season to start!
Let 'The Chase' begin!

airbuckeye's picture

27 Days is still 30 days to dam long for me lets get this show started those who are not ready can play catch up to us.

Fugelere's picture

Does anyone know if 11W will post video or photos of the practice today?

Kyle Rowland's picture

We will. But we are only allowed watching the first 30 minutes of the freshmen-only practice. Majority of that will probably be stretching. 

RBuck's picture

Don't ask for a water break, Freshmen.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

Fugelere's picture

Awesome, I'll be looking forward to it. As you can tell I'm jonesing for my Buckeye fix.

InHartWeTrust's picture

God I can't wait to hear how Dontre and Jalin stretch. 
Hopefully they'll get some regular work in while you boys are there.  Enjoy it.
 

buckeye_heart's picture

Nice piece Kyle. Can't wait to watch me some football!

buckeyedude's picture

Awesome icon. +1!

 

 

buckeye_heart's picture

Thanks finally found something I liked after being without one since I joined.

wibuckeye's picture

Are you ready for some football?

WIBUCKEYE

wibuckeye's picture

I am so ready.  Go Bucks!

WIBUCKEYE

Akeem96's picture

So the number (2) won't be discussed?  Something tells me that his BG team heard about that 115 number quite a bit.

wolfman's picture

I like taters!  Uhhhhm.

Poison nuts's picture

With mustard. Uhhhm hmmm.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

Hovenaut's picture

Feels like Christmas morning.

It's on now....

cajunbuckeye's picture

I have officially pulled my "Buckeye game gear" out. Jerseys, shorts, socks, and shoes have again taken their rightful place in the front of the closet. Yes, it is on!

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

chicagobuckeye's picture

No more like a REALLY long Christmas Eve. You can see those damn presents under the tree and can almost taste it, but just not yet. :-(

gwalther's picture

“We changed again, and yet again, and it was now too late and too far to go back, and I the Buckeyes went on. And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me them.”

 
Great Expectations indeed.

Class of 2008

buckeyestu's picture

Patiently waiting for kickoff. But first the team must get ready, so let the practices begin. When they are ready to kickoff, i will then be ready.

cajunbuckeye's picture

The start of practice makes me happy, but I need a game...........

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

InHartWeTrust's picture

I'm with ya, Cajun.  On Aug 31st, it'll be more like this for me:

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

I see you are a married man, Nice.

cajunbuckeye's picture

To a fantastic woman, that is just as big a fan of Buckeye football as I am.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

SGTBuckeye83's picture

Super excited. Hoping Braxton has figured some things out. I think he will be great this year. He was not himself after the Purdue game. To hesitant to run. But like I said I think that's over. I think the strength training he has done in the offseason is going to be great for him. I hope the Defense wipes away all of our questions from the get go and doesn't take half a season to gel. I hope they finally learned how to tackle too. I'm just so excited to see the improvement 12-0 with a talented yet flawed team. This is year 2 baby. Let the games begin.

Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction.

wibuckeye's picture

http://youtu.be/l-gQLqv9f4o
 
This is the Buckeyes year of "Awesomeness".  The chase is on, lets dance.
 

WIBUCKEYE

JohnBoy's picture

Our Purgatory is almost OVER! Is it possible to figure out a way to increase the season to like 10 months long? I'm being serious!

Thank you sir! May I have another?

Edincostarica's picture

How about expanding Spring training and allowing 2 exhibition games with other schools. One at home and one away. Any other thoughts?

Bucks's picture

Complimentary upvotes all around. It's the foooootbaw time.

SoDakBuckeyeFan's picture

CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR!

SoDakBuckeyeFan

Buck Wild's picture

Coach Meyer...unleash the wrath of hell & our will against all opponents.. 
GO BUCKS!!!
 

"I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying."
Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987

jestertcf's picture

ohmygodohmygodohmygod......
*breathes furioulsy into a paper bag*
 

~Because we couldn't go for three~

bodast67's picture


Before you know it, this guy will be sounding off about his favorite team !
Go Bucks !

 

 

 

     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

Homey1970's picture

I like how you show May's technique for stroking it as he inserts it!
Go Bucks!!!
 

1967Buck's picture

   Im sooooo ready for this. Go Bucks.

harleymanjax's picture

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

jestertcf's picture

~Because we couldn't go for three~

BtownBuckeye's picture

I have a buckeye boner. Inappropriate? Maybe....

Poison nuts's picture

Naw - Inappropriate would be that I have a regular one. 
Just kidding...  */jumps in cold shower, wonders why this is happening, calls psychiatrist/

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

BtownBuckeye's picture

Haha thats a good mental picture

BtownBuckeye's picture

Haha thats a good mental picture

bishop072's picture

ABOUT TIME!!!!
GO BUCKS!!!!

Will be at the Cal and Northwestern games - hope to meet up with some of your rowdy 11dubbers

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great article Kyle!  Can't wait for some football!!