As for the physically imposing corners, I think we'll be okay. It seemed to me that Eli Apple was playing a very physical game in the Spring.
He averaged 8.1 yards per carry and 9.5 yards per reception, and most of his receptions were shorter passes. Yes, he needs to get a little bigger and much better at blocking, but he was quite effective. Opposing Defenses seemed to think he was dangerous or they wouldn't have targeted him when he was in the game.
I'm sure I've forgotten a few players (like Worley), but I haven't forgotten that Bogard has had season ending injuries in his first two seasons. I hope he fully recovers, but that remains to be seen.
OL - This is the biggest question mark, but I do believe in Warinner to coach them up. I wouldn't be surprised if they struggle a little early on, but they'll get it together during the season. I think Decker, Elflein, and Boren will start, and the big question marks are who will start along with them? Dodson? Lisle? Underwood? Price? Trout? Jones? Knox?
WR - We now have so much young talent at this position, I feel like it's about time for them to prove they're a force to be reckoned with. Corey Smith? Marshall? Thomas? Clark? Dixon? Samuel?
RB - Again, some quality depth here, although I expect EzE to be the primary RB. Still, the competition should be fierce.
QB - I fully expect Braxton to be more consistent. He was fantastic mis-season 2013, so I'd like to think he can do that consistently. I think the competition for the backup will be fierce, but my gut feeling is Barrett will win that spot.
DL - Exciting young players with a new coach.
LB - Again, we need some of the young talent to step up, but the depth keeps improving. Perry may be a lock, but I think Grant will be challenged. Mitchell? McMillan? Johnson? Williams? Booker?
CB - I think Doran and Armani will need to be beaten, and I do still feel both can and will improve. Still, I think Apple, Conley, and others are going to make it very competitive.
S - Bell, Powell, and Burrows. That sounds like quality to me, and there will be some good depth building behind them as well. Plus, they have a new coach to prepare them.
I'll be curious who calls the shots on D, but I'm optimistic it will greatly improve. I feel confident our coaches will have our guys prepared and ready to play.
One step at a time; is it Spring game time yet?
I'm definitely looking forward to the competition at RB this year, but I would agree with many others that EzE will end up being the primary RB. Should be fun to watch.
Yeah, there have been a lot of transfers and injuries. Also, don't forget that Luke Roberts transferred to Harvard.
The website also still has Vrabel, Mehringer, and Fleming still listed, but they're all gone. I wouldn't freak out just yet. I have a feeling we'll get an official answer on who will call the defensive plays in the coming weeks.
I'd say C as well largely until I know whether or not Ash will be calling the plays. Fick has proven to be a good LB coach in the past, but he's come nowhere close to proving he can be the defensive playcaller.
I am not terribly confident in my "Yes" vote, but it seems more likely to happen. Let's go Bucks!
Personally, I think Perry may be the most likely to keep a starting position. I'm not so certain about Grant, plus he seems to battle injuries regularly. Regardless, I think the competition for a starting LB spot should be quite intense.
I wish Marcus the best and hope he gets things straightened out. At the very least, I'm sure the staff will give him conditions that have to be met to earn his spot back on the team, but I guess we'll see. I sorta hope this won't get him kicked out of school.
I voted 3rd because I think Sparty and tOSU will be ahead of them, but I'm not confident that PSU will be ahead of them just yet.
I'd like to see some of the young guys step up and take the open spots. Guys like Dodson, Lisle, and Price, and it would be quite a story if somebody in the 2014 class earned a starting job. I do think Decker, Elflein, and Boren are basically guaranteed starting spots, but who knows. The Spring game will be fun to watch.
Is it just me, but didn't Miller mostly "scramble for his life" when he was sitting in the pocket too long? Even a good O Line can't block all day.
His film cracks me up a little because he is literally blowing those kids up.
I voted O Line simply because we're losing four starters. I trust Warinner to coach these kids up, but the staff is still building depth at the position, so it could be interesting to see who steps up to join Decker, Elflein, and Boren.
While I do agree that Devin and Evan could perform better, I'm not as concerned with the talent we have at WR. Lots of young talent and several of them have had time to learn the system and be ready to go for 2014.
Always good to see recruiting success. For me, the depth is becoming less of an excuse, so let's see how these kids are coached up.
I voted EZE because I have a feeling he'll be the primary RB, but my 2nd option would have been Dontre. I expect Coach Mick will help him add muscle and perhaps even a little bit of quickness/speed. Regardless, if he's a little stronger, he will start breaking some of those tackles that kept him from scoring last season.
That is interesting. I recall, when watching the video of Ash explaining Cover 2, he had separate rules for CBs and Safeties (not to mention LBs), so it makes sense that he could potentially handle all DBs. Regardless, I'll wait to see the official press release before I get too excited.
He does now!
Thank you for this article, Ross. I've heard too often that our Offense was to blame for the two losses. If I recall correctly, the few points scored all year was 24 and 34 was the second fewest. That is pretty darn good in my book. We just need a Defense who can keep the opponent from scoring so much.
I know this would be a lot of work, but I'd be really curious if Ross could do an article on what we might expect with the new hires on the defensive side of the ball.
The Spring game should be a good reflection on what we can expect next Fall. I certainly hope to attend assuming it's back at the Shoe.
Many times, during the Tressel era, we would have died for our Offense to score 35 points. The fewest points our Offense scored all year was 24. Second fewest was 34. To me, the problem was clearly the Defense, and it's not like Urbz hasn't had great Defense in the past. I certainly hope he finds a way to get the Defense clicking.
But of course Stanford is ranked ahead of the Buckeyes. The media's love fest for Stanford ranks only behind the SEC and (now) Florida State.
Regardless, I'm having my doubts about next season unless the defensive staff experiences a major shake up.