2019 Season Preview: 10 Players Poised For Breakout Seasons Including Justin Fields, Garrett Wilson and Tyreke Smith

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southalabamabuckeye's picture

Great list, Kevin. If you are 10 for 10 on these players breaking out, I say Buckeye Nation will be doing much celebrating.

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awlinBrutus's picture

He missed the one recruit with more potential than anyone to break out and be a dominant contributor-Zach Harrison

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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IGotAWoody's picture

Zach happens to be behind a lot of outstanding talent. To start the season, he's no higher than #4 for the DE position. I think he'll get a chance to show his stuff, but he won't get as many snaps as the others on this list.

But if Garrett Wilson can get playing time despite a ton of talent at WR, it's not outside the realm of possibility that Harrison could show out, too.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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Kevin Harrish's picture

I agree that Zach Harrison will be great and is a freak athlete, but I – along with pretty much everyone else – thinks he's still a year or so away. He's a physical freak with absurd potential, but I'd be a bit surprised if this was his breakout year instead of next year. Love to be wrong though!

awlinBrutus's picture

I’m not saying he would break the sack record his first year, but this guy is physically stronger than some of his teammates already. 6’6” 255, with a legit 4.5. I think by November he’s in the DL rotation.He should be strong enough to go inside in the Rushman package as well. DE isn’t a position like wr or OL where you have complicated blocking schemes. DL is probably the quickest route for freshman with the physical attributes to play in the BIG. He was probably physically ready his senior year in HS. If there is one thing we need on defense it’s a unblock-able 260# behemoth with 4.5 speed imo. Our pass rush hasn’t exactly been as dominant as it has been the last couple years.Losing Bosa really hurt the defense more than they let on Imo.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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Major H's picture

Dare we consider them the "Super Sophomores 2.0?" It would be nice if that term applies at the end of the year!

I'd rather be an hour early than a minute late.

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Clarky's picture

Just by saying the word "Super" you gave me flashbacks of the 2014 team.. careful now, there's a lot of power that comes with that word when labeling a team. 

"If Chase Young is truly bigger than I think he is and taller than I think he is, he would probably have to be the literal Predator because I've seen him with my own two eyes and I personally think he's pretty damn Sasquatchian." - Kevin Harrish

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Nutinpa's picture

That's why us older guys.....when we hear about "Super Sophs", there is one and only one group -- the kids from 1968.   

Case closed.

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Major H's picture

Wouldn't it be nice if this year's sophs could capture some of the lightning in a bottle like the '68 sophs?

I'd rather be an hour early than a minute late.

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85ThruTheHeart's picture

I’m not an older guy so I’m genuinely curious as to what makes them so much better than the 2013 class?

"He has that look in his eye when it's time to start feeding the beast" UFM on EZE

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Major H's picture

They are not better now, but if they live up to their potential, they could be a "super" set of sophomores. It's the living up to the hype or potential is the tough part. 

I'd rather be an hour early than a minute late.

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85ThruTheHeart's picture

Major, I should have clarified “them”. My comment was directed toward nutinpa saying 68 is the only “super” class, case closed. Not sure why he rules out 13 so easily.

"He has that look in his eye when it's time to start feeding the beast" UFM on EZE

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Nutinpa's picture

Fair question, 85.   Perhaps "case closed" was a bit strong.   But one thing I have always known and believed:  The "Super Sophs" of 68 only lost one game -- to TTUN in 1969, thereby launching the 10 year war.  The only other loss they suffered was to Stanford in the 1970 Rose Bowl where they were tired of playing for Woody and launched Jim Plunkett's NFL career. 

In 1969 someone wrote (and I don't believe it was bull shit urban legend -- I think it was in S.I.) "if you want to see the 2 best teams in the country, go to an Ohio State practice and watch their 1st Team Offense play their 1st Team Defense."    I don't think anyone ever said that about the 2013 young Buckeyes, although they went on to their own form of greatness later.  And lastly, when they lost to VA Tech in 2014, it was that group of kids' 3rd loss in 5 games, when you account for Sparty, Clemson, and VA Tech.  Yes, they historically redeemed themselves, but at the moment, it was not a great look.  

What did they have in common? Both sets of "super sophs" had a chance at Ohio State and college football immortality if you define that by 2 national championships in a row.  Neither would achieve it.  I'll still take my '68 Buckeyes to my grave.  Never saw a team for 3 seasons dominate damn nearly everyone they played over 3 seasons.  They convincingly beat Purdue (don't laugh) and USC when they had "teams for the ages" in their own right. 

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85ThruTheHeart's picture

Thanks for the write up. Based on that, I’d have to agree with you about their college production. That said, things may have been different if 2015 wasn’t such a huge coaching flop. The talent on that team was insane and I completely blame the season on mismanagement by the coaches.

"He has that look in his eye when it's time to start feeding the beast" UFM on EZE

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Nutinpa's picture

I agree.  Tough coaching decisions, though.  Let's face it.....there were kids on that 2015 team that were counting their NFL dollars when the BTN cameras visited them in August.  Some or many of those kids only wanted their touches.  It was the first time I saw Meyer go away from his roots and become a "players' coach" and no longer act like the "bad cop" or enforcer like Saban is.   The team went through the motions and it finally caught up with them in the rain that night in the Shoe vs. Sparty.  No need to dredge that up again, but I see it as both on the coaches (for sure) -- and a group of kids who just couldn't find the anger and motivation that sustained them through 2014.  

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

Also, after the MSU loss, Joey Bosa talked about how the pressure disappeared and they played much looser in their last 2 games. Perhaps the added pressure was part of playing in the social media era but you never really heard anything like that in 1968. Also, TTUN had much more to play for in 1969 than our Buckeyes did. Back then the Rose Bowl was the only bowl game that the Big Ten would allow its champion to attend. No other team could go to a bowl game, only the conference champion. If Ohio State had beaten TTUN in 1969, they would have had to stay at home and watch TTUN play in the Rose Bowl either way.

 Coach Meyer was at fault with the "kids and their touches" thing. He kept saying that they needed to get play-makers so many touches per game. I kept yelling at my TV...just get the ball to whomever is open!

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Nutinpa's picture

You are right.  But had we beaten Michigan in ‘69, the Buckeyes would have stayed home in Bowl season — but likely been National champions regardless.  

As for Bosa, doesn’t surprise me with that comment. He went on record for whining about OSU fans who complained about games that were closer than they should have been - even when the Buckeyes won.  “No win was big enough”.  Or some crap, like that. 

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

Yes, they would have repeated as National Champions. How ironic it would have been for the NC to be sitting at home on New Year's Day.

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Major H's picture

Thanks for the excellent history lesson, Nutinpa! Sorry I can only give you one UV.

I'd rather be an hour early than a minute late.

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BuxLax's picture

Freshmen could not play Varsity football in 1968. There were a handful of freshmen (maybe JV teams) at various (but not all) colleges/universities. (BTW - there were no divisions - D1,D2 D3 - either). So this group of super (true) sophs won a national championship in their first year of varsity football. (i'll even go out on a limb and say if red shirting was allowed(?), it was not nearly as prevalent, as today). This combined with the fact that OSU was winning at a 65% clip for several years before 1968, beat the #1 team in the nation (Purdue !!) and the #2 team (USC) while starting 16 sophomores during the season.

https://www.buckeyextra.com/sports/20181012/ohio-state-football--jack-lo...

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Major H's picture

BuxLax, back then, playing sophomores was the exception. Now-a-days, with guys going pro after 3 years, teams and fans expect a lot more from sophomores. 

BTW, that link was an excellent summary of the '68 season. 

I'd rather be an hour early than a minute late.

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WestSideTower'79's picture

First of all, in '67 freshman weren't eligible to play varsity games so essentially everybody redshirted and the '68 season was their first playing time. They went 10-0 and won the natty. Also, there was no declaring for the NFL before your class graduated. They went 27-2 with the only losses being to ttun in '69 (Bo's rookie year) keeping them out of the Rose Bowl (and the B1G didn't allow teams to play in any other post-season games then; there were only the Rose, Orange, Cotton and Sugar Bowls, anyway.) So the 2 games they lost were for the right to play in a  natty and in an actual natty. Six members of the class were consensus All-Americans, Rex Kern, Jack Tatum and Jim Stillwagon twice each. Four are in the CFB HoF.

North until you smell it, west until you step in it

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

"keeping them out of the Rose Bowl"

TTUN was going to be the Big Ten representative for the Rose Bowl that year...win or lose.

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Glendora's picture

The 1968 Super Sophomores were the most special of classes because they went into the season without any game experience. While unfathonable today, freshmen could not play back then. As freshmen they legendarily beat the varsity team in practice. However, we all know that many good practice players never quite pan out in real games. To their credit, the Super Sophomores from 1968 were just as good in the games as everybody hoped and anticipated.

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73buckeye's picture

I agree Nut. That should have been 3 Nattys in a row. Bo and Plunkett had other things to say, but that group, from top to bottom, was one of the best college football teams ever. I was at both losses, and they seemed surreal.  After destroying everyone else on both sides of the ball for three years, it was almost incomprehensible that they could be beaten. 

ernie

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Buckeyeroy's picture

Kick-off can't get here soon enough--I too thought that Jaelen Gill would be more in the mix--but seeing what was ahead of him last year--this season could be special. Go Bucks!

buckeyeroy

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Buckeyeroy's picture

While we are dreaming about the success of this team---WHO SCORES THE FIRST TD for the Bucks this year! ---I'm going with --- Olave

buckeyeroy

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stpetebuck's picture

Great question. Since it’s the first game I’m going with a busted play qb keeper and Fields scores first. 

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redwoodz's picture

I’m going with the Predator getting a fumble recovery for a Td  as 1st Td of the year!

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NHBuckeye's picture

Dobbins.  He breaks a big one against Cincinnati.  

Fields of Dreams

 

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TMac's picture

NH - you don't think we'll get a TD (or 7) against FAU?

#ItsGreatToBeABUCKEYE

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NHBuckeye's picture

Ooops!!!  LOL.   How could I forget our first game is against the Fighting Kiffin's...? 

<bows head in shame>

So the correct answer is still Dobbins.  But he breaks a big one against the Owls.    

Fields of Dreams

 

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BuckeyeSouth's picture

Dobbins.  He breaks a big one against Cincinnati.

So the Bucks don't score a TD against Florida Atlantic?  Yikes! 

Champions.  Undisputed.  

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tGW's picture

I agree. We get 16 FGs and a safety week 1, roll 50-2 (defensive 2-point conversion after a bad snap and 7 laterals). :)

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Darksungm's picture

Gotta be a RB. Dobbins is the easy choice but I've been pulling for McCall to finally put it together for what feels like 87 years. Final vote McCall!

Negativity is a choice.

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Tony Stark's picture

Dobbins already broke out two years ago.

Tony Stark

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LouBuck35's picture

This question definitely deserves it's own forum topic so it can be fully examined. 

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

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RochBuck68's picture

Short pass from Fields to Ruckert on the first drive of the game... TE's will be used more this year it says here in my playbook.

Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it...

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Skunk bear blood's picture

I'll go with Benjimen Victor.  Quick out and a long run for the TD....man I can't wait

OFFS

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TheNomadicBuckeye's picture

Who’s fielding the opening kickoff? I’ll go with that guy an that play as our 1st TD. 

It’s pronounced “Thee”.

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Buckwheat's picture

I stink at this game. Fields on a short keeper. Going with favorable percentages this time.

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stpetebuck's picture

Btw, I’m an optimist-scarlet-colored-glasses kinda guy. But if we don’t see a dominating O line this year we’ve got a coaching problem. 

This is the third year I’m saying “looking at you Coach Stud “. 

Other than that it’s possibly our best balance  in both talent and proven coaches in my 58 years.  

Go Bucks,, BEAT EVERYONE. 

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Buckeye06's picture

I personally think this will be our best OL since 2014.  We finally have guards playing guard, and tackles playing tackle.  

They say we have 4 new starters, but Alabi/Davis/Munford/Jackson/Bowen have started games, with Alabi and Davis having played a very good defense in Washington.  Add in 5* type kids in Myers and NPF, and we should be really good at that position group.  We have 4 good options at tackle with a couple options to move guys inside if there is an injury.  I'm stoked about the OL

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stpetebuck's picture

Thanks Buckeye06. Love the outlook.  Reading about them makes me very hopeful. 

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Nutinpa's picture

Interesting and good choices, Kevin. 

I will nitpick and suggest Olave already has had his "break-out" performance against TTUN, so I won't count him. 

I realize by the writer's definition he was pointing to "Sophomores". and that is fine.  As for me, it is time, once and for all, for Bin Victor and Austin Mack to truly "break out" and showcase what they can do at this level and maybe at the next.  I am not ready to write them off, but they damn sure better deliver when the ball is thrown to them, cuz the young pups behind them will be chomping at the bit to play.  So as for this old guy, I am expecting breakout seasons.....from the "older guys".   

Okay, now off my lawn please.  I am trying to water it. 

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Kevin Harrish's picture

I'm not necessarily limiting this to sophomores or younger, but if you've been starting or regularly contributing for an entire season or longer, I don't think you really qualify for this list (Shaun Wade is even a stretch by this definition, but I'm rolling with him). And yeah, I agree that Olave looked good at the end of last season, but I'm talking about a breakout season where he's consistently productive, not a breakout game. And even in that Michigan game he only had two catches. Two big catches, but still just two catches. In my opinion, he showed off his potential, but that wasn't a break-out season.

Nutinpa's picture

Understood.  Fair points, Kevin.

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

By your own definition Kevin, Wade shouldn't really be on the list either. 

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Kevin Harrish's picture

Yeah, I acknowledge that for sure. The thought behind that is even though he played plenty of snaps, he really didn’t have a super defined and consistent role from start to finish like I expect him to have this year.

7thLetter's picture

Shaun Wade! He plays with so much swagger. I love it! Boy that ttun game last year.. 

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stpetebuck's picture

Yes. Didn't he kill a tight tend last year vs ttun?   

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LeftCoastBuckeye's picture

Yes, yes he did. Gentry had a bad day {insert smiley face}

My aim, then, is to whip the Weasels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.   - William Tecumseh Sherman (with apologies)

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7thLetter's picture

And he blew up Karan Higdon. But how he stepped over them Allen Iverson style after each hit.. nasty! 

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IGotAWoody's picture

Yep. And both guys got up and took exception to the hits. Like they didn't think hitting that hard was part of the game or something.

Or maybe it was the chirping that I'm sure Wade gave them.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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NHBuckeye's picture

Yep.  All of these guys!  Great list.  

Myers looks fantastic snapping the ball.  I think the O-Line is going to dominate this year.  

Fields of Dreams

 

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JJBuckeye's picture

One good thing about the O-Line is that they get to go against our D-Line every day in practice.  This can only make them prepared for the season.  Go Bucks

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tGW's picture

Every time I even read the name "Chris Olave" I see him running downhill for the first TD vs TTUN. I could watch that game every damn day. Great list. 

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OSU56's picture

and that blocked punt of his.....

Enjoying daily the 62-39 ttun beatdown.

 

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RunEddieRun1983's picture

The feeling I've gotten on all these players is that they are all going to be a big part of the active roster on gameday and will either a. start at their respective position or b. rotate in on a very regular basis.

All are very suitable candidates to be breakout players for sure. 

Urban Meyer left an incredible legacy. 12/4/18 Ryan Day begins his.

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BucksHave7's picture

I anticipate Gunner Hoak making a few big plays somewhere this season that raises our eyebrows. 

BucksHave7

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FeedZeke420's picture

Hoping Tyreke Smith becomes our next big time defensive end. I am also excited to see how much Shaun Wade has improved in the off season, he was exciting last year. I'm pumped to see all these guys get out on the field.

Go Bucks!

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Kugel's picture

Him and Harrison are going to be absolute beasts!

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FeedZeke420's picture

Maybe we will finally get the 2 dominant defensive end combo injury/suspension as took from us the last couple of years. I have tried to temper my expectations for this year but with this much talent on the roster its really hard to.

Go Bucks!

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OSU56's picture

Lots of new faces-and a lot of talented highly rated players looking to make a name for themselves. Looking forward to this year.

Enjoying daily the 62-39 ttun beatdown.

 

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Buckeye in my pocket's picture

Really looking forward to seeing some of the young guys and what they can do. With all the discussion about recruiting rankings and such, now is a perfect time to see what it really means. And looking at the success that Lawrence had at Clemson last year, I'm really excited to see what Fields can do. I just truly hope that the best players are on the field. Ohio State is not a program that can afford to have sub par players on the field due to loyalty to upperclassmen.

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awlinBrutus's picture

Kevin Kevin Kevin, Zach Harrison ring a bell? Probably going to be the biggest star of the 18 class by far. 

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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Kevin Harrish's picture

I agree! I just think he's a year away, and I think everyone knew that before he even signed.

irishfury's picture

Crazy that list of break out players our players where we got the top 2 players at the pos.  The class two years ago is the best class i've ever seen on paper.

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InHartWeTrust's picture

Has Okudah already "broken out" then?  If yes, I understand him not being on the list.  If no, I'd add him to my own list.

In any case, great list and great write up.  Can't wait for this season to start.

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Kevin Harrish's picture

I initially had him on the list, but removed him after some discussion internally. It's hard to argue someone hasn't broken out when draft analysts are projecting them as a top-five pick.

akerkm1's picture

Didn't read all of the comments.. but came in to say Josh Proctor. Surely there is a way to find him on the field on non-ST downs.. 

As a Westerville South Alum, It will be nice to see what Jaelen Gill does this year. It's always fun too see a Wildcat in The Scarlet and Grey

18 Days

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Dstacify's picture

This might be an unpopular one but Pete Werner. The more I look back at his struggles last year the more I blame Schiano's scheme for it (as well as Bill Davis's coaching). Schiano had his LBs diving into piles at the LoS way too often last year for some bizarre reason and it reflected in their play since Werner has decent enough athleticism to get sideline to sideline. I predict he'll break out this season playing under Al Washington.

11 Strong.

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IGotAWoody's picture

I think the biggest criticisms of Werner's play last year, based on my own eyes and the many commenters on 11W, is that he missed too many tackles (seemed to have poor technique), and his inability to shed blocks.

But I'm with you, he showed some very good instincts and athleticism at times last year. He's one guy I expect to see a good deal of improvement from, and he should be much stronger this season, too.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

"he missed too many tackles...and his inability to shed blocks"

You nailed it Woody!

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BuckZealot's picture

I'm watching Pete Werner closely also, 'cause it sounds like we're going to have Werner, Borland and Harrison again, which was nightmarish at times.  I am optimistic now that they are presumably better coached and seem more amenable to trying different combinations and the addition of the bullet.......

I still have flashbacks from last years defense starting with those disquieting moments from the Oregon State game.  Yeah we put up 77 but......

Enjoy the wins over *ichigan, ....I still remember the dark days of the 1990's....

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Dstacify's picture

Hopefully the Bullet position takes Borland off the field more in situations where his lack of speed would be a problem for the defense.

11 Strong.

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NYCBuckeye's picture

The 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes were ridiculously good 

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