The Ohio State opener is less than three weeks away.
Not many teams have as much media coverage as Ohio State. Finding new information can be tedious. Now, we've had enough practices to build upon our pre-season speculations. We are finally starting to see what this team might look like against Marshall.
Most of the starters had been penciled-in before the start of camp. There won't be too many surprises with 15 returning starters back.
Here's some things we've seen in camp:
Mike Adams is stepping-up, and has taken a lead on Andy Miller for the starting LT spot. Adams looks good. He's in good shape. Talent has never been the issue. He's 6'7" 308, and he moves great for a big man. I think we're finally going to see the #1 OL recruit that we were expecting two years ago. Adams has received a lot of negative press. He looks determined to regain his form, and his spot in the starting line-up. Adams has first-team BigTen potential if he plays hard and stays healthy. The road-grater is back.
Etienne Sabino is going to have his hands full with Andrew Sweat. Nobody was mentioning Sweat when talking about the new starting OLB, but the Pennsylvania native is a hard-working, viable option. Sweat saw more time at OLB in '09 than Sabino. Etienne(6'4" 240) was a monster on special teams, but Sweat(6'2" 236) has more experience. Sabino has more raw talent, but Sweat is an extremely smart and coachable player. The open OLB spot is more of a question-mark than the LT spot at this early point in camp.
Jaamal Berry is electric. Saine has top-end speed and more power than you would expect. Herron has great vision, and good quickness. Berry has the 'it' factor. He's explosive. He's shifty. He's slippery. He's impossible to tackle one-on-one in space. Jaamal Berry will play early and often. There is a pecking order so-to-speak with Saine and Herron back. My thought is that Berry gets some early action, and ends up getting nearly as many carries as Herron towards the end of the season because of his production. I expect Berry to get about 70-80 carries this season, and I wouldn't be surprised if he turned them into 400+ yards. Those carries will likely come at Herron's expense. Look for Saine and Berry to be the opening day kick-off returnmen.
I don't think Carlos Hyde will get too many carries this season. He'll get some mop-up duty, and some short-yardage carries. I would be surprised to see him top 150 yards for the season. It will be hard for the freshman to get much action with Hall and Herron already losing carries to the upstart Berry.
OLB isn't the only position where the fans jumped the gun. The speculation was Orhian Johnson, Jermale Hines, and Tyler Moeller at the safety and nickle spots.. RIght now, Hines and Johnson are virtual locks.. CJ Barnett, Jamie Wood, Nate Oliver, and in particular Senior Aaron Gant want something to say about that Nickle spot. At this point, I would say that Gant and Moeller are a dead-heat for the Star/Nickle spot. Orhian Johnson is the man at Free right now, but we were saying that about Nick Patterson a couple years ago. Orhian will likely start, but he's only a couple of blown coverages from giving one of those other guys a serious look. On the other side of the coin, athletically, Orhian Johnson is as gifted a safety as we've had in sometime. OJ is rangy and fast. Moeller is obviously a fan-favorite. We just don't know at this point if he will be the first DB off the bench in nickle situations. Let us not forget that Moeller has never been a full-time starter. He's coming off of an emotional injury, as well as a physical one.
John Simon is the kind of guy that you love and hate at practice. You love him because of his effort, but you hate him because he smacks you in the mouth on every play. To this point, Simon is consistently pushing the offensive linemen into the backfield, and he's doing it with some extremely bad intentions. Boren may be the only guy that can stand Simon up at the point of attack. Let's just hope the guy doesn't hurt anybody on the offense before the opener.
All the fans want to hear about the freshmen. David Durham looks like a young Bobby Carpenter both on the field and in person. Ty Williams is definately a freak at 6'6" 210, but he has some major hurdles to overcome with his route running, and his grasp of the system. The true frosh that stands the best chance at playing could be Corey Brown(philly brown as the players refer to him). Brown is extremely fast. Let's just say he basically replaces Lamaar Thomas, and has more upside as he's a little bigger/stronger than the departed flash. Corey Brown and Carlos Hyde may be the only two frosh to see significant playing time in 2010. The wildcard is David Durham. He's shown far more athleticism than his recruiting ranking suggested.
All the young receivers(Williams, Jackson, Brown, Louis) are taking a back seat to Seniors Grant Schwartz and Taurian Washington. Swartz, Washington, and rFr. Chris Fields are all vying for the third receiver spot. Washington is running with the one's in most of the three-receiver sets at this point, but Schwartz and Fields are getting reps too. I expect Washington to secure this spot with his knowledge of the system and his physical attributes. He's worked on his hands. I think Fields and Schwartz will get some reps if Taurian drops some early passes.
Some other players to watch out for are Melvin Fellows, Garret Goebel, and Adam Bellamy. Bellamy and Goebel are locks for the 2nd string DT spots(Hankins will RS). Fellows is a lock for the first DE behind starters Heyward and Williams. All of those players could get increased time just by performing well early. You have to give the line some breathers. Goebel, Bellamy, and Fellows will be the players that provide that.
so here's your depth chart 10 days into camp....(if I use lower-case a and b it means we have a dead-heat)
QB 1.Pryor 2a. Bauserman 2b.Guiton 4a.Seims 4b. Graham RB 1.Saine 2.Herron 3.Berry 4.Hall 5.Hyde FB 1.Boren 2.Homan 3.Georgiades WR 1.Posey 2.Sanzenbacher 3.Washington 4.Swartz 5.Fields 6.Brown 7.Jackson 8a. Williams 8b. Louis RT 1.Shugarts 2.Hall RG 1.Browning 2.Mewhort C 1.Brewster 2.Linsley LG 1.Boren 2a. Smith 2b. Mewhort LT 1.Adams 2.Miller 3.Hall TE 1.Stoneburner 2.Fragel 3.Smith
FS 1.Johnson 2.Barnett 3. Domicone SS 1.Hines 2.Aaron Gant 3.Nate Oliver Star/Nickle 1.Moeller 2.Aaron Gant 3.Nate Oliver RCB 1.Chekwa 2.Evege 3.Brown 4.Clarke LCB 1.Torrence 2.Evege 3.Howard SDE 1.Heyward 2.Fellows WDE 1.WIlliams 2. Thomas RDT 1.Larimore 2. Bellamy LDT 1.Simon 2.Goebel SLB 1a. Sweat 1b.Sabino 3.Klein MLB 1.Rolle 2.Whiting 3.Klein WLB 1.Homan 2.Klein 3.Bell