Thursday, August 27, 2009

Three Quick Buckeye Football Thoughts

I've been thinking a whole bunch about Ohio State football lately. And by "lately," I mean every day since I was seven. Anyway, as briefly as possible, here are a few Ohio State thoughts before I tackle a massive Buckeyes preview before the season fires up:

1. Terrelle Pryor doesn't throw like a girl anymore! He went from a side-armed-to-three-quarters shot-put release to something resembling an over-the-top motion. Now, this alone doesn't make him an accurate passer, but it will put more zip on the ball. And it greatly improves his chances of becoming a legitimate NFL quarterback at the next level. More than anything, it points to how hard he worked in the offseason. I'm not completely sold on Pryor as the savior (yet), and I have plenty of reservations -- of both Pryor and the team as a whole -- heading into '09, but I love everything I'm reading about the guy (on a scale of 1-10, Pryor's charisma is about a 308). And call me a gay guy, but I think he has a nice smile...

2. Shouldn't the Buckeyes be lining up in a 3-4 defense more frequently? Think about it: They have massive defensive ends (a must in the 3-4) in Cameron Heyward (a prototypical 3-4 end in the NFL), Lawrence Wilson, Doug Worthington (shifting over from DT) and Rob Rose; a ton of great athletes at linebacker (this could get guys like Dorian Bell ands Etienne Sabino on the field more often); and DE-OLB hybrids in Thaddeus Gibson and Nathan Williams (and maybe even Solomon Thomas and Keith Wells) who are absolutely perfect for the position. It seems to me that with a ton of interchangeable parts on the defensive front, not to mention a logjam of freakishly athletic linebackers, a 3-4 defense makes more than a little sense.

The only problem, obviously, is the lack of a space eater at the nose tackle position. To that, I say this: (1.) Let Dexter Larimore and Todd Denlinger and Garret Goebel do a serviceable job, and besides (2.) nobody has a space eater. Nobody. The Albert Haynesworths and Haloti Ngatas of the world don't exactly grow on trees.

3. Quick, name a relevant senior. You can't. Okay, that's not fair, Kurt Coleman is a pretty good player. But I won't cry when he leaves. Even if Coleman's replacement next season isn't as good, he is replaceable (if that makes sense). And anyway, I'm bringing this up because, as I was thinking on next year's roster, I realized that my Buckeyes will be positively stacked in 2010. As in, so stacked that I'd be shocked if they didn't garner 75 percent of the No. 1 votes for the preseason AP Top 25.

Here's why (aside from "they return everybody"): The defense in Columbus is always good. So, you know that won't change. The offense? Hit and miss. But in 2010 -- and probably 2011 -- the offense will be better at every single position. The QB position will be better because Pryor will continue to improve. The RBs will return everybody, and add a few new faces. The WRs and TEs are all young, so their improvement is imminent. And the O-Line has been so shaky of late that I can't imagine them getting worse (plus, just like nearly every other position, they return all of their relevant names).

In short, baseball is stupid.

-Brad Spieser (