Friday, September 4, 2009
Ohio State football.
Really happy. It's he only consistent joy in my life, really. But we've been through that already. Showing complete and utter disregard to foreplay, here's my Ohio State preview (with use of numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 ,9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15):
1. I'm sold on Terrelle Pryor as a committed athlete. I'm sold on Terrelle Pryor as a charismatic leader. I'm sold on Terrelle Pryor as a future All American and Heisman finalist.*** But I'm not yet sold on Terrelle Pryor as the be-all-end-all Savior at age 20
Pryor showed flashes of brilliance as a freshman, but that's a lot different than being brilliant. I'm mostly sold on Pryor being able to live up to the hype, but I'd like to see further growth out of him before I rename my pet turtle Terrelle (nee John Cusack).
(***Also, I'm not completely sold on Pryor as a tough guy. How many times last year did we have to see him weakly finish off runs. Who knows...maybe I'm nitpicking.)
2. But Pryor is the answer here. If he combines for 3,500 total yards and 30 TDs (18 passing, 12 rushing), I'm thinking that will go a long way in covering up all the question marks surrounding this team. Such as...
3. The O-Line. Jesus, how long has it been since the Buckeyes had a dominant line? I mean, Big Ten football is the constant butt of jokes for its perceived lack of speed and skill, but shouldn't they -- or in this case, OSU -- make up for it with dominant midwestern offensive lines? I gotta believe Jim Tressel is recruiting the right guys. So, what gives?
Translation: When will Tressel stop being so loyal to O-Line coach Jim Bollman?
4. Aside from essentially the entire offensive line, the Buckeyes need players stepping up and making sizable contributions at WR, RB, TE, LB, and CB. Again, why is this team ranked so highly? Sure, I'm fully aware of the talent they possess, and living up to the No. 6 spot in the AP Poll isn't unattainable, but teams ranked this high generally have a proven star...and the Buckeyes don't.
Now, Terrelle Pryor looks like he'll be a star. Ditto for Thaddeus Gibson. And I'd place my money on Jake Stoneburner (if used properly), Brian Rolle, Jermale Hines and Nathan Williams (yes, Nathan Williams) making their mark sooner rather than later. Cameron Heyward, too. You know, if he gets to play DE in a 3-4 defense. Which brings me too...
5. A little over a week ago I openly wondered why the Buckeyes don't line up more in a 3-4 defense...and Friday I read that -- based on all the reasons I stated on my shitty blog -- Ohio State is going to line up far more often in the 3-4 setup.
6. What's the main reason I think the Buckeyes have a legitimate shot at an undefeated season (aside from the relatively weak conference)? Fresh blood on defense. Wait, allow me to rephrase that. The main reason is attitude on defense. Before the USC game in '08 I wrote how I'd take USC's Rey Maualuga any day of the week over James Laurinaitis, mostly because Maualuga gets fired up, and fires up his teammates in the process. A businesslike approach works in many walks over life (namely business), but not on the defensive side of the ball in a collegiate football contest.
I want to see emotion, which is why I'm excited to see the doubling (or maybe even tripling) of minutes for Brian Rolle, Jermale Hines and Nathan Williams. Those dudes bring the fire I like to see out of my defensive playmakers. There's nothing better than seeing a big sack followed by the type of celebration 20-year-old kids patented in Year Twenty. I know some guys aren't wired that way, but -- when all eleven guys on D aren't wired that way (read: 07-08 defense) -- it gives fans (or at least me) a bad taste in their mouth.
My bold prediction: This year's defense is the best since '05, and the defensive front is better than the dominant '02 D-line.
7. Why do showers make you feel so good?
8. Taurian Washington and Devon Torrence will be counted on to play key roles in the '09 season. This would excite me a lot more if both were sophomores, not juniors. Redshirtting is a good thing, knuckleheads! And if you're reading this, Mr. Torrence and Mr. Washington, please smack Lamaar Thomas in the skull while you're at it. That fact that Thomas is a true sophomore, and stuck at No. 6 on the WR depth chart is borderline criminal. That dude is far too talented to be wasting his years.
9. Is anyone else ready to witness Brandon Saine's free-fall on the depth chart? Okay, maybe that's a little harsh, but -- even with an inexperienced stable currently backing him up -- I think you'll soon find that Saine's natural running ability doesn't come close to matching his blazing speed. The man has two left feet. But, he can fly...nobody is disputing that. And he possesses excellent hands, so he does have value. Now it's up to Tressel to put him in positions to be a difference maker.
10. An unexpected senior or two always seems to step up and have a career year under Tressel. In the recent past we've seen Roy Hall, Jay Richardson , Andre Tyree, Antonio Smith, etc., come out of nowhere to make noticeable contributions in their last year in Columbus, and since nobody did it last year (that means, you, Nader Abdallah), it seems like '09 is as good a year as any for multiple seniors to make a name for themselves in their last year on campus. Dear Robert Rose, I just called you out...
11. Which true freshman -- if any -- will not only not redshirt, but end up being a key contributor from the get-go? '02 saw Hawk, Mangold and Sims; in '05 it was Malcolm Jenkins; '07, Cameron Heyward; '08, Nathan Williams. So, who is it this year? There's already too much hype surrounding RB Jordan Hall, so I'm going with DL John Simon (but it will probably be a DB).
12. Will Lamaar Tomas transfer? God, I hope not. But the signs are certainly there. He's an out-of-state kid playing a different position than he played in high school. And now he's a sophomore, buried on the depth chart. Jesus, I'm scared to read what I just wrote.
13. Jake Stoneburner! Trust me.
14. Other words.
15. Since I'm feeling a little less than fantastic on this fine morning, let me move on to predictions and whatnot...
I say Terrelle Pryor makes huge strides, but doesn't resemble 2011's finished product (and yes, he's staying all four years). They might beat USC -- and hell, they might beat Penn State, too -- I'm just expecting a hiccup along the way. Too many question marks, in my opinion.
It's official: I'm quitting this post. I don't have it in me to write another word. I'm quitting this post because I'm a quitter-----and anybody who's known me for longer than eight seconds knows that about me. It is now that I will retire to my comfortable couch in my meat locker of a basement to watch Desmond Howard butcher the English language. I will do this with an oversized fleece blanket draped over me.
I barely care about football at this point.
Ohio State will be good this year.
-Brad Spieser (Brad@TwinKilling.com)
Posted by Twin Killing dot Com at 4:33 PM