Sunday, June 27, 2010

Breaking Down Ohio State's 2010 Offense

By Eli Kalika—Featured Contributor


This is not your typical picture of the Vest.

Then again, this year's squad doesn't have your typical offense either.

Calm, and composed, the Ohio State offense is classic, aged, and time-tested.

In recent years, it has been characterized as being overrated.

This year it will not be.

Conservative? A little less so.

One of (if not) the best in college football? Most likely.

Quarterbacks

Terrelle Pryor—the one man offense.

This kid can gun it. At 6-6, 233 lbs, and with a menacing stiffarm, he's almost impossible to bring down.

What makes it even more difficult for defenses is the fact that, at his size with his amazing 4.33 40-yard-dash speed, Terrelle Pryor can evade tackles as well as some of the best backs in the NFL.

Entering his third year, he is now the unquestioned leader of the team.

He hasn't been perfect but he has played hurt and he is quite simply what every coach wishes they had at his position.

His two bugaboos, if you will, are his lower than desired completion percentage and his untimely knack for turning the ball over.

Solving those issues will all but ensure that Pryor will be a definite Heisman candidate over the next two seasons, assuming of course that he doesn't declare for early entry into the NFL after the 2010 campaign.

Just below Big P on the depth chart is redshirt junior Joe Bauserman.

While he doesn't have the size of Pryor, his arm strength is in fact better. He used to be a minor league pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates actually. Additionally, he has a quick release, and is a sufficient backup overall.

This year, Tressel is expected to open the playbook up a bit more for Pryor. He is bound is give him the opportunity to be spectacular, and we can only expect Big P to love every moment of it.

And don't sleep on spring-game-star Kenny Guiton, the redshirt freshman from Texas, who led the gray team to a 17-10 victory over Pryor and his scarlet squad teammates.

Running Backs

Usually the classic workhorses of the offense, the RB's haven't gotten much hype as of late with Pryor being the most dangerous running weapon in the backfield.

That said, that doesn't mean these running backs aren't a headline waiting to happen.

At the top of the depth chart rests Brandon Saine. At 6'1" and 219 lbs, he has great size to be a power back, but he's also fast—He runs a 4.35 40.

An athletic freak like that of USC's Taylor Mays, this kid can do it all. The only thing holding Saine back is his frequent inability to remain healthy.

Last year, Saine rushed 739 yards, with a 5.1 YPC. However, he only rushed for four touchdowns.

In addition to carries, Saine picked up 17 receptions for 224 and two scores. This year should be the year Saine puts it all together and simply blows up—if he stays healthy.

Let's call Saine 1-A, meaning Dan "Boom" Herron is 1-B. Spectacular in his own right, Herron lives up to his name in the red zone.

Having rushed for over 600 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing a several games mid-season, it is clear Herron will have the specified role of wearing down offensive lines with his power running style and scoring chances close to the goal line.

Other backs of note in Ohio State's stable who could see time in the backfield, especially if Saine and/or Herron miss any time due to injury include: Jaamal Berry, Jordan Hall, and Carlos Hyde.

Wide Receivers

Going back as far as the early 1990's, Ohio State has sent many wideouts to the NFL, so it's no wonder why they never seem to have a problem replacing their star WR's year in and year out through recruiting.

Steadily improving since first arriving on campus in 2008, not only is the No. 1 receiver DeVier Posey good enough to be a first round draft pick next year—he's good enough to be a No. 1 guy at the next level if he continues to improve at the same pace there that he has as a Buckeye.

At 6'2" and 213 lbs, a 33-inch vertical, and a 21.5 200, Posey has all the physical tools to get the job done.

Not only that, but Posey is a smart player as well. He can change a game around and he's versatile too.

On a called WR end-around reverse last year vs. New Mexico State, he threw a perfect pass for a touchdown to his good pal Dane Sanzenbacher.

Don't be surprised to see him named as a finalist for the 2010 Fred Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nations' top receiver.

While Posey garnered most of the attention, Sanzenbacher still managed to amass 36 catches for 570 yards, six touchdowns, and a 15.8 YPC.

While undersized, he runs sharp routes and is shifty. He will continue to produce, and can be be considered as steady a receiver as any.

The third wide receiver slot is up-for-grabs, especially now that Duron Carter has withdrawn from Ohio State.

Taurian Washington is considered by some as the favorite, but it could be a race this fall with Chris Fields, James Jackson, Corey Brown, and depending on if they redshirt or not, James Louis and Tyrone Williams.

The biggest surprise player this year will be a different kind of receiver.

Jake Stoneburner, a TE in a WR's body, has great size at 6'5" and 245 lbs and will definitely become a much larger part of the offense. He has steady hands and can create match-up problems for for any linebackers or defensive backs assigned to cover him.

The O-Line

The evolution of this line last year was a key cog to the turnaround last season, post-Purdue, that helped the Buckeyes make it to, and win, the Rose Bowl.

Now, the line returns all but one starter (Jim Cordle). Led by Justin Boren and Mike Brewster, they are experienced and will own the trenches.

There will not be many pass rushing problems, and the holes should be gaping for Saine and Herron.

If this line stays healthy, they will easily be one of the best in all of college football, period.

Overall

Returning nine starters from an offense that seemed unstoppable at the end of the season has led to some very lofty expectations as we inch closer to the start of the 2010 season.

As always, Tressel will place an emphasis on ball security, control, field position, and simply moving the chains, but as he proved in last seasons Rose Bowl, he and the coaching staff have also realized just what an amazing talent and dangerous weapon they have in QB Terrelle Pryor.

While the team finished 68th in total yards and 49th in scoring last year, this offense returns too much talent and will be undoubtedly better.

With Pryor's metamorphoses into an elite QB finally nearing its' completion, look for him to continue to thrive under coach Tressel just as Troy Smith did in 2006.

There are lots of "if's" but if Pryor continues to blossom, and if co-starters Saine and Herron can remain healthy, and if Posey and the receiving corp play to their potential, and lastly, if the O-Line doesn't underachieve, then it's safe to say that the 2010 season could be a hugely successful year for the Buckeyes—as in BCS title level successful.


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