Saturday, June 30, 2012

Big Expectations — Buckeye Playmakers That Must Thrive For Ohio State in 2012

By Tim Featured Contributor

It's no secret that Ohio State's 2011 offense was utterly abysmal almost any way you look at it: scoring, rushing or passing.

The archaic offense that the Buckeyes ran last season is gone and now Urban Meyer's "power spread" offense has arrived, meaning that the days of boring, stagnant offenses are pretty much over.

Ohio State certainly has the potential to have a successful offense based on the young athletes they have been able to bring into Columbus in recent recruiting seasons.

Among the players that will need to step up this year are Corey Brown, Evan Spencer and Devin Smith (pictured, top right).

Each of those three receivers had their moments throughout last season — and in the case of Brown, two years. They are speedier receivers that work best in space and with shorter routes instead of going deep every single time.

Brown has to become much more consistent as far as catching the ball is concerned, with several crucial drops at bad times. Smith and Spencer were both young and needed a little bit of seasoning, which this offseason can help provide this team.

Jake Stoneburner will be an important part of the offense from the TE position, although he might not be in as good of shape as he would normally be because he cannot workout with the team until fall camps due to his arrest.

He presents a major mismatch when it comes to the passing game but always seemed to be underused in the past several seasons.

This year, he will be used as much as possible, especially considering the success Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman have had developing Aaron Hernandez and — in Herman's case — James Casey at Rice.

As far as running backs go, OSU potentially has a solid one-two punch with Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde (pictured at left), if and when Hall returns healthy from a recent off-the-field injury and subsequent surgery that is expected to sideline him for at least 10 weeks.

Hall is a shifty back who can catch the ball out of the backfield and make some screen plays as well as running up the middle. His game is multi-dimensional, which allows him to do a little bit of everything.

Hyde is the typical power back that will likely be used in red-zone packages, particularly the inside zone read plays that the OSU offense will be built around. His role may be that of a faster LeGarrette Blount, in that he has underrated speed to go with his size.

Hall and Hyde will make a strong tandem as far as running backs go, as they have had a year to gain experience and they each have some decent chemistry with sophomore QB Braxton Miller.

The players are certainly there for Ohio State. The only question is whether or not they will be able to make big things happen this season in a more athlete-friendly offense.

OSU has good athletes committed to their 2013 recruiting class, but this current group of veterans and incoming freshamn will have a chance to do some big things this year.

Spoiler Alert (sarcasm off) — The forseeable future is extremely bright at Ohio State.



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