Ohio State Football: First Week Impressions

Written August 10th, 2012 by Jim

With week one of fall camp almost in the books at Ohio State, the anticipation for football season is reaching a fever pitch.

If you aren’t feeling the love for football just yet, read this article and get back to me. Seriously, I highly recommend that you read it (like you are doing anything important at work this Friday morning/afternoon anyway).

And yes, read the whole thing- I know it’s long.

The article sets the perfect tone for the rapidly approaching Urban Meyer era at Ohio State. Bowl game or no, you have to love the direction this team is moving in under Meyer’s leadership (no giggle-f**** allowed).

There is no doubt that Urban Meyer can take the team to the top, and if that doesn’t have you excited I don’t want to be your friend anymore. With that said, let’s all hope he can keep his promise to his family and maintain a balance in his life this time around.

The article paints a scary picture of Meyer’s obsession with perfection at Florida. It will clearly be a constant battle for him to control that obsession in Columbus.

We all obviously want the Buckeyes to be perfect each season, but we don’t want to achieve that at the expense of Meyer’s health and family life.

I am optimistic that he can find the right balance.

As the author writes:

But he still felt empty. He’d ask, “Is this it?” He missed the ability to make an impact; he’d gotten into coaching to be a teacher. A challenge grew from his trip to West Point: What if he could have the feeling of Bowling Green on the scale of Florida?

Ohio State gives Meyer exactly the opportunity he is looking for: returning to his Buckeye coaching roots and competing at the highest level of college football.

By using that seemingly perfect situation to maintain a healthy perspective, my hope is that Meyer can continue to pursue perfection on the gridiron while maintaining a healthy lifestyle that allows him to stick around for a long, long time.

So, with the article recently read (seriously, do it) and the proper level of Buckeye football enthusiasm in your heart, here are some of the things that I am most excited about following reports from the first week of practice.

I hate to give you another reading assignment, but checking out the offensive and defensive depth charts is also a great way to get in the football spirit and a primer for what I am about to rattle off.

Yeah, I wouldn't want to get in his way either.

Defensive Front

John Simon and Johnathan Hankins are both all-American caliber players ready to unleash pain on everything that moves in front of them. The sky is the limit for sophomore Michael Bennett who’s future, which could be as early as this season, is looking very bright. At nose tackle, Garrett Goebel is a multi-year starter who knows what it takes to hold up in the trenches.

That is a helluva starting front four on defense, but wait- there’s more.

Nathan Williams looks ready to re-join the rotation soon- if he can return to his pre-injury form that will provide a huge (borderline unfair) injection of speed and versatility up front. Adam Bellamy has starting experience and has shown flashes of excellence in the past (Sugar Bowl). Joel Hale hasn’t reached his ceiling yet, but he is young and in line to be the next rock at nose tackle.

Speaking of NT, Chris Carter is a mountain in the middle the likes of which Ohio State hasn’t seen in years. Even if he isn’t able to stay on the field for every snap, I can’t wait to see what he can do in a game.

Oh yeah, and the freshmen.

After only one week of practice it is clear that Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Se’Von Pittman are all likely ready and able to make an instant impact in the rotation. Tommy Schutt has the potential to make some noise as well.

This group is truly an embarrassment of riches. Experience, leadership, established domination, star-power, first-round talent, proven depth, youth, potential and everything in-between, this group really has it all.

It should be will be fun to watch… as long as you don’t play for the other team.

Offensive Firepower

This one is obvious and has been covered extensively since Meyer was first hired, but the closer the season gets the more exciting it is to anticipate something other than Bollman ball for the first time in a decade.

Reports out of practice serve the dual purpose of reminding us all how bad things were while producing immense anticipation for where things are going.

For the first time in a decade, it isn't futile to hope for a varied attack to go along with a nice old-school power running game spearheaded by this guy.

Exhibit A:

“Lightyears, lightyears, lightyears, lightyears better,” Herman said. “We actually can throw and catch a football.

“We’re still not real good, but we’re a lot better than we were at the end of the spring. It’s a testament to our guys and how much they worked in the offseason.”

Exhibit B:

“I can’t wait to put the pads on,” Herman said. “You understand that no matter how much detail you go into so everything on that first day is so precise, it’s still day one of spring ball in a new offense, so you have to temper your expectations a little bit. But at the same time, you prepare yourself and the kids and your staff to go be as detailed as you can.

“Coach Meyer was just telling them you are going to be the best-coached team in America. We may not win them all, but you’re going to be the best-coached team and you will play with the best fundamentals and you will be the toughest, hardest-playing team in the country.”

And so on.

The amount of positive news surrounding this team is honestly hard to keep track of these days, but it all leads to the magical day that we will actually get to see the new offense on the field.

Yeah, that will be fun too.

Grab Bag

Since you’re probably tired of reading at this point (especially if you actually read the Meyer article, thank you for making it this far), I am just going to rattle off some other things that I am looking forward to this season.

Have you watched Jamal Marcus' highlight tape recently?

Curtis Grant in the middle. Ryan Shazier building on an amazing freshman season. Etienne Sabino’s finale and money making year.

The new, improved offensive line.

Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett growing and improving at safety.

Bradley Roby stepping in line to be the next Buckeye CB drafted in the first round.

Travis Howard and Doran Grant battling for the starting CB spot on the other side- win-win for the Buckeyes.

Seeing what Jamal Marcus (or any of the other young LBs) can do.

Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith and Bri’onte Dunn mercilessly smashing defenses to pieces that are so tired from trying to defend an up-tempo spread attack that they can barely get lined up straight.

Jordan Hall finally being used in creative ways (once he returns to the field).

Jake Stoneburner creating matchup nightmares for apposing linebackers and safeties.

Any or all of the receivers thriving in a new system.

Braxton Miller. Braxton Miller. Braxton Miller.

I’m sure I missed some things… and it has only been one week.

There is just something about fall practice that reminds you why you love college football (and how much the spring and summer suck, I think I was in denial for the past few months).

With a veritable avalanche of news coming from practice, there will be plenty to keep us busy in the coming weeks- thankfully. With the BTN (airs August 19th) and ESPN (airs August 14th) on campus there will even be some non-reading things to get us through the rest of the month.

Pay your internet/cable bill, set your DVRs and buckle up, kick off is 22 days away.

2 Comments

  1. BhopNo Gravatar
    August 10th, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Good things…good things. Is it September 1st yet?

    [Reply]

  2. RyanNo Gravatar
    August 11th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks for pointing me to that urban Meyer story. It was really an eye opener to what he has been through. It really makes me as a buckeyes fan really appreciate that he is giving it another shot. Oh and avoid the comments. nothing but classless Florida fans that don’t appreciate what he did for them.

    [Reply]

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