Just a quick aside during your regularly scheduled weekly football coverage.
There is one thought regarding the offense that has pervaded my mind, and seems to be floating in the minds of others. That is the efficacy of Urban Meyer’s offense, particularly now that it is so well known and covered.
The question, worded succinctly, is “With so much film available on the Urban Meyer offense, can it continue to be as effective as it has in the past?”
Many people, particularly Florida fans, will be quick to point out Urban Meyer’s last season at Florida as an example. After years of 10 win seasons, Meyer’s offense sputtered in a year plagued by the lack of Tim Tebow. The season ended with a mere 8 wins and the ultimate second resignation of Meyer due to his health issues.
However, what exactly was the cause of the collapse that season? Was it a lack of skilled playmakers, due to poor recruiting or off-field difficulties? Was it the slow improvement of Florida’s opponents to work out a solution to his offense? Or was it his health failing him?
Ohio State’s defense has been one of the most consistently excellent units in college football over the last decade.
Sadly, the 2011 season was a major bump in the road for the defense and the team. Needless to say, the Silver Bullets will be looking to get back on track in Urban Meyer’s first year as head coach.
There are some new faces on the defensive coaching staff to help out in that regard, but some familiar ones as well.
Luke Fickell is the primary holdover from the previous staff. He was the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under Tressel. He will basically be assuming the same roll under Meyer- with perhaps a bit more emphasis on being the primary coordinator.
The best case scenario will be if Fickell can continue to implement the defensive system that has worked so well over the past decade and combine that with some fresh ideas from the new staff to take the defense to an even higher level of excellence.
The talent is in place to do that this season, but depth is a major concern everywhere outside of the trenches. Additionally, the transition to new position coaches could create some unexpected problems in the first year.
Here is a look at some of the things to watch for at each position as the spring game approaches and the depth chart is sorted out.
After learning that I have viewed open practices and the jersey scrimmage, many people ask me what I think about the Buckeyes . Well, being that I write for this website, I thought I would take all of the thoughts that I share with various people and put them down for all of our readers to enjoy as well.
First up is the defensive line (with linebackers and defensive backs to follow later in the week and the offense next week). Read More
Ohio State has been spoiled by some outstanding play in the defensive trenches recently. Whether you look at the incredible depth and experience of the 2009 group or the individual performance of Cameron Heyward and Dexter Larimore in 2010, the defensive line has been one of the primary sources of success for Buckeyes.
Needless to say, the 2011 D-line has some big shoes to fill and some lofty standards to live up to. With significant losses across the board, the defense will be a major rebuilding project in 2011. As usual, that rebuilding project will start up front.
The Buckeyes do return several veteran players (Nathan Williams, John Simon) as well as some young talent that will look to take their game to the next level (Adam Bellamy, Garrett Goebel, Johnathan Hankins). However, depth may be a problem as the two deep will be filled with players that have very little game experience, particularly at defensive tackle.
Then again, compared to 2009, depth may be a concern every season. Re-loading the defense has never been an issue at Ohio State, and the Buckeyes should have no problems finding new stars to replace the old ones.
Here is a run down of the players looking to make some noise in the trenches in 2011. Read More
There are a lot of things to get excited about for the upcoming season.
Returning starters, award candidates, dominating lineman, dynamic receivers, depth at running back, hard hitting linebackers, the most experienced offensive line in years… take your pick.
Whatever you want to talk about in the last days before kickoff, there is probably something that causes optimism to burst forth in the hearts and minds of Buckeyes everywhere.
It is difficult to narrow the list and pick just one thing to be the most excited about, but the young guys on the offensive and defensive lines are a dark horse candidate.
Depth in the trenches is crucial for any team to make a championship run, and the young lineman at Ohio State are proving in practice that they are up to the challenge of seeing the field.
If you haven’t already, add youth in the trenches to your numerous sources of optimism and excitement. Read More
Color me impressed with the defensive line this spring.
After losing five key members of the rotation from last season, including two starters, it would be natural to assume that the D-Line might not be as good as last years group… at least not right away. Well, that inclination may just be wrong.
Is it possible that the line can be even better this year?Apparently people “in the know’ think that is a very real possibility.
Here are some reasons why it might happen. Read More
Last season the defensive line was the anchor of the team, and one of the best (if not the best) units in the entire country. In 2010, the line will look to continue the dominance they established in 2009, but will be missing a few key players as well as a lot of quality depth.
Luckily, there are also lots of young players in the pipeline itching to get on the field, giving Buckeye fans some competition to look forward to in the spring.
Perhaps most importantly for the line, Cameron Heyward chose to pass up NFL dollars and is staying in Columbus for one last go around in scarlet and gray. Heyward was the best player on a great defensive line last year and his return is a huge steps towards continued excellence on defense.
Best case scenario? Heyward pulls a Ndamukong Suh in his senior season.
That is setting the bar pretty high, and I don’t really expect Heyward to be in the running for the Heisman, but a Suh-like level of domination is certainly within the realm of possibilities for him.
Yeah, his decision to return is a pretty big deal.
Outside of Heyward, Ohio State has a a few other players returning from the rotation last season, and a few young guys with a ton of potential looking to get on the field for the first time. Join me after the jump for an in depth look at each position along the defensive line and the players that will be playing them.