When the schedule came out and Buckeyes fans saw the Illinois game at night, there was a collective gasp as memories of 2007 came back to their minds. Thankfully Ron Zook and Juice Williams won’t be making the trip this time. The Bucks will be playing their 4th B1G contest of the season as the Fighting Illini will be battling a B1G opponent for the 5th time when the arrive in Columbus.
The third year has usually been the charm for Illinois head coaches. Mike White, John Mackovic, Lou Tepper, Ron Turner and Ron Zook all reached bowls in their third seasons. Now, it’s Tim Beckman’s turn to try to keep the streak going. While the school hasn’t issued an ultimatum, a bowl bid would help secure Beckman’s future.
Gone is his do everything Nathan Scheelhaase; Buckeyes fans remember last season when Scheelhaase single handedly kept Illinois in the game with 2 passing touchdowns and 1 on the ground as OSU won the battle for the IlliBuck 60-35.
Second-year offensive coordinator Bill Cubit wasn’t ready to name a starting quarterback in the spring. He wanted to watch the three challengers compete, but it was clear to those who watched the battle that there wasn’t much of one. Barring injury before the opener against Youngstown State, Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt gets the call. There are big hopes at Illinois for Lunt. He has a rocket arm and a quick release. The coaches also rave about his decision-making.
Lunt will rely plenty on running back Josh Ferguson. The dual-threat back led the team in rushing with 779 yards, averaging a robust 5.5 per carry. He was also second on the team in catches.
By far, receiver was the biggest area of concern for the offensive coaches going into the spring. They have to replace three key departed players. Geronimo Allison, Martize Barr, Justin Hardee and Mike Dudek all pushed for playing time with solid results. Jon Davis and Matt LaCosse are threats at tight end.
With four starters back, the coaches are hoping the offensive line will be a strength. Guard Michael Heitz enters his fourth year as a starter. Tackle Austin Schmidt could turn into a star. Read More
After a long hiatus, it’s time to jump back in with some recruiting talk.
Adverse circumstances surrounding the program have obviously impacted recruiting for months, but the 2012 class still has an opportunity to be pretty darn good.
The key will be finishing strong, and the Buckeyes look to be in a great position to do just that.
The biggest concern, as it has been for months, continues to be along the offensive line. Regardless of how the ’12 class finishes, the depth issues there may not be resolved until the ink is dry on the ’13 class.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, here is a look at how the 2012 class will wind down. Read More