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
The offensive line is probably the most publicized position at the moment due to missing out on three prospects on signing day. Update: not so much anymore, but LT is still one of the most interesting position battles this spring.
Those signing day disappointments also makes depth along the offensive line an area of concern for many Buckeye fans. Throw in the fact that Ohio State only loses one lineman (Jim Cordle) from 2009 and only gains one (Andrew Norwell) heading into 2010 and I would call the offensive line an ideal place to begin our look at next season.
Oh yeah, and the line is going to be good next season, maybe really good.
Many fans were disappointed to the point of calling the 2010 recruiting class a bust due to the high profile recruiting misses last week. Well I am here, as always, to inject some optimism into the conversation for this season specifically, and for the future of the offensive line in general.
First let’s talk about the 2010 season. Ohio State has four returning starters along the offensive line, which is nice by itself. These four helped pave the way for well over 200 yards rushing per game over the last five contests of the 2009 regular season, which is even nicer.
Throw in the fact that the Buckeyes have quality young depth from the 2009 recruiting class and things look pretty good… at least to me… at least for the 2010 season.
In fact, I would even say that the 2010 offensive line could be the best of the Tressel era. The best in the Big Ten? Possibly. The best in the country? We can only hope.
The key to the offensive line achieving greatness? Two questions need to be answered. Who will play at left tackle? and can the line stay healthy?
Left tackle has been a question mark since the beginning of last season. With an extra year of experience under their belts, hopefully the two main contenders to fill the position can solidify their spot in the starting lineup, extra bonus points if they solidify it early in the spring. Update: Mike Adams appears to be relatively solidified as the starter, but Miller is still getting reps with the ones.
Health is the other major concern for the line. Last year injuries ravished the line early in the season, and the resurgence of the run game at the end of the year may have been simply due to the starting line returning to full strength.
Can the line stay healthy in 2010 and continue the momentum they established at the end of last season?
If they can… happy times.
Join me after the jump for a closer look at the each position as well as a look at the depth situation and possible future recruiting targets. Update: I took out the recruiting update, there will be lots of posts focusing on the recruiting after the spring game, also, Ohio State signed four offensive lineman between the time I posted this and now.