2009 Ohio State Buckeyes College Football Team Preview
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
National Rank: 6
Head Coach: Jim Tressel
Offensive Coordinator: Jim Bollman
Defensive Coordinator: Jim Heacock
Last League Title: 2008
Conference: Big 10
2008 Record: 10-3 overall, 7-1 in Big 10 (tied for 1st)
Sports Book: ATS 6-6
Stadium: Ohio Stadium (101,568)
Odds to Win BCS Championship: 12-1
The Buckeyes run a typical 2 back, 2 WR, 2 TE offense, but they may play more of a spread style this season. QB Terrelle Pryor is now the full-time starter and his passing game has to mature this season to go along with his great rushing ability. Prior will have his work cut out for him as WR’s Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline have moved on to the NFL. WR DeVier Posey will be counted on to be his main target.
The loss of RB Chris “Beanie” Wells will hurt, but the Buckeyes still have a legit rushing offense with RB’s Dan “Boom” Herron, Brandon Saine, and highly touted freshman Jaamal Berry.
The offensive line only returns one starter, but they may actually be better this season. G Justin Boren is back after sitting out a year after transferring from Michigan and C Michael Brewster has tons of potential. The line needs to be more physical and tougher then they were last season.
The Buckeyes have the talent on offense, especially in the running game, but Pryor and a whole new WR corps has to produce or opposing teams will stack the line to stop the run.
Returning Offensive Starters
Terrelle Pryor (QB So)
Michael Brewster (C So)
The Buckeyes run a 4-3 defense relying on speed and being aggressive. The front line of the D will be the strength of Ohio State, as even though they only return 2 starters they still should be the best in the Big 10. DE Thaddeus Gibson is primed to have a big year and become one of the best pass rushers in the conference. The front line is big and they have a lot of depth. Tackles Dexter Larimore and Doug Worthington are big and strong anchors and they are great at stopping the run.
The secondary of the Buckeyes is led by FS Kurt Coleman, who was All Big 10 last season and redshirt freshman CB Travis Howard who is loaded with talent and may break the starting lineup right away. The secondary is fast and has 3 returning starters, which means they probably will not get burned by mistakes.
The LB corps is new, as James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman have moved on but the current LB’s are big and talented although unproven.
Defensive Returning Starters
Thaddeus Gibson (DE Jr)
Doug Washington (DT Sr)
Cameron Hayward (DE Jr)
Chimdi Chekwa (CB Jr)
Kurt Coleman (FS Sr)
Anderson Russell (SS Sr)
The special teams unit will have two new players, as K Ryan Pretorius and P A.J. Trapasso are both gone. K Aaron Pettrey is the new man for the job. Last season he had 2 field goals over 50 yards and in his career he is 15/19. Jon Thoma and redshirt freshman Ben Buchanan will battle it out for the starting position at punter. The kick return unit must improve, as they ranked 108th in the nation last season. The coverage teams were solid last season and WR Ray Small is a great punt returner.
The Buckeyes have won at least a share of the Big 10 Title every year since 2004 and they are poised to win the conference again this year. The defense is stellar and the offense is above average. If a young Terrelle Pryor can ignite a Buckeyes passing game they may play in their 4th BCS title game this decade. Their 2nd game of the season hosting USC has HUGE national championship implications and they play a tough game at Penn State in their 3rd to last game of the season.
9/19/09 at Toledo
10/3/09 at Indiana
10/17/09 at Purdue
10/31/09 NEW MEXICO STATE
11/7/09 at Penn State
11/21/09 at Michigan