Yes, the champs are here — time for the Now It’s Dark 2015 Ohio State football preview!
People notice a transition of season is occurring based off of specific external changes. Some equate that first fallen leaf with autumn’s arrival; others absorb the transformation when their favorite latte becomes available in pumpkin spice.
Back in the day, I would hear the locusts and know summer was basically over. Now, being a Columbus resident for the last twelve years, I know summer has passed when the Ohio State Buckeyes finish training camp — which just occurred a few days ago.
Honestly, if you haven’t yet heard the announcement, I’m sorry to break it to you. Summer is over.
Sorry? Who am I kidding? … I am euphoric.
With the completion of training camp, it’s official — IT IS A BUCKEYE GAMEWEEK.
(Technically the game is at 8 p.m. Sept. 7, but, let’s not split hairs here)
As the countdown clock ticks away, the Buckeyes focus moves specifically to Virginia Tech. In the meantime, our focus will specifically turn to those Ohio State University Buckeyes. Just like Coach Urban Meyer readies his players, we aim to ready you for the 2015 OSU football season. Only thing you’re missing is the wind sprints.
First, let’s start with the offense, specifically the quarterback position.
The starting QB spot is associated with stability and Coach Meyer has mentioned this will not be a rotation. Looking back on the majority of last year, JT was a Heisman Trophy candidate; he set 19 school records and holds the B1G record for 45 total touchdowns. He won 11 games and is also the reigning B1G QB of the year. However, a broken ankle versus the team up north vaulted Cardale into that QB position and eventual national spotlight.
The strong-armed Jones is larger in size and personality. His three wins (B1G championship, Sugar Bowl, CFB National Championship) were against elite teams and all earned prized trophies.
In my opinion, if he remained healthy, I feel JT would have won those games too. Then again, Wally Pipp probably didn’t think Lou Gehrig would play 2,130 games straight either. Moral of the story, stay with the hot hand and trust Coach Meyer.
Aside from the quarterback and kicker, Coach Meyer has said the only position that wasn’t yet set were the wide receivers. The Buckeyes look to replace Devin Smith’s deep play ability and Evan Spencer’s leadership. Both tasks will come natural to Mike Thomas.
The So-Cal Buckeye is primed to be the next great OSU WR and plans to “shhh” opposing cornerbacks.
Also, Braxton Miller has taken his playmaking talents to the WR group known as #Zone6. Granted, Miller is very explosive, but, still unproven at that position. Depth will be a key factor. Two fresh faces to keep an eye on are Noah Brown and Torrance Gibson …
They’ll have to contribute early because Jalin Marshall is suspended for the opener.
Moving inside, the offensive line is poised to be one of the best in college football. The group, known as the “slobs,” returns several starters. Most notably, Taylor Decker is a team leader and will be a pro next year.
Chase Farris is also ready to contribute …
Not quite a lineman, but, not quite a receiver, Nick Vannett is quite a talent. The tight-end played in over 600 plays last year and scored 5 TDs. He will be a larger factor in the passing game this year.
Regarding the running back position, let’s just say, it is concretely set. Ezekiel Elliot is a crop-top wearing machine.
The defensive side of the ball is loaded with NFL-level talent. The most gifted member of that unit, however, will also be suspended for the Virginia Tech game. Buckeye fans will have to wait an extra week to see Joey Bosa, but, the team should be able to handle the hokies without him.
Thankfully, the defensive line is nothing to “ Bosa-shrug” at, it has quality depth.
Ohio State’s tradition of excellent linebackers is unmatched and this year offers no exception. Raekwon McMillian …
… Darron Lee …
… and Joshua Perry are silver bullets in every sense.
As a result of a solid defensive line and savvy secondary, the ultra-athletic LB’s will explosively arrive at the ball carrier. Expect highlight hits and game-changing turnovers from the firm of Lee, Perry, and McMillian.
Speaking of the silver bullet tradition …
… the secondary is on par with the defensive line and linebacking corps. Tyvis Powell …
… and Vonn Bell are highly dependable, playmaking safeties.
The cornerback positions include stalwart, Eli Apple, on one side …
and ready-to-breakout, Gareon Conley, on the other.
Last, but, certainly not least important, the special teams is unit integral to winning tight games. The kicker scores points too, and that’s what Duke-transfer, Jack Willoughby, plans to do for the Buckeyes.
Coach Meyer has mentioned the kicker’s ability to hit field goals in the 60 yard range. Also, Cameron Johnston might be underutilized; nonetheless, he is still a weapon. The punter was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist and can routinely pin the opponent near its own end zone.
Whewww, Coach Meyer would be proud. We just went nine units deep.
The Buckeyes are ready for the grind and so are you.
Next stop: Blacksburg, Virginia!
Composed, edited and posted by Managing Editor Breck J. Hapner