Drew Thurman (10:33 pm)
One of the most interesting positions to watch in the 2009 season is wide receiver. Last year was a big transition year for the Buckeyes at wideout after losing Ginn and Gonzo, but this year the position seems much more solid. So let's break it down...
Last year Robiskie was the most influential wide receiver with 935 yards on 55 receptions and 11 touchdowns. Robiskie is obviously the clear number one wideout going into the summer, even though he is coming back off of injury. Robiskie is going to be very interesting to watch this next year. Robiskie's numbers severely dropped in the last few games of the season in 08, and he and Boeckman seemed to not be on the same page anymore. I still think Robo is going to have an even better year in 09 though. Boeckman should be much more confident, and Brian's role should be even more important.
Hartline was very solid in the slot last year for the Buckeyes. He had 694 yards on 52 receptions and 6 touchdowns. Hartline always takes on the big hit, and continues to fight for tough catches. This was very obvious in the spring game where Hartline dominated the defensive backs he was paired against. Hartline could very well lead the Buckeyes in receptions in 09 and maybe even more. Hartline is emerging quickly, and he and Boeckman look very in sync together.
Small is probably going to be the most interesting wideout to watch in 09. Small was very disappointing in 08, and only came away with 267 yards and 2 touchdowns. Small never seemed to get in rhythm and use his speed. Then with grade problems in the spring, Small got himself in the dog house. Small seems to have dug his way out though, and actually looked very solid in the spring game. His route running was much improved, and he looked to use his speed in other ways than just burning down the field. I am rooting for Small in the fall, but he still has a lot to prove as a starting wideout.
Washington (pictured) was pretty much a non-factor in his first season with the Buckeyes. That all very much changed with his breakout performance in the spring game. Washington had one incredible touchdown and had another called back. After watching him in that game I want to know how the staff is going to keep him off the field. Not only does he have size and speed (which we already knew), but it looks like he is finally learning how to play the position better. Ray Small better watch his back because Washington is a very talented playmaker.
Sanzenbacher suprised everyone with his playing time in 08. Coming into the season he seemed like a candidate for a redshirt, but this was not the case. He did not have break out numbers as a freshmen, but he showed flashes of real talent in the slot. If Hartline was not on this team, Sanzenbacher would be getting some serious playing time in the slot in 09. Instead this may be a transition year for him, but I think some great things are coming in the future.
No one expected Torrence to get put at wideout. I guess we should not be suprised since Tressel is the king of transforming defensive backs into wideouts. Torrence like the other freshmen was very limited in 08, but no one doubts his athleticism. I am very interested to see where the Buckeyes play Torrence, but I feel most of his playing time may come as a returner.
DeVier Posey, Jake Stoneburner, and Lamaar Thomas
The Buckeyes have brought in these three gentlemen in the 08 class. Posey seems to be the early favorite to make an impact, and he is extremely talented. I have seen Posey play in person, and I can say he is the real deal. With that said, the fans should not be so quick to forget about Jake Stoneburner. Stoneburner has participated in spring practices, and even looked pretty decent in the spring game. He obviously has a lot of things to still figure out (x's and o's), but the raw talent is there. With his intangibles I see him making an impact earlier than many believe. Finally, don't forget about Lamaar Thomas either. I am not totally sure of his immediate impact, but you have to love his speed. I have a feeling the Buckeyes will find a way to use that speed!
Drew Thurman (9:57 pm)
Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun has written a very awesome article on Troy Smith. In the article he talks about how Troy Smith has won over his teammates, and has a great chance to win the starting job for the Ravens. I have always loved Troy Smith's heart and work ethic, even though he did have a bad ending with the Buckeyes. He will always be one of my favorite Buckeye players (beating Michigan 3 times will do that!) There is nothing I would love to see more than for Troy to win the job in Baltimore, and to continue to prove the critics wrong. Check out the article, it is a good read!
Drew Thurman (8:54 pm)
The Buckeyes were in need of a tight end in the 2009 class, and they received a commitment from one today. Reid Fragel (Grosse Point, Michigan) became the fifteenth commitment in the 2009 class. He chose the Buckeyes over teams like Michigan State, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Cincinnati.
At 6-7 255, Fragel has incredible size. He also fits the mold of Tressel tight ends that can get it done in the trenches. He may not be the most flashy tight end, but Fragel really gets in done in multiple ways. Fragel adds to an already stellar 2009 class, and fills a much needed position. I welcome Fragel to the Ohio State family.
Drew Thurman (7:58 am)
Check out this video of Cornelius Carradine (DE - Cincinnati, OH).
Drew Thurman (1:54 pm)
Today's News and Views is brought to us by O.J. Mayo and his agent. If you are like me you are probably sick of this whole story. With that said, I don't think the media has been too brutal at all. Apparently Stephen A. Smith thinks the media has been. His story is a little bit too much for me. Anyways, here are some other quick hitters...
1) Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com has a new article breaking down the Big Ten. It's pretty interesting stuff, and a good read. He gives some good questions for fans to think about.
2) Coach Tressel.com has the list of OSU's top ten linebackers in Ohio State history from Ohio News Network. It's pretty good list to check out, but I am a little bummed that Andy Katzenmoyer only got #8.
3) ESPN.com has started a new thing called, "The Face of the Program." Fans of each team get to vote for the face of their program. Who gets your vote: Woody, Archie, Tressel, or someone else?
Drew Thurman (4:41 pm)
ESPN is doing a ranking of of the best BCS National Champions. The BCS has been in existence for 10 years, and that gives us 10 different teams to vote on. They are...
So, what does your top ten list look like?
Drew Thurman (10:01 am)
The Buckeyes have offered a scholarship to Bradley McDougald, from Dublin Scioto High School. McDougald is an athlete at 6-1 190 pounds, and plays running back, defensive back, and even some wideout. The Buckeyes seem to be most interested in having him play safety instead of running back though. I was a little suprised at this because he is pretty impressive at tailback on film, and I like his running style. With that said though, McDougald is a very hard hitting safety who is not afraid to come up and stuff the run.
McDougald holds offers from a host of schools including West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Louisville, and Boston College. I am pretty impressed with his film, and I would love to see him follow the two Dublin commitments (Dublin Coffman HS) last year in Jake Stoneburner and Mike Adams.
Drew Thurman (1:37 pm)
This video from the Big Ten Network pretty much hits at the heart of what the 08-09 season could hold for the Buckeyes. Todd Boeckman may very well hold the key for the success of the team. We pretty much know what we are going to get from the defense this next year. We also know what we are going to get from Beanie Wells. The biggest question is: which Todd Boeckman will appear?
Last year we saw two totally different players come out of Todd Boeckman, and his confidence seemed to disappear as the season ended. The Buckeyes need him to get his mojo back, and perform like he did against teams like Penn State. Boeckman needs to show poise in the pocket again, and allow his accurate arm to take over.
I personally feel the biggest problem for Boeckman to overcome is the pressure that he will feel. Sure there was some pressure following a Heisman winner, but now there are many more demands coming from Buckeye fans. Not only does Boeckman have to look over his shoulder at Terrelle Pryor, but he also has all the fans and media telling him that he the difference maker. Can he handle that pressure? Can he perform his best knowing that the success of the team might depend on his performance?
Drew Thurman (2:11 pm)
There is one question at the back of every Buckeye fan's mind, "what happens to the running back position after Beanie leaves?" Go to about any board and you will see some post about this topic. Maybe not directly, but there are thousands of topics and posts just dedicated to the recruitment of running backs in the 2009 class.
There is some merit to this concern as well. With Devoe Torrence not being in the 2008 class the Buckeyes did not bring in a true running back. So if Beanie does indeed leave after the season, that would leave the Buckeyes with Saine and Herron. So, let's look at the running backs in 2009 class...
Hall committed to the Buckeyes in April, and is most known for being Terrelle Pryor's teammate. There are a lot of questions that surround Hall, and his senior season could tell a lot. One of the biggest questions is if he will actually play running back at Ohio State. Like Laamar Thomas, Hall's size and speed could put him at wideout or as being a returner.
Hyde seems to be the fan favorite to fill Beanie's shoes, and to be in the 2009 class. This is probably because he runs with a similar style to Beanie. At 6-1 225, Hyde is a dominating runner who does shy away from taking a hit. Hyde is originally from Ohio, and this is about the best thing working for the Buckeyes. He has a host of offers, and the staff is going to have to continue to fight for Hyde. He does fit the Buckeye mold well, and he is really exciting to watch on film.
Berry seems to have to most realistic chance of being a Buckeye at this point. Berry has made it clear that the Buckeyes are his leader over schools like Florida, Michigan, and LSU. Berry is a gamebreaker who has a ton of speed. Some Buckeye experts seem to think he may not fit our system as well as Hyde, but our system may very well change under Terrelle Pryor. Berry seems to be a great fit as a combo running back next to Pryor.
Golden does not get much play or talk among Buckeye fans. We should not be so quick to write him off though. Golden has some nice skills, and he really impressed at the Nike Camp at Ohio State. Golden also has very nice size and speed. At 6-0 195, Golden has the ability to both break tackles and break away. I am also impressed with how fast Golden hits the hole. He is a total north-south runner who does not waste his time dancing around. Unlike Hyde and Berry he does not have an offer, but that could change anytime. If either one of them fall through, get ready to see the staff show some more interest in Golden. Here is a link to his video...
Drew Thurman (12:14 pm)
In the latest ESPN article by Mark Schlabach, Ohio State has received the preseason number one ranking. This is not totally uncommon among the preseason rankings, and I have seen several that have put us at the top. The question is though, do we deserve a number one ranking?
Believe me I hear it everyday from many of my friends, "How are you guys preseason number one?" I really have no good response for this question because I am not sure we really do deserve to be preseason number 1. Now don't get me wrong, I realize that the Buckeyes have some incredible talent this year. I realize that we played an LSU team that was just better than us last year. I also realize though, that we have lost two straight National Championship games.
So in my honest opinion, I am not sure we should get the number one spot. Besides USC I think we have one of the easiest roads to get to the National Championship Game, but I am not sure we are the best team out there. Teams like Georgia and Oklahoma are loaded with talent as well. My personal favorite of the two is the Georgia Bulldogs. I really think that Georgia may be the best team out there. I know I hate it too, another SEC team! It's tough for me to pick them, but honestly they are probably the best team out there.
So, I do feel the Buckeyes are loaded. I also feel they are one of the best 3 or 4 teams in the country, but probably not preseaon number one. Of course they have shot to win it all, and who knows maybe the third time will be our charm. With that said, I could do without this bulleye on our backs!
I would love to hear what you guys think...