Drew Thurman (6:27 pm)

There has been a lot said about what the 2009-10 team will look like for the Buckeyes, and whether they will be rebuilding or reloading. So let's break the positions down by what is already good, what needs improvement, and what we have no idea what to expect from!

Already Good

Quarterback: Terrelle Pryor alone at this position makes it solid. There is obviously some improvements that he needs to make in the off season to become the prolific passer that the fans want him to be, but I am not worried about that at all. The only worry here is that the Buckeyes still need to pick up someone in this class (Boyd of Boucher) to be in the three deep. With a mobile quarterback like Pryor starting, one backup is not going to work.

Linebackers: Most teams would be dying if they lost two linebackers like Laurinaitis and Freeman, but not the Buckeyes. Obviously their experience and leadership will be missed, but there is plenty of talent to take their spots. It's impressive to look and see guys like Spitler who has been waiting for his chance to play for the last three years, Sabino who has all the physical gifts to be special, Moeller who stepped in nicely for Hines late in the year, Rolle who has been a hitting machine on special teams, and a whole host of other talent around including Sweat, Whiting, and Bell. Throw in a experienced starter like Ross Homan, and you have a very solid unit!

Defensive Line: The d-line was a disappointment for much of the 2008 season, but they didn't lose anyone outside of Nader Abdallah. So I think this unit will go from one of the weakest, to maybe the strongest aspect of the defensive this next season. Like at the end of the season I expect Worthington and Heyward to be the guys in the middle, with Larimore and Denlinger getting their fair share of time at defensive tackle. With that said a guy like Garret Goebel or John Simon could impressive and get some serious reps. On the outside I think the coaching staff will go with the speed of Gibson and Williams. I know many are saying Wilson will be in the starting role, but I feel he under performs, especially in comparison to the Williams (who was undersized this last season!). Behind those guys there are a ton of options who could get playing time including Rose, Wells, Mobley, Thomas, and Fellows.    

Needs Improvement

Secondary: More than any position on the field, the secondary is going to have some things to prove this season. With the departure of guys like Jenkins and Washington, the secondary is very youthful. A lot of this is due to the loss of Eugene Clifford and James Scott, which would make this transition less painful. Junior Chimdi Chekwa will be the most experienced corner returning, and after that it is a crap shoot. So the battle will begin between Andre Amos, Donnie Evege, Travis Howard, and maybe Orhian Johnson for the other corner spot. I really do believe Howard will get the spot, but don't forget the freshmen like Barnett, Clarke, Green, and maybe Brown that will try to throw their name in the hat. On the other hand, the safety position is loaded. Starters Anderson Russell and Kurt Coleman return, and have guys like Hines, Gant, and Oliver right behind them.

Don't Know What to Expect

Running Back: With Beanie leaving early for the NFL, Mo Wells graduating, and Saine moving over to fullback, the running back position will have a totally new look in 2009. Boom Herron looked very solid for most of the '08 season including the Fiesta Bowl game, and will most likely be the starter. After that, the Buckeyes will have to ask incoming freshman Jamaal Berry, Carlos Hyde, and Jordan Hall to try to make a name for themselves. Berry and Hyde could both see a lot of playing time because of their speed and physicality. Overall though, no one knows totally how good these guys will be, and they will have many questions to answer come the fall.    

Wideout: Robiskie and Hartline are saying their goodbyes to head to the NFL, and that leaves a lot of playing time out there. Based on last season, Posey and Sanzenbacher are the most likely candidates to fill the starting jobs. There are a lot of other guys that will be getting playing time though. How about Ray Small, Lamaar Thomas, and Jake Stoneburner just to name a few. That doesn't even include incoming freshman Corey Brown (could be DB or WR), Duron Carter, Chris Fields, and James Jackson who will all fight for some playing time. So it's hard to believe this unit will be as disappointing as they were in 2008 with this amount of talent, but they still have to prove it on the football field.

Offensive Line: Outside of the defensive line, there was probably not a more disappointing unit for the Buckeyes than the o-line. Had they not had Beanie and Pryor in the backfield, it would have been even worse. They will have a different look in 2009, thanks to the departures of Alex Boone, Steve Rhering, and Ben Person. They do bring back starters Jim Cordle, Mike Brewster, and Bryant Browning (though I don't think he starts next season). Outside of them you have Justin Boren (transfer from Michigan), J.B. Shugarts, and Mike Adams that look like serious contenders for the starting jobs on the line. Of those six, I think Browning is the odd man out with Adams and Shugarts starting at the tackle positions. So overall, like the wideout position the talent is in place, but this unit needs to show us something after the abysmal play last season.

Potential Starters 

So with all that said, here is who I think will be the starters in 2009. What do you think, are we going to be rebuilding or reloading?


QB - Terrelle Pryor
RB - Boom Herron
FB - Brandon Saine
WR - DeVier Posey
WR - Dane Sanzenbacher
TE - Jake Ballard
LT - JB Shugarts
LG - Jim Cordle
C - Mike Brewster
RG - Justin Boren
RT - Mike Adams


DE - Thaddeus Gibson
DT - Doug Worthington
DT - Cameron Heyward
DE - Nathan Williams
WLB - Ross Homan
MLB - Austin Spitler
SLB - Etienne Sabino
CB - Chimdi Chekwa
FS - Anderson Russell
SS - Kurt Coleman
CB - Travis Howard



01/25/2009 17:25

I read and wrote an article about Saine going to fullback but just don't see it myself. I think he can still be really good at tailback. Fullbacks at Ohio State need to be bigger than Saine is.

I also would like to see Wilson back as a starting DE when Fall camp rolls around. Williams is good but I think he might be a backup for his sophomore year.

01/25/2009 20:03

Nice read Drew. I like the depth chart as well!

01/25/2009 20:06

I like Jermil Martin at FB next year, but that is just me. Outside of that I like the list, especially the call on Howard at corner. It will be an exciting year!


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