Will Pryor's scrambling hinder the 25-35 throws we've been promised?
Dave and Drew Thurman (10:41 am)

Family Feud is a feature where Dave and Drew throw their opinions in on various Buckeye football subjects, which many times are quite opposite. This edition takes a look at some of the hot topics that surround fall practice as the team looks ahead to September 2nd...

1) From the practice reports, which freshman are you most excited to see?

Dave: Got to be big Jonathan Hankins. I have waited a long time to see a 325+ pounder clogging the middle for the Buckeyes. It seems the good SEC teams always have a supply of these guys at defensive tackle, but for whatever reason OSU has not had a big run-stuffing DT for many years. I'm not saying Hankins will be the best freshman in Scarlet and Gray, but he is the one I am most pumped to watch.

Drew: Without a doubt I want to see Carlos Hyde in the backfield. Hankins is a good pick and I think T.Y. Williams would be as well, but Hyde should have the biggest impact. He's a power back with lots of versatility, and fills an important need for the Buckeyes. I was high on Hyde coming out of high school, even more than Berry, because his film really stuck out to me. I still believe he is a star in the making in the coming years. Everyone wants to talk about Berry and Roderick Smith, but it's time to jump on the Hyde bandwagon.

2) It's official, Marcus Hall will be redshirting because of academic issues.  How big of an impact do you see feel that has on the season?

Drew: I think this is a major blow. One of the greatest strengths of this team was the depth on the offensive line. Not only for rotation purposes, but also because of how easy it is for injuries to happen down the stretch during Big Ten play. I don't trust Norwell and Miller off the bench, especially on what is supposed to be a championship caliber offense. Not only that, but after Hall's pictures at the arrival of camp, I had high hopes for major playing time for him this year.

Dave: I can't argue with you on that. This is big. I guess if there are few injuries to the offensive line it isn't a show stopper. But if the tackles get nicked up, and the Bucks are forced to play Norwell (who you would like to redshirt) or Kerr, then it could be disastrous. I think Miller is serviceable at best, which gives you three tackles you feel fairly confident about. Thankfully the interior of the line is a lot more solid.
3) Can Stoneburner reach 30 catches this season?

Dave: I have already gone on record as saying I think he gets 30 or more, provided he stays healthy. That is a big if, however. Tight end in the Big Ten is physical, and Stoney is a glorified reciever who has bulked up a little. If his body can survive, then I think his speed and hands will enable him to get a lot of receptions.

Drew: I want to believe with all my heart that he will get 2-3 catches a game, but I'm not going to trust Tressel's play calling until a few games in. We all know Stoneburner easily has the talent to reach 30 catches in a season, but then again so did Jake Ballard. If I have to make a guess now I will say he has 25 receptions this season. I just don't see him having more than two catches a game.

4) Which position do you feel has the biggest question marks heading into the season? 

Drew: I say corner, which may surprise some people. Not only was the secondary exposed during the spring game, but the reports of Devon Torrence's play in practice has been very mediocre. I think the corner play got hidden last year thanks to the most dominating defensive line in the Big Ten, and timely turnovers forced by guys like Homan and Coleman. With the defensive line depth in question this season and new starters at safety, I worry about the corner play. I think there is lots of question marks. Is Chekwa really a lockdown corner? Is Devon Torrence going to outplay his performance in practice? Will they be able to handle one-on-one coverage so the defense can blitz consistently? 

Dave: Since you picked corner I will go with defensive end, and the Leo in particular. The injury to Nathan Williams scares me, and you have to hope he can fully recover, and quickly. Solomon Thomas has added some weight, but supposedly his motor is still in question, and he has always struggled against the run. I do believe Melvin Fellows has a lot of potential at end, but he has a history of injuries which is cause for concern. Of course I am not even mentioning offensive tackle, since we commented on that above. 

5) Will Pryor really get 25-35 throws a game as Tressel promised?

Dave: Maybe against Eastern Michigan and Ohio U, or, heaven forbid, the Buckeyes fall way behind like they did last year at Purdue. Other than that, I don't think we see more than 30 throws.  The fact is, even if you call 35 pass plays, odds are Pryor takes off 5-10 times. And with a deep backfield and a line that likes to run block, I think this is still a team that wins on the ground, first and foremost. Twenty-five throws sounds about right to me - at least in the big games. 

Drew: Pryor attempted 37 throws against Oregon in the Rose Bowl, and I have a feeling that will be a pattern the staff follows this season. Besides an increase in throws to the tight end I think Tressel will use a lot more screens and dump off passes to the backs, which will be just as productive as running the ball. On top of that, Tressel never came out with a statement like this for any of his other QB's, and I don't think he would now unless he meant it. I'm not saying there won't be times when he reverts back to his conservative nature when things get tight, but plan on seeing a different game plan for Pryor this season. 

6) What under the radar player are you picking to emerge this season?

Drew: I say Aaron Gant. He's a senior and I think he might finally be a solid contributor in his final season. He's battled injuries his entire career at OSU, and I think he is ready to make a name for himself in the two-deep. In fact, some may forget that he worked his way in the two-deep as a freshman behind Jamario O'Neal. I will be rooting for him too. Anyone who spends their entire career buried on the depth chart and battling injuries without transferring deserves some credit. Besides that, either he or Taurian Washington need to rep St. Mary's Preparatory School and live up to the hype.
Dave: How about Adam Bellamy. Defensive line depth isn't great, and this kid has looked pretty good in practice. He may even be able to play some end in addition to tackle. If I were choosing an offensive player, it might be Grant Schwartz. I don't think he catches a lot of balls, but he might get more playing time than people expect. 


08/22/2010 08:06

Interesting you pick corner as a weak link...I think safety may be. The front seven will need to hold their own regardless because I don't trust the defensive backfield...

08/22/2010 08:54

I agree that safety is a concern as well. Johnson isn't battled tested, and has not been getting the reps of late due to an injury. The hope is that Gant steps up as a 5th year senior and helps out. The secondary is a worry for sure.


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