[Ed. Note] We would like to introduce Zach Clark, the newest member of the TSB team. He's a Buckeye fan from Chicago, who now finds himself at the University of Illinois. Don't hold it against him though, it hasn't hindered his fanhood. You can read rest of his bio here.
In this transitional offseason of Buckeye football, we as fans are forced to look to Coach Meyer’s tendencies and strategies with past teams. Nearly every team with Coach Meyer at the helm, a “game-changing playmaker” haemerged. Electrifying athletes Josh Harris (Bowling Green) and Percy Harvin (Florida) serve as examples. Although Meyer did not recruit many current players on the Ohio State roster while he was at Florida, I believe there is enough talent remaining on the roster for him to find someone that will be utilized in a similar fashion to athletes like Harris and Harvin. Here are the few players who, I think, have a chance to be “the guy.”
Although only playing in 10 games during the 2011 season, Hall returns with the most all-purpose yards and over 500 more than Braxton Miller. Hall has proven himself to be a durable athlete who can play multiple positions. Heralded as a workout warrior, he has the strength and ability to be a legitimate threat in the running, passing and return game.
It seems strange to put a fullback on a list of potential “game-changing playmakers,” but Boren is not your typical “see-defender, block-defender” fullback. Meyer has publicly praised Boren, and I would venture to say the odds of him having another season of zero rushes and 6 receptions are relatively low. Boren brings unbelievable strength, surprising speed and an impeccable football IQ to his junior season.
This short list by no means has any order, but if it did, Stoneburner would top it off. Drawing constant comparisons to NFL star and Meyer-product Aaron Hernandez, Stoneburner has freakish physical tools. The staff will undoubtedly make a direct effort to get the ball in Stoneburner’s hands. In an era where the tight end has developed to be one of the most integral components of an offense, Stoneburner is a matchup nightmare. Barring injury or other extremely serious off-the-field issues like urinating in public, he will be a force to reckon with this fall and surely on Sundays in years to come.
This list is absolutely not all-inclusive, and there are numerous other players who may step up and be “the guy.” However, this season is unlike any other for Meyer. Without post-season possibilities, I believe Meyer and the staff will take that into consideration when making decisions. Where in a typical season, Meyer may be somewhat conservative in depth chart and playing time decisions, this year will be more of a “practice-year.” Coach Meyer may favor younger guys who will be an integral part of future teams that are actually eligible for post-season play. Without seeing the full roster practice and perform in games, it is nearly impossible to predict who will be successful in Meyer’s system.
Due to this “practice-year” sensation and Meyer inheriting instead of hand-picking a team, Braxton Miller, to me, will be “the guy.” Don't get me wrong, the players I mentioned on my short list will be an integral part of the offense and should be partial playmakers, but Miller will shoulder the load. He represents the only player in a position group on the offense who: 1) Meyer publicly praises, 2) Is the clear-cut starter, and, 3) Has single-handidly won the Buckeyes a game. It will be interesting to see the reins (if any) that Meyer puts on Miller. One thing (hopefully) is for sure: offensive series this fall will be much more entertaining to observe (i.e.: No inside run for 1 yard, inside run for 2 yards, incomplete 2-yard pass, punt series….).