#2 Ohio State Football 2017 Preview



Ohio State Buckeyes


Overall Rank: #2

#1 Big Ten

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Ohio State saw its 2016 season come to a resounding end out in the desert last December as Clemson dominated the Buckeyes 31-0 in the College Football Playoff semifinal. This loss to the Tigers sparked head coach Urban Meyer to overhaul his offensive coaching staff. Former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day will run the offense in 2017 and it will be interesting see how running 90-100 plays a game with this much talent will take its toll on opposing Big Ten defenses.
2016 Record: 11-2, 8–1
2016 Bowl: College Football Playoff Fiesta Bowl vs. Clemson (L 0-31)
Coach: Urban Meyer (61-6 at Ohio State, 165-29 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Wilson, Ryan Day
Defensive Coordinator: Greg Schiano
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Mike Weber, RB, 1,096 yards
Passing: J.T. Barrett, QB, 2,555 yards
Receiving: Marcus Baugh, TE, 269 yards
Tackles: Jerome Baker, WLB, 83
Sacks: Tyquan Lewis, DE, 8.0
Interceptions: Jerome Baker, WLB, 2
Other Key Returnees: WR Parris Campbell, LT Jamarco Jones, LG Michael Jordan, C Billy Price, RT Isaiah Prince, DE Sam Hubbard, DT Dre’Mont Jones, DT Michael Hill, MLB Chris Worley, DE Nick Bosa, DE Jalyn Holmes, K Sean Nuernberger, RB J.K. Dobbins, DT Tracy Sprinkle
Key Losses:   CB Marshon Lattimore, S Malik Hooker, CB Gareon Conley, WR Curtis Samuel, LB Raekwon McMillan, C Pat Elflein, WR Noah Brown, P Cameron Johnston, WR Dontre Wilson, WR Corey Wilson
J.T. Barrett is what you want out of your quarterback in regard to leadership, making plays with his legs and taking care of the football. However, in order for the Buckeyes to get to another College Football Playoff in 2017 the down field passing game has to improve. The key to an improved down field passing game is going to be two-fold. First, the wide receivers are going to have to develop as a unit led by Paris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, and Binjimen Victor. Second, the offensive line has to be more consistent when they are in pass protection to buy Barrett time to go through his progressions and get rid of the football. Billy Price slides over to center and will anchor an offensive line that does return four starters. Mike Weber leads a deep and talented stable of running backs and should get plenty of help from J.K. Dobbins as they both could be 1,000 yard backs with an increase in the number of plays offensively.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson has an endless rotation of front line talent that he can rotate in and out all day long. Tyquan Lewis had eight sacks last season and he will be joined by the likes of Sam Hubbard, Dre’Mont Jones, Nick Bosa, Jalyn Holmes and others that will  wear out most opposing offensive lines. One thing to watch as the season goes along will be what happens if the offense can’t get rolling early on in games and the defense has to play 90 snaps while playing at an elite level. Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano has some work to do with the secondary as it lost three guys to the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft in Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, and Gareon Conley. Damon Webb is the only returning starter in the secondary at free safety and he will have to lead this unit that will take some time to gel this season. Chris Worley takes over Raekwon McMillan’s role as a leader of the linebacker corps along with Jerome Baker, who had 83 tackles and two interceptions last season.
The Bottom Line:
Cameron Johnston had a tremendous ability to pin teams back with long punts. He was an underrated asset for Ohio State and will be missed greatly in 2017. The pressure will be on freshman Drue Chrisman to step in and pick up the slack from Johnston. Joe Burrow’s hand injury will make the backup quarterback position really interesting as Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell are the two backups. Thus, keeping J.T. Barrett healthy has become even more critical due to the inexperience behind him. As far as the schedule goes it is a fairly balanced one as a trip to Indiana and the home opener with Oklahoma will be intriguing. Two sneaky tough road games will take place on October 14th at Nebraska and November 4th at Iowa. Personnel wise, the Buckeyes are significantly better than both the Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes but the game in Iowa City follows the rematch with Penn State in Columbus. Finally, the trip to Ann Arbor to play Michigan is always highly anticipated nationally, but the beat will go on for Ohio State as they will knock off the Wolverines once again in another tight contest. Bottom line, there is no question that the Buckeyes are loaded with talent, but they will lose once in the regular season. That should still mean that Ohio State makes it back to the Big Ten Conference title game and gets another shot at the College Football Playoff.
Projected Bowl: Rose Bowl
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 245.2 (11th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 213.9 (81, 6)
Total Offense: 459.2 (31, 1)
Scoring Offense: 39.4 (13, 2)
Rushing Defense: 124.5 (19, 4)
Pass Defense: 172.2 (7, 2)
Total Defense: 296.8 (6, 2)
Scoring Defense: 15.5 (3, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.15 (3, 1)
Sacks: 2.15 (58, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 2.15 (68, 7)
Madness 2018 NFL Draft Rankings:
#14      Jerome Baker
#23      Denzel Ward
#24      Dre'Mont Jones
#28      Sam Hubbard 
#56      Tyquan Lewis
#74      Parris Campbell
Madness 2017 Recruit Rankings:
#8        Jeffrey Okudah
#9        Chase Young
#12      Baron Browning
#17      Wyatt Davis
#22      Shaun Wade
#33      Trevon Grimes
#49      J.K. Dobbins  
#58      Tate Martell
#59      Josh Myers
#74      Isaiah Pryor
#113    Haskell Garrett
#119    Brendon White
#171    Amir Riep