Ohio State Buckeyes 2010 NCAA Football Preview

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Ohio State Buckeyes

Big Ten Conference


2009 Record: (11-2, 7-1)

2009 Bowl: Rose Bowl vs. Oregon (W 26-17)

Coach: Jim Tressel (94-21 at Ohio State, 229-78-2 overall)

Offensive Coordinator: Jim Bollman

Defensive Coordinator: Jim Heacock


Returning Leaders

Rushing: Terrelle Pryor, QB, 779 yards

Passing: Terrelle Pryor, QB, 2,094 yards

Receiving: DeVier Posey, WR, 828 yards

Tackles: Ross Homan, LB, 108

Sacks: Cameron Heyward, DE, 6.5

Interceptions: Ross Homan, LB, 5


Other Key Returnees: G Justin Boren, C Mike Brewster, G Bryant Browning, CB Chimidi Chekwa, RB Dan Herron, CB Jermale Hines, LB Brian Rolle, RB Brandon Saine, WR Dane Sanzenbacher, OT J.B. Shugarts, CB Devon Torrence

Key Losses: TE Jake Ballard, S Kurt Coleman, OT Jim Cordle, DT Todd Denlinger, DE Thaddeus Gibson, K Aaron Pettrey, S Anderson Russell, LB Austin Spitler, DT Doug Worthington


Terrelle Pryor was a good quarterback in 2009. He may not have reached his full potential quite yet, but that will not last much longer. Pryor used his legs a lot last season and actually led the team in rushing and passing. Coach Tim Tressel would like to dial back Pryor’s rushing, much like he has done with many dual threat quarterbacks in the past, and that means Pryor will have to do more passing and less running.



But with the strength of the running game and the receiver corps, Pryor should have little trouble making that transition. Dan Herron is a bruising back who struggled with injuries last season, but still carried the ball 153 times for 600 yards and seven touchdowns. Brandon Saine nearly got as many carries as Herron and proved to be a very productive player. He ended up rushing for 739 yards and four touchdowns during the 2009 campaign and he really outperformed Herron on the season. Those two will be battling it out for carries in 2010 and Pryor should have the luxury of handing off to those two instead of running himself. The return of DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher should allow Pryor to find a receiver instead of scrambling. Posey had a breakout season in 2009 and is ready to explode on the national scene. Sanzenbacher only caught 36 passes and behind him the next leader in receptions was Saine with 17. A third receiver needs to be found, especially after Duron Carter is out this year due to academics. That leaves room for Chris Fields or Taurian Washington to try and win the job. Also in the mix as a pass catcher is tight end Jake Stoneburner. If Stoneburner can turn into a great outlet receiver like he appears poised to do, Pryor will have little need to scramble.



Never is the Ohio State defense a weakness, but there are some big losses in the front four and the secondary. Defensive end Thaddeus Gibson is gone as are tackles Doug Worthington and Todd Denlinger. More importantly perhaps are the departures of safeties Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell. That is going to put a lot of pressure on free safety Jermale Hines and sophomore strong safety Orhian Johnson. This is a group that ranked 13th in the nation in pass defense and senior corners Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence will have to carry the load if Ohio State hopes to perform that well again in 2010. The play of the front four will go a long way in determining how well the Buckeyes young safeties perform. Cameron Heyward is a superstar who will get a ton of pressure on the opposing quarterback, but some more inexperienced players will have to help out on the front four.


The Bottom Line:

Where the defense has the most experience is in the middle. Linebackers Ross Homan and Brian Rolle were the team’s top two tacklers last year and probably will be again this time around. If Homan has not already become the next great Ohio State linebacker, he will soon. Homan has the ability to drop back in defense and actually led the team with five interceptions. He can also get some pressure on the quarterback from the outside linebacker position and that could be a big help to the front four. With Rolle patrolling the middle of the defense and promising junior Etienne Sabino on the strong side, the linebacker corps should be among the best in the nation. And if the defense plays as well as they did last season, the Buckeyes will be poised to win another Big Ten title.


2009 Team Stats:

Rushing Offense: 195.38 (18th in nation, 3rd in conference)

Passing Offense: 173.62 (103, 11)

Total Offense: 369.00 (68, 8)

Scoring Offense: 29.00 (49, 4)

Rushing Defense: 90.77 (7, 3)

Pass Defense: 171.54 (13, 2)

Total Defense: 262.31 (5, 1)

Scoring Defense: 12.54 (5, 2)

Turnover Margin: 1.31 (5, 1)

Sacks: 2.31 (34, 6)

Sacks Allowed: 1.85 (57, 6)