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Ohio State offense may need spark

Written by Matt Marcil
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With the 2011 college football season around the corner, most schools have had a quiet off-season to evaluate their talent and organize depth charts. This task can be somewhat daunting without the right people involved, and one school in particular has to do all of this in the midst of an NCAA scandal.

Earlier this spring the NCAA announced that it had suspended five Ohio State football players for illegally selling team memorabilia in exchange for tattoos. Among those is standout quarterback, Tyrell Pryor. A few short days later, the NCAA handed out a two-game suspension and a $250,000 fine to head Coach Jim Tressel for knowingly withholding these actions by the players. After meeting with the university, Tressel announced he would not be returning to the Buckeyes sidelines in 2011. This puts the Buckeyes in a tough position both on the field and the sidelines as well.


The Buckeyes plan to wait until after the 2011 season to find Tressels’ replacement. Serving as interim head coach will be Luke Fickell. Fickell is no stranger to the university. He played for nose guard for the Buckeyes 1993-1996. He began his coaching career at Ohio State as a graduate assistant under his former coach, John Cooper. Fickell was then hired by the University of Akron as a defensive line coach. He returned to his Alma marter in 2002 as the special teams’ coordinator under Jim Tressel who was in his second year. In 2004, he was promoted to linebackers coach and took on co-defensive coordinator duties as well.  In 2010, Fickell was named AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year.


The task at hand for the interim head coach: compete in the realigned Big-Ten conference without five of your best playmakers. The biggest hit that the Buckeyes take is on the offensive side of the ball. Tyrell Pryor, the starting quarterback out of Jeanette, Pennsylvania, will not return for his senior season with the team amid the allegations facing him and his teammates. The Buckeyes also lose 2010 leading rusher Dan Herron, no. 2 wide receiver DeVeir Posey, and All Big-Ten offensive tackle Mike Adams.


The loss on the defensive side of the ball, backup defensive Solomon Thomas.


How will Ohio State respond?  The returning players have their work cut out for them. In 2010 with Pryor under center, the Buckeyes put up 504 points in 13 games.  He completed  65 percent of his passes and threw 25 touchdowns. Herron rushed for over 1,100 yards, and Posey averaged 16 yards per catch.  The Buckeyes  safest choice at quarterback is Joe Bauserman. Bauserman, a senior, hasn’t gotten much playing time behind Pryor. Last season he was 16 out of 22 for 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Look for him to play game manager and not to lose.


The running back situation is much more manageable. The Buckeyes seem loaded at the position and have four players competing for number one on the depth chart. All of the players are underclassman. 


The holes at receiver are a little bit larger. Not only do the Buckeyes have limited players at the position, they also lack the in-game experience. With No.1 receiver Dane Sanzenbacher gone, Ohio State does not only need to address the No.2 receiving position, they also need the No. 1.


This firepower will be tough to match, especially in the Big-Ten. Look for Fickell to stick with what he knows- defense. High powered offenses may be a thing of the past and if anyone can release Ohio State from the wrath of the NCAA, its Fickell, but only time will tell.


The Buckeyes open up the 2011 season at home against the University of Akron, Fickells’ former team.


0 Nick 2011-06-14 17:59 #1
Terrelle Pryor, not Tyrell.

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