Ohio State Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the UCF Game

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst ISeptember 10, 2012

Ohio State Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the UCF Game

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    Ohio State didn't look as great as they did against Miami (OH) in Week 1, but they were effective and solid in taking down Central Florida 31-16.

    The Buckeye offense put up over 400 yards again, but Braxton Miller was heavily overworked, running 27 times and throwing 24, scoring all four touchdowns.

    He got those extra touches out of necessity, and that's something Urban Meyer hopes to not do again.

    Saturday's win was not quite as pretty but still pretty good, and pretty good is good enough, especially when you consider that many top teams either lost or struggled to a win.

    With that said, here are the Week 2 grades for the Buckeye starters.

QB Braxton Miller: A-

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    After a horrible first quarter in Week 1, Miller and the OSU offense started much better on their opening possession, scoring a touchdown on a 37-yard run from Miller.

    A four-touchdown afternoon is helping Miller generate a Heisman campaign, but it's also a growing concern because he might be going into a Denard Robinson-like territory of being overworked and possibly breaking down over the course of the year.

    Meyer never wanted him to run 27 times, but Miller had to due to the lack of depth at the RB position.

    His short-to-intermediate passing game is getting better, but the deep ball needs some major work.

RB Carlos Hyde: Incomplete

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    Carlos Hyde had a solid start to his game Saturday but sustained a knee injury and missed the entire second half.

    His status for the future is unknown, but according to Evan Speyer of The Lantern, he sustained an MCL injury that could keep him out of a few games.

FB Zach Boren: C+

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    In two weeks, Zach Boren has had more work than he has had in the rest of his OSU career.

    Boren fumbled early in Saturday's game but had seven carries and a catch that went for a big first down on one of OSU's touchdown drives.

    He may be used in a bigger role in the next few weeks depending on the status of Hyde.

WR Corey Brown: A-

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    Corey Brown is a catch away from equaling the season-high in catches by any player on the team last year, and he's done it in just two games.

    He's emerging as Miller's go-to receiver, and he's finally being used as a playmaker because of his speed and elusiveness.

    With Hyde possibly out for a couple of games, Brown might get an increased workload.

WR Devin Smith: B+

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    Devin Smith did not have a dramatic one-handed catch this time around, but he was consistent and made some nice catches. He led the team with 57 yards receiving on six catches.

    He has 88 yards on 10 catches so far this year, four less than he had all of last season—sensing a trend here?

    Smith has looked good after the catch, showing the ability to make a guy miss and get a few extra yards, which he did on a couple of occasions on Saturday.

WR Jake Stoneburner: A

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    It took a game longer than last year for Jake Stoneburner to find the end zone.

    The fifth-year senior from nearby Dublin finally did so, hauling in a nice pass from Miller early in the second half. He also had a key block on the Buckeyes' opening touchdown when Miller ran up the gut for 37 yards.

    He hasn't had the type of activity that might have been expected of him so far, but that could change as the year goes on.

LT Jack Mewhort: B+; LG Andrew Norwell: B; C Corey Linsley A-

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    The offensive line didn't keep Miller as clean as last week, with the sophomore QB getting sacked twice.

    But the left side of the line was solid as they paved the way for two of Miller's three touchdowns.

    Linsley had a perfect day snapping the ball, continuing his smooth transition over to center.

RG Marcus Hall: B+; RT Reid Fragel: B-

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    The right side of the line hosted a few good plays as well, but it was not quite as stout as the left side.

    Fragel is still working out some of the kinks when it comes to transitioning to the RT position.

    Hall looks solid early on in the season, being a pretty good player at guard.

DE John Simon: B+; DE Garrett Goebel: A-

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    Garrett Goebel got the start at DE on Saturday and had another good afternoon, recording three tackles including a TFL. He helped Johnathan Hankins hold down the middle pretty well—with the exception of two or three big power run plays from the Knights.

    Simon hasn't had the type of explosive plays we're accustomed to him making, but he has been double-teamed quite a bit, limiting his impact.

    He had five tackles, though, despite all the double-teams.

DT Johnathan Hankins: B+; DT Tommy Schutt: Incomplete

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    Hankins had himself another solid day, making three tackles and assisting in a TFL. Tommy Schutt got the start but rotated in the middle with Goebel and fellow freshman Adolphus Washington, who continued to impress in only his second career college game.

    The middle of the line played well but allowed 103 rushing yards to UCF and was pushed back a couple of times in the power game.

    Ohio State's defense does not yet have proven, elite pass-rushers, but the Buckeyes are developing a solid interior DT rotation.

OLB Ryan Shazier: A-

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    Ryan Shazier continues to show that he is among the better defenders on the team, racking up five tackles and being all over the place once again.

    He has done well to prove that his freshman season was not a fluke, and he could be among the best players on the roster.

MLB Curtis Grant: C+

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    Curtis Grant has now started two games at Ohio State, but he hasn't had much of an impact on the defense so far.

    He allowed a few runs up the middle on Saturday and only put up three tackles.

    Grant will have a chance to be an impact player on the defense, but right now, he hasn't done much to affect the defense positively.

OLB Etienne Sabino: A

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    Etienne Sabino continues to have a good start to his senior season, making five tackles and pulling down a crucial interception in Saturday's win.

    Sabino has been a relative disappointment through the early part of his career, but he has been playing very well as of late.

    His interception helped set up a key touchdown, and he's become a guy that can make some big plays in the front seven that did not make many plays last year.

CB Travis Howard: A

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    Like Sabino, Travis Howard has been on fire to start the season. He continued his hot play by being in the right place at the right time to get his third interception of the season.

    He also had a pass breakup and recorded a pair of solo tackles.

    His play has been very solid in the secondary, as he is making the most of his senior season so far.

CB Bradley Roby: A-

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    As good as Howard has been to start the season, Bradley Roby is doing his part to try to keep up with his senior teammate.

    He had a pair of passes defended and three solo tackles from his corner spot.

    Roby's speed is an excellent asset that has him quickly growing into one of the better cover corners in the Big Ten.

S Christian Bryant: C

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    Christian Bryant's second game at safety was a lot of good and some bad as well.

    He led the team in tackles with seven but showed poor run containment at times, including when he allowed UCF's Storm Johnson to break a game-long 48-yard run.

    Bryant has the ability to make good tackles, but in the second half, he and C.J. Barnett struggled to play deep pass coverage.

S C.J. Barnett: B-

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    If we have learned anything in the first two games of the season, it's that Ohio State's biggest red flag on defense is at the safety position.

    C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant are both very good players, but they don't complement each other very well. They are both strong safeties without great cover skills.

    Barnett had a solid game on Saturday, racking up five tackles and two pass breakups.

    But he and Bryant both need to improve on their coverage skills, or a team with a good passing game could really cause major problems for the Buckeyes.

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