When I think about Ohio State Football I think of tradition, winning, discipline, and linebackers.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have had some of the best linebackers in the history of college football, names like: Spielman, Hawk, Gradishar, Cousineau, Tovar, Katzenmoyer and Pepper Johnson.
These Linebackers set the bar very high at their position and Jim Tressel, Jim Heacock, and Luke Fickell expect nothing less at linebacker again in 2009.
When talented players like James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman move on, it is very hard to replace them, but given the history of the Ohio State football program they will replace them with another star in the making.
At the middle linebacker spot this season the Buckeyes will more than likely have senior Austin Spitler (6'3", 234 lbs.) filling up the void left there by Laurinaitis.
When Spitler was asked about the possibility of replacing the great Laurinaitis at middle linebacker he said, "That happens a lot at a place like Ohio State—great players build a legacy and then leave, and somebody has to step in and fill that role."
Playing outside linebacker in 2009, will probably be junior Tyler Moeller (6'0", 216 lbs.). Tyler put on a show at the Scarlet and Gray spring game, recording eight tackles, two for a loss, and he also saved a touchdown when he tracked down tailback Marcus Williams after a 75 yard run.
On the other side will probably be junior Ross Homan (6'0", 229 lbs.). Homan had 67 tackles with 6 of them for a loss last season.
Coach Luke Fickell has some talented linebackers on this years roster, sophomore Etienne Sabino (6'3", 232 lbs.) will compete with Spitler for a chance to roam the middle.
Sophomore Tony Jackson (5'11", 227 lbs.) will be after Moeller's job assuming the job is Moellers.
Freshman Storm Klein (6'3", 225 lbs.) has impressed the coaching staff this spring and may see some action at the outside linebacker spot. So has junior Brian Rolle (5'11", 221 lbs.) and sSophomore Andrew Sweat (6'2", 220 lbs.).
The Buckeyes defense last season, with all their talent, was 14th in total defense in the NCAA and 3rd in the Big Ten giving up 293.8 yards per game.
They allowed 13.1 points per game ranking them 16th in the NCAA and 3rd in the Big Ten.
Will we see the likes of A.J Hawk, Chris Spielman or Andy "Big Kat" Katzenmoyer wearing the Scarlet and Gray again soon? I know I will be watching and I hope we do.