The cool Autumn air blows through the orange and red leaves while the sun peeks out from behind a cloud. People wake up to relief that today is Saturday. Donning scarlet and gray, they head down to Columbus or any other party they can find with the game on. Ohio State football is Ohio, just as much as beautiful fall trees, apple orchards, and farmland. From Cincinnati to Cleveland, from Columbus to Toledo, the state is abuzz every Saturday morning about the Buckeyes. After five hard days of work, people love to sit down, relax, and cheer on their favorite team.
But there is a problem.
Ohio State has lost their last four big games against OOC powerhouses (Florida, LSU, USC, Texas) and the nation has lost their respect for the Buckeyes. In 2009, the Buckeyes feature a younger and faster (and less experienced) squad then from the previous year. They will be tested early with games against Navy (the nation's best rushing team from the past four years) and USC (who won 35-3 last year) and late games at Penn State and versus Michigan. The success of this Ohio State team will rely mainly on Terrelle Pryor and the OSU running game's three headed monster (Dan Herron, Brandon Saine, and Jaamal Berry).
QB: Terrelle Pryor - much depends on TP and Boom for OSU this year, 7-1 as a starter last year as a true freshman, dual threat
RB: Dan Herron - nicknamed "Boom" for his running style, replacing Beanie Wells
FB: Zach Boren - played LB in HS, should be a solid FB for years to come for OSU (he's a freshman this year)
C: Michael Brewster - returning starter, could turn into an amazing center
RT: Jim Cordle - senior, one of the top OL prospects coming out of HS
RG: Bryant Browning - powerful run blocker that should help Boom
LG: Justin Boren - transferred from Michigan, arguably OSU's most physical player on the OL
LT: Andrew Miller - beat out J.B. Shugarts for the starting spot
TE: Jake Ballard - big frame and has a lot of potential
WR: Dane Sazenbacher - veteran WR on the team this year, productive
Devier Posey - playmaking sophomore, also a lot of potential
Duron Carter - son of former OSU great Chris Carter (as if you haven't heard), highly recruited
DE: Thaddeus Gibson - destroys everything moving
DT: Doug Worthington - returning starter, versatile
DT: Dexter Larimore -veteran, tough
DE: Cameron Heyward - junior, great player
WLB: Ross Homan - returning starter, physical
MLB: Brian Rolle - junior, greatly improved from last year
SLB: Austin Spitler - tough, physical player, dynamic
CB: Andres Amos - veteran, hampered by an injury last year
FS: Anderson Russell - experienced, three year starter
SS: Kurt Coleman - the anchor of the OSU secondary, highly regarded recruit
CB: Chimdi Checkwa - very athletic, one of the better players in the OSU backfield
PK: Aaron Pettrey - senior, longest FG - 54 yards, accurate
P: Jon Thoma - senior, walk on
KR: Brandon Saine - HS sprinter, but does can he return kicks effectively?
PR: Ray Small - looks to improve on his performance last year and establish himself as a threat to return a punt for a touchdown. Hopefully can avoid suspensions as well.
Steps To Regaining National Respect:
1. Beat (or lose a close game) USC
2. Win the Big Ten
3. Win a BCS bowl game
A lot depends this year on the OL and RBs. Terrelle Pryor needs to step up if the Buckeyes want to return to a BCS bowl.