Ohio State Spring 2010 Preview: Is Too Much Depth Really a Problem?

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IMarch 1, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Dane Sanzenbacher #12 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts in the fourth quarter against the Oregon Ducks at the 96th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Today is the day when we flip the calendar over to March, and also the day when the Ohio State Buckeyes resume team workouts in preparations for spring football this April.

And for the first time since the spring of 2006, the team resumes football activities after a win in their final game, defeating Oregon 26-17 in the Rose Bowl Game.

Obviously, the big story with the Buckeyes is the knee surgery and the health of QB Terrelle Pryor .

He is expected to return in some capacity when spring practices pick up in April, but should be limited.

But Pryor's job is not in question for the time being, unless the knee isn't as healed as we expect.

This spring, however, the QB position is but one of the major things to watch.

Here is a deeper look at what to watch for this spring:


The Deep Stable of OSU RBs

Sometimes, people will say that too much depth could be a bad thing because there are only 60 minutes in a football game.

For Ohio State, the definition in depth lies in the RB corps, headed by senior Brandon Saine and RS junior Daniel "Boom" Herron.

Both of these players have had extensive playing time in the past two seasons, and were the primary options in 2009.

Saine appeared to separate himself as the feature back later in the season, while Herron played well as a spell back.

But after those two is a gang of talented backs looking for their opportunities.

One of these is RS freshman Jaamal Berry, the much-hyped and talented speedster from Miami.

He redshirted last season due to injuries, but many thought he would get his shot at some point because of the praise Jim Tressel sent his way.

Many of the players as well commented on Berry's talents, and how hard he works on the practice field.

Spring should be Berry's arrival on the scene, and a big game could validate the hype he has been given.

Sophomores Jordan Hall, a teammate of Pryor at Jeanette, PA, and Jermil Martin also saw carries last season and performed well in spot time.

Hall was the third back a season ago, seeing carries through the meat of the schedule, and Martin showed potential as the power back the Buckeyes lacked.

The only incoming player from the class of 2010, Carlos Hyde, will look to prove a lot after spending his fall at Fork Union Military Academy after being ineligible to enroll at OSU last year.

Hyde is another big back with surprising speed that Tressel plans to use as a tailback and not a fullback.

With six backs looking for carries, the question left is who will be the third guy?

Berry and Hall could be the favorites due to the rumblings about Berry throughout 2009 practices and Hall's talent shown in spot duty a year ago.


Battling for the Third LB Starting Position

Ohio State has put out tremendous LBs in recent years, but they do have a major surplus on their hands as well.

Two of the starting spots are pencilled in for seniors Brian Rolle and Ross Homan.

But that third spot will be the most intriguing battle we see in the spring.

Juniors Etienne Sabino and Andrew Sweat will probably be the main combatants.

Sweat saw a lot of playing time as a backup last season, showing great instincts and tackling abilities, but an injury ended his season.

Sabino came in as the athletic freak in 2008, but hadn't panned out as planned early on in his career.

He admitted he lacked focus for the first year and a half, but the coaches said "the light came on" and he was tremendous in bowl practices.

But do not sleep on sophomore Storm Klein, a local fan favorite and another early contributor as a freshman, and RS freshman Dorian Bell, another athletic machine with a big body and great speed.

One name to watch for will be Tyler Moeller, who's medical status is unknown after receiving head injuries from a punch from Ralph Decker in Florida in the summer of 2009.

He was pencilled in as a starter before fall practice in 2009, but his injuries opened the door for Rolle to break out and have a fantastic season.

Moeller, if healthy, could start, or return to his normal role as the STAR, or LB/S hybrid, if S Jermale Hines moves full-time to starting S.


Validation of the Recruiting Classes of 2008 and 2009

Ohio State recruiting in 2008 and 2009 was spectacular, on the level of Florida and USC recruiting, where the Buckeyes scored a multitude of OOS studs.

We all know about Pryor, DeVier Posey, and other contributors such as Sabino, Sweat, and Nathan Williams, along with current sophomores in Hall and Duron Carter.

But now these recruits will be in their second or third seasons with the program, meaning they are now part of the Buckeye limelight.

These guys now have the challenge of living up to their hype and billing as the class that would have a shot at bringing OSU its second national title under Tressel.

And the hype is not lost on the prognosticators, many of whom have OSU just behind Alabama in their pre-spring power rankings.

So the pressure is massive, and these men have a lot to live up to.

Players like Pryor and Mike Brewster could be captains for the upcoming season, and RS freshmen like Bell, Berry, and DB Corey Brown (no relation to WR/RB Corey Brown of 2010 recruiting class) will be expected to contribute in some capacity in 2010.

The training wheels should be coming off, and the spring game on Apr. 24 should be quite a show.


Pryor's Knee Situation

I will only touch on this lightly because we will know more about the recovery depending on the practices.

According to the ESPN article linked at the top of this page, Pryor's surgery was more extensive than first thought.

He has not joined the team for the workout sessions, but he has begun individual strength training with strength & conditioning coach Eric Lichter.

Pryor's status for spring practices is uncertain, but he could be limited in running the football during the game.

This means that fans should look to see him throw more, hopefully showing the improved technique he displayed in Pasadena against the Ducks.



For those of you who know me, you know I don't like to self-promote.

But I would like to announce now that I am working on preparing a chat session before spring practices.

More details soon to follow. I will do my best to keep you posted.


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