There is less than one month to the opening of the College Football season and there are still some unanswered questions just as Summer Camp has begun.
So what areas of focus should the coaching staff look at during this period that begins a slow boil towards another run at a Big 10 Championship, and dare I say it, more? Here are the top three things to look for.
Scripted Focus #3: Who is going to replace Kurt Coleman at Safety?
For all of the excitement of returning most of the defense, and many starters on offense (including one strapping lad that goes by Mr. Pryor), Ohio State is really going to miss the heart and soul of a defense that was lights out last year.
Kurt Coleman may not have been the fastest, or been as big as a prototypical safety, but he could flat out ball. He didn’t lead the team any many statistical categories, but he was a ball hawk who knew how to make a big play when it was needed most.
It now looks like the coaches have decided to move Jermale Hines from the star position back to safety to keep some experience there, but we know that someone new is going to have to break into the position like a Nate Oliver, and Aaron Gant, or the guy that seems to have the coaches blessing to this point: Ohrian Johnson.
Whoever shines during these last few weeks will get the nod. The Silver Bullets will need to continue the tradition of great safety play to really contend for big things.
Scripted Focus #2: Will anyone emerge from a stable of solid running backs to be “The” running back?
“The” Ohio State University has continually run out a stud in the backfield.
For the first time in a while though, the Buckeyes chewed up chunks on the ground by committee.
All indications pointed to “Boom” Herron being that guy last year, but between getting sidelined by injury, and the offensive woes of the running game early on, he never really got in a groove.
Fast Forward to this year and it is much of the same. Dan Herron appears to be 1A with Brandon Saine being 1B, but everyone is anxious to see what the wild card and red shirt freshman Jamaal Berry can do, along with Carlos Hyde and others.
Ohio State should have a pretty potent offense with Pryor and the receiving corps coming back intact, but Tressel Ball needs gasoline to run. If you really cornered the vest, I'll bet he would tell you that he would like to have a clear favorite at the position.
Scripted Focus #1: Has Tressel seen the light?
Many who watched the Rose Bowl last year are still wondering if Tressel was somehow locked out of the offensive game planning.
The Sweater Vest unleashed a shock and awe aerial assault that nobody saw coming. Was it just the result of having over a month to prepare, or is the head man ready to open things up with the ultra-talented Pryor?
My money says that as long as Pryor continues his development and takes care of the ball, there might very well be the same freedoms that were given to Troy Smith in 2006. My money also says that you can’t argue too much with a decade of winning with defense and special teams.
Look for the offense to open up a bit, but just how much remains to be seen.
Either way, you can bet that there are many more options that become available when a supremely talented, dual-threat quarterback starts to “get it.”
It is almost time to strap the helmets on again. Though these aren’t the only things to that will decide Ohio State's fate in 2010. How they shape up will go a long way to determining whether the winter in Columbus is a long one, or one where next spring is just around the corner once the football season comes to an end.