Head Coach Jim Tressel will have some big decisions to make on offense.
There have been many different names to classify them.
The Tattoo Five, the Maligned Five, to name a few. Their contributions, while great, have been overshadowed by ignorance and ink.
Lucky for Jim Tressel, even if Terrelle Pryor and the four other culprits do not have their suspensions shortened, the 2011 schedule bodes well for an undefeated start. A couple of auditions for backups in Akron and Toledo will give Tressel an idea of how he should approach the trip down to Miami (which could feature Duron Carter), the stampeding of the Buffalo, and the B1G Ten opener against Sparty.
Not exactly your classic Death March.
While it certainly hurts when the roster loses quality guys on and off the field, history should repeat itself with a reloaded Buckeye team.
Replacing Terrelle Pryor is hard, maybe not possible. But there is definitely a quarterback on this roster that would be good enough to lead this team the entire season. From blue-chip prospect Braxton Miller to clipboard toter Justin Siems, competition will single out the starter.
I know many fans love Joe Bauserman the Guy, but hate Joe Bauserman the Quarterback. I agree, he's no Brandon Weeden. But there is more to him being the favored starter than his senior status. Tresselball will be at its maximum come August and September. Bauserman is a Tresselball kind of guy.
Who should be the Buckeyes' starting quarterback while Pryor is out?
Handoff, handoff, dink and dunk.
Bauserman right now is the favorite, but practice should change that. Braxton Miller definitely has the most talent and upside of any signal-caller competing for the spot, and Kenny Guiton too possesses the dual-threat ability that has recently flourished at Ohio State. Taylor Graham can supposedly make throws no one else can.
If there was a player out of the Punished Posse that should have bolted for the NFL, Boom Herron is that guy. He's forgiven for what he did, but his output can and will be trumped with the stable of running backs present. Jaamal Berry, Rod Smith, and Carlos Hyde have feature back traits. Giddy hardly describes my emotion for Smith to finally show the resurrection of Beanie Wells. Jordan Hall is not an every down back, but give him or Berry the ball in space and good things will happen.
I am not worried a bit about the fullback position. Zach Boren will be another goal-line option and a superb blocker. The same goes for Adam Homan.
The worry, if any is present, should be placed on the receiving corps. Potential is all the groups has right now. I think Philly Brown, TY Williams, and Chris Fields will suffice. I really want to see Evan Spencer see the field as a true freshman. The dude sounds like an all-around stud.
Who should the Buckeyes' starting running back be?
This will surely be the year that tight ends are featured in the passing game. Jake Stoneburner has become such a necessity that the coaching staff wants to revert him back to having a wide receiver mentality. He will be the best friend of whoever lines up under center. Reid Fragel will also need to have the ball a lot in his hands next season. He really came on strong late in the season.
On the offensive line, Mike Brewster knows how to anchor a group. He is an All-American four-year starter. Andrew Norwell played well for a guy who was coming straight off of surgery. He should do well filling Mike Adams' shoes for the first few games. I would even put Norwell in at right tackle when Adams comes back. J.B. Shugarts is a sore spot
A really itchy, red sore spot.
He is lackluster, but his experience will help. Marcus Hall, Jack Mewhort, and Cory Linsely also will help fill in the holes left by Justin Boren and Bryant Browning. The running backs should make these guys look good, and vice versa.
The Buckeyes have all but locked up a run-first identity to start the year, but it will definitely be interesting to see how the passing game is incorporated.
You know, Jordan Hall did throw a nice, tight spiral in that Eastern Michigan game...