New and Improved?

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst ISeptember 23, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what you have all been waiting for … for 7 days. Once Terrelle Pryor was crowned the starting quarterback for good (which happened one second after Boeckman hurled his only pass attempt in the synthetic dirt), all minds turned towards the possibility of the Ohio State backfield having a combination of Pryor and Beanie.

This afternoon, Tressel said Beanie is “probable,” which is at least one gradation better than any previous designation.

I would be lying if I said the idea of Beanie running inside and Pryor’s threat on the edge did not make me gleeful, but there is something disquieting about the Ohio State offense, particularly the line, so far. After all, Pryor had a record setting day and the Buckeyes still did not put Troy away until late.

Still, Beanie is special, so my doubts will take a backseat to my cautious optimism that the new backfield duo will give Minnesota fits. I wonder more about the formations to be used this Saturday. Beanie is a “downhill” runner. Translation, he does not have the quickest first step in the world. Once he gets going, though, he is a plenty fast. So, it would seem that the shotgun is not the optimal formation for this backfield, which is great since it most likely means they get rid of the awful option play they have been running.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Buckeyes are shifting the front four around. Cameron Heyward moves inside to defensive tackle and Thad Gibson slides into his defensive end spot. That the line was shuffled is not surprising, but I am slightly surprised at the way it was done.

I thought Heyward was going to have a big year. At the close of last season, he was one of my favorite players and I expected a lot. I am not a coach and I am not sure he has been disappointing, but you certainly have not heard his name called very often. Suffice it to say, I would not have been surprised if Heyward had been moved out of the starting four.

That being said, I think this is the lineup most Buckeyes’ fans view as the best option. IMO, you could probably substitute Rob Rose for Worthington but that is probably splitting hairs.

Lastly, Etienne Sabino is now listed as the backup MLB. This is most noteworthy for the future implications and suggestion that Sabino will be the Buckeyes starting linebacker in 2009. He has done well, but I would be ltying to you if I said I had noticed him much in regular defensive sets.