This has certainly been a different season compared to recent years. Everyone knows about the NCAA allegations, the departure of Terrelle Pryor and the resignation of Jim Tressel. Out of this hectic storm emerged a young head coach with a very young team full of unfamiliar faces.
In order to familiarize you with this young team, I will describe each starter with a single word, and although one word is hardly enough, it will have to do because I just don't have the patience or attention span to drone on and on.
The highly touted recruit out of Huber Heights has been thrown into the spotlight thanks to the departure of Terrelle Pryor and the sad excuse for a quarterback that is Joe Bauserman. Miller has shown signs of greatness at times but hasn't been an instant success by any means.
The freshman QB has excellent running ability and a quick throwing release, but getting pulled in the fourth quarter against MSU and a 1-4 passing performance at Illinois reminds fans that he is still very green.
Despite his struggles at times, Miller definitely gives the OSU offense the best chance of production. With the experience he's earning right now on top of the talents he already possesses, Miller could easily dominate in the seasons ahead.
Brother of former OSU guard Justin Boren, Zach Boren is possibly one of the best players at his respected position. The junior fullback has been blowing up opposing linebackers since his freshman year and has gone quite unnoticed despite his great play.
Boren does an excellent job as a lead blocker, and deserves a share of the credit for the Buckeyes success on the ground in the past three years. He is also no scrub in the passing game when targeted. Many fans may not recognize him but he is a major component of this team.
Herron more then proved his value to the offense when he returned to the lineup this past week against Illinois. The senior running back has the best ball carrier vision on the team and is one of the best running backs in the Big Ten.
His talents were on display this past weekend as he rushed for a 114 yards rushing and a key touchdown. More importantly he brings much needed leadership and confidence to a lackluster offense and looks to make up for missed time. How far this senior running back goes is as far as this young offense will go.
Half of Stoneburner's 12 receptions have put six points on the scoreboard. The junior clearly has a nose for the end zone and has been a scoring machine.
His value should continue to rise with a freshman under center and could put Stoneburner in a position to win the Mackey Award, which is awarded annually to the nation's most outstanding tight end.
Nicknamed "Philly" in order to tell the two Corey Brown's apart, the young wideout has been semi-productive since his return from an ankle injury. While his stats are hardly impressive he has been able to get open at times which is better than any other receiver thus far.
Brown pulled in a couple of big catches against Nebraska and could become a solid target in the passing game. This being said, this sophomore has a lot of room for improvement starting with reliability.
Many fans know Chris Fields as the young player who returned a punt for a touchdown against Toledo. This vital play turned into a great example of the wideout's potential explosiveness and bright future in Columbus.
Fields is an excellent sprinter who has been compared to former Buckeye great, Santonio Holmes. For the most part, Fields is a sure-handed target but needs work with his strength and route-running. The young receiver could contribute as much more as Braxton Miller continues to progress as a passer.
Rarely is the term "catalyst" used on a 6'8" 320 lbs left tackle, but in this case, it is definitely the most fitting. Since Adams' return from a five-game suspension, the running game has improved tremendously and a lot of this increased production is due to Adams.
The senior left tackle has enabled the Buckeyes to field the five best possible offensive lineman, and the improvement has been extremely noticeable. Adams has also done an excellent job in pass protection against some of the Big Ten's better pass rushers and brings key experience to a young offense.
Andrew Norwell began the season at left tackle and held his own as well as he could. The sophomore is very grateful for Mike Adams' return, which has enabled him to slide to the left guard position. Norwell has seemed to thrive at guard up to this point and has been relieved of the harsh duties of protecting the quarterback's blind side.
He also is grateful to have an all-Big Ten offensive lineman on his left and right side. Norwell could very well be an excellent lineman in the future but can use all the help he can get from his teammates right now.
With allegations and suspensions swirling all over this program there has consistently been one steady senior. That steady senior has been Mike Brewster. The senior center has said all right things to the media and is the sole leader of this very young team.
Brewster has started at center since he was a freshman, and his experience as a starting Buckeye is unmatched by anyone else on the team. In terms of leadership, Mike Brewster is the most important player on the team.
When it comes to performance, the veteran certainly exceeds expectations and is a huge component in pass protection and run blocking. Brewster is also a definite candidate for the Rimington Award, which is awarded to the most outstanding center in the nation.
Mewhort has made an excellent transition from playing guard on the left to playing on the right since Adams' return. While that transition certainly isn't rocket science, he was a better candidate to switch sides then fellow guard Andrew Norwell.
In high school, Mewhort started at center and has the ability to play any of the interior offensive lineman positions. His versatility increases the depth at the offensive line and allows the coaching staff to move more pieces around in the event of an injury. With the luck OSU has had this season, depth can never be overlooked.
Although Shugarts has done an impressive job at right tackle this season, I just couldn't help myself. It seems like every game Shugarts manages to false start at least once. It is quickly becoming a tradition that rivals "Script Ohio" and is as reliable as clockwork.
All kidding aside, Shugarts has been a solid offensive lineman for quite some time in Columbus. The senior right tackle has started 23 games at Ohio State and, with the exception of some false starts, has done a fine job.
John Simon is the main contributor to this year's defense's energy, heart and success. The junior defensive lineman is the most important player on the defense for a number of reasons. For one, he is a fantastic catalyst for energy and inspires teammates with his non-stop motor.
Simon has also done an admirable job filling in for the injured senior Nathan Williams, who was supposed to be a major component of this year's defense. While the Leo spot isn't Simon's natural position, he has still managed to make big plays and lead this defense with his effort and energy. His play is absolutely necessary to the success of the Bucks defense.
Imagine attending an opera and expecting a well known performer to be playing a certain role, only to find out he is playing a different role. While the performer's new role is equally as important, you have your doubts of this switch and just hope the stand-in doesn't suck because you paid good money for those tickets.
This is the situation that Bellamy has inherited due to the season-ending injury of DE Nathan Williams. Bellamy has been filling in for normal defensive tackle John Simon, and while he hasn't been quite as noticeable, he has done a solid job in the trenches. Solid enough to make the opera worthwhile at least.
Coaches all over the nation love great wrestlers on their team. This being the case, Luke Fickell must adore Goebel because his wrestling credentials are even better than his football ones.
As a junior in high school, the Illinois native became a state champion. As a senior, he finished his wrestling career as the second ranked heavyweight wrestler in the nation and received a plethora of scholarship offers in wrestling and football.
Goebel chose football, and the Buckeyes are grateful he did. The red-shirt junior does a good job in the middle and uses his hands well due to his excellent wrestling background.
Very few human beings sitting at 6'3" 335 lbs are described as explosive, quick and good on their feet, and very few offensive lineman look forward to blocking Hankins. At first glance, the sophomore out of Michigan looks like a slow space-eater.
However, when you watch him play, he explodes off the line and can chase running backs and quarterbacks for days. When he's not swallowing running backs whole, Hankins constantly gets a good push up front and opens up a ton of blitzing lanes.
He is a definite game-changer and the kind of big, but athletic, defensive tackle who Ohio State has been missing in recent years.
Andrew Sweat was supposed to be the next in line of great linebackers in recent years, and while he hasn't been terrible, he also hasn't been exceptional. The talent of linebackers in the past few years has quite possibly spoiled me, but Sweat really doesn't appear to be anything special.
He has shown glimpses of excellence but has struggled greatly in pass coverage and missed to many tackles to be considered a great linebacker.
Sabino is a lot like Sweat but came in with much more hype, so he has been a bit of a disappointment. While I'm not saying he's been awful, he certainly has not reached the expectations fans had for him as a highly touted high school recruit.
The red-shirt junior out of Miami, Florida, has missed a lot of open field tackles this season and had a terrible second half against Nebraska. At times, Sabino has looked very hesitant or timid backs himself out of making plays. The talent is there, and sometimes you can see it, but unfortunately it never hangs around to long.
Unfortunately, sixth-year senior Tyler Moeller's career in Columbus has been plagued with misfortune and injury. Moeller has been the next big thing for a couple years now, and until this season, has been unable to see the field due to health issues.
As a sophomore, Moeller showed great promise on special teams but missed his entire junior season recovering from an assault and brain trauma that occurred in the summer. After a few solid games the following year in 2010, Moeller tore his pectoral muscle and had to have season-ending surgery on the wound.
However so far this season, the senior has struggled mightily getting off blocks and has looked a step slower than we all remembered. It's disappointing, to say the least, that we'll never really get to see his full potential.
Defensive back Travis Howard always has Buckeye Nation scratching their heads for some reason. Sometimes we are utterly confused why he can't play with the same talent that he shows on certain plays. Sometimes we just can't figure out why he's not a complete stud all the time. And sometimes we contemplate on why he's even on the field ahead of sophomore Dominic Clarke (besides the fact that Howard refrains from shooting paint balls at people on campus).
Despite these questions, Howard is quick and agile for his 6'1" frame and has shown improvement as the season has progressed. Hopefully this Buckeye can go from being a question mark to an exclamation mark on defense.
The analysis on Roby at the beginning of the season was that he could "become" a great defensive back and had a lot of "potential." The red-shirt freshman out of Georgia has had other ideas and has been an instant success at CB.
Roby has come up big in vital moments for this defense and hasn't backed down to any opposing wide receiver, despite his inexperience. The young corner back is also clearly confident, and claimed that Illinois wide-out A.J. Jenkins was "nothing special really" prior to their Week 7 matchup.
This was quite a bold statement considering Jenkins had just collected over 450 yards in the two games before Ohio State, but Roby backed up his talk by coming up with a key interception and forced Jenkins to earn every single yard he accumulated.
Sophomore Christian Bryant is like a brand new sports car. He's shiny and new, very fast, and is comfortable performing with velocity and speed. In this sense he is great, but like a sports car revving at full speed he occasionally gets "pulled over" or has trouble adjusting and overruns plays.
The OSU defense is by far a better unit with Bryant on the field, and his impact has been evident since he got the nod over Orhian Johnson to be the team's full-time safety. The sophomore out of Glenville High School is indeed a play maker and has given this year's defense a spark they lacked at the beginning of the year.
He plays with great urgency and speed but has been burned a few times due to his aggressive style. While this hurts the defense now, Bryant will learn how to harness his aggressiveness properly and will develop into an All-American.
It is not impossible to completely forget about C.J. Barnett when talking about the OSU defense. This oversight would certainly not make you an ignorant observer or a less respectable Buckeye fan either. Barnett has had an excellent season thus far and has inexplicably managed to do it completely under the radar.
This is due in large part to the fact that in a season of negatives, Buckeye Nation and the media have focused on the bad aspects of the program and the weak spots on the depth chart. The lack of recognition could also be attributed to Barnett's solid, but not flashy style of play.
However, don't be fooled. Despite the fans' and media's neglect of Barnett's staunch play, he has done a superb job at his safety position. The red-shirt sophomore has been extremely reliable throughout the season and has avoided giving up the big play which, you know, is kind of important when playing safety.
The sophomore kicker's progress has been on a steady incline since the beginning of the season. Basil had many fans sweating bullets after going 0-for-2 in field goal attempts through the first two weeks of the season but hasn't missed since then. (Knock on wood please.)
This OSU offense is certainly in no position to be passing up on points and a reliable kicker is almost essential for this team's success. So far Basil's highlight of the season was an impressive 43-yard field goal he nailed into the wind at Illinois this past week.
Let's cross our fingers and hope the young placekicker continues never goes back to his old ways, but for the most part, Basil seems to have settled in nicely and could be a major weapon in the special teams. (Please knock on wood again.)
The impact of Ben Buchanan's punts to the success of this team has gone unnoticed long enough. Time and time again, the junior out of Westerville, Ohio, has pinned opposing teams inside their own 20-yard line. When given the chance, Buchanan has managed to down several of his punts inside the opponent's 10-yard line.
These excellent punts have enabled OSU to win the ever so important field position battle. This year, field position has become almost a necessity for the offense's success, considering a long drive by the offense is about as rare as Haley's Comet.
These excellent punts also allow the defense to put more pressure on offenses and give them more room to bend. While Buchanan won't make the front of the paper, his significance to this team can't be overlooked.