Time For Ohio State To Let Wolves Loose On Defense, and Other Bits

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IAugust 10, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 05:  Quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Texas Longhorns scrambles from Thaddeus Gibson #90 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Game on January 5, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Longhorns defeated the Buckeyes 24-21  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Ohio State players reported to Columbus yesterday for check-in and fall camps in preparation for the 2009 season.

One good point of note from the pictures of check-ins were that almost all of the players looked more cut in general. Even some of the new freshmen like John Simon and Storm Klein looked physically ready to step on the field.

Having said that, it's very clear to point out that the Buckeyes are deep in the front seven, especially at defensive end.

Only one defensive lineman was lost last season due to graduation in Nader Abdallah.

Returning are Thaddeus Gibson, Cameron Heyward and Nathan Williams, who were part of a talented DE rotation that was highly effective towards the end of the season.

Also hoping to have one final good year is Lawrence Wilson. He has seen his last two seasons end early due to season-ending surgeries.

Expect defensively for these four guys to be let loose on opposing offensive lines and cause havoc in the backfield.

At tackle, senior Doug Worthington is expected to be the anchor in the middle along with Todd Denlinger and Dexter Larimore fighting for the other starting job.

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Second-year man Garrett Goebel is also expected to be called upon to have an impact on the unit. Freshman DT John Simon also has a body capable of being effective and taking snaps on the line.

In the linebacker corps, Ohio State has alot of unknowns and question marks, but the athleticism is very much intact.

Although Tyler Moeller's status is not certain after sustaining head injuries, the depth at the LB position should help soften the impact of his loss.

Sophomores like Etienne Sabino and Andrew Sweat, both highly-ranked LBs from high school, should see increased roles from the rotation.

Junior Brian Rolle has received a great deal of hype and with his speed and hitting ability, he has an inside track to the third starting job alongside expected starters Austin Spitler and Ross Homan.

Watch out for stud freshman Dorian Bell to see some snaps as well, or at least to be an important player on special teams.

With a strong front seven possibly, expect the defensive staff to turn up the intensity and call some more blitz packages. These players are aggressive with some athleticism and they can hit hard as well.

While most of these guys aren't well-known yet, they might be by the end of the season if the unit performs up to the level that defenses at Ohio State are expected to perform.

Other Buckeye bits:

-Ken Gordon of the Columbus Dispatch reported this morning that Moeller could leave the hospital very shortly after surgery to reduce brain swelling.

He reported as well that the family of LB who was hurt on a Florida trip recently believes he could play football again, possibly later this season.

Buckeye fans and fans across the country have already expressed their sympathies to Moeller and we all wish him the best of luck.

-One of the more impressive physical specimens of the season might be WR Dane Sanzenbacher.

The smallish receiver looked to have added much more muscle in the offseason as he competes for a starting job.

-The status of Ray Small and Robert Rose is still unclear, after reports that both players are academically ineligible for the 2009 season.

Both players are in their last years of eligibility, and Small was also supposed to compete for a starting WR position and be the main punt returner.

-Lastly, it appears Jaamal Berry's troubles might not be following him to camp.

The freshman RB reported to camp on time and coach Jim Tressel believes that Berry was remorseful and his actions should not hamper his opportunity to see the field this season.


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