College Football Preview: The 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes
Urban Meyer has done nothing but win in his two seasons at Ohio State.
2014 College Football Preview
The Ohio State Buckeyes enter their third season under Urban Meyer looking for their first Bowl win and Big Ten crown.
Overview: The expectations at Ohio State are out of this world after the team has gone 24-2 in the two years under Urban Meyer. However there are some huge voids to fill on the offensive side of the football and whether or not the Buckeyes find what they need will determine how far this team goes.
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Offense: Braxton Miller is everything you could want in a dual threat quarterback with an accurrate arm and good decision making and of course quality production on the ground and in the air. Miller threw for nearly 2,100 on 63.5% completions with 24 TD's and seven INT's while running for 1,201 yards at eight yards per pop. Leading rusher Carlos Hyde is gone and takes 1,521 yards with him and third leading runner Jordan Hall takes another 536 yards to graduation which leaves sophomores Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliot to expand their roles after combining for 512 yards on 61 carries in 2013. Corey Brown also is gone with a team high 771 recieving yards but the next four are back including Devin Smith (44-660) while Wilson (22-210) led all running backs in the passing attack in a limited role. The O-Line loses three of the top four which is a problem since three were All Big Ten performers. The roster is loaded with three and four star players so we'll see what Meyer comes up with.
Defense: The defensive line returns Joey Bosa, Noah Spence and Michael Bennett who recorded 39 TFL and 22.5 sacks while the top six of seven are back overall. The linebacking crew returns four of the top five which seems like a good thing but the one guy missing was the star of the defense. Ryan Shazier recorded 123 tackles with 23.5 TFL and seven sacks while forcing four fumbles. Those numbers were better then all the linebackers combined in 2013. The secondary will be on the youthful side of things with two top safeties and corner gone which means breaking in some new faces which makes this group something of a question.
Special Teams: Punter Cameron Johnston was outstanding at 44 yards per boot but PK Drew Basil has graduated so that's an area of need (Kyle Clinton?). Wilson needs a backup on kick returns and both punt returners from 2013 have departed as well but the talent base of this team says replacements will be found.
Outlook: The Buckeyes biggest concerns to me seem to be the offensive line and secondary. Having said that, the talent pool is too deep to believe the voids won't be filled. I know Ohio State fans are worried but they probably have a top five team to cheer on so life isn't bad.