Don’t let them thru that line (2009 Defensive Preview)

OSU FootballWith the offensive preview out of the way, let’s take a quick (read: short) look at the defensive unit that we’ll see during the 2009 season. In the manner of the previous post, we’ll look at what we know and what we don’t. Dreams and fears. Lots to talk about. Let’s get to it.

What we know

We can safely say that Ohio State will always field a formidable defense. Occasionally, we’ll get a defense that is dominating. This year, I think as this front seven develops as a unit, we’ll be leaning toward the latter.

We know we’ll be fronting some manimals on the defensive line. Maximus and Hammerhead at the ends, Worthington and Larimore in the middle and a bevy of guys to rotate in: Rose, Wilson, Denlinger. Scary. Will the illustrious College Football Gods please give us one healthy year of Lawrence Wilson? You didn’t smile on Beanie last year. How about a mulligan?


We’ll discuss the linebackers in the next section, but I do know this: I can’t wait to see Brian Rolle play. I honestly fear for opposing teams, as I think he may actually kill someone.

The defensive backfield is also a source of unknowns, but we should have a measure of security knowing Anderson Russel and Kurt Coleman will be patroling the middle of the field quite well. I don’t think there’s a lot to be worried there.

What we don’t know

The cornerback position. Chimdi Chekwa is the only CB will extended play experience. Andre Amos and Devon Torrence are battling for the other CB position. Amos has been tagged as the starter for the Navy game, but Torrence will push for playing time. Redshirt freshman Travis Howard could see some play time. I also hope (and expect) we get heavy doses of Jermale Hines. Not only does the defense suffer when he isn’t in there, it’s we fans who suffer.


Then there’s the linebackers. The future there has been cloudy since earlier this month when Tyler Moeller was lost for the season. We were all planning on seeing Tyler everywhere on defense. Now, we’ve got three relatively new faces with a whole lot of potential and not a whole lot of playing time. Spitler and Homan have seen a lot of the field, but playing behind Little Animal and Marcus Freeman will have an effect on your playing time.

So who will be the break out linebacker? My money is behind Brian Rolle, but I’m waiting for Etienne Sabino to show us something and Dorian Bell has a lot of people buzzed, if he sees the field. But what I’ve seen and heard of Rolle, the guy has a one-track mind and a one-speed gearbox: full speed.

What we fear

I personally fear I’m overestimating the team on the defensive side of the ball. A lot of people are saying this front four is one of the best in the country. I’m inclined to believe the same. But I have this nagging doubt that it won’t turn out that way. Injury or overconfidence or youthful mistakes. I hope we can avoid this while these kids grow up.

I mentioned it in the offensive preview, and I’ll say it again here: My psyche can’t take another really bad game with everyone watching. I try my best to avoid what others say about my beloved Buckeyes, but I can only ignore so much. One big game, say, against USC would go a long way in rebuilding that eroding OSU aura.

What we hope

This one is easy:

Mongol General Tressel: Wrong! Thaddeus, what is best in life?
Thaddeus: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!
Mongol General Tressel: That is good.

To the pain!

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